Dec 31, 2022 • 14M

Year End Miscellany and "What You Get Is the World" (Audio Version)

The Convivial Society: Vol. 3, No. 21 (supplement)

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Audio version of The Convivial Society, a newsletter exploring the intersections of technology, society, and the moral life.
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Welcome back to the Convivial Society. In this installment, you’ll find the audio version of the latest essay, “What You Get Is the World.” I try to record an audio version of most installments, but I send them out separately from the text version for reasons I won’t bore you with here. Incidentally, you can also subscribe to the newsletter’s podcast feed on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Just look up The Convivial Society.

Aside from the audio essay, you’ll find an assortment of year-end miscellany below.

I trust you are all well as we enter a new year. All the best to you and yours!


A Few Notable Posts

Here are six installments from this past year that seemed to garner a bit of interest. Especially if you’ve just signed up in recent weeks, you might appreciate some of these earlier posts.

The Convivial Society
Attending to the World
Listen now (32 min) | Welcome to the Convivial Society, a newsletter that is ostensibly about technology and culture but more like my effort to make some sense of the world taking shape around us. For many of you, this wi…
Listen now
The Convivial Society
We Are Not Living in a Simulation, We Are Living In the Past
Welcome to the Convivial Society, a newsletter about technology and culture. What I try to do here is pretty simple. I think about how technology, broadly understood, shapes our personal and collecti…
Read more
The Convivial Society
The Stuff of Life: Materiality and the Self
Welcome to the Convivial Society, a newsletter about technology and culture. In this installment you’ll find some reflections on the changing texture of material culture in digital society and the at…
Read more
The Convivial Society
Impoverished Emotional Lives
Welcome to the Convivial Society, a newsletter about technology and culture. This is a brief installment to be filed under the “Is this anything?” category, one unpolished idea for your consideratio…
Read more
The Convivial Society
Reading As Counter-Practice
Welcome to the Convivial Society, a newsletter about technology and culture. I’ve had reading on my mind the past few days, so what you will find in this installment are some reflections on the pract…
Read more
The Convivial Society
Lonely Surfaces: On AI-generated Images
Welcome to the Convivial Society, a newsletter about technology and culture. Many of you are receiving your first installment after finding your way here from my conversation with Sean Illing about a…
Read more

Incidentally, if you have appreciated the writing and would like to become a paid supporter at a discounted rate, here’s the last call for this offer. To be clear, the model here is that all the writing is public but I welcome the patronage of those who are able and willing. Cheers!

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Pieter Bruegel, “Winter Landscape with Ice skaters and Bird trap” (1565)

Podcast Appearances

I’ve not done the best job of keeping you all in loop on these, but I did show up in a few podcasts this year. Here are some of those:

With Sean Illing on attention

With Charlie Warzel on how being online traps us in the past

With Georgie Powell on reframing our experience


Year’s End

It is something of a tradition at the end of the year for me to share Richard Wilbur’s poem, “Year’s End.” So, once again I’ll leave you with it.

Now winter downs the dying of the year,   
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show   
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,   
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin   
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell   
And held in ice as dancers in a spell   
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;   
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,   
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns   
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone   
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown   
Composedly have made their long sojourns,   
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise   
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze   
The random hands, the loose unready eyes   
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.   
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause   
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.


Thank you all for reading along in 2022. We survived, and I’m looking forward to another year of the Convivial Society in 2023.

Cheers,

Michael