We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.
Peter Thiel, expressing his dissatisfaction with technology’s progress, recently noted, ‘We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.’ Do you agree with him?
I feel sorry for Peter Thiel. Did he really want flying cars? Flying cars are not a very efficient way to move things from one point to another. On the other hand, 20 years ago we had the idea that information could become available at your fingertips. We got that done. Now everyone takes it for granted that you can look up movie reviews, track locations, and order stuff online. I wish there was a way we could take it away from people for a day so they could remember what it was like without it.
What if money didn’t matter - Alan Watts
—Love Is Everything
We live in a society where romantic love is idealized: if we search long enough, we will find “the one,” the soulmate who is perfect for us, who will grow and change at the exact same rate we do, who loves us exactly as we are and never expects us to change, who always wants us sexually, never has bad breath or gets grouchy, and is perfectly desirable in every way. We expect our partner to fully meet us on an intellectual, physical, sexual, and spiritual basis; to be our lover, best friend, a companion, confidante, confessor, therapist, and family, all rolled into one. This sets up monumental expectations which all of us invariably fall short of.
Laura Davis in Allies in Healing
Song: “Love Is Everything” by Jane Siberry
“It’s not about passion. Passion is something that we tend to overemphasize, that we certainly place too much importance on. Passion ebbs and flows. To me, it’s about desire. If you have constant, unwavering desire to be a cook, then you’ll be a great cook. If it’s only about passion, sometimes you’ll be good and sometimes you won’t. You’ve got to come in every day with a strong desire. With passion, if you see the first asparagus of the springtime and you become passionate about it, so much the better, but three weeks later, when you’ve seen that asparagus every day now, passions have subsided. What’s going to make you treat the asparagus the same? It’s the desire.”
We want to believe in talent. As Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “What people would like is that a coward or a hero be born that way.”, knowing that it protects us by degrading the very achievements that it pretends to elevate; magically separating us from those that are great athletes, ensuring that we are incompatible with them; and relieving those of us who are not excellent of responsibility for our own condition. “To call someone ‘divine’” Friedrich Nietzche once wrote, “means ‘Here we do not have to compete.’” In the mystified notion of talent, the unanalyzed pseudo-explanation of outstanding performance, we codify our own deep psychological resistance to the simple reality of the world, to the overwhelming mundanity of excellence.
Daniel Chambliss, The Mundanity Of Excellence
Excellence, Chambliss shows us in his study of great swimmers, does not arise from talent — usually discovered only after athletes begin to win regularly — nor from hard work, as he found by comparing the routines of the great and not-so-great. Excellence comes from deliberate practice:
the doing of actions, ordinary in themselves, performed consistently and carefully, habitualized, compounded together, added up over time. While these actions are “quantitatively different” from those of performers at other levels, these differences are neither unmanageable nor, taken one step at a time, terribly difficult.
Ignacy Paderewski, the musician, once said, ‘Before I was a genius, I was a drudge.’
So, be aware that ‘talent’ is an afterthought, and working ‘hard’ is optics. The tie that connects those involved in great work is their focus on their process, their obsession on deliberate practice: writing every morning before work, swimming the laps with the hands and feet just so, or playing the same concerto, very carefully but with brio, 100 times.
The most important takeaway is to work on your practice: it is a tool above all others, and one that we use to shape ourselves, a tiny bit every day.
The next generation will turn out to be alright. I have faith.
“Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.”
More I read about Larry Page, more I like him. Right person to lead Google.
Yes, you read it right and it’s not from Onion. Kinda like, you buy a car, the dealer locks it and to unlock it you now have to pay the dealer or go to jail. Corporations win, consumers lose. Asinine.
Subsidy model is disconnected from the actual purchase of the phone. Subsidies work better for carriers since they can hide the cost. Bet nobody knows how much they’re paying for the actual subsidy ($650-$199). I can bet it’s more Pawn shop rates rather than Bank rates. Why not charge real price and offer financing (la T-mobile)? But that’s too transparent for most carriers.
Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.
When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.