Saturday, February 18, 2023

He's back in town..............

Sinatra and friends...................Mack the Knife



 Your real résumé is just a catalog of your suffering.  If I ask you to describe your real life to yourself, and you look back from your deathbed at the interesting things you've done, it's going to be around the sacrifices you made, the hard things you did.

-Naval Ravikant

beyond the bounds.................

All crying, "We will go with you, O Wind!"
The foliage follow him, leaf and stem;
But a sleep oppresses them as they go,
And they end by bidding him stay with them.

Since ever they flung abroad in spring
The leaves had promised themselves this flight,
Who now would fain seek sheltering wall,
Or thicket, or hollow place for the night.

And now they answer his summoning blast
With an ever vaguer and vaguer stir,
Or at utmost a little reluctant whirl
That drops them no further than where they were.

I only hope that when I am free,
As they are free, to go in quest
Of the knowledge beyond the bounds of life
It may not seem better to me to rest.

-Robert Frost, Misgiving

On finding truth.......................

 If you want to navigate life in an astonishingly successful way, you need to find a lot of truths. Truths are hidden all over, across time, geography, culture, and disciplines. Being a snob about your sources of truth is like amputating mental limbs.

-Eric Jorgenson, from this post

Beware the "correct solution".................

 One idea Friedman articulates better than almost anyone else is how advocacy of the market mechanism is (or at least can and should be) rooted in epistemic humility. It’s not just society that is unfathomably complex – the individuals who make up society are also complex and multifaceted ways technocratic policy can never hope to reflect. His advocacy of markets can be paraphrased as “Look, this social problem is extraordinarily complicated. I don’t know what the best solution is. In fact, even talking about a ‘best’ solution may be senseless, because different solutions will work better for different people and different circumstances. The best approach is to let a thousand flowers bloom and give people the space to work out for themselves how to solve their issues in a way best suited to their own needs and desires.” To be a technocrat is to deny that a problem is too complex for you to understand, to believe that there is a “correct” solution, that you in particular know what that solution is, and that you can effectively use policy to implement that solution by altering the behavior of people you’ve never met in ways you can reliably predict. If you reject the simple-society ontology of a naive realist, you see these kinds of claims as incredibly hubristic. But these are the claims one has to make to advocate a technocratic policy.

-Kevin Corcoran, talking about this book:

On becoming.....................

 .................."a scientist of yourself."

Short-term results can undermine long-term development.

Difficulty isn’t a sign that you aren’t learning, but ease is. Sorry.



The moon is a loyal companion.  It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be humanUncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.

-Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Confronting head on...............

 ..............................the community.

Wandering damage.................

 The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.

-as extracted from here

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Monday, February 13, 2023

In the background...................

Fleetwood Mac..........Heroes Are Hard To Find


A missing piece...................

       Clouds never truly disappear.  They change form.  They turn into rain and become part of the ocean, and then evaporate and return to being clouds.

       The same is true of art.

      Art is a circulation of energetic ideas.  What makes them appear new is that they are combined differently each time they come back.  No two clouds are the same.

     This is why, when we are struck by a new piece of art, it can resonate on a deeper level.  Perhaps this is the familiar, coming back to us in an unfamiliar form.  Or maybe it is something unknown that we didn't realize we were looking for.  A missing piece in a puzzle that has no end.

-Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being


      Thus we are quite wont to say, with reason, that events and outcomes depend for the most part, especially in war, on Fortune, who will not fall into line and subject herself to our reason and foresight, as these lines say:       

                    But if you take it rightly, it seems that our counsels and deliberations depend just as much on Fortune, and that she involves our reason also in her confusion and uncertainty.  "We reason rashly and inconsiderately," says Timaeus in Plato, "because like ourselves, our reason has in it a large element of chance."

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 47

Fifty years ago....................

Bob Dylan......Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid soundtrack



 The enemies of those struggling for freedom and democracy are not man. They are discrimination, dictatorship, greed, hatred, and violence, which lie within the heart of man.  These are the real enemies of men - not man himself.

-Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King, Jr, from here

a voice....................

 Open a book and a voice speaks.  A world, more or less alien, or welcoming, emerges to enrich a reader's store of hypotheses about how life is to be understood.

-Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things

A significant economic development project....

     Abraham Lincoln, his best friend Joshua Speed later recalled, said that his highest ambition at the time "was to become the DeWitt Clinton of Illinois."  Clinton, the sixth governor of New York, was the driving force behind the first great American infrastructure project, perhaps the most consequential until the Interstate Highway System - the Erie Canal.  Clinton saw this project as a means of preventing states in the West from detaching themselves from the Union.  The canal would "bind the union together by indissoluble ties" because the people would be "habituated to frequent intercourse and beneficial inter-communication," and all Americans would be "bound together by the golden ties of commerce and the adamantine chains of interest."  The canal, also, and inadvertently, helped to bring down the old order in Europe.  By bringing cheap wheat from America's Great Plains, the canal struck at the roots of Europe's landed aristocracy.  Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York chauvinist, delighted in saying that the canal did more than Europe's socialist movements did to upend Europe's class structure.  Such are the unanticipated caroms of economic forces when they are allowed the freedom to flow.

