You'll only receive email when Aadil publishes a new post

ambient surveillance

“A characteristic of this new world of ambient surveillance is that we cannot opt out of it, any more than we might opt out of automobile culture by refusing to drive. However sincere our commitment to walking, the world around us would still be a world built for cars. We would still have to contend with roads, traffic jams, air pollution, and run the risk of being hit by a bus. Similarly, while it is possible in principle to throw one’s laptop into the sea and renounce all technology, it is no longer be possible to opt out of a surveillance society.”

Illness of the mind is real illness. It can have severe effects on the body. People who show up at the offices of their doctors complaining about stomach cramps are frequently told, "Why, there's nothing wrong with you except that you're depressed!" Depression, if it is sufficiently severe to cause stomach cramps, is actually a really bad thing to have wrong with you, and it requires treatment. If you show up complaining that your breathing is troubled, no one says to you, "Why, there's nothing wrong with you except that you have emphysema!" To the person who is experiencing them, psychosomatic complaints are as real as the stomach cramps of someone with food poisoning. They exist in the unconscious brain, and often enough the brain is sending inappropriate messages to the stomach, so they exist there as well. The diagnosis — whether something is rotten in your stomach or your appendix or your brain — matters in determining treatment and is not trivial. As organs go, the brain is quite an important one, and its malfunctions should be addressed accordingly.

  • from The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon

Don't Stop Learning

Taken from Eloquent JavaScript:

"It is up to you to make the effort necessary. When you are struggling to follow the book, do not jump to any conclusions about your own capabilities. You are fine—you just need to keep at it."

"Learning is hard work, but everything you learn is yours and will make subsequent learning easier."

I praise the dance,
for it frees people from the heaviness
of matter
and binds the isolated to community

I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.

Dance is a transformation of space, of time,
of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming
all brain,
will, or feeling

Dancing demands a whole person,
one who is firmly anchored in the center of
of his life,
who is not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in his own ego.

Dancing demands a freed person,
one who vibrates with the equipose
of all his powers.

I praise the dance.

O man, learn to dance,
or else the angels in heaven will not know
what to do with you.

Attributed to Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)

Excerpt from "The Song of The Body"

Spiritual identity cuts across religious affiliation and can be expressed in multiple and interconnected ways. Researchers suggest that the following approaches may be implemented in all areas of the curriculum:

  • Socio-centric where some feel a sense of good in helping others
  • Eco-centric where others feel a connection to nature
  • Cosmo-centric where others feels a sense of awe and wonder at the cosmos
  • Geneo-centric where some show deep feelings for their ancestors
  • Senso-centric where others are moved by a beautiful piece of art or by listening to certain kinds of music
  • Chrono-centric still others feel spiritual experience in relation to time such as significant events and
  • Transo-centric where some express their spirituality in social or ecological contents inspired by their connection to a divine source

Knowledge of these identities can heighten our own spiritual awareness and, in a dance context, provide starting points for creative work.

Spiritual experience entails a sense of awe and wonder, reflective silence, play and delight (Eaude 2005, 246). It may also include a heightened sense of energy or vitality, a sense of belonging, and an affinity with mystery (Claxton, cited in Fraser and Grootonboer 309). Delight is most likely to be displayed or experienced as dance educators lead students through valuable movement journeys from the mechanically correct to expressive movement (Kretchemar, cited in Lodewyk et al 176).

Permaculture is a set of design principles centered around whole systems thinking simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, community, and organizational design and development.

With its system of applied education, research and citizen-led design permaculture has grown a popular web of global networks and developed into a global social movement


I was just remembering how I can’t enjoy things as much as I used to in my teens. Experiences that used to give me a rush, like listening to music or watching movies, getting lost in a book, or even orgasms, feel unremarkable to me now. I can hardly think of anything that could make me feel excited these days. Not a concert, not learning, not food, not hanging out with a close friend.

I decided to search the Internet to see if there’s anything credible out there that describes my experience, and I found this:

“Anhedonia is a diverse array of deficits in hedonic function, including reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure.

While earlier definitions of anhedonia emphasized the inability to experience pleasure, anhedonia is used by researchers to refer to reduced motivation, reduced anticipatory pleasure (wanting), reduced consummatory pleasure (liking), and deficits in reinforcement learning.

In the DSM-V, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance related disorders, psychotic disorbders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.”

Though I’m wary of self-diagnosis, this is kind of a spot on description of what I've been feeling for at least 2 years.

I’m ambivalent about whether I have some form of depression, but I undeniably experience some of the symptoms.

PostScript: even on acid, I feel nothing (but sadness)

The challenges facing our world today are more complex and species-threatening than ever before in human history. The global threat of climate change and the social impacts of digitalisation and globalisation are currently far more complex than our collective capacity to comprehend. In order for us to move forward, our thinking about global problems has to evolve to match their complexity.

Our world is socially constructed in more ways than we habitually tend to think. Human beings are dependent on and connected to the natural world, but when it comes to human society we are the creators. This means that we have more power than we realise to change it.

The madness of thought

Nothing exposes the fragility of your thoughts like trying to write them down.

You try to make thoughts stick in your head long enough for you to type them on the page, but your mind helplessly moves on. It has no choice.

Writing to yourself initially feels absurd:

"Who am I talking to?"
"What is the point of writing down what's already in my head?"

It doesn't make sense to be author and audience at the same time. And yet, this is what is happening in our minds 24/7. We are constantly, intently listening to our internal monologue, as if someone is talking to us.

Excerpts from 'The Age of Surveillance Capitalism'

Sur-veil-lance Cap-i-tal-ism, n.

  1. A new economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales;

  2. A parasitic economic logic in which the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new global architecture of behavioral modification;

  3. A rogue mutation of capitalism marked by concentrations of wealth, knowledge, and power unprecedented in human history;

  4. The foundational framework of a surveillance economy;

  5. As significant a threat to human nature in the twenty-first century as industrial capitalism was to the natural world in the nineteenth and twentieth;

  6. The origin of a new instrumentarian power that asserts dominance over society and presents startling challenges to market democracy;

  7. A movement that aims to impose a new collective order based on total certainty;

  8. An expropriation of critical human rights that is best understood as a coup from above: an overthrow of the people’s sovereignty.

Surveillance capitalism runs contrary to the early digital dream, consigning the independence of cyberspace to ancient history. Instead, it strips away the illusion that the networked form has some kind of indigenous moral content, that being “connected” is somehow intrinsically pro-social, innately inclusive, or naturally tending toward the democratization of knowledge.

Just as industrial capitalism was driven to the continuous intensification of the means of production, so surveillance capitalists and their market players are now locked into the continuous intensification of the means of behavioral modification and the gathering might of instrumentarian power.

At its core, surveillance capitalism is parasitic and self-referential. It revives Karl Marx’s old image of capitalism as a vampire that feeds on labor, but with an unexpected turn. Instead of labor, surveillance capitalism feeds on every aspect of every human’s experience.