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What Are We Doing...
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Aug 22, 2018 04:36AM

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Book cover for Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time
New habits are things that you do, but old habits are things that you are. There's a difference between waking up early and being an early riser, eating a healthy meal and being a healthy eater, getting some work done and being a productive ...more
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George Saunders
“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering and I responded… sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”
George Saunders

Marilynne Robinson
“I talked once with a cabdriver who had spent years in prison. He said he had no idea that the world was something he could be interested in. And then he read a book.”
Marilynne Robinson, What are We Doing Here?

Merlin Sheldrake
“The idea that a neat line can be drawn that separates nonhumans from humans with “real minds” and “real comprehension” has been curtly dismissed by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as an “archaic myth.” Brains didn’t evolve their tricks from scratch, and many of their characteristics reflect more ancient processes that existed long before recognizable brains arose.”
Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Merlin Sheldrake
“Whether one calls slime molds, fungi, and plants “intelligent” depends on one’s point of view. Classical scientific definitions of intelligence use humans as a yardstick by which all other species are measured. According to these anthropocentric definitions, humans are always at the top of the intelligence rankings, followed by animals that look like us (chimpanzees, bonobos, etc.), followed again by other “higher” animals, and onward and downward in a league table—a great chain of intelligence drawn up by the ancient Greeks, which persists one way or another to this day. Because these organisms don’t look like us or outwardly behave like us—or have brains—they have traditionally been allocated a position somewhere at the bottom of the scale. Too often, they are thought of as the inert backdrop to animal life. Yet many are capable of sophisticated behaviors that prompt us to think in new ways about what it means for organisms to “solve problems,” “communicate,” “make decisions,” “learn,” and “remember.” As we do so, some of the vexed hierarchies that underpin modern thought start to soften. As they soften, our ruinous attitudes toward the more-than-human world may start to change. The second field of research that has guided me in this inquiry concerns the way we think about the microscopic organisms—or microbes—that cover every inch of the planet. In the last four decades, new technologies have granted unprecedented access to microbial lives. The outcome? For your community of microbes—your “microbiome”—your body is a planet. Some prefer the temperate forest of your scalp, some the arid plains of your forearm, some the tropical forest of your crotch or armpit. Your gut (which if unfolded would occupy an area of thirty-two square meters), ears, toes, mouth, eyes, skin, and every surface, passage, and cavity you possess teem with bacteria and fungi. You carry around more microbes than your “own” cells. There are more bacteria in your gut than stars in our galaxy. For humans, identifying where one individual stops and another starts is not generally something we”
Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Merlin Sheldrake
“all life-forms are in fact processes not things.”
Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

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