One of the unspoken rules of blogging is “don’t talk about how you’re not posting enough.”
Well, I’m about to break that one. I haven’t posted– in forever. And I’m sorry.
This is a critical time for Evolation. After working at Apple for the past year, I’m now “going pro” –where possible–as a writer and blogger. Among other things, I’ve launched Appculture, an up-and-coming blog exploring cutting-edge trends in software design and the “bigger issues” of personalized, mobilized, and contextualized data. I’m still writing The Anatomy of Awareness (which will arrive in more pieces soon). I’m still taking plenty of pictures. And I’ve thought about Evolation a great deal– what it should be, who it’s for, why it matters.
I realized that, honestly, I have too many ideas here for one site. Yet I’ve gotten so much positive feedback about Evolation, and in particular “Two Words to Overcome Sadness, Anger, Loneliness & Fear” — #1 on Google!– that I feel it’s obviously a shame to stop writing here.
So I thought I’d ask you.
What is it about Evolation that got you hooked? What subjects here interest you? What can I do to bring you more of the stuff you love?
I’m planning of launching a secondary blog about (specifically) consciousness, emotion, neuroscience, memory and brain-training. But by its nature, this would be more “factual” and less poetic than Evolation tends to be. Since this pretty nicely dovetails with some (but not all) of the content here, it makes some sense to simply transition Evolation in this direction. But what do you think, dear reader?
?I can’t promise I’ll get back to Evolation immediately, but know that it’s coming. And thank you, so so so much, for reading, commenting, donating, and responding. I’ll make it worthwhile.
Whew! What a crazy few weeks it’s been!
After wrapping up work on my senior thesis and staggering through a whirlwind graduation, I packed up my things and bid farewell to a college (and home) I loved dearly for four jam-packed years. There wasn’t much time to be sentimental, though– within mere hours I was on a plane, flying to California to join the work-scholar program at Big Sur’s Esalen Institute. There, surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth, I spent a blissful month thinking, writing, taking pictures and slicing onions. I loved every second of it, and learned so much about myself in the process that i’m still trying to unpack the entirety of the experience.
But all such experiences must come to an end eventually, and I’m thrilled to move ahead with my life after graduation. Aside from the obvious (finding a place to live, getting a job or several) I have some big new plans for Evolation and my future work. I also have some fantastic things to show you!
Unfortunately, my computer (a beloved Powerbook G4) bit the dust this evening with a loud and dramatic death rattle. While I get that sorted out and step up to a modern machine, I’ll be a bit more delayed than I’d like in posting here.
In the coming weeks I’m thrilled to begin posting excerpts from The Anatomy of Awareness, my “magnum opus” project that attempts to understand–and advance dramatic new thinking about– the nature of consciousness. As a dual memoir– part novel, part scientific paper– the work is engaging and poetic while remaining incredibly complete and thorough. Drawing on a wide range of ideas and concepts culled from years of my own research, the book (and it is a book, at nearly 200 pages) confronts the “hard problem” of consciousness head-on, emerging with radical new ideas on the nature of the mind. It is my tremendous pleasure to begin sharing this work with you! One section, read at an open mic at Esalen, was greeted with incredible enthusiasm– and I can’t thank all of you enough for that praise and positive energy. It felt so good to be validated on a public level with a work that is so intensely personal and meaningful to me. Thank you all!
I also have a huge backlog of amazing photos left to put online– they too will need to wait until I can work again with my images. I promise, it’ll be worth it.
In the meantime, I’ll be hard at work manifesting an incredible living situation for myself here in New York: if you know anyone in photography, design, tech or editorial in need of assistance, let them know that there’s a dedicated and quick-learning college grad in need of a job!
Till next time..
