Why has recognising the deep future been so difficult for humanity?
…The first, and most obvious reason, is simple human self-preoccupation. The line of evolution reaches us, and we find it hard to imagine it moving further. Hugely impressed with our own accomplishments, including those just listed, we give little thought to beings who might come after us or to ideas not yet a twinkle in evolution’s eye. There is also a more practical reason. Most human goals, including altruistic ones, rise or fall over the short period of a human lifetime. And although we might look back – even far back – with interest, perhaps to learn from our kind’s history, there is nothing in the far future that is similarly tied up with our goals. As a result, we haven’t developed the habits of mind necessary to consider it carefully.
“The influence of Key West upon Stevens’s poetry is evident in many of the poems published in his first two collections, Harmonium and Ideas of Order. In February 1935, Stevens encountered the poet Robert Frost at the Casa Marina. The two men argued, and Frost reported that Stevens had been drunk and acted inappropriately. The following year, Stevens allegedly assaulted Ernest Hemingway at a party at the Waddell Avenue home of a mutual acquaintance in Key West. Stevens broke his hand, apparently from hitting Hemingway’s jaw, and was repeatedly knocked to the street by Hemingway. Stevens later apologized. In 1940, Stevens made his final trip to Key West. Frost was at the Casa Marina again, and again the two men argued.”—
“Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.”—Eclecticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“There are many reasons to set and meet deadlines. You may have PR lined up, or for financial reasons need to get something out at a certain time. And, to be clear, the concept of MVP has value, especially if you are building something completely different from everything else that exists. But if you have a hunch that what you’ve built isn’t good enough to test the viability of your idea, follow your gut. Move your deadline and get the product to a place where you are proud of it. Being first doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful. And you won’t be able to learn anything about the product being viable if it doesn’t work.”—
My new joke is that MVPs often forget about the “V” part. Though to be fair, it’s easy to forget that the app market has become so saturated in such a brief time. But it doesn’t matter. If you want to build the best [photo, mail, location sharing, review, weather, shopping] app out there you better bring your fucking A-game.
(I get that people are better-looking than average in NYC but seriously: I met some of them in real life and they are really good-looking and charming.)
At the beginning of the show, everybody has to find their own people to date, which is an interesting twist: if you were single, and had to find a bunch of dates for a show…how would you go about it?
1. Go to a bar or event and coast the joint
2. Go on Tinder and troll Facebook
3. Have your personal trainer set you up with someone
4. Have friends set you up
…Which is what the castmates all did, on camera. Then they had to make sure the people are cool with being video on their first date. And after the dates, they interview everybody to get the lowdown. (Ps: Remember Blind Date?)
I definitely feel for Ericka the most. The idea of going to a bar, getting phone numbers, and then being required to call them myself and ask them on a date sounds horrifying. I’m lazy. On the other hand, the fact that the fairly cute dentist turned down a Victoria’s Secret model, really puts the whole effort thing in perspective. It’s a rough dating world out there, folks.
The entire show is shot a week at a time and apparently if you tweet at the show you really do influence what happens (#thesinglesproject). I’ve definitely had a few friends live-tweet dates and respond to friends, so it’s interesting to see it in a TV capacity. Second episode is on tonight, Tuesday 10/9c on Bravo.
I study excellence, and I know that it doesn’t matter what domain a person who is excellent at what they do is in—there is always a meditative quality to their training and their performance. They may not train like you train at a monastery or at a retreat center, but certain qualities are there: right effort, wisdom, concentration, and faith or confidence.
I think we do ourselves a disservice when we predicate everything on this dualistic approach of sitting practice and then the rest of life. I think we’re limiting what meditation means. Dr. Dre says in one of his songs, “I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind”; whatever is on your mind, that’s your meditation.
“…why are gay and lesbian people not allowed to express traits that confirm a stereotype about them? I’m a straight, Asian American girl, currently wearing a baby blue sundress and sitting next to a fracking Hello Kitty fleece throw. I don’t come off like this on Reddit, but in person I’m giggly, cheerful, social, sensitive, and nurturing. I’m the stereotype to a T but not many people out there will complain to you that I’m “too straight” and it makes them feel uncomfortable. Why do I get away with this, but gay and lesbian people do not? Someone made a comment in this thread that they don’t like people making their “entire personalities about being gay”. I’d argue that we straight people do it all the time.
…I used to say to myself “You know, I just don’t like flamboyancy in general. It has nothing to do with gay people.” But the thing is, I had to be honest to myself… *I* am flamboyant. I’m flamboyant every time I giggle wearing high heels and a full face of makeup. And I really think the reason I’m okay with this is because I was socialized into thinking that flamboyancy is okay for ME, but not for other people.”—hello_gritty on gay stereotypes. Well worth reading the whole comment.
