We Must Try to Live
The wind is rising and hands are beautiful. Let's touch them.
Another Sunday, Another Naive Weekly — Observations From The Internet Wilderness.
Good morning. I’m happy to confirm that the lake is still there. The top of the water is now frozen and in the far end a swan is caught in the ice. Our neighbourhood Facebook group promises us that the swan should be okay. Only if the swan starts to rest its neck on the ice do we need to worry.
Inside our home, we are still confronted with the guilt of unpacked boxes and disassembled furniture. As an act of stillness and resistance, we signed up for Netflix. The last week we have submerged ourselves into the incredible Studio Ghibli universe. It is refreshing to watch films where the ending seems to matter the least.
K: What is progress to you?
David: An ambiguous concept. Although it’s definitely satisfying to see the world (slowly) become a better place in some areas – legalised abortion in Argentina, the poverty rates (somewhat) steadily declining, the COVID-19 vaccines – the allurement of progress can also be rather dangerous.
I mean that in two ways: Firstly how the whole narrative of gradual improvement (I’m looking at you, Steven Pinker) can become an excuse for not improving things even further. And secondly how the (capitalistic) imperative of progress can be a death trap in itself. Must we necessarily walk along the beaten, narrow path of accumulation-at-all-costs? Or can progress also be conceived as something nonlinear?
K: What webs are you woven into?
David: “Even the palest of the pale were still able to become master over him, the gentlemen metaphysicians, the concept-albinos. They spun their webs around him so long that he, hypnotized by their movements, became himself a spider, a metaphysician”, Friedrich Nietzsche at one point writes about God in his book The Antichrist. It’s one of my favourite quotes by Nietzsche.
Apart from the hilariousness of the angry German calling great metaphysicians such as Kant ”concept-albinos”, it acts as a warning against wishful thinking. We are all woven into all sorts of ideologies, but who’s to say that they are correct? How can we be so certain that we aren’t slowly being metamorphosed into pale and poisonous spiders? Although I’m undoubtedly caught up in numerous cobwebs, I quite like the idea brought to us by Nietzsche: That it’s also possible to kill the spider.
K: How do you prepare for an internet exploration?
David: I equip a hard hat to counter all the tin foil-conspiracies, and I turn on my flashlight to illuminate the time-consuming pitfalls of despair. Apart from that, I brace myself for impact. Although it can be frustrating at times, the internet is an amazing place. There are few things as satisfying as falling into a new rabbit hole, learning about obscure 14th century history on Wikipedia or finding a niche newsletter about new techno releases. Oh, and I try to stay away from Facebook and other social media. Never go there, Simba (or at least keep the doom scrolling to a minimum).
K: How would you start a letter to a frog?
David: ”I’m sorry. I’m sorry we failed you. Although you never turned into a prince, we managed to give your kingdom the kiss of death. Nature, your most wondrous castle, became a swamp filled with sewage water and decay. Man-made pollution gave you a telltale sign of tail toads never to come. And we hear your croaks calling us out in the night, judging us.”
If we regarded websites as architecture, we’d expand the disciplines of people making them. And the thought is not far fetched, because websites and buildings share many common traits. This short post outlines ten.
Today, in most of the world, we take artificial light for granted. But 200 years ago, it required five hours of work to pay for only one hour of artificial light. Scroll your way to wisdom in this interactive story by Pudding.
I’m tempted to quote the entirety of this interview with Anne Boyer. It is that good. But, of course I won’t do that, so instead I’ll leave it with my highest recommendations for you to enjoy. And if you enjoy it as much as me, please send my your favourite parts.
Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly — Observations from the Internet Wilderness.
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