caring about someone else as much as or more than oneself.
These, of course, are the kinds of vows young people feel comfortable making when they have no idea what life has in store for them.
Sam hated being told to “fight,” as if sickness were a character failing. Illness could not be defeated, no matter how hard you fought, and pain, once it had you in its grasp, was transformational.
Long relationships might be richer, but relatively brief, relatively uncomplicated encounters with interesting people could be lovely as well. Every person you knew, every person you loved even, did not have to consume you for the time to have been worthwhile.
It is to acknowledge that love is both a constant and a variable at the same time.
You couldn’t be old and still be wrong about as many things as she’d been wrong about, and it was a kind of immaturity to call yourself old before you were.
Alexis de Tocqueville:
submitted to complete isolation; but this absolute solitude, if nothing interrupts it, is beyond the strength of man; it destroys the criminal without intermission and without pity; it does not reform, it kills
The entirety of hell is contained in one word: solitude.
Oh, you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it; you may be sure that the highest moment of his happiness was, perhaps, exactly three days before the discovery of the New World, when the mutinous crew in their despair almost the ship back to Europe, right around! The New World is not the point here, it can just as well perish … The point is in life, in life alone – in discovering it, constantly and eternally, and not at all in the discovery itself!
One can endlessly recite “Do as I say, not as I do,” but it won’t change the underlying reality that once there’s an alarming chasm between words and actions, one’s ability to persuade becomes negligible. And so it is that corporate slogans and values frequently turn laughable after being revealed as little more than a random amalgamation of benign, positive words inconsistent with actions on the ground. It’s less a bluff than wishful thinking. Good corporate culture is a worthy goal; achieving that type of environment is definitely challenging; designing corporate values feels like doing something to this difficult end; and maybe if the words are repeatedly emphasized, the desired culture will magically appear.
Of course that won’t work. Of course the foundation of any culture is actual behavior. Of course how leaders act sets the tone for everyone else. So of course being a member of your team was constantly enjoyable. It begins with your geniality. When you are, say, in the office, everything is just a bit better. I would be genuinely disappointed if meetings with you were cancelled, as I always had a feeling of Nice! I get to talk with xxxxxxxxx (in stark contrast with the many who are condemned to having to talk with a boss).
is yet another instance where we opt for convenience over all else. It has become both our culture’s master value and its greatest temptation. “Productivity” and “getting back time” and “making my life less stressful” and “enjoyment” are the most common defenses for convenience: all reasonable defenses. But then what with all the time? You never have to leave the house so you can do what exactly? Are you actually more capable of filling that time well when your creative skills have eroded from all the external creative solutions? Isn’t something ineffable being missed?
- Sonic 2
- The Dark Forest // Liu Cixin
- Death’s End // Liu Cixin
- The Deep Places // Ross Douthat
- Amusing Ourselves to Death // Neil Postman
- Recursion // Blake Crouch
- Crossroads // Jonathan Franzen
- Radical // Every Time I Die
- Prioritize Pleasure // Self Esteem
- Fortitude // Gojira
- