Make Better Decisions by Challenging Your Expectations
In a world without future, each parting of friends is a death. In a world without future, each loneliness is final. In a world without future, each laugh is the last laugh. In a world without future, beyond the present lies nothingness, and people cling to the present as if hanging from a cliff.
This means that being understanding is not only, and perhaps not first and foremost, an intellectual virtue. Instead, it is largely a moral virtue. It’s to do with how we approach others, with the way we listen, with how accepting, empathic and helpful we are.
“Every man of genius who writes history,” he maintained, “infuses into it, perhaps unconsciously, the character of his own spirit. His characters . . . seem to have only one manner of thinking and feeling, and that is the manner of the author.” When we listen to a tale, we need to take into account the teller.
This year of stillness and retreat has made it plain that time is not an empty thing we have to fill but a living thing that we must shape.
We discipline our lives by the time on the clock. Our working lives and wages are determined by it, and often our “free time” is rigidly managed by it too. Broadly speaking, even our bodily functions are regulated by the clock: We usually eat our meals at appropriate clock times as opposed to whenever we are hungry, go to sleep at appropriate clock times as opposed to whenever we are tired and attribute more significance to the arresting tones of a clock alarm than the apparent rising of the sun at the center of our solar system. The fact that there is a strange shame in eating lunch before noon is a testament to the ways in which we have internalized the logic of the clock. We are “time binding” animals, as the American economist and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin put it in his 1987 book, “Time Wars.” “All of our perceptions of self and world are mediated by the way we imagine, explain, use and implement time.”
The official figures that economists track—think of GDP or employment—come with lags of weeks or months and are often revised dramatically. Productivity takes years to calculate accurately. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that central banks are flying blind.
So a fair summary of Instagram according to Instagram might go like this: Here is a fun product that millions of people seem to love; that is unwholesome in large doses; that makes a sizable minority feel more anxious, more depressed, and worse about their bodies; and that many people struggle to use in moderation.
Enduring love is not some kind of cosmic switch, turned on once and for all by mysterious forces. Rather, it is a dial that we can turn up over time by the commitments we choose to make and keep to one another. Romantic love is very much like any other important pursuit: Success comes from our ongoing effort; satisfaction from a job well done.
The difference is subtle but potent. While intelligence gives you specific utility, wisdom inspires flexible versatility. It provides a more textured lens for interacting with reality, very much changing how you think.
The bitcoin value chain is fascinating really
All that means is that it’s hard to quantify the impact my name has had on my life. No, it hasn’t ruined it – I’m in a good job, in a great city, doing something I enjoy. But still, it’s hard not to play Sliding Doors in your head, and wonder what life might have looked like for Adam rather than Amit.
“Fear of the Central Bank of Nigeria is the beginning of wisdom,”
One way to begin understanding complex systems is by describing them in detail: mapping out their parts, their multiple interactions, and how they change through time
Someone asked me once where I thought my resilience came from. I hesitated, then said, “For women, too often, I think what we mistake as resilience is actually just endurance.”
The moral philosopher Peter Singer once proposed a famous thought experiment: You see a child drowning in a pond. Do you jump in after her? Even if you didn’t push her in? Even if you’re wearing an expensive suit or dress? The socially acceptable answer to the question is you ruin your suit to save the child. But ordinary people with plentiful savings justify ignoring the deaths of children every day, even when the opportunity to save them is as close as an Internet connection.