Good Guys Respect Others – 7 Takeaways for November 7, 2021


1. “Good guys respect others”

Aretha Had It Right – David Gerrold – (Patreon, open post)

The choices we make are the impact we have in the world and the consequences that follow from that impact. I think the most important and challenging choice in front of us is whether we will respect the people around us and how we will treat them

It’s an interesting summary of the state of respect — or lack there of — that seems pervasive right now. The “us versus them” mentality doesn’t exactly foster respect.

Do this: Be one of the good guys.

2. “The capacity to experience gratitude”

Nature, Nurture and Personality Traits Affect Capacity to Experience Gratitude – Doris Carnevali – (Engaging With Aging Blog)

The quote that got my attention was this:

The capacity to experience gratitude requires the presence of two genes, CD38 and one called COMT. People who don’t have these genes are unable to experience it.

I found at least one reference that seemed to support this. I had no idea.

Gratitude is so fundamental a characteristic it’s interesting to note that a) it’s genetic, and b) some people literally cannot.

Do this: Practice gratitude. If you can.

3. “. . . a simple way to become luckier”

3-2-1: The value of nature, controlling your attention, and designing your environment – James Clear – (Newsletter)

Being pleasant and having a good attitude is a simple way to become luckier. . . . It’s hard to win if your attitude adds friction to every interpersonal experience.

I think I’ve commented on perpetually grumpy people before — those folks with generally disagreeable attitudes, or those who seek to confront or challenge at every opportunity. This change of approach might appeal to their self-interest — assuming they can accept it.

Do this: Become luckier.

4. “No platform should play god”

Tech Giants Can No Longer Stop Misinformation. It’s Every Man and Woman for Themselves. – Tim Denning – (Medium)

This is a difficult topic to resolve. Denning’s premise is basically that content moderation / fact-checking by the big platforms is an exercise in futility, and it’ll only get worse. (In his case he foresees “Web 3.0” — decentralized blockchain-based systems with no central authority — being the eventual replacement for today’s systems.)

I’m not sure I agree with that. I will, however, wholeheartedly endorse at least one of his premises:

It’s time to be adults and not let our minds be easily manipulated anymore by misinformation. You’re mature enough to dissect the content you consume and decide to be influenced by it or not. As soon as we start to protect adult minds from certain types of information we destroy free thinking.

Do this: be an adult. Encourage/teach others to do the same.

5. “bad political decisions”

Yuval Noah Harari: Lessons from a year of Covid | Free to read – (Financial Times)

2020 has shown that humanity is far from helpless.

And yet, here we are. This is a wide-ranging essay that covers many of the amazing aspects of humanity that have come to bear on the pandemic. Everything from our resilient digital infrastructure (the internet didn’t break!) to international cooperation between assorted researchers around the world.

Where it all falls apart? Politics. And yet, Harari argues, it’s at the political level that we must prepare to protect ourselves from the next pandemic or other global threat.

Do this: consider just how many things worked over the last couple of years. It’s easy to overlook.

6. “changing people’s point of view”

The Scout Mindset – Julia Galef – (ebook)

The full quote:

if you want to have a shot at actually changing people’s point of view rather than merely being disgusted at how wrong they are, understanding those views is a must.

I just finished this book this week and highly recommend it. Not only does it do a good job of explaining why we think the way we do, it offers things to do to if you’re interested in changing your own approach, or understanding the ideas of others. Understanding is key.

Do this: consider watching the TedX talk where the author outlines the basic premise of the book.

7. “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

Foundation – Isaac Asimov – (ebook)

I’m re-reading the original after getting hooked on the Apple TV series. (Spoiler: similar to how I describe the movie version of “The Hobbit” as compared to the original, it’s a story with vaguely familiar elements, set in a vaguely familiar universe . . . but at its heart, it’s a different story.) Written at the height of the cold war, Asimov interjects several comments similar to the above when it comes to the political story underlying the plot. Interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, the quote above has not yet appeared in the TV series.

Do this: avoid incompetence, particularly when voting.

What I’m Reading

In progress (also on GoodReads):


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