“Sometimes I’ll get a call or email from someone five years after the last contact and I’ll think, oh right, I hated that person. But they would never have known, of course. Let’s see if I still hate them. Very often I find that I don’t. Or that I hated them for a dumb reason. Or that they were having a bad day.”—
I was musing on this recently, reminded of a person I have met once or twice that I’ve mentally earmarked as ‘that asshole’. Yes, he was an asshole those few times I met him; yes, I heard bad things about him later from friends, too. But he’d be surprised to know a near-stranger has taken such a dim view of him.
So I wonder: are there people out there who think that about me? Innocent folks I was rude to, purposefully or not, who later heard anecdotal evidence to support their nascent opinion?
I’m always flabbergasted that more products don’t go the subscription route, but then I remind myself I didn’t want to pay $5 a month to use RunKeeper instead of Nike Running. Just didn’t seem better enough, unlike Dropbox or Instapaper.
Which illustrates the point: If your product is not noticeably better, you will lose customers if you go subscription. This has been true for newspapers and media forever.
“Dr. Rock also suggests a unique way to change the way we feel from jet lag, which is to change the way we think about it. An example of this technique, known more formally as reappraisal, is to replace the thought “I feel so tired because I haven’t slept in over a day” with a new, positive thought such as, “I am in a new place. It doesn’t matter that I cannot think very hard or concentrate. I just have to take it in and soak it up.” Taking a positive mental stance can actually change the way you feel.”—The Psychology of Traveling
“A couple of months back, in recognition of the dual anniversary of Gremlins and Ghostbusters, I wrote about how we don’t really see effects-heavy comedies of their ilk anymore. In Guardians’ first act, it felt like an honest contribution to that tradition, but put its climax up against, say, Ghostbusters’, and you’ll see the problem: in Ghostbusters, the effects are in service to the jokes, but in Guardians, it’s the other way around. From what makes it to the screen, the Marvel marching orders seem to be that you can tweak and kid all you like, but once you hit the 90-minute mark, there’s bills to pay.”—
I noticed this problem of the required whizz-bang ending maybe more in Guardians than in Avengers, for example, simple because Guardians had a really cool spaceship-web visual effect—clearly something designed To Be Extra-Impressive.
If you haven’t seen it, check out Constantine. Odd casting aside, it has what is still, to date, my favorite lead-up to an epic battle sequence.
Speaking during an Eid el-Fitr meeting on July 28, [State Ministers of Turkey and Vice-Prime Minister Bülent] Arınç described his ideal of the chaste man or woman, saying they should both have a sense of shame and honor.
“Chastity is so important. It is not only a name. It is an ornament for both women and men. [She] will have chasteness. Man will have it, too. He will not be a womanizer. He will be bound to his wife. He will love his children. [The woman] will know what is haram and not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness,” Arınç said, adding that people had abandoned their values today. People needs to discover the Quran once again, Arınç said, adding that there had been a regression on moral grounds.
“Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?” he said.
While I appreciate that Arinc mentioned men must be chaste, too—that’s unusual, so credit where credit’s due—I am struck particularly by his description of how a ‘chaste girl’ should react to being looked at: blush slightly, lower head, turns eyes away.
When humans look at each other, one would, generally, only respond with blushes and downward glances if: (1) they were attracted to the other person; or (2) they were embarrassed by how the other person viewed them. To have someone blush and avoid your eye is generally indicative they find you interesting, intimidating, or attractive—or all three.
That Arnic wants all girls to behave in this way, when meeting him, tells you much about him. That he equates such behavior with morality tells you much about how his religious framework views women.
““When people perceive someone as low in competence and easily misled, they assume the person will not scrutinize lies, and that you can get away with [lying],” says Kray. Participants were asked to report how likely they thought other people would be to take advantage of a male or female buyer, and the participants correctly reported that people would lower their ethical standards when dealing with women. “People are aware of stereotypes, and use them to their advantage when they’re motivated to do so,” Kray says.”—
I posted a brief comment on Twitter as well but will expound here: when it comes to negotiations, I find it hard to consider that I might be hearing outright lies. If a client or potential employee tells me they don’t have the budget for me, I think they are telling me the truth. That this is a bid for me to negotiate literally never crosses my mind.
I’ve rarely have to negotiate—but this could mean I likely need to raise my rates. I prefer to think it means I work with straight shooters.
