The Choice of Optimism—Weekly Wisdom 6th June 2021

And the difference between a jugaar and an innovation.

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.

I am working hard on the part 2 of my decentralized search engine series. The marketing efforts for my startup, MakThis are also ramping up. So yet another week without a new blog post.

So on to the main event…

Optimism vs Hope

Hope is not a ‘positive’ emotion. The worst action are justified on the basis of hope. Hopeful people are just as capable of evil as the fearful and angry. Optimism is not just.

Optimism should not be mistaken for hope. As political activist Barbara Ehrenreich states in her 2009 book Smile or Die: “Hope is an emotion, a yearning, the experience of which is not entirely within our control. Optimism is a cognitive stance, a conscious expectation, which presumably anyone can develop through practice.”

—Danah Abdulla, Against Performative Positivity


The great sin of late-stage capitalism is abstraction of the processes. This quote from Kai brach hits on that issue.

Only division of labour makes our highly specialised occupations possible: humans can float through space because rocket scientists don’t have to spend their days looking for food. Our modern lives just make our interdependence very abstract. I mean, who really thinks about their reliance on farmers during their weekly grocery shop? I don’t; I just expect there to be food on the shelves.

Kai Brach, Dense Discovery 134 / The illusion of self-reliance

Jugaar vs Innovation

In the sub-continent we have the jugaar(or jugaad if you are Indian) culture; Using ingenious solutions using everyday technology. The jugaari archetype is often characterized as a ‘trickster’. However, these people are not much different than inventors and innovators in the global north. We just lack the myth of the Heroic Inventor and the obsessive worship of innovation. This quote is a great summary of this culture.

human beings in the Global South live with technologies too. Which ones? Where do they come from? How are they produced, used, repaired? Yes, novel objects preoccupy the privileged, and can generate huge profits. But the most remarkable tales of cunning, effort, and care that people direct toward technologies exist far beyond the same old anecdotes about invention and innovation.

All Hail the Maintainers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.