This One Will Be Controversial—Weekly Wisdom 31st August 2021

Also on simple solutions for ‘complex’ problems and privilege of checking-out of society.

Hello Everyone

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.

Hello Subscribers, New & Old. How are y’all doing? Reply with how your week went. This week I’d like to share:

On to the main event.

This week’s quotes & notes:

Charlie Brooker was Right

Charlie Brooker is an English TV writer and critic. Popular for his sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, he also created and hosted the media criticism shows Screenwipe and Newswipe. A theme that is present in all his work is that people, as a whole, are vain sadists. He did not predict Instagram and Twitter witch hunts, but he came close. I would recommend.

This quote is not by Brooker. It is by a culprit publicly shamed during the peak of #MeToo. By his own admission he was responsible for a lot of the actions reported in the media. But what I am interested in is the punishment. The punishment has nothing to do with the culprit, but the public’s capacity for sadism. The crime is irrelevant, we just need an excuse to exact societal revenge. The victims are victimized more so in this process. Nobody wants their pain to be just a cudgel for the mob to live out its violent sadists.

I don’t engage with the shaming because it feels impenetrable, monolithic, all-consuming. It is an essentialist defining document that says my soul is forever bad and wrong and anyone who says otherwise has been tricked.


I am not linking to the guy, because quoting him is controversial enough.

Walking Away

Oshan Jarrow writes about the capitalistic nature of the Universal Basic Income. This passage illustrates how walking away is a privilege not a right in a Capitalist society. You can talk about pricing, free markets in everything, but being part of society, being a consumer, is not a choice for most of us.

As technology globalizes capitalist cultural conditions, the capacity to ‘drop out’ is an illusion of privilege. For most, society is not an optional game, but a mandatory set and setting for their ordinary consciousness.

—Oshan Jarow, Universal Basic Income and the Capitalist Production of Consciousness

Chill out, whatchu’ yellin’ for

Most of your problems are simple, and so are their slutions. Yet businesses bombard you with messages telling you that your problems are complex. And that they require complicated solutions. Nat Eliason writes a great essay on the decomplicating our world.

As humans, we’re not good at making tradeoffs. We’re tired, but we also want to sleep less than 8 hours. We want to be thin, but we also want to eat Oreos. We want to save money, but we also want to go out drinking.

The solution to not being tired is extremely simple: sleep 8 hours with minimal stimulation and don’t take too many stimulants. But we don’t want that to be the answer. We want to throw back our venti lattes and watch late night TV in bed and live an 18-20 hour day, so we look for magical sleep aids, stimulants, and other silver bullets to compress our comatose period from 8 hours to 6 or 4.

—Nat Eliason, Decomplication: How to Find Simple Solutions to “Hard” Problems

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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