What Should We be Worried About?

Max Tegmark writes a very thought-provoking short essay entitled “Life As We Know It”. I suggest reading the whole thing if you’re after some inspiration and food for thought on this cloudy Tuesday. Here’s a taste:

As our "Spaceship Earth" blazes though cold and barren space, it both sustains and protects us. It's stocked with major but limited supplies of water, food and fuel. Its atmosphere keeps us warm and shielded from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, and its magnetic field shelters us from lethal cosmic rays. Surely any responsible spaceship captain would make it a top priority to safeguard its future existence by avoiding asteroid collisions, on-board explosions, overheating, ultraviolet shield destruction, and premature depletion of supplies? Yet our spaceship crew hasn't made any of these issues a top priority, devoting (by my estimate) less than a millionth of its resources to them. In fact, our spaceship doesn't even have a captain!

Value The Moment

Jordan Koschei writes a great piece for The Industry, which, after reading, reminded me to spend more time enjoying the moment, and less time detailing it:

In our rush to document our lives we’ve stopped living them. By placing a lens between ourselves and our experiences, we make ourselves mere observers. We go through the motions of doing interesting things, all the while considering our experiences as a meta-narrative. Instead of focusing on the experience, we’re focusing on what other people will think of us having had the experience. We’ve relegated ourselves to cameraman status in our own movies.

This isn't to say that documenting one's life isn't a good thing — I keep a diary of sorts (and am very glad I do) — but it's easy to spend the entirety of a rock concert taking pictures and recording video, only to realise later that one's limited attention had been devoted to taking pictures, rather than enjoying the concert.

I would rather devote my full attention to the moment, then write my own description of the day in a diary. Attempting to take pictures of or live-tweet something I may later wish I'd paid more attention to is only setting myself up for regret.

I value my memories and experiences more highly than the images I capture with my iPhone.