What I learned last week (#136): things fall apart

Learned last week: skating, water, immune systems, and more!

A weekly selection of what I was reading, drawing, writing, and doing.


Quote I enjoyed:

Only those who are capable of silliness can be called truly intelligent. Christopher Isherwoo


Book excerpt I was thinking about:

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.”

— Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

Writing about skateboarding:

I think of what the surfer and skater from Malibu who called himself the Illusion had to say in 2011 on Crail Couch, an interview series that mixed Errol Morris with an endless loop of
Belle and Sebastian’s “I’m a Cuckoo.” When asked if he ever plays team sports, the Illusion said the following:

So, my whole theory, for like fifteen years, was no balls no nets, man. Like, any time anyone asked me to play tennis, like, nah, I don’t do that. I don’t do anything with a ball or a net. If it’s got a ball or a net, man, that’s just my cosmic sign not to mess with it,
man.

For a fairly simple activity, skateboarding’s internal code of competition is more nuanced and complex and fluid than any single contest could possibly model. Because the Illusion is a burner from Malibu, he speaks of this nuance in terms of the cosmos. This cosmic side has led to some ironies over the years, like a photo I keep pinned to my bulletin board of a Nike 6.0 hoodie that says “Jocks Suck” across the chest. It is usually pretty clear who to call the best skater at any given session, or among a group of friends. But what looks like victory among pack dogs and, I suppose, salespeople and law students and most other worlds premised on rankings, is among skaters almost wholly irrelevant.

No Balls, No Nets: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2021/08/09/no-balls-no-nets/


Living on, and for, the ocean:

Really enjoyed this vignette video about a fisherman and the ocean he is calling on us all to clean up.

VOICE ABOVE WATER is the story of a 90-year-old Balinese fisherman who can no longer fish because of the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean, instead he collects trash in hopes of being able to fish again. The story is a glimpse into how one human is using his resources to make a difference and a reminder that if we all play our part we can accomplish something much greater than ourselves.


How The Immune System ACTUALLY Works:

This is explained simply, but while doing so it also alludes to the amazing depth of complexity of the human body.


What I wrote and drew about this week:


What I did, was reminded of, or was thankful for last week:

  • I was focused on work last week and the kids were enjoying their last week off for summer vacation. It already feels like the weather has shifted into fall mode.
  • The highlight of the week was taking the train and underground subway in Glasgow without really a destination, just to explore. We ended up in the Kelvinpark area, went to a cafe, and walked all around the city on foot. It’s rare that we have no plans other than to just ride public transit, and that made it perfect.
Kelvingrove park bridge in Glasgow, Scotland.
Walking in Glasgow’s Kelvinpark area.

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!