Dear Jacek,

Whatcha been up to since your visit back in December? It’s hard to believe it’s already been half a year since you and Paulina were here! Although we didn’t know it in December, your Laughter Workshop was the first class at Runaway University Los Angeles (RULA). Since then we’ve had yoga, drawing, world geographies & cultures, music and photography workshops, and so much more! 🙂

Vegetarian-ish

Since your visit I’ve thought often about your dietary practice where you try not to eat meat, but that when you find yourself in the company of someone who’s prepared a meat dish, you consider them as living beings also worthy of respect, and so long as your actions don’t create a demand for meat, you’ll go ahead and enjoy their hospitality. It’s such an elegant compromise between trying to have some degree of principle in your diet and being difficult or unappreciative.

Juggling Continents

I’m so glad we’re launching this occasional letter in cyberspace project Jacek! In the short time you and Paulina were here we had so much amazing conversation about so many topics.

Videos

You sent some cool videos when you were here. We never had a chance to talk about them.

Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis that’s happening all around us.

The addiction video was really interesting. That we’d gotten it all wrong was pretty interesting. That addiction and habituation are the same thing was news to me. The video doesn’t actually use those words, but in saying that heroin & cocaine function the same socio-cultural way as Reddit & Facebook, seems to say that. It’s a big insight into drugs of the chemical kind and of the socio-cultural kind too.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety.

The opposite of addiction is connection.

Powerful ideas. I was also struck by how the newer “Rat Park” experiment critiqued the context of the earlier “Rat Addiction” studies. Science is good. But complicated. And can be easily flawed. It made me think of John Oliver’s piece on science:

Adam Ruins Everything

You also sent a cool video from Adam Conover’s Adam Ruins Everything series on truTV. Haha, you might have sent it because I was passing out Vitamin-C! But actually, the whole Adam Ruins Everything series is great. We do have a lot of superstitions naturally, and in so many cases they’re enhanced by corporate marketing departments. Oh and the 1st video was from Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell which is also a great YouTube channel!

Photos

Some time ago you asked about photos! I posted some of these shortly after you were here and here’s the links:

Here’s a few more that never got posted:

Paulina & Jacek
Paulina & Jacek
Paulina Wątor, Jacek Golanski, Johanna Acero, Daleen Booyse, Glenn Zucman, Soojeen Heo, & Celeste Canete. (Poland, Colombia, South Africa, California, Korea, Argentina)
Paulina Wątor, Jacek Golanski, Johanna Acero, Daleen Booyse, Glenn Zucman, Soojeen Heo, & Celeste Canete. (Poland, Colombia, South Africa, California, Korea, Argentina)
Paulina making tea
Paulina making tea
Paulina admiring the fruit at the Asian market
Paulina admiring the fruit at the Asian market
Jacek, Paulina & Soojeen sigining the log book of a nearby Geocache
Jacek, Paulina & Soojeen sigining the log book of a nearby Geocache

Jacek & Paulina visit RULA in New Taipei, California 6
The California Mission bell at the corner of Garvey Ave & San Gabriel Blvd here in New Taipei, CA where the Geocaching Altoids tin was hidden

The California Mission bell at the corner of Garvey Ave & San Gabriel Blvd here in New Taipei, CA where the Geocaching Altoids tin was hidden
The California Mission bell at the corner of Garvey Ave & San Gabriel Blvd here in New Taipei, CA where the Geocaching Altoids tin was hidden
Jacek, Paulina & Soojeen in the Sonthofen Ski Lodge, which would be renamed to the RULA Student Lounge, shortly after their visit
Jacek, Paulina & Soojeen in the Sonthofen Ski Lodge, which would be renamed to the RULA Student Lounge, shortly after their visit
Packing for the next destination
Packing for the next destination
Jacek & Celeste juggling as Celeste stands on a balance ball, and Johanna & Daleen look on in amazement!
Jacek & Celeste juggling as Celeste stands on a balance ball, and Johanna & Daleen look on in amazement!
Jacek & Celeste juggling as Celeste stands on a balance ball, and Johanna & Daleen look on in amazement!
Jacek & Celeste
Jacek & Celeste
Jacek & Celeste

Jacek & Paulina visit RULA in New Taipei, California 12

Animated GIF of Jacek juggling with fruits in the Asian Market in New Taipei, CA

See You in Cyberspace!

