Saturday, October 28, 2017
“Leonardo Da Vinci was a very human genius. He was not the recipient of supernatural intellect in the manner of, for example, Newton or Einstein, whose minds had such unfathomable processing power that we can merely marvel at them. His genius came from being wildly imaginative, quirkily curious and willfully observant.”
This Isaacson quote came from this essay, as did several other quotes posted this morning. Found the essay via.
The ability to destroy your ideas rapidly instead of slowly when the occasion is right is one of the most valuable things. You have to work hard on it. Ask yourself what are the arguments on the other side. It’s bad to have an opinion you’re proud of if you can’t state the arguments for the other side better than your opponents. This is a great mental discipline.
-Charlie Munger, as culled from here
-as posted here by the News Junkie
I've often wondered if the extreme decline in absolute poverty around the globe was a result of the container revolution and the off-shoring of American industry that followed. Did we essentially export our middle class? Just wondering.
Friday, October 27, 2017
I grew up in America in the 1960s when, sure, we had our own nonsense. But back then, defending the First Amendment was a left-wing cause, and we mutinous youth exercised our freedom of speech like a motherfucker. We marched against the war, dared to use profanity in the days it still sounded dirty, burned the flag, refused to get married just to have sex, and lobbied against prudish censorship laws. We danced naked on stage and sneaked into Deep Throat under-age. We wanted to do and say whatever we bloody well wanted. For the young, struggling from cultural straitjackets seems normal to me. Struggling into one doesn’t.
Classical liberals like me are forever pontificating that freedom of speech is precarious, and all too easy to lose. Yeah, yeah. But contemporary western young people appear to value this right so little that the prospect of losing it isn’t faintly troubling.
...the young casually assume not only that they’re the cutting-edge, trend-setting arbiters of the acceptable now, but that they always will be. The students running campuses like re-education camps aren’t afraid of being muzzled, because they imagine they will always be the ones doing the muzzling — the ones dictating what words we can use (cis, not heterosexual), what books we can read (Tom Sawyer is out), what practices we can embrace (white people may not wear dreadlocks). These millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring.
-Lionel Shriver, as culled from here
The world has always been an interesting place. Twenty years from now will be no different.
Symbols are only the vehicle of communication; they must not be mistaken for the final term, the tenor, of their reference. No matter how attractive or impressive they may seem, they remain but convenient means, accommodated to the understanding. Hence the personality or personalities of God - whether represented in trinitarian, dualistic, or unitarian terms, in polytheistic, monotheistic, or henotheistic terms, pictorially or verbally, as documented fact or apocalyptic vision - no one should attempt to read or interpret as the final thing. The problem of the theologian is to keep his symbol translucent, so that it may not block out the very light it is supposed to convey. "For then alone do we know God truly," writes Saint Thomas Aquinas, "when we believe that His is far above all that man can possibly think of God." And in the Kena Upanisad, in the same spirit: "To know is not to know; not to know is to know." Mistaking a vehicle for its tenor may lead to the spilling not only of valueless ink, but of valuable blood.
-Joseph Campbell, as excerpted from The Hero With A Thousand Faces
Don't know about you, but I had to look up henotheistic. Short cut here.
For creation is not a change, but that dependence of the created existence on the principle from which it is instituted, and thus is of the genus of relation; whence nothing prohibits it being in the created as in the subject. Creation is thus said to be a kind of change, according to the way of understanding, insofar as our intellect accepts one and the same thing as not existing before and afterwards existing.
larger photo and description here
Thursday, October 26, 2017
“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”
-Larry J. Sabato
Voted early again this year. A skimpy ballot to be sure, but I wanted to vote for the County's Children's Services levy. The need is dire. I hope you will vote for it.
One of the main reasons humans have been so successful, as Israeli researcher Yuval Noah Harari points out, is due to what is called "fictive kinship." Most species hang out only with family. Everybody else is a potential enemy. Good ol' Homo sapiens have been so successful because we've extended the definition of family by using mutually agreed upon stories. Families are not merely blood relatives. We're in many families: We're Americans. We're IBM employees. We're on the same softball team. Most simply, we're friends. Friends are just the family we choose. This allows us to collaborate on a scale that's impossible for other animals. This is the secret to our success as a species. It's also the secret to your success as an individual: friendship.
-Eric Barker, Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
This wee corner of the blogosphere is filled with "fictive kinship." It is why I'm still here.
The two biggest barriers to good decision making are your ego and your blind spots. ...
Once you understand how your a) logical/conscious you and b) emotional/subconscious you fight with each other, you can imagine what it's like when your two yous deal with other people and their own two "thems." It's a mess. Those lower level selves are like attack dogs - they want to fight even when their higher level selves want to figure things out. This is very confusing because you and the people you are dealing with typically don't even know that these lower-level beasts exist, never mind that they're trying to hijack everyone's behavior.
-Ray Dalio, as excerpted from Principles
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
"Information, it turned out, has in proportion to its scarcity – the more there is, the less people believe."
-Martin Gurri, from this post that ends this way:
"But if you’re me, tracking the trajectory of this structural conflict between political elites who are bleeding authority and a public that is stuck in negation – if you’re me, you worry that in a few years we might look back on these dark times and think of Trump as the good old days…"
..........................one would have to read (and process and understand) a page a minute over eight hours. Every day? Really? Color me doubtful (but then, I'm not Warren Buffet).
"Read 500 pages (of books, magazines, reports, etc.) every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."
extracted from here
Leaving aside the possibility of a war that we blunder into (look at history), what if the inability of Washington DC to do anything is a plus? Government on autopilot for four years, maybe eight if we decide we are better of without change — is that a plus or minus?
-David Merkel, as culled from here