‘Apparently, 600-1,000 words is the sweet spot for introducing one big idea. The brevity disciplines the author and allows the reader to grasp the essential point—and to remain hungry for more even as she moves to another essay.’
Here are three scarf candidates for your daily eye candy:
That’s a quote from the edge.org website. Edge was intended To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
The founder, John Brockman, kept asking the questions. Then in 2018, ‘After twenty years, I’ve run out of questions. So, for the finale to a noteworthy Edge project, can you ask ‘The Last Question’?’
I’ve recently ordered a few of the books because, having dipped into the online manuscripts from time to time, I think that having the books to hand will make it easier to enjoy the ideas that pulsate from the writers via the pages.
For example, in 2016, Robert Sapolsky who is a neuroscientist in Stanford University contributed A Collective Realization—We May All Die Horribly. He wrote:
— ‘If Joseph Conrad had known about Ebola, he would have written it into the story line in Heart of Darkness.
— ‘… this isn’t the end of the disease, and the research started long before the West African epidemic. But this is a rough approximation of scientists, with lightning speed, saving us. It would be nice if the general public thought the same.’
As I typed this, I recalled another contribution by Kevin Slavin in 2009, in a piece called The Ebb Of Memory. ‘In 1992, the artist Thomas Bayrle wrote that the great mistake of the future would be that as everything became digital, we would confuse memory with storage.’ Slavin concluded by saying ‘For the next generation, it will be impossible to forget it, and harder to remember. What will change everything is our ability to remember what everything is. Was. And wasn’t.’
And I remembered who Leonard Susskind replied very concisely to the 2007 question ‘What are you optimistic about?’:
‘I am optimistic about the adaptability of the human brain to answer questions that evolution could not have designed it for. A brain that can rewire itself to visualize 4 dimensions, or the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, is clearly going way beyond the things that natural selection could have wired it for. It makes me optimistic that we may be able to go beyond our Darwinian roots in other ways.’
Edge is a great resource and besides, it’s fun to see the variety of potential futures that people are imagining.