Panicking and Running

I recently finished reading The Panic of 1907 and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

The first book is about one of the largest financial crises before the Great Depression. Main thing—living in a world where you could lose all of your money in a run on your bank sounds awful.

It’s encouraging to see that solutions were put in place for some of the causes of this panic, but future crises certainly weren’t avoided. Fixing problems is worthwhile, but it seems like someone will be able to game any system that gets put in place.

The second book is a memoir by Haruki Murakami. I’m not a runner, so I took a while to get around to reading this but I’m glad I did. His running seems like a way to have some mental space in the midst of a busy life.

As I run I tell myself to think of a river. And clouds. But essentially I’m not thinking of a thing. All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence. And this is a pretty wonderful thing. No matter what anybody else says.

This can be done with running, yoga, gardening or whatever. Something like this has stuck in my mind since reading an article about David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel that takes place in an IRS agency.

“I caught a glimpse of a long room filled with I.R.S. examiners in long rows and columns of strange-looking tables or desks, each of which (desks) had a raised array of trays or baskets clamped to its top, with flexible-necked desk lamps in turn clamped at angles to these fanned-out arrays, so that each of the I.R.S. examiners worked in a small tight circle of light. . . . Row after row, stretching to a kind of vanishing point near the room’s rear wall.” Wallace’s unquiet mind is not yet ready for this paradise. Ms. Neti-Neti quickly spirits him away.

Basically, if something is valuable because it is scarce then boredom is gold for many people now. What does that mean for things?

Up next, The One-Straw Revolution.

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