“Idiocracy continues the great American tradition of producing media that bemoans the terrible state of America’s collective intelligence. But as a piece of historical futurism (yes, it really has been nearly a decade since this movie was produced) it has a worrisome message. We’re frustrated by the world, believing that encouraging smarter people to breed would somehow fix our problems. But it simply isn’t so. It’s a distraction from the institutional problems of our society. The problem isn’t that stupid people (again, read: poor) are having too many children. The problem is that we aren’t living up to the ideals and promises we’ve given to each generation of Americans that have come before us. A livable wage, paid maternity leave, proper funding of scientific research — these are the things a functional, civilized society are built upon; the ways that we can improve our world. We don’t build a better society by getting more smart people to fuck each other.”—
I have a cousin who is about a year older, and equally, if not more, intelligent than I am. She’s also much more cutthroat and competitive; she would thrive in fields I am afraid to touch, like finance or politics.
But as luck would have it, I grew up in a loving, stable family and she did not. I grew up knowing I would go to college; she grew up hoping for an accidental pregnancy so she could create a stable family life of her own that she’d never known.
Now I live in Brooklyn, have a nice job, and am a reasonably productive member of society—no kids, high income, travel a lot. My cousin, on the other hand, has seven children, has been on welfare since she was nineteen, and lives in an impoverished Midwestern town. Our lives could easily be reversed. It was luck, and I am reminded of how lucky I am whenever I see her.
I think we conflate identity with capability on a regular basis. It’s practical, on some level, because if a person thinks of themselves as dumb, inadequate, or destined for a shitty life, it’s a hell of a time trying to convince them otherwise. It’s maddening, but it really is much easier to work with incapable people who are eager and willing to go the extra mile than an intelligent, stubborn person who has convinced themselves they aren’t capable.
A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of your lived experiences on Earth actually have nothing to do with you, but with the narrative that your body presents — at least that’s what I’ve deduced. The narrative can change, sure, but if it does, it’s got nothing to do with what you’ve done to subvert it, and everything to do with other people doing a better job of restraining their inner asshole.
As the genius comedian Chris Rock said of Pres. Barack Obama’s election in 2008: “You could say that black people made progress, but to say black people have made progress would mean that black people deserved to be segregated,” he said. “The reality is that white people have gotten less crazy.”
This brings me to the recent Harvard Business Review article by a Harvard professor that aggregated a bunch of studies which all said that the social and inter-office political implications for women who “lean in,” AKA aggressively negotiate for pay or other things at work, are much more catastrophic than they are for men.
“Parfit believes that there are true answers to moral questions, just as there are to mathematical ones. Humans can perceive these truths, through a combination of intuition and critical reasoning, but they remain true whether humans perceive them or not.”—How to Be Good - The New Yorker
“For example, in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, the main character walks down a street passing by a number of shops whose names were specifically chosen and window displays specifically arranged by the director to convey additional meaning to the scene and to the film. At 720p or at a bitrate under 8Mbps, those details become indistinct and illegible. It becomes impossible to know that Kubrick was trying to tell you anything with those storefronts, let alone discern what he was trying to say.”—Netflix becomes Postmodern, splits into two, and races for the bottom | Partial Objects
The Hunger Games has this same feminist problem. Other than the initial volunteering to replace her younger sister, Katniss never makes any decisions of her own, never acts with consequence— but her life is constructed to appear that she makes important decisions. She has free will, of course, like any five year old with terrible parents, but at every turn is prevented from acting on the world. She is protected by men— enemies and allies alike; directed by others, blessed with lucky accidents and when things get impossible there are packages from the sky. In philosophical terms, she is continuously robbed of agency. She is deus ex machinaed all the way to the end.
…In the actual Games, Katniss is continuously saved by men— Haymitch, Peeta, Peeta again, Thresh— but you don’t notice that she saves no one, including herself, you think she saves herself all the time. You think this because of the first half of the movie told you she’s a badass, so you don’t realize that during the second half she shows less agency than Princess Jasmine.
I repeated these general sentiments a lot when Twilight was ending and The Hunger Games was revving up, because there were a lot of comparisons, all of which ended badly for Bella. Admittedly, the Twilight movies make Bella much weaker, which is unfortunate; in the books, she ends up becoming the most powerful vampire in the world. She gets everything that Katniss doesn’t: her Gale (and her Peeta), her Pris, her district, all safe and sound. Because when the revolution comes, Bella is so powerful she doesn’t even need to fight.
Maddening, then, Katniss is lauded as a strong female character. She scans as badass on paper, and in the cinema, but on reflection, she’s simply the pawn of a much larger system—and so dumb, so untrustworthy nobody can tell her anything. Not Peeta, not Hamish, not even Cinna or Effie.
