Liebniz dreamed grandly of mechanizing algebra and even reason itself. “We may give final praise to the machine,” he wrote. “It will be desirable to all who are engaged in computations … the managers of financial affairs, the administrators of others’ estates, merchants, surveyors, geographers, navigators, astronomers. … For it is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation.”
p. 93 The Information, James Gleick, 2011 Fourth Estate, London
In other words, the shift from “predict and control” to “measure and react” is not just technological –although technology is needed– but psychological. Only once we concede that we cannot depend on our ability to predict the future are we open to a process that discovers it.
p. 196, ch. 8 The measure of all things, Everything is obvious Duncan J. Watts, 2011, Atlantic Books
I buy books compulsively. I can’t enter a bookstore without buying 3-4 books. As a result, I have many books I’ve started reading and left after a few chapters when a new one comes my way. I have many other books I have the intention to read. And yes, I have many books that are still wrapped in their original cellophane packaging. Sigh. Such is the life of a compulsive book buyer.
While trying to organize my books, I found this little exercise from the The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel, that sounds like a fun way to “cruise” around many books. I think it will give me a chance to open many of the books that lay languidly on my bookshelves while fitting my short attention span.
Here’s the exercise in case you might want to give it a try. I’ll try to post the books I cross in my literary journey along with quotes of the countries mentioned. It should be an interesting experiment in blogging as well.
24. Literary Journey
Travel around the world via a bookshelf.
You will need a bookshelf containing books, plus a pen and paper to keep track of your journey.
Choose a book from the bookshelf and commence reading. Continue reading until a foreign country is mentioned in the text. Then choose a second book that’s somehow related to that country and begin reading again. Repeat until you have either returned to your point of origin or have completed one circumnavigation of the globe.
Source: The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel, Ed. Lonely Planet, 2005. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/experimentaltravel/