AI interpretation of a photo by Stephen P. Williams
I love the experience of aging, even when I hate getting old. Thus, Stephen’s People. I also love our universe — the colors, the wind, the animals and the people. And I’m feeling concerned about our future. How can we find the best path through the coming challenges? I’ve teamed up with my friend Ty Montague to write Our Dark Secrets, a newsletter about that path. Ty is a radical thinker who makes his living advising companies about how to find and honor their purpose. We gelled the first time we met, and we’ve worked together on a number of projects since then. Our first issue was published last evening, and I hope you’ll subscribe (it’s free) and help us figure out where in the world we are all headed.
Here’s an excerpt from the first issue of Our Dark Secrets
From the department of cryptography
I have a secret
By Stephen Williams
My old school stereo is fed by a Sonos device, with various enhancements. That device is fed music by the Qobuz high rez streaming platform. I usually turn the stereo on in the morning and leave it on until night, the lights glowing and ready even when I’m not listening to anything. And here’s where my dark secret of the day lies: When I leave the house to walk the dog or go to an appointment, I walk past the stereo and invariably glance at the glowing red light that says it is on, even though the music is off. Usually, I leave it on even though I’m not going to use it for a while. I always have the thought that this is wasteful, and wrong, yet I persist.
The logic is internal and, so far, indecipherable. I tell myself it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of planetary destruction. I also tell myself it doesn’t matter that my TV, computer, AC and microwave are all constantly in a “readied” state, burning small amounts of electricity so that they will turn on instantly when I press a button. There’s a nearly 100 percent chance that your machines also are always on. Otherwise, you would have to wait for your Roku or or wifi to load for 20 seconds or so every time you used it. This is true for all of us.
The average American home has 44 electronic devices that “turn on” instantly at our command. I was shocked to discover recently that these idle machines consume about 25 percent of household electricity used in America. It does not seem possible. But it is.
I think it matters and I’m not sure why I ignore it.
Am I going to do something about my own wastefulness in this regard? I’d like to say yes, but I’m not sure. (Curiously, since writing this, I’ve been turning my stereo off. I find that writing about my behaviors makes them too immediate to ignore.)
What would you do? Please share your thoughts.
Happy Fourth of July
Roadside art near Agra, Kansas. Photo by Stephen P. Williams
It’s Sunday, right before the 4th, and I’m going to ride my bike around the city taking photographs and enjoying seeing all the people. I have nothing planned. No invitations. And I wonder if the pandemic has combined with natural effects of aging to make me isolate more than usual. I think that’s possible. But I’m also enjoying myself these days, even without tons of social activity. Maybe because of that! Either way, I love the way New York streets go so quiet on summer holidays.
Enjoy your celebration. I have so much to be grateful for, and I hope you do too.
Stephen's People is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Glad to see you exploring your secrets, Patricia. And very glad you're reading Our Dark Secrets
I have a Discord for Creators that might be enjoyable for you: https://discord.com/invite/daYdgWyGuF You would be very welcome.