This week, I show you my conversation with Bryan, a philosopher, writer, and researcher. He's a very thoughtful individual, with a fascinating mind. We talked about his work, writing, music, and much more.
- 00:00 ~ Introduction
- 01:10 ~ Thomas Khun
- 05:55 ~ Bryan's relationship with ideas
- 11:02 ~ Note-taking
- 17:20 ~ Health model of Inquiry
- 20:41 ~ Bryan's current questions
- 26:00 ~ Meditation
- 33:00 ~ Change and Modern Golden Age
- 42:15 ~ Speaking, writing and thinking
- 50:43 ~ Original Sources and influences
- 55:20 ~ Intellectual and creative Humility
- 1:06:03 ~ Classical composers and jazz musicians
- 1:08:30 ~ Types of writing
- 1:10:00 ~ Practices in MGA
- 1:18:00 ~ The kind of person that allows for an MGA
- 1:21:00 ~ Values in a Modern Golden Age
- 1:23:12 ~ Where can you find Bryan?
The “monastery” to “metropolis” discussion of the development and nurturing of an idea is an interesting analogy for pedagogy and learning as well as scaffolding. Having a supportive environment with trust is similar to most learning environments and particularly a difficult one for second language learners to find as the paradigm changes based on age.
I wish there had been more improvisation here with respect to the conversational portions, but instead the interviewer kept going back to a script of pre-formed questions instead of exploring the ideas as they came. I was surprised to see references to David Krakauer and Stefan Zweig pop up here.
Stefan Zweig (reference? his memoir?) apparently suggested that students translate authors as a means of becoming more intimately acquainted with their work. This is similar to restating an author in one’s own words as a means of improving one’s understanding. It’s a lower level of processing that osculates on the idea of having a conversation with a text.
Drinking game using the phrase: “I do believe.” 😅
Rating: 2 of 5; this was in my wheelhouse, but provided no real insight for me. Unlikely to listen to others in this series.
Manton and Daniel talk about payments from the Small App Developer settlement against Apple. Why does Manton refuse to accept free money, and are there valid reasons to opt out of the settlement? Then they reflect on the wave of opportunity from Twitter’s drastic downfall, and whether Manton and Daniel can “catch it”. Finally, Manton remembers the IndieWeb principles about plurality and monoculture, and they discuss how that might relate to Mastodon.
“We’re extremely powerful when it comes to making sense and finding connections, doing it visually instead of with a page.” Howard Rheingold is an eminent author, maker, and educator. His work has explored and defined key aspects of digital culture, including the use of computers as tools for mind augmentation, virtual communities, and social media literacy. In this conversation, we discuss computers as extensions for our minds, Douglas Engelbart’s unfinished revolution, basic literacies for interacting in information environments, and the resurgence of Tools for Thought.
Mark Bernstein is chief scientist of Eastgate Systems, Inc. He’s been writing hypertexts and developing hypertext authoring software since the late 1980s. Mark is the creator of Tinderbox and other tools for thinking that “harness the power of the link.” In this conversation, we discuss thinking through connected notes.
representational talkback; the design of taking notes in the present when you’re not sure how they’ll connect to ideas in the (imagined) future; The Tinderbox Way; by force, all research is bottom up.
Katie Benner, Justice Department reporter at The New York Times, joins with takeaways and the latest news from the release of the affidavit in the FBI search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Working over many years with several Indigenous Elders, Duane has published The First Astronomers, a complete overview of traditional First Nations star knowledge.
In her new book, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America, Anderson traces racial distinctions in Americans’ treatment of gun ownership back to the founding of the country and the Second Amendment, which states:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The language of the amendment, Anderson says, was crafted to ensure that slave owners could quickly crush any rebellion or resistance from those whom they’d enslaved. And she says the right to bear arms, presumably guaranteed to all citizens, has been repeatedly denied to Black people.
Cereals provide their offspring with a long-lived supply of energy to power the first growth spurt of the seed. Thousands of years ago, people discovered that they could steal some of the seeds to power their own growth, taking advantage of the storability of seeds to move the food from where it grew to where it might be eaten. Wheat, the pre-eminent cereal, moved along routes that were ancient before the Greek empire, carried, probably, by ox-drawn carts and guided along these black paths by people remembered in Ukraine today as chumaki.
In this episode, Scott Nelson, author of Oceans of Grain, tells me about the various ways in which the ability to move wheat more efficiently changed world history, geography and economics, for starters.
- Scott Reynolds Nelson’s book Oceans of Grain is published by Basic Books.
- Listen to Persephone’s Secret, if you haven’t already, and I promise no vengeful gods will render you dumb.
- Banner photo of a grain elevator and train in Wichita Falls, Texas by Carol M. Highsmith. Image of a 19th century Chumak by Jan Nepomucen Lewicki; Public Domain.
- Transcript coming soon.
Even better, I suspect that some of the history here is right up my alley in relation to work I’ve been doing on oral cultures. Some of it “sounds” like early oral Ukrainian culture is eerily reminiscent to Milman Parry’s work on orality among the guslars of Yugoslavia and reading I’ve been doing on Indigenous astronomy! What a great find. I’ve immediately ordered a copy of the book.
I wouldn’t expect these sorts of information and insight in a typical podcast about food, but Jeremy Cherfas always delivers the goods.
Many people take the myth of Demeter — Ceres in Latin — and her daughter Persephone to be just a metaphor for the annual cycle of planting and harvesting. It is, but there may be more to it than that. Why else would it be worth scaring participants in the Eleusinian Mysteries into saying absolutely nothing about what went on during these initiation rites into the cult of Demeter and Persephone?
Maybe the story hides a secret so valuable that it was worth protecting.
Elucidating the Eleusinian Mysteries is one small element in Scott Reynolds Nelson’s new book, Oceans of Grain. It looks at the many, many ways in which wheat and human history intertwine, which he’s been working on for years. It was finally published on 22 February this year.
Two days later, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Today, what the story of Persephone is really about. And over the next three weeks, Scott Nelson and I will be talking about how wheat has influenced human affairs, as it is still doing today.