Your and Paulina’s visit was a real gem of 2015 for me. Such a nice time. Good food. Great conversation. Thank you again for the Baltic amber and the delicious candies.

I’m eager to hear about what you’ve been up to. More on my latest activities next time. ATM I’m thinking about turning off F*c*b**k and some other social media platforms. It’s not that they’re terrible, it’s just that I’m feeling like they’re distractions that return little. Perhaps taking them off the table will provide a bit more focus on more substantive things. Or just make communication harder for me. Not sure.

We live in an age where some people say that the majority of images that are made are not made for human eyes… often it’s their collected meaning that has some meaning… heightens the idea of nostalgia… any image that’s produced by somebody for somebody else

Charlotte Cotton, Self Service, No 44, Spring/Summer ’16

I was just reading an interview with Charlotte Cotton in Self Service which gets a little bit at my idea. Kyle, a photography faculty member at CSU Long Beach, told me that he feels like most of his students now Think in Instagram.

There is power in this collectivism and Virginia Heffernan’s new book Magic & Loss: the Internet as art, which just came out Tuesday, thinks about the net as a collective, realist artwork. So F*c*b**k & Inst*gr*m aren’t necessarily bad, but I’m thinking about Charlotte Cotton’s nostalgia for an image that’s produced for someone.

Today we can take hundreds of effortless pix with our phones. And I love this! But the days when taking one or a few frames was a massive effort are also worth thinking about.

Magic. Loss.

Love,

Glenn

headshot of Glenn Zucman by German photographer Tamara WIlliams
photo: Tamara Williams

One Comment

  1. It’s 11 Nov ’17 and I’ve just ported my Letters from a stand-alone Ghost Blogging site here to my new glenn.zucman.com/blog site. This is a comment on the Ghost site from Jacek in Feb ’17:


    Hey

    I did not write you back for almost a year!

    Cartoon

    I am very glad, that this webite is still here and that you are willing to write.

    How is your CS project? Are you still having so many guests?

    You mentioned so many things in your letter, I will try to narrow it down a little bit.

    Science is amazing.
    Unfortunately it takes some skill to differentiate genuine research from scams and media oversimplifications. I keep on thinking how to teach people how to judge it. It would be perfect to give some abstract advice. Method applicable to every field of study, without lists of sources. But I can not do that yet. For now I would recommend starting with academic textbooks to get some basic idea. Having that framework wikipedia is not a worst next step. Knowing a bit about philosophy of science, and methodology in field that one is interested would be good for those who are a bit more serious about their curiosity.

    I was thinking about photos too.
    Act of making a photo can be meaningful in so many ways. It may create a situation when it is staged. Capture and highlight a moment when it is happening. But also do the opposite, cheapen the occasion and ruin the moment.
    Storing, sifting, watching and sharing them give opportunity to tell a story. Make sense of past and understand oneself a bit better. Or construct a lie, and confuse oneself to what was happening and what is important.

    Would be nice to give some advice how to find balance. But like with science I don’t know what to write.
    For me it was refreshing to mentally separate the making of a photo from everything else I do with it. I am enjoying moment of making or not making it to the fullest, and often delating all of them just the next day. I prefer to leave only those which look interesting and are meaningful to me.
    Also the time laps between making and seeing a photo is something I appreciate. I can not do it for my self, but whenever I make some photos of friends I will postpone sending it for some period of time. Not using any social media gives it much more personal and intimate character, which I like.

    Not using Fcb**k really suits me. There was a time that I had two profiles and couple of FB pages for my business and hobbies. Using mail, sms, phone, couple different messenger in FB was confusing. There was no time to properly categorise and process information from all of those channels. I had years old drafts, thousands of archived messages making finding stuff hard.
    I moved out from one of the FB profiles first, it felt good. As if some space got freed in my mind. It was so pleasant that I wonted more. I moved out from FB almost completely. Opened new mail account. Cleaned up and organised my phone and mail contacts.
    It took me almost a year. And was definitely worth time and effort. I gained control of all communication tools I am using now. I got into a habit of prioritizing important conversations and task over social media noise.

    This is one of the reasons why I have time and attention to join this interesting conversation.

    Love,

    Jacek

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