Anne Helen Petersens artikel “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation“, som utifrån personliga erfarenheter av utbrändhet försöker hitta samhälleliga förklaringar till varför unga bränner ut sig, har väckt en massa uppmärksamhet. Även för en 45-årig X-generationist väckte den en hel del igenkänning och den radda av förklaringar hon anför fick åtminstone mig att tänka till en del kring kanske slarviga antaganden om “millenial”-generationen. Rekommenderad läsning. Här något som särskilt resonerade hos mig:

That realization recast my recent struggles: Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it — explicitly and implicitly — since I was young. Life has always been hard, but many millennials are unequipped to deal with the particular ways in which it’s become hard for us.

Slutet på barndomen

Wikipedias sammanfattningar av handlingen i böcker och filmer är ofta komiska i sin direkthet. Så här står det om Arthur C. Clarkes Childhood’s End:

Humankind enters a golden age of prosperity at the expense of creativity.

George Dyson säger ju inte att det är det som sker när det digitala nu är “bortom kontroll”. Han skriver bara: “It doesn’t end well” (Wikpedia säger: “The Earth evaporates in a flash of light”). Han menar nog bara att ett skifte är på väg (eller har skett?) när en främmande oprogrammerbar kraft styr över allt och alla. Men han menar ändå att det fortfarande finns “enterprises” som förvandlats till våra nya överherrar:

The genius — sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental — of the enterprises now on such a steep ascent is that they have found their way through the looking-glass and emerged as something else. 

Om man för en stund tar Dyson på allvar, och låtsas om som att det inte är en mystifierande och ideologisk framställning av sakernas tillstånd, så låter det lite frestande att drömma om ett Nytt Aten. Vidare från Wikipedia:

Although humanity and the Overlords have peaceful relations, some believe human innovation is being suppressed and that culture is becoming stagnant. One of these groups establishes New Athens, an island colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean devoted to the creative arts…

Men inget varar: “The members of New Athens destroy themselves with an atomic bomb.”

Noterade förresten att det finns en hyfsat ny TV-serie baserad på “Childhood’s End”. Kanske är TV-tablån den sista resten av en programmerbar värld:


I vår sms-konversation inför intervjun har han skrivit att han skulle vilja utveckla en tanke om planetlyrik som vår tids naturlyrik.

– Insikten om att jorden är ett dynamiskt system som är kraftigt satt ur spel på grund av mänsklig aktivitet är relativt ny. Jag tänker mig att planetlyriken kan problematisera bilden av människan i naturen. Som dikt är den mer politiskt engagerad i frågan om jorden som helhet än både ekopoesin och naturlyriken, och försöker förstå den omöjliga abstraktion som klimatförändringarna utgör. Global uppvärmning är ingenting som syns, men litteraturen kan gestalta den genom att uppehålla sig i detaljerna, i det konkrekta.

Dagens Nyheter, “Planetlyrikern Jonas Gren: ‘Dånet från staden är som ett fossilbränsledrivet monster som ryter‘” (kanske betalvägg)

Djup historia: en definition

“Djup historia” är en grej.

Deep history is a term for the distant past of the human species. As an intellectual discipline, deep history encourages scholars in anthropology, archaeology, primatology, genetics and linguistics to work together to write a common narrative about the beginnings of humans, and to redress what they see as an imbalance among historians, who mostly concentrate on more recent periods.

Wikipedia, “Deep History

Djup historia

Jag hittade markerade stycken och ord i en radda böcker jag läst under året. Det finns ju ingen röd tråd rakt igenom detta, men några citat här i början verkar handla om djup historia.

Without the subway rumbling, without trains hurtling up the Hudson and the hum of air conditioners and refrigerators and Laundromats three to a block, it was as though a mammoth heartbeat had ceased.

Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry: A Novel

Compared to this power and diversity, [Lynn] Margulis liked to tell me, pandas and polar bears were epiphenomena—interesting and fun, perhaps, but not actually significant.

Charles C. Mann, The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World

“My grandfather’s grandfather grew coffee,” he said. “You’re about a hundred years too late.”

Dave Eggers, The Monk of Mokha

We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars.

Roy Scranton, We’re Doomed. Now What?: Essays on War and Climate Change

For 11,000 years, indigenous people adapted to this evolving landscape, modified it to meet their needs, cultivated and shaped it into a physical expression of their culture and artistry. Story and song, elaborated into distinctive cultures, tied them to their history and bound them to one another and their homelands via “a rich spiritual and ceremonial calendar that defined their place in the created world.” In Thoreau’s world, the people were as old as the forests.

Laura Dassow Walls, Henry David Thoreau: A Life

“People say you’re a microbe whisperer.”

Robin Sloan, Sourdough

Second, the Romans did not plan to conquer and control Italy. No Roman cabal in the fourth century BCE sat down with a map, plotting a land grab in the territorial way that we associate with imperialist nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For a start, simple as it sounds, they had no maps.

Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

Anyway, my neurotransmitters are scrambled and they’re going to stay scrambled.

Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

People weren’t sane anymore, which didn’t mean they were wrong. Some sort of cord between action and consequence had been severed. Things still happened, but not in any sensible order, it was hard to talk about truth because some bits were hidden, the result or maybe the cause, and anyway the space between them was full of misleading data, nonsense and lies. It was very dizzying, you wasted a lot of time figuring it out. Had decisions really once led plainly to things happening, in a way you could report on?

Olivia Laing, Crudo

The key point we wish to make here is that strategy and consistency of action can emerge non-deliberately through a profusion of local interventions directed towards dealing with immediate concerns.

Robert C. H. Chia & Robin Holt, Strategy without Design: The Silent Efficacy of Indirect Action


Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140

He not only knew that Antonioni was posing as a movie director in order to infiltrate our country’s borders and assassinate the Great Leader, Chairman Mao, he also knew that every pomegranate contained the same number of seeds: no matter how many different pomegranates you opened up, the number would always come to three hundred and sixty-five.

Ge Fei, The Invisibility Cloak

Existence was a matter of chance, of probability, as infinite futures became one observed present.

Tom Sweterlitsch, The Gone World

But my sense that this debt should be addressed through a greater identification with Judaism than could be acquired strictly through cultural reference points — bageloxy — made my actual encounters with observance all the more dispiriting. I hated praying.

George Prochnik, Stranger in a Strange Land: Searching for Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem


Rachel Cusk, Outline