Nostalgia for the future we thought we had
+ Edward Hopper's Elephant, Putin's Off-Ramp, Ava DuVernay's Wisdom, A world without ✈️ (#396)
It's David, I'm glad you're here again, and I have two small things before we get to this week's recommendations:
- Would you spare five minutes and help me make the Weekly Filet better?
- In case you missed it last week: Books that make you feel hopeful.
1. Old thinking will break your brain
Alex Steffen is one of my favourite writers for making sense of the climate crisis. In this powerful essay, he addresses a fundamental issue we humans face with the climate crisis: «We’re trying to understand an unprecedented future with the worldviews of an older age, formed on a different planet.» It reminded me of one of my favourite quotes, by Paul Graham: «When experts are wrong, it's often because they're experts on an earlier version of the world.» With the climate crisis, it's not just about the experts, but all of us. One particularly trenchant phase that will stick with me: «persistent nostalgia for the future we thought we had». The climate crisis, among many other things, is a narrative challenge.
Speaking of which:
A collection of some of the best links from around the web, manually curated.
2. The AI that creates any picture you want
You've probably seen a couple examples of this (if not, you're in for a treat): Artificial Intelligence is now able to create images based on a simple text prompt (say, «An elephant watching Netflix in a hotel room, in the style of Edward Hopper»). This excellent video explains how it all works, and what new questions this technology raises.
3. The War Won’t End Until Putin Loses
Anne Applebaum's reminder to everyone who thinks that the war in Ukraine can be ended if only Putin is offered some sort of face-saving off-ramp. This belief, she argues, is based on two false assumptions: 1. That Putin wants to end the war, that he needs an off-ramp. 2. That Russia, even if it were to begin negotiating, would stick to the agreements it signed. Her conclusion: «The only solution that offers some hope of long-term stability in Europe is rapid defeat.»