Saturday, March 4, 2023
..........consulted with Warren Buffett and learned some things:
(7) If we assume the point of investing is ultimately to improve your quality of life and the quality of life of those you most care about, investments that consistently add stress over long periods of time probably don’t make sense. Money is traded for things or experiences that catalyze certain feelings. If your investments are generating the opposite spectrum of feelings, it might be time to reassess.
It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. Money is a means, not an end.
And in the end, most things matter very, very little. Do what helps you sleep at night and wake up with a low heart rate. To me, those are the hallmarks of a world-class investor who gets the big picture.
But when meaning has been disciplined out of language, and the pride of doing something better than other people banished, and the superficial clarity of being a man or a woman prohibited, and the practical instinct of protection and of self-protection disallowed, and life’s simple practices shamed out of existence—when all these timeless human , all created out of the senses, melt into air, then nothing in our experience will remind us of anything else in our experience, and we will lose the ability to discriminate, to cherish, to judge. Instead of continually expanding our sympathies by helping us to follow the thread of truth through dissimilarity, the moral imagination will shrink to nothing. And then any comparison, and any equivalence, is possible.
-Lee Siegel, from this post
Just about everything researchers understand about resilience and mental well-being suggests that people who feel like they are the chief architects of their own life — to mix metaphors, that they captain their own ship, not that they are simply being tossed around by an uncontrollable ocean — are vastly better off than people whose default position is victimization, hurt, and a sense that life simply happens to them and they have no control over their response.
-as cut-and-pasted from here
Friday, March 3, 2023
...................asks some important questions:
Who are these cringing little wimps whose ‘safety’ requires protection against free speech? What on earth do they think a university is for?
Thursday, March 2, 2023
..........................about William Morris:
|William Morris Strawberry Thief Textile Design 1883|
Morris speaks to us today because, for all his seemingly disparate activities, he was never diffused.
Both practical and idealistic, Morris was prodigious in his output, but, unlike Taylor, output was not his goal.
Morris "believed that eternity resides in the unique detail rather than in some Newtonian world of infinitely reproducible parts."
For Morris, taking pleasure in one's work was the essential ingredient of a good life, and its destruction the main crime perpetrated by the factory system.
Both George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats called Morris a prophet. His genius lay in the totality of his efforts and his ability to see clearly the steep costs of an age that values the material and the efficient above the immeasurable and the human.
-As culled from Maggie Jackson's Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
.............as understood by Joel Kotkin:
“WEF is a sitting target (of misinformation)—very expensive to attend, invitation only,” said Claire Wardle, co-director of the Information Futures Lab at Brown University. “It’s playing out the foundation of every conspiracy theory, which is that the world is being controlled by a secret elite and you’re not part of it.” But suspicions like these misunderstand the problem. A transformation of the world economy occurring, but not because a bunch of elite business, political, and media folk preen on stage while enjoying Swiss comforts. Rather, the world is changing because the tectonic plates governing economics and politics have moved, and they are likely to continue moving.
Not only have we never experienced a Fed trying to fight an inflation problem under an abundant reserve regime, we’ve never seen M2 grow so fast for so long, or decline so rapidly, at least since the Great Depression. If the recent data are accurate, the economy is in for a very rough time in 2023-24. We have already seen some weakness in production reports but are not close to feeling the full brunt of the tighter money that started last year. Investors must be cautious; a storm is headed our way.
-Brian Wesbury, from this post
Older brains aren’t as good at remembering details but they’re very good at recalling the gist of things. So as you get up there in years, you can actually be better at “seeing the forest for the trees.” Just like when it’s difficult to find something on your computer because there are too many files, having too many details can make getting to what’s relevant harder. Older brains can also be better at seeing commonalities between situations and discerning what’s key.
-Eric Barker, from this post
During the decade ending in 2021, the United States Treasury received about $32.3 trillion in taxes while it spent $43.9 trillion.
Though economists, politicians and many of the public have opinions about the consequences of that huge imbalance, Charlie and I plead ignorance and firmly believe that near-term economic and market forecasts are worse than useless. Our job is to manage Berkshire’s operations and finances in a manner that will achieve an acceptable result over time and that will preserve the company’s unmatched staying power when financial panics or severe worldwide recessions occur. Berkshire also offers some modest protection from runaway inflation, but this attribute is far from perfect. Huge and entrenched fiscal deficits have consequences.
The $32 trillion of revenue was garnered by the Treasury through individual income taxes (48%), social security and related receipts (34 1⁄2%), corporate income tax payments (8 1⁄2%) and a wide variety of lesser levies. Berkshire’s contribution via the corporate income tax was $32 billion during the decade, almost exactly a tenth of 1% of all money that the Treasury collected.
And that means – brace yourself – had there been roughly 1,000 taxpayers in the U.S. matching Berkshire’s payments, no other businesses nor any of the country’s 131 million households would have needed to pay any taxes to the federal government. Not a dime.
