A charming way to look at aging. By Flemming Funch of


It is not really that aging is a downhill slide, where bodies just gradually fall apart. I’d rather see it as in a computer game, where things get harder as you go to higher levels. You’ve built up skills and resources, you can be comfortable with situations that previously would drive you crazy, but the game is harder and less forgiving, so one wrong move can take you out, temporarily or permanently. You are presented with many opportunities to negotiate the increased difficulty level. You can use any of those opportunities to increase your skill and wisdom and creativity, or you can use it as motivation to give up, to decide to just no longer do the activity that now is harder. You’ll see many examples around you, of people who chose one way or the other. Some people get old and tired while young, and others are in high spirits until they kick the bucket. Which eventually we all do, but why not exit with a high score worth bragging about, rather than as some kind of inevitable failure.

Max Neef on human needs


Max-Neef classifies the fundamental human needs as:

Need Being (qualities) Having (things) Doing (actions) Interacting (settings)
Subsistence physical and mental health food, shelter, work feed, clothe, rest, work living environment, social setting
Protection care, adaptability, autonomy social security, health systems, work co-operate, plan, take care of, help social environment, dwelling
Affection respect, sense of humour, generosity, sensuality friendships, family, relationships with nature share, take care of, make love, express emotions privacy, intimate spaces of togetherness
Understanding critical capacity, curiosity, intuition literature, teachers, policies, educational analyse, study, meditate, investigate, schools, families, universities, communities,
Participation receptiveness, dedication, sense of humour responsibilities, duties, work, rights cooperate, dissent, express opinions associations, parties, churches, neighbourhoods
Leisure imagination, tranquility, spontaneity games, parties, peace of mind day-dream, remember, relax, have fun landscapes, intimate spaces, places to be alone
Creation imagination, boldness, inventiveness, curiosity abilities, skills, work, techniques invent, build, design, work, compose, interpret spaces for expression, workshops, audiences
Identity sense of belonging, self-esteem, consistency language, religions, work, customs, values, norms get to know oneself, grow, commit oneself places one belongs to, everyday settings
Freedom autonomy, passion, self-esteem, open-mindedness equal rights dissent, choose, run risks, develop awareness anywhere

GNU manifesto, excerpt

In the long run, making programs free is a step toward the postscarcity world, where nobody will have to work very hard just to make a living. People will be free to devote themselves to activities that are fun, such as programming, after spending the necessary ten hours a week on required tasks such as legislation, family counseling, robot repair and asteroid prospecting. There will be no need to be able to make a living from programming.

We have already greatly reduced the amount of work that the whole society must do for its actual productivity, but only a little of this has translated itself into leisure for workers because much nonproductive activity is required to accompany productive activity. The main causes of this are bureaucracy and isometric struggles against competition. Free software will greatly reduce these drains in the area of software production. We must do this, in order for technical gains in productivity to translate into less work for us.

Neil Gershenfeld, digital reality


Just amazing.

“For me the hardest thing isn’t the research. That’s humming along nicely. It’s that we’re finding we have to build a completely new kind of social order and that social entrepreneurship—figuring out how you live, learn, work, play—is hard and there’s a very small set of people who can do that kind of organizational creation.”