Fraying Into the Future

Whatever else I might say of 2018, I can at least claim to have written more. In the end-of-the-year-ICYMI spirit, here’s a quick recap.

At The New Atlantis, I published two pieces: a critical consideration of the so-called tech backlash and a review of Siva Viadhyanathan’s Antisocial Media. At Real Life, I wrote about personal panopticons. I also reviewed Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence.

I managed, as well, to keep up the The Convivial Society at a mostly monthly clip.

And on this blog, which will be entering its ninth calendar year, I’ve posted more than any year since 2014.

Most read posts included The World Will Be Our Skinner Box, Technology After the Great War, and Attention and Memory in the Age of the Disciplinary Spectacle, which all got a Hacker News front page bump.

Other notables included Superfluous People, the Ideology of Silicon Valley, and The Origins of Totalitarianism; Social Media and Loneliness; Cyborg Discourse Is Useless; and Why We Can’t Have Humane Technology.

Looking forward to maintaining that momentum heading into the new year. Thanks for reading. My apologies if you’ve commented and not received a reply, I’ll do better next year … maybe. As always, your support is welcomed and appreciated; I’m currently living off my words.

Best wishes to you and yours in this new year.

Here’s one of my favorite poems and poets, “Year’s End” by Richard Wilbur, as we brave the new year together.

Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.

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