Daily Moment of Zen (DMoZ): A December Sunrise

Day 269 of Self Quarantine      Covid 19 Deaths in U.S.:  281,000   GA Vote!!

In the Pacific Northwest, we are starting a La Nina year.  Therefore, every morning sunrise is a visual delight to savor.

While I await the actual sunrise, I read while enjoying my coffee.  I am loving the book on the Future of Text.

I just have to write some digital text, so I fire off this quick note to David Socha, my writing collaborator.

I am deeply, recursively meta this morning trying to absorb this “book.”

I may never be able to get through it.  It is 700 pages of 3-5 page essays.  Almost every essay pops off synthesizing and colliding brain cells.  Each essay involves many trips back and forth between my iPad Kindle reader app and the Good Notes app.  Sometimes copying the text as text.  And sometimes copying the text as a highlighted image to preserve the formatting.  And scribbling notes to indicate something of the importance of the quote.

It is deeply ironic that I am reading in book form, although in the immaterial environment of the iPad doing digital text manipulations.  Material text or digital text?  The same and yet different.

This interaction with the text makes clear that I can’t deal with the text in a linear flow.  The text is too evocative and thought provoking.

This morning’s “ah hah” is the duality of “Observe don’t ask“.   So much of what I am valuing about video is that I can now automatically transcribe the text through tools like Otter.ai.  And even what we are observing in order to build our software products is gobs of text – both material and digital.  Texts surrounding a computer that the user might be referring to.  Even the lab machine that Brandon is observing has gobs of text in the instruction manual that is constantly accessed and the digital interfaces on the lab instrument.  If there is a computer screen in the video, it is filled with text for what actions to take next and text labels on any visualizations.  Text is content.  Text is command buttons.  Text is context.  Speech to text software transforms audio into text.  Text is report output.

Even though we are emphasizing OBSERVE with video, we can’t get beyond text.  It is omni present.  Even in John Boyd‘s modern jet plane where he discovered the OODA process, the cockpit is now almost completely video monitors.  They display gobs of text and numbers as annotations on the visualizations.

And “SHOW, don’t tell” has text emanating from what is being viewed.

Swirls of text are moving from my Kindle reader and exploding wildly through my neurons and then coming out on a keyboard trying to explain this to you.

My notes are another way of saying how hard it is to decouple natural language and video.  Does it make sense to decouple Observing and Orienting and Showing and Acting?

But now I must return to my viewing window upstairs to watch the emerging sunrise, for it is a rare clear day in the Pacific Northwest.

NOTE:  I love “waking up” to the many encounters with life and nature during this time of self-quarantine.  I try every day to find a “daily moment of Zen.”  I know that I appropriated this phrase from somewhere else.  It turns out it was from the Daily Show.

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