"A meaningful part of the resistance to changing how we work has come and will continue to come from those who suffered from the old way of doing things. The reaction reminds me a bit of a previous newsletter I wrote about vaccine hesitancy. In the piece, sociologist Brooke Harrington argued that vaccine resisters were a classic example of a mark — and legitimate victims of a con. She said that, after realizing they’ve been conned, they double down and act as if they’ve been in on the scheme from the beginning “as a way to save face and avoid the “social death” and the humiliation that would accompany confronting the ways in which their belief system had failed them.”"
"As soon as we start insisting to others, “You must not hurt me, or let me starve, or let my children drown,” we cannot also maintain, “But I can hurt you, and let you starve, and let your children drown,” and hope they will take us seriously. That is because as soon as I engage you in a rational discussion, I cannot insist that only my interests count just because I’m me and you’re not, any more than I can insist that the spot I am standing on is a special place in the universe because I happen to be standing on it. The pronouns I, me, and mine have no logical heft—they flip with each turn in a conversation. And so any argument that privileges my well-being over yours or his or hers, all else being equal, is irrational."
"The shadow of hope is fear: maintaining hope for something despite contradictory evidence can be a mask for actually not wanting to face the fear of something else."
Underlying this devastation is the ideology of human supremacy—claiming innate superiority over nonhuman forms of life. But is human supremacy innate to humanity, or rather something specific pertaining to our dominant culture?
"The next time you go for a hike in nature, and marvel at its beauty, take a moment to realize that you are looking at a pale, shrunken wraith of what it once was. An accumulation of studies around the world measuring the declines of species and ecosystems indicates that overall we’ve lost around ninety percent of nature’s profusion. We live, Mackinnon observes, in a “ten percent world.” Those of us who gain sustenance from the sacred beauty of nature sometimes like to think of it as a temple. But, as Mackinnon notes, “a greater truth should be foremost in mind: Nature is not a temple, but a ruin. A beautiful ruin, but a ruin all the same.”"
"Indeed, an anthropologist from Mars might regard us humans as singularly insecure animals, curiously obsessed with identifying some quality that decisively distinguishes us from the rest of animal creation. If we were more reflective creatures, we might realize that the answer has been staring us in the face all along: We are the animals curiously obsessed with distinguishing ourselves from the rest of animal creation. Alas, being insufficiently elevating, this definition would not be what we were hoping for. A nasty case of status anxiety is hardly an enviable distinguishing characteristic. What we really want is not merely differentiation from the rest of animal kind but elevation above it."
Now that I’m intentionally embracing a polymath life, I hope to see the benefits compound even more. I’m excited to see how this plays out! Freedom Isn’t Free We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of the polymath lifestyle.
"The key advantage that polymaths hold is their ability to develop mental models from different fields and apply them to solve problems in a unique way. This enables them to differentiate from their competition. Further, it creates opportunities for them to find truly meaningful work by pursuing their passions."
"It is already difficult for me to imagine anything other than this—anything other than grabbing the pocket-sized Internet to assume the vantage points of a god and a serf, simultaneously, anything other than constant confrontation with the systems that both demand our action and dwarf us into utter inconsequence. After eighteen months in which the physical world has been more or less swallowed by digital mediation, I find it hard to remember, some days, that I am capable of accessing a myriad of emotional textures aside from the one I fall into almost any time my fingertips are moving across a phone screen—numb exhaustion, dull anxiety, near-automated desire."