Newsletter Number Fifteen

Meditation retreats and psychological waterboarding; writing and telepathy

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Links to this week’s articles:

Hi all,

Hope you’re all well and the spring is finding its way into your life in some small way, whether through more time to be outside or through picking up some good new routines now that winter is almost over.

First this week, I reflect on the future of automation, particularly as now even things like writing are being performed perfectly adequately by robots (well, computer programmes and algorithms anyway). But although it may seem on the surface like there isn’t much difference between the skills of a computer and a human writer, there is in fact a world of difference between consuming something made by computers and made by humans. The only way to tell is by being human yourself. Which isn’t always a given in today’s technologically moulded world, but it’s still possible if you follow your instincts (computers can’t have transcendent experiences, for example…).

Click here: They Can’t Automate Your Humanity

In my latest travel story I continue my search for my own humanity by joining a meditation retreat near Tokyo. The experience was a strange one, which I’ve written and talked a lot about before (hopefully I can stop going on about it now that this is finally written), and every time I come back to it I have a different perspective on it. Even just this week, some things about it and meditation more generally have ‘clicked’ in my mind and I’ve understood what the hell I’m even supposed to be attempting to do. But that’s what I like about meditation, or any practice or process – you’re always learning, and even learning just what the thing is and what it’s doing for you is often an enjoyable challenge.

It might all sound like a challenge too far, though it all depends on your own state of mind, expectations and where you are in life when you begin. As someone said to me at the beginning of the course, “It wouldn’t be worth doing if it wasn’t hard”.

But, as another friend – who had done the same course in Ireland some years before – said to me recently with a shrug: “It’s just an experience.”

It’s all what you make of it. And I think at the time I was making everything a bit more complicated in my life than I had to.

Click here: Travel Diaries #16 - Retreat


Next week (I hope) we’ll get to the final part of the story about my trip around Japan, and it could be as good time as any to share some exciting news with you.

Take care, happy reading, and as always, do share this about if there’s anyone you know (including the entire internet *cough cough* that you think would enjoy or appreciate this site.