#AFK: Last Week’s Edition

  • Where I’m at: Mykonos, Greece; Athens, Greece; Tbilisi, Georgia (now)
  • What’s next: Stepantsminda, Georgia
  • What I’ve been doing:
    • Sightseeing: Went to Mykonos for three days, then explored some of Athens nightlife with my friend Amrita. I love to travel, but I’m realizing I’m not that great at explaining it (but do take lots of photos)
      • A few recs in Athens: this restaurant is excellent (I went three times… get the lamb) and this bar felt like a hipster’s treehouse in the very best way
      • A few recs in Mykonos: this restaurant for lunch & beach time, this restaurant for sunset & view of the windmills and this bar for feeling fancy
      • A few random things: the guards in front of the president’s house can be (surprisingly) flirty, there’s cats everywhere, to which Amrita couldn’t help herself from calling Mykonos Meow-konos and somehow I managed to get hit by a raw egg around 2 AM (apparently teens are bored everywhere in the world)
  • Things I’ve been reading / watching / listening to:
    • The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham: The beginning reminded me of Chicago’s version of the Great Gatsby, but then the story got more engaging as he fleshed out the characters (the lead, Larry, is very similar to Mitchell from The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides). There’s unrequited love, strong female characters and a timeless philosophy lesson at the end. Surprisingly modern & relevant. Recommend!
      • IN ALL BIG CITIES there are self-contained groups that exist without intercommunication, small worlds within a greater world that lead their lives, their members dependent upon one another for companionship, as though they inhabited islands separated from each other by an unnavigable strait. Of no city, in my experience, is this more true than of Paris. There high society seldom admits outsiders into its midst, the politicians live in their own corrupt circle, the bourgeoisie, great and small, frequent one another, writers congregate with writers (it is remarkable in André Gide’s Journal to see with how few people he seems to have been intimate who did not follow his own calling), painters hobnob with painters and musicians with musicians. The same thing is true of London, but in a less marked degree; there birds of a feather flock much less together, and there are a dozen houses where at the same table you may meet a duchess, an actress, a painter, a member of Parliament, a lawyer, a dressmaker, and an author.
      • “[…] It’s strange how many people suffer from it. I don’t mean fear of closed spaces and fear of heights, but fear of death and, what’s worse, fear of life. Often they’re people who seem in the best of health, prosperous, without any worry, and yet they’re tortured by it. I’ve sometimes thought it was the most besetting humor of men, and I asked myself at one time if it was due to some deep animal instinct that man had inherited from that primeval something that first felt the thrill of life.”
      • “[…] Can there be anything more stupendous than the conception that the universe has no beginning and no end, but passes everlastingly from growth to equilibrium, from equilibrium to decline, from decline to dissolution, from dissolution to growth, and so on to all eternity?”
      • Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy. We can none of us step into the same river twice, but the river flows on and the other river we step into is cool and refreshing too.
      • But why should we of the West, we Americans especially, be daunted by decay and death, hunger and thirst, sickness, old age, grief, and delusion? The spirit of life is strong in us. I felt more alive then, as I sat in my log cabin smoking my pipe, than I had ever felt before. I felt in myself an energy that cried out to be expended. It was not for me to leave the world and retire to a cloister, but to live in the world and love the objects of the world, not indeed for themselves, but for the Infinite that is in them. If in those moments of ecstasy I had indeed been one with the Absolute, then, if what they said was true, nothing could touch me and when I had worked out the karma of my present life I should return no more. The thought filled me with dismay. I wanted to live again and again. I was willing to accept every sort of life, no matter what its pain and sorrow; I felt that only life after life, life after life could satisfy my eagerness, my vigor, and my curiosity.
  • Quotes I’ve been underlining:
    • “Words out to be a little wild for they are assaults of thoughts upon the unthinking.” – John Maynard Keynes
  • Thoughts I’ve been thinking: 
    • Tradition as prophesy: How many of our choices are already predetermined by our families, culture, etc?
    • Sexism in Silicon Valley: Will all of the buzz on sexism in Silicon Valley result in better HR policies and general awareness? I hope so. Will it deter women from entering the tech industry? Will it widen the gender divide? I hope not.
    • Religion:
      • Codifying Religion: Amrita was telling me how the caste system in India is derived from an ancient Hindu text that named four important functions in society – Brahmins (priests and thinkers), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants) and Shudras (laborers, craftsmen). It was never intended to be codified or manipulated into a class system you were born into, which reminded me of how Christians, past and present, have used the Bible to codify racism or homophobia
      • Religion and Corporations: Ever since reading Sapiens, which made the point that the ability to believe in ideas sets humans apart from the previous 6 human species that roamed the earth, I’ve been seeing belief in a new light. It doesn’t need to be confined to the spiritual realm; instead, it’s why we believe in the US dollar or the American flag or corporate promotion systems. If employees stopped believing in its systems – e.g., org structures, leveling, the value of the work, the importance of the brand – what would happen. And, also, sometimes we get so into the systems (e.g., next promotion) that we forget what we were there to do (e.g., build good products for users)
        • “This is why cynics don’t build empires and why an imagined order can be maintained only if large segments of the population – and in particular large segments of the elite and the security forces – truly believe in it.” – Sapiens
  • What I’ve been seeing:

One thought on “#AFK: Last Week’s Edition

  1. love those photos and your friend is beautiful!

    On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 9:06 AM, Life in One Carry-On Bag wrote:

    > tamarasanderson posted: ” Where I’m at: Mykonos, Greece; Athens, > Greece; Tbilisi, Georgia (now) What’s next: Stepantsminda, Georgia What > I’ve been doing: Sightseeing: Went to Mykonos for three days, then explored > some of Athens nightlife with my friend Amrita. I l” >

    Like

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