#133: Girard, Fifth Estate & Hope
Greetings from Taiwan! I’m taking a couple weeks off to travel around Asia with my mom, aunt and uncle. Be back for Thanksgiving reads!
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#1 The Fifth Estate
The mainstream coverage of Facebook has been vicious, but Ben Thompson offers a different, broader perspective saying that Mark Zuckerberg may be pulling from history in trying to convince people that they are a “fifth estate” and are part of a broader shift from the nation state to individuals similar to how the printing press helped shift power from the chuech
#2 Secrets about People: An Intro to René Girard
Alex Danco | 31 Minutes
Deep dive into the thinking & writing of Rene Girard and how these forces are shaping our world in the digital sphere
The more we understand about the world around us, the less it seems we understand about people and the way they are. This post is an introduction to one man, named René Girard, who bucked this trend: his perception of the nature of behaviour is like a laser that goes right to the core of the human condition. We watch and learn by copying others, and the most important thing we learn from others is desire. Girard understood something important about desire; so did Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, and so do Kanye West and Donald Trump. This secret, once you understand it, will challenge you.
#3 Revisiting Simone de Beauvoir
What would de Beuvoir say about today’s economic opportunities?
fiscal work is no guarantee of women’s freedom, caring for and being cared for by others is a central part of what makes us human, and without care and caring human beings struggle to thrive.
#4 Manufactured Hopelessness
David Graeber continues to share a completely unique perspective. In Bullshit Jobs and Utopia of Rules, Graeber wrote at length about under-discussed parts of our modern world - how complexity and modernity results in a type of “spiritual violence” against our ability to dream, hope and imagine better futures. This essay similarly talks about how our systems and institutions crush our desire to dream:
If we really want to understand this situation, we have to begin by understanding that the last thirty years have seen the construction of a vast bureaucratic apparatus for the creation and maintenance of hopelessness, a kind of giant machine that is designed, first and foremost, to destroy any sense of possible alternative futures.
I don’t think this is the whole picture, but I don’t think its talked enough about, how so many people seem to have their dreams thwarted.
#5 Advice From The 80-Year Old Vice Chair Of Blackstone
I always pay attention when older people are sharing their life lessons. A bit obsessed with work (“never retire”) but I liked these two:
Younger people are naturally insecure and tend to overplay their accomplishments. Most people don’t become comfortable with who they are until they’re in their 40’s. By that time they can underplay their achievements and become a nicer, more likeable person. Try to get to that point as soon as you can.
& find younger people to mentor:
When your children are grown or if you have no children, always find someone younger to mentor. It is very satisfying to help someone steer through life’s obstacles, and you’ll be surprised at how much you will learn in the process.
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