Learn From People You Disagree With — 7 Takeaways No. 59

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1. "It’s all too much"

If you can’t take in anymore, there’s a reason – Nadia Bolz-Weber – (The Corners – newsletter)

This stuck a chord:

when I check social media it feels like there are voices saying “if you aren’t talking about, doing something about, performatively posting about (fill in the blank) then you are an irredeemably callous, priviledged, bigot who IS PART OF THE PROBLEM” and when I am someone who does actually care about human suffering and injustice (someone who feels every picture I see, and story I read) it leaves me feeling like absolute shit.

In a conversation I had today I mentioned that the pandemic is amplifying everything: our anxiety, our depression, our guilt, our overwhelm, for things that aren’t even pandemic-related. It’s all too much.

Do this: "It’s ok to do what is YOURS to do. Say what’s yours to say. Care about what’s yours to care about. That’s enough."

2. "The annual cost from cyber losses now eclipses those from terrorism"

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends – Nicole Perlroth – (ebook)

There are a lot of takeaways in this book, which I finished earlier this week. At its core it’s a chronicle of cyber espionage, and the zero-day exploit black market used by hackers, criminals, and nation-states alike. Written by a New York Times reporter, it’s an occasionally chilling read, and makes you wonder how it is that anything works.

It’s a long book, so I’m reluctant to recommend reading it entirely, unless that sounds like something you’re inherently interested in. But I can say that it would appear that there’s much more happening behind the scenes on the internet than mere mortals like you and I are aware of.

Do this: Keep your software up to date, and use two-factor authentication wherever you can. (And, yes, I’ve said this before)

3. "What’s the point of hiding?"

Show your children who you are. – Austin Kleon – (blog)

In journaling publicly about the recent passing of his grandmother, several people commented that Kleon really seemed to know who she was, what she was about. They said so in a way that implied this level of understanding is unusual.

I have to agree.

I know my parents. I think. But in many ways I don’t — not as deeply as I might want to. I know, for example, that there are stories in their life that were never told. This makes me said.

Do this: Share your story.

4. "It is in the commons that ideas blossom."

Ideas Want to be Shared – Kevin Kelly – (Blog)

An interesting essay in which Kelly takes the position that copyright law is upside down, and that ideas (and by inference, society) benefit more by becoming part of "the commons" as soon as possible. Death plus 90 years, he states, is "ludicrous and bonkers".

In the end, ideas will move in the direction of maximum sharing regardless of what the law says.

It’s an interesting perspective, but not one I expect to see adopted any time soon, I’m afraid.

Do this: Sadly, copyright law is probably something everyone — especially creators — need to be familiar with.

5. "Whatever it is, I’m against it"

Live Like the Ancient Cynics – Arthur C. brooks – (The Atlantic)

Cynicism—the belief that people are generally morally bankrupt and behave treacherously in order to maximize self-interest—dominates American culture.

What I found interesting about this article is not only that observation, but the fact that this isn’t how cynicism began. Originally it was simply another school of philosophy, not unlike Skepticism.

It was based on a refusal to accept the assumptions and habits that discourage people from questioning conventional dogmas…

Today’s cynicism has become toxic. OG cynicism, on the other hand, seems like a healthy and helpful philosophy.

Do this: Question assumptions.

6. "Learn from people you disagree with"

Become a Learning Machine, to Get Exactly What You Want (Faster) – Tim Denning – (Medium)

Some of the saddest people you’ll run across are those who think they’re "done". Done learning, or worse, "too old" to learn. At any age, at any time, at every opportunity, we can and should be eagerly learning.

I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, but they are LEARNING MACHINES. They go to bed every night a little wiser than when they woke up — Charlie Munger

Do this Never stop.

7. "Please don’t be imprisoned by your suffering"

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching – Thich Nhat Hanh – (ebook)

Thich Nhat Hanh ("Thay", meaning teacher, to his followers) passed away this week, at the age of 95. Quoting someone in a discussion group I participate in:

That man has influenced things so much that his energy will continue to ripple forever.

I’m part way through the book, but I find it a very grounding, thoughtful read.

Do this: Quoting the Facebook announcement of his death: "… take a few moments to be still, to come back to our mindful breathing, as we together hold Thay in our hearts in peace and loving gratitude…"

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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