Solitude is something you refine and develop and create. And again, I think crucially, it has to do with refining our ethical intelligence. It has to do with refining our capacity to see where our impulses are coming from, to what extent those impulses are just driven by conditioning and habit and fear, and to what extent we can somehow open up a nonreactive space within us from which we can respond to the world — respond to our own needs, too, but in a way that’s not driven by familiar habit patterns, which are often rooted in attachment and fear and other things. So solitude, the practice of solitude, is the practice of creating an inward autonomy within ourselves, an inward freedom from the power of these overwhelming thoughts and emotions.
The first thing to notice about specific knowledge is that you can’t be trained for it. If you can be trained for it, if you can go to a class and learn specific knowledge, then somebody else can be trained for it too, and then we can mass-produce and mass-train people. Heck, we can even program computers to do it and eventually we can program robots to walk around doing it.
The thing is that we have this idea that everything can be taught, everything can be taught in school. And it’s not true that everything can be taught. In fact, the most interesting things cannot be taught.
“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
Marilyn Strathern expanded on Charles Goodhart’s comment about monetary policy and turned it into a useful law of the universe.
As soon as we try to manipulate behaviors to alter a measure, it’s no longer useful.
That’s why you can’t believe social media metrics. Because they don’t measure anything except whether someone is good at making them go up.
“Human habitat in the deepest sense is much more than mere shelter. It is the fulfillment of the search—in space—for happiness and emotional equilibrium. It is a matter of settling down at one point in the wide open spaces—a voluntarily restricted spot to come home to—to be with one’s belongings and with those closest to one’s self.”
Neutra houses are, more than anything, sites of psychological conditioning—a consequence, perhaps, of the architect’s boyhood proximity to Freud. Sylvia Lavin, in her 2004 book, “Form Follows Libido,” describes how Neutra saw himself as a therapist—easing the stresses of modern life, increasing clients’ comfort. He even supplied a certain aphrodisiac atmosphere for the young couples with whom he liked to work. Families were asked to fill out questionnaires about their daily routines. Some sample queries: “Can you sleep when the sun shines into your room?” “Do you notice or enjoy the dinner smell?” “Does the ‘whiff of nature’ mean much to you?” “What kind of music do you play on your gramophone, soft or noisy?”