Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Childhood itself is the quintessential Romanticism, and every child needs to be allowed to live in that state of grace, but wider society also needs the romance of childhood for its very creativity, requiring the reckless rapture of the puer* figure, the eternal child within culture, whose incandescence must be tended and attended to, so that its light can flare in the storyteller or dancer, so that the risk-taking, anarchic and flame-like quality, the eternal return of the great romance of childhood which exists within us all, can flame in a resurgent romantic revolution. The chill of our utilitarian age needs that fire.
-Jay Griffiths, A Country Called Childhood
*in case you are wondering about the choice of this word, go here.
But allow me to let you in on a secret: Life is negotiation.
The majority of the interactions we have at work and at home are negotiations that boil down to the expression of a simple, animalistic urge: I want.
.........................with Dan Sullivan:
The only way to make your present better is by making your future bigger.
Personal confidence comes from making progress toward goals that are far bigger than your present capabilities.
Your eyes only see and your ears only hear what your brain is looking at
. . .first to sell yourself on the vision, because you can't sell other people unless you're sold yourself.
If you have enough money to solve a problem, then you don't have a problem.
All progress starts by telling the truth.
Always make your learning greater than your experience.
Who do you want to be a hero to?
Monday, July 4, 2022
.........................to an awesome life:
As Eric Hoffer once said, “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.” Sometimes it’s quite deliberate but more often it’s unconscious. We’re just wired for it. This is what it means when we say humans are a social species. . . .
Peer pressure isn’t good or bad – your peers are. If you moved your troubled teen to a new high school filled with well-behaved students, would you be hoping your child was immune to peer pressure — or very susceptible? . . .
We’re never utterly autonomous. We’re social creatures. Why not leverage our fundamental nature rather than (often futilely) resisting it? Sometimes we’re weak on our own but groups are strong. We need others to help us do the right thing, even with individual goals. The logical conclusion is to be a part of a group where your desired reputation aligns with who you want to be as a person.
PHILOSOPHY being nothing else but the study of Wisdom and Truth, it may with reason be expected, that those who have spent most Time and Pains in it should enjoy a greater calm and serenity of Mind, a greater clearness and evidence of Knowledge, and be less disturbed with Doubts and Difficulties than other Men. Yet so it is we see the Illiterate Bulk of Mankind that walk the High-ro.ad of plain, common Sense, and are governed by the Dictates of Nature, for the most part easy and undisturbed. To them nothing that's familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend. They complain not of any want of Evidence in their Senses, and are out of all danger of becoming Sceptics. But no sooner do we depart from Sense and Instinct to follow the Light of a Superior Principle, to reason, meditate, and reflect on the Nature of Things, but a thousand Scruples spring up in our Minds, concerning those Things which before we seemed fully to comprehend. Prejudices and Errors of Sense do from all Parts discover themselves to our view; and endeavouring to correct these by Reason we are insensibly drawn into uncouth Paradoxes, Difficulties, and Inconsistencies, which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in Speculation; till at length, having wander'd through many intricate Mazes, we find our selves just where we were, or, which is worse, sit down in a forlorn Scepticism.
Sunday, July 3, 2022
For thousands of years, the primary goal of any ruler was to maximize his own wealth. The divine right of kings yielded only under the greatest of duress, as occurred at Runnymede in 1215. Premodern Europe was a maelstrom of constant warfare among small states—"nation" is too good a word to describe all but the largest. Estimates vary, but in the medieval period, as many as a thousand sovereign principalities were scattered across the continent. The clever prince or duke learned that if he taxed laborers and merchants too heavily, they were liable to take their business a few miles up the road, where levies lay lighter on the purse.
Slowly, rulers began to identify their own well-being with that of their subjects and learned not to pluck too many feathers from the goose. States that neither taxed their subjects too heavily nor seized their property too often found themselves with fuller treasuries and larger armies than states that did. Nations that could not refrain from plundering their own subjects grew weaker, and, in many cases, disappeared. Gradually, through this Darwinian process, states with enlightened taxation, rule of law, and secure property rights prospered and prevailed over their less advanced neighbors, and Europe became a good place to get rich.
-William J. Bernstein, The Birth of Plenty: How The Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created
Acquisitiveness is a universal phenomenon, among animals as well as human beings, children as well as adults, primitive peoples as well as those culturally advanced. It is rooted in the instinct of self-preservation, but it also has an important psychological dimension in that it enhances feelings of self-assurance and competence. Its objects are, in the first place, material goods, but it also has an incorporeal aspect, embracing ideas, artistic creations, inventions, and even the very space that surrounds us. Claims to exclusive use are especially emphatic in respect to land with which humans are linked by mystic bonds. The notion of primitive communism has not basis in fact: it is simply the ancient—and, apparently, indestructible—myth of the Golden Age dressed up in modern pseudo-scientific language. Anthropology has not knowledge of societies ignorant of property rights: in the words of E. A. Hoebel cited above, "property is as ubiquitous as man, a part of the basic fabric of all society." Which means, to employ Aristotelian terminology, that it is not merely a "legal" or "conventional" but a "natural" institution. As such it is no more a subject of moralizing (unless it be for its excesses) than mortality or any other aspect of existence over which humans have at best minimal control.
-Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom
"The task of a philosopher: we should bring our will into harmony with whatever happens, so that nothing happens against our will and nothing that we wish for fails to happen."
-Epictetus, Discourses, 2.14.7
A long To-Do list seems intimidating and burdensome—all these things we have to do in the course of a day or week. But a Get-To-Do list sounds like a privilege—all the things we're excited about the opportunity to experience. This isn't just semantic playing. It is a central facet of the philosopher's world view.
-Ryan Holiday, excerpted from today's entry in The Daily Stoic
Philosophy, throughout its history, has consisted of two parts inharmoniously blended: on the one hand a theory as to the nature of the world, on the other an ethical or political doctrine as to the best way of living. The failure to separate these two with sufficient clarity has been a source of much confused thinking. Philosophers, from Plato to William James, have allowed their opinions as to the constitution of the universe to be influenced by the desire of edification: knowing, as they supposed, what beliefs would make men virtuous, they have invented arguments, often very sophistical, to prove that these beliefs are true. For my part I reprobate this kind of bias, both on moral and on intellectual grounds. Morally, a philosopher who uses his professional competence for anything except a disinterested search for truth is guilty of a kind of treachery. And when he assumes, in advance of inquiry, that certain beliefs, whether true or false, are such as to promote good behaviour, he is so limiting the scope of philosophical speculation as to make philosophy trivial; the true philosopher is prepared to examine all preconceptions. When any limits are placed, consciously or unconsciously, upon the pursuit of truth, philosophy becomes paralyzed by fear, and the ground is prepared for a government censorship punishing those who utter 'dangerous thoughts'—in fact, the philosopher has already placed such a censorship over his own investigations.
Without an integrated formal property system, a modern market economy is inconceivable. Had the advanced nations of the West not integrated all representations into one standardized property system and made it accessible to all, they could not have specialized and divided labor to create the expanded market network and capital that have produced their present wealth. The inefficiencies of non-Western markets have a lot to do with the fragmentation of their property arrangements and the unavailability of standard representations.
Formal property’s contribution to mankind is not the protection of ownership; squatters, housing organizations, mafias, and even primitive tribes manage to protect their assets quite efficiently. Property’s real breakthrough is that it radically improved the flow of communications about assets and their potential.