Considering what Katniss does after the revolution, it was likely a smart move on the part of the rebels. Don’t forget that in the third book, after the Capitol falls, when Katniss is accorded some figurehead power, she votes to keeps the games going.
“It is the most fundamental insight of human relationships that when you see the other person as a factor in your own happiness, the problem is not the person, the problem is you.”—Strange Bedfellows | MetaFilter
“The usual anxiety about Facebook’s future is that teenagers aren’t interested in it, but the more relevant demo here is adult men, especially the ones in suits. Facebook runs 60/40 women to men. In the language of self-aggrandizing social media, that’s a tipping point. 5% more estrogen and Facebook will be perceived as a women’s site and no guy will want any part of it except for guys you will want no part of.”—
“But because Anderson’s ideas and solutions are so simple and beautiful…they reinforce a belief in simple, contained worlds that allows people to remain untroubled by their lack of curiosity. His world is simple and exterior, so the answers are simple and exterior as well.”—Wes Anderson’s Arrested Development
“When exactly Heaven’s Gate first became mixed up with computers is unknown, but it was likely catalyzed by their fascination with emerging communication technologies and space travel. Their literature is written in a web-inflected religious idiom: they considered “N.L. (Next Level) Base computer language” a way to express higher levels of Biblical understanding, and wrote that those with similar “computer programs” and “software” will resonate higher than the average person.”—Higher Source: The Immortal Web Design of Heaven’s Gate
“For example, a scientist named John Underkoffler, who had already built similar systems at MIT, designed the immersive tactile computer interfaces of the 2002 film Minority Report. After gauging audience response to the interface – “they felt like they’d seen something that either was real or should be” – he told me in 2008, Underkoffler founded Oblong Industries, a company that now sells commercial versions of the Minority Report computers, networked, gestural computing environments immediately recognisable from their star turn in science fiction.”—Interface Prophecies
“A central piece of wisdom we gleaned is that if women want to clear executive presence’s many hurdles, they must signal to others that they want real, honest, unvarnished feedback. While it may seem fundamentally unfair that the burden to create a safe space be on the subordinate, direct report, or the protégé, an invitation to offer critiques makes the already touchy subject easier for mentors or managers to tackle, especially when you assure them that you’ll receive feedback in the spirit of improvement versus criticism.”—Are You ‘Leadership Material’?
“I delude myself into thinking no one’s reading what I’m doing. That’s the only way I can do it. It’s a very elaborate delusion that I spent a lot of time and effort building.”—Roxane Gay’s ‘Bad’ Feminism - NYTimes.com
“In the early days I would often let potential customers think we already had a feature they wanted and, if they signed, would come back to the team and say “we’ve got to build this before they launch!” No harm, no foul, I thought, so long as we knew we were able to build the feature before they started using the product. This is a tactic commonly suggested by lean practitioners. My co-founders, though, would often frown on this behavior, worrying it was unethical, causing a huge amount of tension to grow beneath the surface.”—
This is incredibly key. Having a cofounder come back after a meeting with clients or investors and re-prioritize features—or, worse, the whole product road map—is the biggest single moral-killer outside of actual layoffs or bad working conditions.
This behavior is almost unethical—not because the founder is being dishonest with customers; they might get the feature done in time. But the founder is ignoring and devaluing their team, who have likely already set up a thoughtful product feature road map that is being ignored.
(This assumes you have a product road map, of course. If you don’t, then by all means build out a product piecemeal based on potential customer whims; it’s as good a goalpost as nothing. But instead of more customer meetings, you should likely sit down and figure out what you’re doing.)
“Progressive, reformist city planners, supported by seemingly most of the Village’s blue-collar residents, favored a relatively low-impact urban-renewal scheme to build hundreds of below-market-rate homes in the [the West Village in the early 1960s]—a plan [Jane] Jacobs and a group of largely affluent residents successfully fought on the grounds that it would destroy the area’s character.”—Gentrification and Its Discontents
“At this moment, Kremlin can not really stop. If Kiev government survives, it will fairly quickly unlock economic benefits of non-mafia, free economy. The large parasitic class living by bribes and extortion will be displaced: it will have the same effect as if base tax rate would suddenly drop by a double digit percentage.”—Russia is just not a safe place is it
“There are a few areas where cyclists are more likely to break the law, most notably running red lights, though this is almost never a contributing factor in collisions (I suspect it’s because cyclists who run reds do so cautiously, since…well…they don’t want to die). The likely conclusion is that people riding bikes don’t break more laws or fewer laws than when they drive cars, but they do break different laws. Given that most cyclists are also drivers, it’s reasonable to think the levels of lawlessness would be consistent.”—Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things