- George F. Will, The Conservative Sensibility

Editor's note:   Calling Will (or DeWitt Clinton) on some bullshit here.  For all his high-minded talk, one suspects Clinton's real motive was to move goods from Ohio, via the canal and the linked waterways, through the Port of New York.  Prior to the canal, Philadelphia was the leading port and economic driver.  After the canal, that title moved to New York City.

On a related note, the Age of the Canal was very brief - maybe thirty years,  The coming of the railroads, a far more important and consequential "infrastructure project," put the canals out of business fairly quickly.  

Cheating at golf..................

 The benefit of the doubt is priceless. And yet people waste it, every day.

-Seth Godin, from here

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Talking about money............

 So the goal here is to have a healthy relationship with money. You don’t want the porridge to be too hot or too cold, but just right. How do you know when you have a healthy relationship with money? When you no longer stress about money. People who spend too much experience stress—they’re always worried about how to make the next credit card payment. People who spend too little experience stress—they’re agonizing over every penny. The goal is not only not to experience stress about money, but to not even think about it at all. I have an assignment for you: try to go a week without even thinking about money. I bet you can’t do it. It’s a lot harder than you think. Everywhere we go we are bombarded by financial decisions. Shit, the price of gas is high these days. Shit, Chipotle is $20 nowadays. Shit, my HOA dues went up this month. Do any of these things cause you stress? If so, that provides an insight into your psychology.

-Jared Dillian, from this post

Once again........................

...........................................Kevin Kelly

Recipe for success: under-promise and over-deliver.

It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse. It is not a compliment if it comes with a request.

Be governed not by the tyranny of the urgent but by the elevation of the important.

The foundation of maturity: Just because it’s not your fault doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility.

A multitude of bad ideas is necessary for one good idea.

Being wise means having more questions than answers.

Compliment people behind their back. It’ll come back to you.

Most overnight successes — in fact any significant successes — take at least 5 years. Budget your life accordingly.

You are only as young as the last time you changed your mind.

Your best response to an insult is “You’re probably right.” Often they are.

The worst evils in history have always been committed by those who truly believed they were combating evil. Beware of combating evil.

If you can avoid seeking approval of others, your power is limitless.

When brainstorming, improvising, jamming with others, you’ll go much further and deeper if you build upon each contribution with a playful “yes — and” example instead of a deflating “no — but” reply.

Work to become, not to acquire.

On the importance of beer........

 As early as 1650, in England and America, Adams men had made their living as malsters, steeping, drying, sweating, and kilning barley to be fermented into beer.  It was a messy, exacting, labor-intensive business at which Samuel Adams Sr. had splendidly succeeded.  At the time of his son's birth, the family occupied a stately home on what is today Purchase Street, with a commanding ocean view, an observatory, a wharf that bore the family name, various outbuildings, and an orchard.  The estate fronted Boston's sparkling harbor; a garden sloped to the shore.  Even a non-admirer was impressed.  Samuel Adams Sr. had - in an intricate business, practiced on a modest scale, supplying Boston housewives with the malt with which they brewed beer - "accumulated a surprising amount of money."

-Stacy Schiff, The Revolutionary Samuel Adams


      He closed on a note of Wilsonian laissez faire.  "I hope the Doctor does not think there is anything seriously the matter with your sister.  Do not let him do much to her.  I am more afraid of remedies than diseases."

-Walter Bagehot, from a November 22, 1857 letter

Fifty years ago........................

ZZ Top..........................................Tres Hombres



In my own personal experience, the place I end up the most is wanting to be at peace.

Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion.  You can convert peace into happiness anytime you want.  But peace us what you want most of the time.  If you're a peaceful person, anything you do will be a happy activity.

Today, the way we think you get peace is by resolving all your external problems.  But there are unlimited external problems.  

The only way to actually get peace on the inside is by giving up this idea of problems. 

-The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Can I get an Amen.........................?

 It is our theory that the people own the government, not that the government should own the people.

-attributed to Calvin Coolidge

Breathe deeply..................

     On July 5, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge, who was born of the Fourth of July, 1872, spoke in Philadelphia to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  Coolidge was more learned than his cultured despisers know and more learned than most of them are.  He translated Dante's Inferno as a wedding gift for his wife, he read Cicero in Latin, and there is no extant evidence that he ever said "the business of America is business."  That day in Philadelphia he spoke "to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound."  The founding of the United States, he said, represented a "new civilization...a new spirit...more developed in its regard for the rights of the individual" than any in Europe.  Coolidge said "life in a new and open country" had given rise to "aspirations which could not be realized in any subordinate position."  These aspirations. "decreed by the very laws of human nature," testified to the fact that "man everywhere has an unconquerable desire to be the master of his own destiny."  The Declaration's "great truths were in the air" Americans breathed.

-George F. Will,  The Conservative Sensibility