Because the light was on—Weekly Wisdom 21st September, 2021

Also, steering ships via currents, the easy access of lies, and how nothing has changed.

Hello Subscribers, New and Old.

Welcome to Weekly Wisdom, your weekly dose of highlights, quotes and notes from my notebook. If you would like to receive this in your inbox, subscribe now.

Today I’d like to share:

  • Humanity Lives For Trash: The amount of waste we accumulate is impossible to comprehend for a normal human brain. It is as if we are living to produce garbage.

On to the main event.

This week’s quotes, notes and media.

Fly like the Current

On a given day, you are bombarded with useless, irrelevant information. Fads, fashions, trends, etc. that seem important in the moment, but fizzle out within years, if not month.

Marketer and Blogger Seth Godin uses the sea-faring metaphor to illustrate how focusing on long-term goals is important.

On a river, it’s the current that will move the canoe far more than the wind will. But the wind distracts us.

Back on land, the current looks like the educational industrial complex, or the network effect or the ratchet of Moore’s Law and the cultural trends that last for decades. The current is our persistent systems of class and race and gender, and the powerful industrial economy. It can be overcome, but it takes focused effort.

On the other hand, the wind is the breaking news of the moment, the latest social media sensation and the thin layer of hype that surrounds us. It might be a useful distraction, but our real work lies in overcoming the current, or changing it.

—Seth Godin, The current and the wind

The truth putting on its boots

This article from Current Affairs is really about access; the lies are a lot more accessible than the truth. Even before paywalls, Facebook, Youtube, et al prioritize quantity over quality. And lies outnumber the truth by an infinity.

This means that a lot of the most vital information will end up locked behind the paywall. And while I am not much of a New Yorker fan either, it’s concerning that the Hoover Institute will freely give you Richard Epstein’s infamous article downplaying the threat of coronavirus, but Isaac Chotiner’s interview demolishing Epstein requires a monthly subscription, meaning that the lie is more accessible than its refutation.

—Nathan J Robinson, The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free

The Polish Joke

Comedian Norm Macdonald passed way last week. Everyone shared their favorite night show appearances of Norm on social media. He had a penchant for long set ups for his punchlines. He was well read, but acted the fool. He was hilarious. This is my favorite Norm Macdonald joke, a precursor to the much more popular ‘moth joke’.

I also recommend this essay from nerdwriter1.

Nothing has changed

This essay was written in April 11, 2020. Right at the beginning of The Pandemic. Before all the death, and vaccines. And yet we are having the same conversation. It’s as if the this disaster of leadership has not taught us anything. We are still stuck in 2019.

Unfortunately, screaming is also unhelpful right now. You can’t fight an epidemic just by being aggressively right about it. Shaming your friends isn’t the best way to get them to change their behavior fast. Shaming and blaming people might make you feel better in the short term, and it sometimes works in the long term, when people have had time to go away and think about it and calm down…Because right now and in the decades to come, our biggest problems as a species are going to be the problems we can’t solve without trusting each other to do the right thing.

—Laurie Penny, Panic, Pandemic, and the Body Politic

Thank you for joining me this week. If you know some who might enjoy this, please forward this email to them. See you next week.

Mudassir Chapra

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