The J Curve

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Reverberations of Friendship

On my flight to Estonia for a Skype board meeting, I was reading my usual geek fare, such as Matt Ridley’s Nature Via Nurture, a wonderful synthesis of phylogenetic inertia, nested genetic promoter feedback loops, bisexual bonobo sisterhoods, and the arrested development of domesticated animals.

While reading various interviews of Craig Venter, I stumbled across a nugget of sculptured prose from Patti Smith, which eloquently captures the resonant emotional filtration of a newfound friend and, in a more abstract way, the curious cultural immersion I felt in my Estonian homeland:

“There are those whom we seek and there are those whom we find. Occasionally we find – however fractured the relativity – one we recognize as kin. In doing so, certain curious aspects of character recede and we happily magnify the common ground.”


  • I get goosebumps when I stumble across something that hits me like that in serendipitious situations. Very nice quote, and a truth of life.

    By Blogger Kevin Trotman, at 5:51 AM  

  • There seems to be a genetic component to kin consciousness as well as kin phenotype, undoubtedly born out somehow in cortex. Genetic memory, at least strong enough to influence context and prediction if not govern them, appears to exist. I do things my father does, and I never knew him until I was in my twenties. Perhaps certain branchwork of the neural tree is in fact encoded genetically, perhaps in that mysterious ~90% of the genome said to be noncoding.

    Experiencing Estonia seems to be for you what experiencing my father after all those years was for me. Patti Smith articulates it beautifully. (I saw her live in a small club in 1980, BTW.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 PM  

  • Artificial intelligence offers interspecies friendship between human beings and intelligent robots.

    By Anonymous Mentifex, at 5:41 AM  

  • MOST excellent quote.
    I was actually looking at my widget which randomly cycles through flickr pics, and came across one of your pic's. I love "groovy".
    I also noticed on your blog bio that you like electronic music, and Digitally Imported is an internet radio station that has awesome Techno/Trance music and plays lots of Euro DJ's. Your blog provided a much needed break from the mundane silicon valley daily grind.

    By Blogger 120BPM, at 10:24 AM  

  • Hello,
    just following the "Estonia" link to see who's out there in Blogland.

    By Blogger Spinning Girl, at 6:50 AM  

  • Interesting it is your Estonia. Pictures that you show speak about urban, stable, centuries old Estonia. More than half the pictures are old town.

    When, someone could argue that Estonia is in fact more new and rural.

    Scarcely populated - about 14 tmes less people per sq km than in Holland. Empty. Almost 50% of territory is actually forest, add swamps and fields, this is most common Estonia. And it is not fancy Nordic designed towers and houses of Tallinn's old city. New. Written language is mostly 200 years old and self-awareness is same young.

    I'd say that need for kin goes first. And when you find it - there are your people, go meet them! And then you just construct everything yourself giving them, the people, your people the features you want to see in them and you try to make the land confortable. Good though that Estonia has that too.

    By Blogger Estonia in World Media (Rus), at 12:01 AM  

  • Does this guy write in English or wot?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:03 PM  

  • I can relate to that quote !

    By Blogger contraddict, at 2:27 AM  

  • Very nice quote. I'm reminding myself to "magnify the common ground" as much as possible between myself and the people I come into contact with, and to try more to understand (and even go as far as to accept) the differences.

    By Anonymous Amy, at 11:24 AM  

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