Saturday, March 6, 2021

Power vs Authority.........................

 Authority is not mere power, and it is extremely unhelpful, even dangerous, to confuse the two.  When people exert power over others, they compel them, forcefully.  They apply the threat of privation or punishment so their subordinates have little choice but to act in a manner contrary to their personal needs, desires, and values.  When people wield authority, by contrast, they do so because of their competence—a competence that is spontaneously recognized and appreciated by others, and generally followed willingly, with a certain relief, and with the sense that justice is being served.

-Jordan Peterson,  Beyond Order:  12 More Rules For Life

Fun with the language....................

 Anyone totally committed to a single pursuit almost inevitably becomes the propagandist of his own effort.  As a nation of specialists, we have become a nation obsessed with self-justification.  When we don't have it, we make it.  And we are now familiar enough with the make-work of manufacturers who need products, scholars who need projects, politicians who need issues, generals who need armies.  We speak the language of a people bent on justifying everything we do or want to do, whether it is justifiable or not.

     This preoccupation, with its consequent language of self-praise, is epidemic.  It is chronic at the highest levels of the government.  Much of the blame for the erosion of our idealism must be laid to the government, because the language of ideals has been so grossly misused by the propagandists.  The liars of policy and public relations are addicted to a rhetoric of high principle.  Our political ideals fill their mouths as unctuously, and with as little involvement of conscience or intelligence, as so many pieces of fat meat.

-Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

On curiosity....................................

 Awaken our sense of wonder, I say to my fellow nerd-communicators.  Ignite the spark of curiosity and give it some fuel, using the time-honoured methods of storytelling, character, suspense and humour.  But let's not rely on the journalists and the scientists and the other communicators of complex ideas.  We have to be responsible for our own sense of curiosity.  As the saying goes, 'only boring people get bored'. The world is so much more interesting if we take an active interest in it.

     'The cure for boredom is curiosity,' goes the old saying.  'There is no cure for curiosity.'  Just so: once we start to peer beneath the surface of things, become aware of the gaps in our knowledge, and treat each question as the path to a better question, we find that curiosity is habit-forming.

-Tim Harford, How to Make the World Add Up:  Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers

Your share......................

 To maintain good relationships with your colleagues means, among other things, to give credit where credit is due; to take your share of the jobs no one wants but still must be done; to deliver on time and in a high-quality manner when teamed with other people; to show up when expected; and, in general, to be trusted to do somewhat more than your job formally requires.

-Jordan Peterson, Beyond Order:  12 More Rules For Life

a cathedral project...........................

      True cathedral projects can sustain such ambition because they are so broad:  in their base of support, in the number and diversity of people and ideas that they bring together, in the number of experiments they contain.  In doing that, they create and sustain the legitimacy that allows them to endure.  Lose that and they're finished: anachronisms or pariahs that will dwindle and die.  They remain public goods only as long as the public says so.  In this, they are profoundly democratic.

     Does that imply that democracy, too, is a cathedral project, one in which all of us are involved?  Constructed over centuries, radical in conception, daring in ambition, sustained only by those who continue to believe in it.  What we know of such projects is that, to endure, they require enormous openness to new ideas, a broad base of support, the ability to adapt and to change, a willingness to experiment, and to be febrile in their responsiveness to the unforeseen and unpredictable.  Without that, they have no future.  But with it, they may last for millennia.

-Margaret Heffernan,  Uncharted:  How To Navigate The Future

Gone, but not forgotten..................................

Michael Stanley Band..........Let's Get The Show On The Road


Friday, March 5, 2021

Checking in with.................................

 ............................................Jordan Peterson:

. . . people depend on constant communication with others to keep their minds organized.  We all need to think to keep things straight, but we mostly think by talking.

Freud and Jung, with their intense focus on the autonomous individual psyche, placed too little focus on the role of the community in the maintenance of personal mental health.

We compete for attention, personally, socially, and economically.  No currency has a value that exceeds it.  Children, adults, and societies wither on the vine in its absence.

We cannot live without food, water, clean air, and shelter.  Less self-evidently, we require companionship, play, touch, and intimacy.

It is much better to make friends with what you do not know than with what you do know, as there is an infinite supply of the former but a finite stock of the latter.

No one unwilling to be a foolish beginner can learn.

-all quotes excerpted from Rule One, the first chapter, in Beyond Order:  12 More Rules For Life

Sunday, February 28, 2021