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Now, what we call technology is simply an array of tools laid out on the bench for us. Technology is therefore a form of wealth. The reason this is important is because the Bible says very little about technology as such, but it gives us a great deal of blunt and pointed teaching on the subject of wealth. If we learn how to deal with wealth scripturally, then we will have learned how to deal with technology. . . .
So if technology is wealth, then we are all surrounded with astounding amounts of it. This is what I refer to as tangible grace. If you have a smartphone, you have more wealth in your pocket than Nebuchadnezzar accumulated over the course of his lifetime. We have a responsibility to turn a profit on these astounding resources—and that is what is meant by productivity. We have a responsibility to do this methodically, deliberately, and intentionally. This is what I mean by ploductivity. This is deliberate faithfulness: working in the same direction over an extended period of time. Our electronic servants may be super fast, but we should be as deliberate as ever.
-Douglas Wilson, Ploductivity: A Practical Theology of Work & Wealth
Now most of us are information-age workers, doers and planners both. No men stand over us with stopwatches. We are our own efficiency experts, relentlessly driving ourselves to do more, ever faster. This relentless quest for productivity drives the nascent but rapidly burgeoning field of "interruption science," which involves the study of the pivot point of multitasking. For multitasking is essentially the juggling of interruptions, the moment when we choose to or are driven to switch from one task to another. And so to dissect and map these moments of broken time is to shed light on how we live today. That emerges, in the jargon of leading interruption scientist Gloria Mark, is a portrait of "work fragmentation." We spend a great deal of our days trying to piece our thoughts and our projects back together, and the result is often an accumulation of broken pieces with a raggedy coherence all its own. After studying workers at two West Coast high-tech firms for more than one thousand hours over the course of a year, Mark sifted the data—and was appalled. The fragmentation of work life, she says, was "far worse that I could ever have imagined."
-Maggie Jackson, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
A rhetorician of times past said that his trade was to make little things appear and be thought great. That's a shoemaker who can make big shoes for a small foot. They would have had him whipped in Sparta for professing a deceitful and lying art. And I believe that Archidamuus, who was king of Sparta, did not hear without astonishment the answer of Thucydides when he asked him who was better in wrestling, Pericles or he: "That," he said, "would be hard to establish; for when I have thrown him in wrestling, he persuades those who saw it happen that he did not fall, and he wins the prize."
-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 51
Through detached noticing, awareness allows an observed flower to reveal more of itself without our intervention. This is true of all things.
Awareness is not a state you force. There is little effort involved, though persistence is key. It's something you actively allow to happen. It is a presence with, and acceptance of, what is happening in the eternal now.
-Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Unless doctors start treating whole people, AI will displace them, and no one will know the difference.
-Steven Goldsmith, from The Profession Formerly Known as Medicine post
Monday, February 27, 2023
I grew up in the age of duck-and-cover. I find it galling that issues such as "safe spaces" in colleges devoid of divergent viewpoints, transgender bathroom policy, and vaccine benefits have ever crossed into the proverbial town square, much less all but crowded-out issues such as nuclear proliferation or America's place in the world. Sometimes it feels as though American policy is pasted together from the random thoughts of the four-year-old product of a biker rally tryst between Bernie Sanders and Marjorie Taylor Green.
-Peter Zeihan, from the Introduction to The End of the World Is Just The Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization
..................but I'll root for this attitude:
“I took the mindset that it was time for us to stop asking for a seat at the table. And we were going to build our own table,” Smith says.
Sunday, February 26, 2023
By the year 2020, every major institution of American culture had converted to the cult of identity.. . . As I have noted elsewhere, the motive force behind the mass conversion of the elites was a longing for control. Identity is a minority sect that imposes itself by shaming and silencing contrary opinions, even among those it purports to protect. Most Blacks don’t wish to defund the police. Most Hispanics don’t believe in open borders. Most Democrats don’t think government programs should discriminate based on race or sex. But old-fashioned liberalism is dying away with the boomer generation, and the elites, distrusted by the public, deprived of institutional authority, have gambled on riding the tiger of rule by internet mob.
-Martin Gurri, from this essay
Twilight cultures begin to show a preference for veneer and form, not depth and content; a stubborn blindness to the consequences of actions; from the leadership on down. In other words, an epidemic erosion of attention is a sure sign of an impending dark age.
-Maggie Jackson, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
Civilisation requires a modicum of material prosperity—enough to provide a little leisure. But, far more, it requires confidence—confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, and confidence in one's own mental powers. . . .Vigour, energy, vitality: all of the great civilisations—or civilising epochs—have had a weight of energy behind them. People sometimes think that civilisation consists of fine sensibilities and good conversation and all that. These can be among the agreeable results of civilization, but they are not what makes civilisation, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid.
-Kenneth Clark, Civilisation
Cutting calories by 25% can slow the rate of aging in humans and lead to a significant reduction in mortality risk, according to a new study from Columbia University.
Every day is April Fools from now on, let’s not get fooled.
-Seth Godin, from this post on the ease of manipulation
People love familiarity. That’s true not just for faces but products, careers, and styles. It’s almost like nature’s risk-management system.
-Morgan Housel, cut-and-pasted from here