I really must be a nerd, somehow, or one who’s really just affected by design in some (possibly-twisted) way, but…
I don’t know how else to express it, but this look–even though I know it probably isn’t quite the real thing– is so beautiful, so absolutely essential to our time, that I hesitate in saying that this might in fact change our entire sense of what technology is. Not now, oh no… not with Leopard’s bugs and a window-based interface and the clumsy hacked-together kludge of the Web at this particular moment. Not even, maybe, for ten or fifteen years. But this is the first object that may well be designed for who we really are as people. We are explorers. We were out there hunting and gathering and using our hands–that is, until we recently decided to take that little industrialized break and coop ourselves up in our homes. We spend a lot of our time feeling like we aren’t really doing enough, and that worry leaks out in our aggressive spending, our internal dramas, our petty goals. We stopped being in touch with what it really felt like to be alive. We built great tools, and gradually our tools became our focus; somewhere along the line, we lost track of the absurdity of this compromise.
The real promise of the Web has always been its omniscience. It has nothing to do with information, or information overload– it has to do with ubiquity and transparency. It has to do with offloading the sum of human consciousness and leaving it floating out there, a sea of awareness permeating us like a second soul. Think different, people. This has nothing to do with specs. Nothing to do with current technology–or the lack of an optical drive. This is about coming a step closer to organic technology.
Like the iPhone, which was the result of a realization that people like to control THINGS, not the abstract representations of them, this Macbook Air heralds a different kind of future. One in which our primary untethered-ness is finally understood; one in which our need to just live life is finally brought back into focus. Computers are a long long way from being truly intuitive, but this design evokes something incredible, something thrilling in me. We are leaving behind the wires, the force, the efforts of communicating with a stupid machine. We are free, and so is it. We are endlessly capable, and so (battery life willing) is it.
When Apple does its best work, they create products that are so perfect in their approach that they literally cannot be reimagined.
Looking at this machine, I can honestly say that it is this level of perfection. Not necessarily in specs, in its minutae or in daily use; I mean as an idea, as a created object, as a trendsetter. The iPod wasn’t perfect either when it first debuted, but it was obvious why it was needed. It removed everything but the experience of choosing what to listen to and hearing it. It removed the technology and became an extension of one’s life.
The Macbook Air, with inductive-based charging and ubiquitous networking, if such things ever came together (and if they came together tomorrow? oh my god) is another of these ideas. Something so radically ahead on a fundamental level that we don’t even know how amazing it will become.
For Apple to come back to the “tiny laptop” game, they realized they needed something new, something revolutionary to justify the absence. We’ve been expecting decent upgrades from them, but we forget that this is a brand-new Apple, one so visionary as to often arrive at solutions before anyone understands the depth of the problem; a company that innovates even when no one understands what it is they can see. When they made a music player, they made the iPod, for god’s sake. When they made a phone, it wasn’t a phone– it was a new way to communicate with technology.
Well, they’re back, and they removed such a huge part of the “computer” from the equation–the charging cables, ethernet, tethered disks (Time Machine backup to AirPort MUST be coming…) the extra weight, and maybe even the need for wi-fi tethering–that it is now the digital equivalent of a notebook. It is ever-present, yet completely unobtrusive. It is as ready as you are. Long ago I envisioned (as many have– it’s not at all an original concept) a device I called “the Reader”–a notebook-type wireless communication system. This device simply existed to tap into the framework of human awareness in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. Gesture-based, context-sensitive, intelligent and uncomplicated, it would express a nearly infinite potential without ever feeling overwhelming.
Many of these ideas may make their way more readily into an Apple tablet, but I can see that their design language is definitely on to something. It’s the teardrop shape. The colors (neutrals yet superbly beautiful). The organic, weightless feeling of it. It’s the sense that this is no longer a foreign object. It’s the first step towards something altogether new–a true fusion. And it’s weightless the way we are weightless, ultimately free of any connection to anything but the earth we’re born on and the identity we give ourselves.
I know it’s all hyperbolic, and perhaps I’m simply overthinking, but if the device Apple releases tomorrow is anything like this image, it’s a bigger deal than anyone but a few people at Apple realize.
Just think about it.
(And I really don’t comment on technology much, as you know, but I feel that this is truly significant)