Boundless Reads #116
Greetings from Connecticut! Enjoy this weeks reads.
#1 Ikigai: There is a popular four section map of a Japanese concept that includes the element "what you can be paid for" that always seemed a bit off. Luckily Kyle Kowalski explores the truth behind it all in a fun to read deep dive on the concept:
“Japanese dictionaries define ikigai in such terms as ikiru hariai, yorokobi, meate(something to live for, the joy and goal of living) and ikite iru dake no neuchi, ikite inu kōfuku, rieki (a life worth living, the happiness and benefit of being alive).”
His blog is very much worth a deep dive if you have the time.
#2 Epistemic Learned Helplessness: Scott Alexander on what we should believe:
What finally broke me out wasn’t so much the lucidity of the consensus view so much as starting to sample different crackpots.
#3 YouTube & Politics: This New York Times story was fascinating for the quality of visual reporting and the fact that they share the story of a person who got obsessed with right-wing thinking, but now seems equally as caught up in left-wing thinking:
Near the end of our interview, I told Mr. Cain that I found it odd that he had successfully climbed out of a right-wing YouTube rabbit hole, only to jump into a left-wing YouTube rabbit hole. I asked if he had considered cutting back on his video intake altogether, and rebuild some of his offline relationships.
He hesitated, and looked slightly confused. For all of its problems, he said, YouTube is still where political battles are fought and won. Leaving the platform would essentially mean abandoning the debate.
I sometimes get skeptical when I read articles like this because of how charged politics is right now and the incentives to report in such a sensationalized way.
#4 Prestige Economy: I've been thinking a lot about how we give and receive prestige in the modern world and how we often use money as a proxy for prestige. I think prestige hierarchies (rather than dominance/power hierarchies) do a better job of mapping reality than other ways of looking at power and status.
If dominance is the kind of status we get from intimidating others, prestige is the kind of status we get from doing impressive things or having impressive traits or skills.
#5 Tienanmen: What really happened 30 years ago in China?