No Happy Nonsense

Ways of Being / James Bridle

February 16th, 2023 | Quick Thoughts

A giant computer/mechanical wonder, with pipes and tubes powered with fluid currents could model the economy of the United Kingdom.

This book wasn't about that working analog computer, per se, but it was included. So were other marvelous oddities; slime mould making computers and/or modeling the commuter rail network of Japan, plants being able to remember things & hear things, the history of AI, Pando the tree - which is an entire forest but also just one tree, birds and humans communicating to one another so that both can find food, wolf highways, plants growing metal, why computers cannot create randomness and how to do it yourself, and more quality author/book recs and citations than I can remember (EO Wilson, UKLG, John Cage, etc).

This book was a merging of future-thinking with science and art. I wish I took notes during reading, because there were so many great artistic projects and scientific experiments discussed throughout the text, I feel guilty not being able to recall everything now.

But the heart of the book, the true center of it, is that we need to acknowledge as humans that we are not the center of the planet, our world is not anthropocentric, but we are simply another species on this giant rock and we need to act accordingly. We cannot think of other beings as the other, non-human, less-than-human, or anything else. We need to think of them as more-than-human, so that when we realize every single other thing that exists on the planet is more than ourselves, we can see ourselves as part of that whole, and realize that this view brings more to our lives rather than make them more narrow.

I'm going to return to this book, maybe not the book itself, but some talks by the author or something. This book brought out a feeling of possibility and ingenuity within humans that I haven't felt in a long, long time.

Filed Under: Reviews