"cost benefit analysis"
Pen and sumi ink, gouache, watercolor and marker on Arches paper
12 x 12 inches
"What if, while you read the last few paragraphs, something in the world has changed? What if, during the past five minutes, someone, somewhere, sent you a text? Shouldn’t you go and check?
Being addicted to the wired universe might be perfectly healthy, of course, and it’s certainly defensible beneath the triumvirate of technology, curiosity, and progress. I’m the first to admit that there’s something enchanting and invigorating about my computer. There’s magic in reading a note from a friend in Rome and clicking through Halloween pictures from New Jersey and verifying John Steinbeck’s birth date in two clicks. The Internet is indeed its own strange, blessed fountain of light.
[...I'm] not the first to wonder about all this, [...] not the first to sense that maybe our shared life is rushing by too quickly, too feverishly. [I'm] not the first to feel as if [I'm] scrambling to make [my voice] heard against an infinite and obliterating silence.
During the five days [...] I spent in the mountains, [I] saw lots of Shoshone pictographs, paintings made in caves mostly, and under overhangs: finger-painted elk and owls and dogs and triangle-bodied hunters with bows. Many of the pictographs in that area include hash marks, like rows of fence posts scratched downhill, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what these marks originally meant. Maybe they were offerings to the spirit world, or tallies of successful hunts, or records of vision quests. Maybe they were the consequence of someone sitting beside a fire and thinking happily away.
Whatever they once meant, they mean something else now. They mean memories are fragile, beliefs are tenuous, contexts are temporary. They mean nothing is stable—not mountains, not species, not cultures, not e-mail."
- Anthony Doerr, "Am I Still Here?" (from the January/February issue of Orion Magazine)