Monday Motivator: Our Shared Identity

“From food to philosophy, from medicine to art, most of what keeps us alive, and most of what makes life worthwhile, are things that were invented not by members of my specific nation but by people from across the whole world. … Every human being is heir to the whole of human creation. People who in search of their identity narrow their world to the story of a single nation are turning their back on their humanity. They devalue what they share with all other humans.”

Yuval Noah Harari, “The Dangerous Quest for Identity“, Time Magazine 12 January 2023

The sharpenable pencil as we know it, a core of graphite mixed with clay and water that’s baked to harden it before being wrapped in wood, goes back to Conte (the person, not the brand). Before this pieces of graphite, and the reasons why we still call the core of a pencil “lead”.

The paper we use a pencil on, once a rare luxury item, but which in this era can be bought in a supermarket by the ream, for not very much at all per sheet, labelled as “printer paper”. Yet also as a specialist item from papermakers still using traditional methods and creating sheet after sheet by hand.

Why lapis lazuli was used so sparingly in Western European painting for so long, then the creation of a synthetic version of ultramarine let it become a blue so many contemporary artists consider indispensable.

Cross pollination makes life.

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