“We have too many things, too many distractions, too many items offered to us, too many messages, and a person like Emma struggles to emerge,” the Rev. Giuseppe Masseroni, who himself is 91, said at Ms. Morano’s funeral on Monday.
- ELISABETTA POVOLEDO, Remembering the World’s Oldest Person, in the Objects She Left Behind, NYT, APRIL 20, 2017

When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. ...

Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest. And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.
- David Leonhardt, You’re Too Busy. You Need a ‘Shultz Hour.’, NYT, APRIL 18, 2017

My Dear Little James,
YOU have now arrived at the age of fourteen years without ever having been bidden, or even advised, to look into a book; and all you know of reading or of writing you owe to your own unbiassed taste and choice. But while you have lived unpersecuted by such importunities, you have had the very great advantage of being bred up under a roof, beneath which no cards, no dice, no gaming, no senseless pastime of any description, ever found a place. In the absence of these, books naturally became your companions during some part of your time: you have read and have written because you saw your elders read and write, just as you have learned to ride and hunt and shoot, to dig the beds in the garden, to trim the flowers and to prune the trees.
- William Cobbett, A Grammar of the English Language, 1820

In addition to the civility books, Dr. Forni wrote “The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction” (2011), a meditation on the role of thought in the modern age.

“Every day,” he wrote, “we spend most of our time doing things that our parents and grandparents not only did not do, but also could not even have imagined. Unfortunately, deep thinking is often the illustrious casualty in the digital revolution.”

To be obsessed with the ephemera of modern culture, he argued, is to miss the best possibilities available to us.
- Neil Genzlinger, P.M. Forni, Who Argued for ‘Choosing Civility,’ Dies at 67, NYT, Dec. 7, 2018

Algorithms reward content that keeps users engaged, which means posts that stir anger spread and get clicks.
- Matt Apuzzo and Adam Satariano, Russia Is Targeting Europe’s Elections. So Are Far-Right Copycats., NYT, May 12, 2019

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