Journal Entry #7, June 12, 2020

Things I have collected while reading:

“One of the great adaptive virtues of our brains, the feature that makes our gray matter so much smarter than any machine yet devised, is our ability to forget almost everything that has ever happened to us.”

Jonathan Franzen, “My Father’s Brain,” The New Yorker

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

“Say that the limits of language are the world’s limits. That the limits of my language are my world’s limits. And that when I speak, I limit the world. I finish it.”

Jean-Luc Godard, Two or Three Things I Know About Her

“Information systems need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality.”

Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget

“By vast pains we mine into the pyramid. By horrible gropings we come to the central room; with joy we espy the sarcophagus; but we lift the lid — and no body is there!”

Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities


“Our work suggests that we treat the Internet much like we would a human transactive memory partner. We off-load memories to ‘the cloud’ just as readily as we would to a family member, friend or lover. The Internet, in another sense, is also unlike a human transactive memory partner; it knows more and can produce this information more quickly.”

Daniel Wegner, “The Internet Has Become the External Hard Drive for Our Memories,” Scientific American

Law is nothing else than an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by one who has care of the community and has promulgated the law [to the community] Tyrannical law is not a law, strictly speaking, because it is not according to reason, but rather a perversion of law. Unjust laws are acts of violence rather than laws … Such laws do not bind in conscience … Laws of this kind must in no way be observed.

Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law, questions 90–108 of the Prima Secundæ of the Summa Theologiæ

“Modern economic theory originated and developed in the context of Calvinism … instead of Homo economicus as pure individual we propose Homo Economicus as person-in-community.”

Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb, Jr., For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future

“The triple evils of Poverty, Racism and Militarism are forms of violence … The aftermath of violence is bitterness; the aftermath of non-violence is the creation of the beloved community … redemption and reconciliation.”

Martin Luther King, Justice without Violence, a lecture given at Brandeis University, April 3, 1957 (

If you are reading this, you have been served by strangers. You have been served by people who have come before you, people who have invented, educated, made safe, and otherwise built a world in which you can relax in your home reading the shiny new, just-written words of a stranger exhorting you to pass it along. Because now it is your turn to serve, and you can best serve by taking care of those around you, by protecting them from infection and also from isolation and loneliness and need and despair. While we wait for the whiz-bang, let’s do the tried and true, and let’s show some caring for one another. You don’t outgrow your obligation to serve. Ever. Take it from an old person who hasn’t managed to do it yet. We need one another.

Marie Schwab Miller, COVID-19 Update, #109 in a Series





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