We Can Go Back To The Dark Ages! – 7 Takeaways No. 155

An image in a popular animation style, depicting monks working on manuscripts in a medieval monastery. The scene is vibrant and colorful, with exaggerated features typical of animation. Monks in stylized robes are seen busily writing on manuscripts at wooden tables, illuminated by candlelight. The stone walls of the monastery are adorned with playful and integrated images of modern social media service logos, creating a fusion of the ancient and the contemporary.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

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1. “The old teach the young.”

And Then One Day You Disappear – John P. Weiss – (Blog)

Having lost a close family member this year, I was expecting “you disappear” part to be literal. It’s odd. One moment you exist, the next you do not.

This essay is actually about the steps leading up to that: aging, and how we seem to disappear to society as we get older. Honestly, as Weiss puts it, it’s freeing.

… when you start to disappear, and the world no longer sees you one way, there’s another way to become. The way of elegance, dignity, maturity, depth, intellectual growth, and even a bit of reckless abandon.

There’s no going back. Better to embrace where you’re headed. It’s really just another form of change.

Do this: “Keep your flame lit, let it dance in your heart, and you won’t disappear. The world will still see you.”

2. “The web is an informational paradise and a hellscape at the same time”

When critical thinking isn’t enough: to beat information overload, we need to learn ‘critical ignoring’ – Anastasia Kozyreva – (The Conversation)

I think it’s a skill we’re all coming to realize might be very important to keep our sanity. We don’t need to give our precious attention to everything. We need to choose. Some things are worth our time, and others we can ignore.

Critical ignoring is the ability to choose what to ignore and where to invest one’s limited attentional capacities. Critical ignoring is more than just not paying attention – it’s about practising mindful and healthy habits in the face of information overabundance.

It’s not mindless. It’s an exceptionally conscious choice. The authors call it a core competency in the face of information onslaught from those interested only in hijacking our attention. I can’t disagree.

Do this: Make choices.

3. “Fear is a precursor to growth.”

The Moment You Stop Living in Fear Is the Moment You Come Alive – Tim Denning – (Unfiltered newsletter)

Denning writes primarily for an entrepreneurial audience, but this topic applies to a much broader audience.

Fear is not something to be avoided. It’s something to be exploited, to be listened to, to learn from.

That’s a big takeaway: we get used to fear. Once we are used to it we can transcend it. We either let fear use and abuse us, or we can use fear to our advantage.

Fear will always exist. Rather the denying it, use it to your advantage.

Do this: “Stop letting fear control you. Start to control fear and exploit it to find opportunities.”

4. “We can go back to the Dark Ages!’

It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis – (ebook)

The full quote:

We can go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!”

I’ve mentioned this book before, and likely will again when I complete it. For a 90 year old work of fiction I’m finding it eerily prescient. The first third of the book rings very true with what’s happened politically, not just in the US but elsewhere as well. The second third describes the result. I’m hoping the third will have a solution.

Do this: Don’t be fooled. It can happen here. It may even be happening now.

5. “Get revenge for all the things that defeated you”

How to Get Revenge for All the Things That Defeated You in Life — John P. Weiss — (Blog)

It’s easy to fall into a vengeful mindset when things don’t go our way. Particularly if those “things” feel significant.

The full quote:

The way you get revenge for all the things that defeated you in life is by striving to become a better person, forgiving yourself for past mistakes, leveraging your talents, and helping others.

I don’t want to sugarcoat this, it’s hard, again particularly for those significant defeats.

And yet … it’s really the best revenge.

Do this: Be kind, especially to yourself.

6. “Any mind that is no longer curious is one that is dead”

The Allergy to Uncertainty – Lawrence Yeo – (More to That blog)

Some people hate uncertainty. As the article title characterizes it, it’s almost like they’re allergic to it. They’ll latch on to any decision, right or wrong, rather than not have an answer at all.

This caught my attention because of my ongoing thesis that yes/no, black or white thinking is seriously damaging to individuals and society. Yet it’s exactly what results when you can’t handle uncertainty. At it’s core uncertainty means you might be wrong. And too many people simply cannot, or will not, stand for that thought. Yes or no, no maybe.

Do this: Embrace uncertainty and curiosity.

7. “A life properly lived is just learn, learn, learn all the time.”

Charlie Munger – Shane Parrish – (Farnam Street, Brain Food newsletter)

99 year old Charlie Munger passed away this week. When I heard the news, I knew Parrish would have a tribute of some sort, since he’s built a business around Munger’s concept of mental models. “Farnam Street” is named after the street on which Berkshire Hathaway, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Munger’s primary endeavor, is located.

It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.

Munger’s known for being incredibly quotable. More than pithy aphorisms, he shared an uncommon depth of wisdom in his speaking and writing.

I see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help.

Parrish’s tribute is a selection of Munger quotes, and it’s worth a read.

Do this: Read more. Try not to be stupid. Go to bed a little wiser.

More random links & thoughts


Full list on the sources page.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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