They are a strange race, the men of Stourveld. They are known for the beauty of their daughters and the uniform plainness of their matrons; a condition thought by some to be the accomplishment of changelings of faerie, not indeed robbing the cradle but the birthing bed. Inward looking, accident prone, they are a people much given to introspection and self murder.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


What I'm All About

I should write down that which utterly engages me:


I like it, but I don't understand it. (Dave Garth thinks one of the marks of grace is that something is wonderful but incomprehensible).


I like playing with systems, among other places in gaming, in writing and programming. I like being part of them, in community. I like thinking about them, all over, over and over.

In some essential way it pleases me to think substantively of structure, to muse contentedly of form, to realize the body of style. Thus I like design and interfaces.


Edited 2008 April 16 to add people. It was when I was perhaps eight that I thought, "Each person is a universe entire, apart from any other; we occasionally brush one to one, but only as galaxies passing through galaxies. The whole remains apart."

And that's it. That's all I can remember just now that I love wholeheartedly.

The Ise Shrine

The Ise Shrine is rebuilt adjacent to its current site every 20 years. It's on its 61st iteration as I write this. It's an example (another is wikipedia) of love as a renewable building material in Chapter 5: When Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production of Shirky's book Here Comes Everybody.

We don’t often talk about love when trying to describe the public world, because love seems to squishy and private. What has happened, though, and what is still happening in our historical moment, is that love has become a lot less squishy and a lot less private. Love has a half=life too, as well as a radius, and we’re used to both of those being small. We can affect the people we love, but the longevity and social distance of love are both constrained. Or were constrained–now we can do things for strangers who do things for us, at a low enough cost to make that kind of behavior attractive, and those effects can last well beyond our original contribution. Our social tools are turning love into a renewable building material. When people care enough, they can come together and accomplish things of a scope and a longevity that were previously impossible; they can do big things for love.

It's encouraging to me when folks tell me that we have structural changes that increase the power of love. A part of that is that I deeply love systems. The function of institutions (I used to say government, but that's a synecdoche) is to make evil hard and good easy.


Now We Can Do Big Things For Love

Edited 20080329 to correct doff to dopp.

Life teaches us that motivations other than getting paid aren't enough to add up to serious work.

And now we have to unlearn that lesson, because it is less true with each passing year. People now have access to myriad tools that let them share writing, images, video--any form of expressive content, in fact--and use that sharing as an anchor for community and cooperation. The twentieth century, with the spread of radio and television, was the broadcast century. The normal pattern for media was that they were created by a small group of professionals and then delivered to a large group of consumers. But media, in the word's literal sense as the middle layer between people, have always been a three-part affair. People like to consume media, of course, but they also like to produce it ("Look what I made!") and they like to share it ("Look what I found!"). Because we now have media that support both making and sharing, as well as consuming, those capabilities are reappearing, after a century mainly give over to consumption. We are used to a world where little things happen for love and big things happen for money. Love motivates people to bake a cake and money motivates people to make an encyclopedia. Now, though, we can do big things for love.

Clay Shirky, from Here Comes Everybody!, Chapter 4: Publish then Filter

Thomas has been promoting this book for several days, in several ways. I read a bit and talked to him for an hour and a half or so, in the middle of the day. Then I left for my father's house, in quest of, among other things, my dopp bag (which my mother assures me is simply another way of saying 'toiletries bag').

(If you should see a red leather dopp bag, somewhat frayed, do not approach it. Call the police immediately. It is suspected in the removal of myriad whiskers and three unobjectionable beards, as well as countless travel ablutions. It is to be considered armed [razor] and extremely dangerous.)

I read the above driving to Opelika and while loitering over chili in my mother's house. It's one of the more delightful things I've read, and I wished to share it with you; because I love you.


Wm. Temple:

Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose--and all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.



Shake hands, we shall never be friends, all's over;
I only vex you the more I try.
All's wrong that ever I've done or said,
And nought to help it in this dull head:
Shake hands, here's luck, good-bye.

But if you come to a road where danger
Or guilt or anguish or shame's to share,
Be good to the lad that loves you true
And the soul that was born to die for you,
And whistle and I'll be there.


'Tis five years since, `An end,' said I;
`I'll march no further, time to die.
All's lost; no worse has heaven to give.'
Worse has it given, and yet I live.

I shall not die to-day, no fear:
I shall live yet for many a year,
And see worse ills and worse again,
And die of age and not of pain.

When God would rear from earth aloof
The blue height of the hollow roof,
He sought him pillars sure and strong,
And ere he found them sought them long.

The stark steel splintered from the thrust,
The basalt mountain sprang to dust,
The blazing pier of diamond flawed
In shards of rainbow all abroad.

What found he, that the heavens stand fast?
What pillar proven firm at last
Bears up so light that world-seen span?
The heart of man, the heart of man.


Bitter words from a better man,
the shadeling prince A. E. Housman