Tonight I came across Tolstoy’s three questions, and they feel especially pressing in these overloaded and disorienting days:

  1. What is the best time to do each thing?
  2. Who should receive my attention?
  3. What is the most important thing to do at all times?

Tolstoy examines these questions through a parable about a curious emperor who believes finding the answers will solve all his problems. His advisors develop elaborate schedules and routines. They debate the merits of science, art, and faith. After a bit of deception, gardening, and bloodshed, the emperor eventually discovers the answer is whatever is happening at the moment.

I’m thinking a lot about presence lately—whether maintaining some degree of control over my attention will ever arrive naturally, or if it must always be hunted, tended, and guarded.

Basic Channel – Presence

Inversion | Basic Channel, 1994 | More

Twenty minutes of grainy low-light concentration. A durable writing soundtrack for twenty-odd years.