We need to remake the Internet

https://www.ted.com/talks/jaron_lanier_how_we_need_to_remake_the_internet/up-next

I don’t believe our species can survive unless we fix this. We cannot have a society, in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.

~ Jaron Lanier

Hear! Hear!

Take control of your use of the Internet — that is to say: Do not let it control you. Choose what apps, sites, etc you use. WHENEVER YOU CAN, PAY FOR SERVICES AND APPS. If something is free, then realize that YOU are product being sold to whomever is paying for the service.

Is the world getting better or worse?

https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_is_the_world_getting_better_or_worse_a_look_at_the_numbers

We will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there’s no limit to the betterments we can obtain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.

~ Steven Pinker

I feel constantly pushed to take on a myopic and biased view that the sky is falling, that this moment right now it the last chance to avoid catastrophe, that the human race has never been closer to the brink of– blah, blah, blah.

I choose to celebrate progress. I choose to shine light on the people who are making a difference. I choose to point out the positives. I choose to engage with only a tiny few of the myriad of complex issues the world faces because that’s the scale where I can make a difference. That’s the scale where each person makes a difference: Individual reasoned thinking, enlightened discourse, and responsible action.

Supply-and-demand is a model

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2018/05/11/how-the-economy-works-as-it-reaches-energy-limits-an-introduction-for-actuaries-and-others/

The reason for the strange behavior of energy prices near limits is because the system is very interconnected. It is a self-organized system that gradually changes over time. New customers are added over time. These customers are often also wage-earners. They decide what to buy based on their own wages, and based on other considerations, such as the prices of competing products and whether inexpensive financing is available.

~ Gail Tverberg

Supply-and-demand is a model. There’s nothing wrong with the model. Does the model still fit reality as we approach the limits of how much energy our economy can consume? (tl;dr: it does not.)

Social media and a true village

http://randsinrepose.com/archives/welcome-back-to-the-village/

The Internet made it easy to gather together vast swaths of humanity and allowed them to communicate with each other at scale. These mostly anonymous ginormous nations of humans have no shared purpose and no shared values. With no common understanding of how to treat each other and no incentives to do so, communication in these “communities” rapidly degrades to the lowest common denominator where uninformed hate is a typical knee-jerk reaction to differences.

~ Rands / Michael Lopp

There’s a bunch of insight about social networks (digital and in real life.) Also worth reading if you are interested in leadership and haven’t yet found the Rands Leadership Slack team.

Social conditioning

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/03/what-lies-beyond-the-haze-of-social-conditioning/

If we support a foreign war or oppose it, it’s because of what effect it’s having on us, either individually or collectively. Our soldiers are dying. Our President is making us look bad. Our corporations are manipulating us. Our national debt is out of control. My taxes might go up. My budget might be stretched. My family member might be killed. We aren’t encouraged to consider such situations from the viewpoint of planet earth as a whole, or how our actions today might affect future generations. We perceive each other as separate and distinct individuals as opposed to cells in the same body.

~ Steve Pavlina

This isn’t about “us” versus “them. It’s about “I”. How do I see my world? How do I see myself? Have I been conditioned? (duh. Of course I have.) Now that I’ve discovered I have a brain, do I like how I’ve been conditioned?

…oh sorry, got to talking to myself there.

Growing up is hard

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/10/27/growing-up/

When people say they don’t want to embrace adulthood, what they really mean is that they don’t want to be a grownup themselves, but they want to live in a world where everyone else is. They want competent, effective politicians to represent them; they want their journalists and doctors to be smart and level-headed with a comforting mantle of gravitas; they want their children’s teachers to be dedicated and on-the-ball; they want customer service to be friendly and efficient; they want police officers to be honest and fair. They want the world to be stable, predictable…so they can afford to be erratic and irresponsible. They want to be kids, but live in an adult world, where grownups are at the ready to take care of their every need.

~ Brett McKay

This was an enjoyable read that brought up a lot of good points. The basic question being explored is why is growing up harder “these days”? Brett spends a lot of time talking about what is different “these days” in society, in culture, in the human experience. It was a breath of fresh air from the more common “kids these days…” sort of screed.

Hamlet in prison

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/218/act-v

Shakespeare may seem like an odd match for a group of hardened criminals, but Jack found that they understand the Bard on a level that most of us might not. It’s a play about murder and its consequences, performed by murderers, living out the consequences.

This is not a joke. It’s exactly what it seems.

Turns out old Shakes knew what he was writing about.

Also, if you (unless I’m mistaken about how many felons are reading this) think you’ve understood Hamlet– well, *bzzt* oh, so sorry, thank you for playing, we have some nice parting gifts. These guys in prison, they understand Hamlet.

What to do with your life?

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/02/deciding-what-to-do-with-your-life/

If you’ve read this much without turning away, then your awareness is already too high for you to be happy living like the sleeping masses. It’s time to wake up. The bright light will hurt your eyes at first, even make your eyes water, but you’ll get used to it. And then you’ll receive your own high-powered awareness flashlight. And I have to tell you that it’s oodles of fun shining that thing in people’s eyes when they least suspect it…

~ Steve Pavlina

If you are seeking entertainment instead of education… wake up!
If you frequently say, “I have to…” … wake up!
If you can no longer read… wake up!
If you can no longer write… wake up!
If you can no longer move… wake up!

( …remember that comment I made a few days ago about the line? )

Pidgeon holes and simplifications

https://alifeofproductivity.com/when-a-person-becomes-an-idea/

Something beautiful happens when you develop and build a close relationship and friendship with someone. The closer you become with someone, the more you can zoom in past their story to the person they really are, and see them as someone just as complex, vulnerable, and rich as yourself.

~ Chris Bailey

This is a great way to sneak up on a mistake I make all the time.

In order to keep track of so many people, I have to distill them down to some sort of narrative; where are they? what do they do? in what context do I normally interact with them? …and so on. This leads to me summarizing people, and that’s good because it enables me to push my monkey sphere to a much larger number. The problem comes when I then expect (or worse, require) that the person also fit into that summary that I’ve created.

I’d like to say I learned to not make this mistake through years of thought and self-reflection. But that’s not how it happened.

I learned about this when I slowly, finally managed to make some HUGE changes in myself — and people kept jamming me into the same story. This was— well, “annoying,” would be a polite way to put it— “pushing down on my head while I feel I’m already drowning”, would be another way.

…and then, as with pretty much everything, I looked into my self-perception and realized, “oh crap! I too am doing this to everyone else.”