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July 18, 2003

Without any Thought

A conversation with Jim that took place earlier this week. Jim has to travel to Boston this weekend with a car full of family.

Jim: I wish I could take your bike for the ride to Boston this weekend. The solitude would be great. Nothing but the wide open road. I bet I could do the design for the whole system from scratch just by driving back and forth.

Me: Nope, it doesn’t work like that.

Jim: What do you mean; do you think I need all my attention for handling the bike?

Me: No, you will need all your attention for thinking about nothing.

Jim: Uh?

Me: Riding a motorcycle is like a giant mental black hole. Soon after you take off on your trip, it is as if you start to become a spectator to the thoughts in your head, and slowly you will see them disappear one by one until there are none left. You can go for miles without a single thought. No matter how hard you work to concentrate on the issues you wanted to think about, it is just not happening. Riding is the ultimate Zen, whether you want it or not.

Posted by Werner Vogels at July 18, 2003 11:47 AM