Incandescent Moments – 7 Takeaways for October 17, 2021


1. “Incandescent Moments”

Not Enough Incandescent Moments? How to Boost Life’s Joy Quotient – Julia E Hubbel – (Medium)

This was timely, simply because I’m struggling with a bout of depression myself. (Ironically, while it’s been going on for a while, I’m writing this on World Mental Health Day.) “Boosting Life’s Joy Quotient” feels enticing.

The somewhat poetic concept of “Incandescent Moments” kind of speaks for itself. That we might find them in the everyday, however, is all too easily overlooked.

My Rx usually is to simply get my head out of my extremities and look around.

I know it’s never that simple or trite, but yet being aware of the here-and-now is the first step. It’s where we are, after all.

Do this: With all due respect: get your head out of your . . . extremities. (I’m working on it.)

2. “we assign value to things . . . according to what other people want.”

Mimetic Desire 101 – Luke Burgis – (Anti-Mimetic blog)

This is a long, and deep, and to me, eye-opening read. We’d all agree that our desires are often influenced by others. Even the term “social media influencer” derives from this concept.

Models are people who show us what is worth wanting.

For folks who’ve read Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” the phrase “social proof” will come to mind immediately.

But I don’t think we understand how deeply this effect runs. It explains so much about our current society.

. . . any society in which people are no longer struggling with scarcity but coping with abundance will undergo an explosion of mimetic desire.

From my perspective, it’s not limited to things. It also includes beliefs. Like politics. Like religion.

I came to this via another article — “Why We Need More Omakase Creators” — by the same author. It argues that entrepreneurs should be leading and setting, rather than analyzing and following, current desires and trends. Also a fascinating read. (Which I found through Rob Hardy’s Ungated Collective.)

Do this: be mindful of your desires. Trace their origins, if you can.

3. “There is almost no situation in which hatred helps.”

The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday — (ebook)

This just happened to be in one of this week’s entries, and it struck me how important this is, now more than ever. There seems to be so much hate and anger in the world today. Hate gets in the way of almost any attempt at positive progress.

I will admit the term “hate” gets thrown about perhaps a little too liberally (just because you disagree with something — perhaps even vehemently — doesn’t mean you actually hate the people you disagree with), but even considering the cases where hate is real are simply too common.

Do this: Be kind.

4. “The flu, it turns out, has always been a choice.”

We Accidentally Solved the Flu. Now What? – Jacob Stern – (The Atlantic)

I’ve wondered, of late, what changes due to the current pandemic will last once it’s passed. After the obligatory political and vaccine-related comments, the thing that comes to mind is: masking. In conjunction with all the various flavors of just avoiding people, it’s made a significant impact.

Despite the inconsistency with which America deployed them, these measures helped tamp down the spread of the virus, but they completely crushed influenza, a less transmissible foe to which the population has considerable preexisting immunity.

The number reduction is staggering. The knowledge that it’s within our control is profound. The question is: will it result in any change? I’m not sure.

Do this: consider which pandemic-related changes you’ll continue once it’s over.

5. “. . . a desire to change ‘politics as usual’ . . .”

Colorado Fixed Gerrymandering – Randy Cassingham – (Medium)

Many people don’t understand gerrymandering, and for good reason: it’s complicated, and the folks behind it benefit from it not being understood. It took me a while to get my brain around it, and then my reaction was “how is this legal?”

Not only is it legal, it’s being used to great (negative) effect in various states, including Texas.

I was very curious how one would go about fixing it. This article, while a tad long, does a good job of not only explaining the origin (spoiler: it’s all governor Gerry’s fault), how it’s (miss)used, and how Colorado fixed it.

Do this: Particularly if you live in a state where gerrymandering is rampant (lookin’ at you Texas), give this a read and then lobby your representatives to be more representative.

6. “. . . the world still has a long way to go.”

How the world learns to live with covid-19 – (The Economist)

I find this a pretty good analysis of how COVID-19 plays out. Unfortunately, it’s not in terms of timeframe — that remains very much up to us and how we  (as individuals, groups, and governments) act, or fail to act. But regardless of the timeframe experts seem to agree that COVID-19 will eventually become part of the landscape.

The word you’ll hear more and more is “endemic”. It’ll eventually retreat to a low enough level that, like many other diseases, it’ll simply be part of life. That’s a much better characterization, in my opinion, than the overused term “herd immunity”, which implies “the herd” (all of us) will become “immune” and no longer get the disease. That’s simply not the case. According to one researcher:

America alone could, by his estimates, see 50,000-100,000 deaths a year from covid. Flu kills about 12,000-52,000 people in America every year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

It remains to be seen how big, or how soon, those kind of numbers will be.

Do this: Act. Do what you can — like getting vaccinated — so we can arrive at this new normal sooner, killing fewer people along the way.

7. “Sorry, vaccine refusal means that we can’t do the transplant”

UCHealth Denies Kidney Transplant To Unvaccinated Woman & Donor – David Gamble – (Medium)

You’ve probably already heard the only-read-the-headlines version of this story. Many people have probably already formed unassailable positions based on the headline alone.

This article goes much deeper into the reality. As with so many headlines, there is significantly more nuance to the story. Here’s just one: it’s not just UCHealth (University of Colorado Health) with this requirement.

Every single transplant facility in the state has exactly the same requirements.

And they have, in my opinion, extremely valid reasons for having it.

Do this: if you’re at all curious about the back-story, I recommend reading this one.

8. “We live in a culture of complaint.”

Superiority, Shaming, and Solutions – Leo A. Notenboom – (Blog)

Me, again. I was thinking the other day about what kinds of articles, essays, and books draw my attention as I scan for 7 Takeaways items each day. I realized there were indeed a couple of criteria that made something more likely to capture my attention.

Do this: pay attention to what grabs your attention, and ask yourself why.

What I’m Reading

In progress (also on GoodReads):


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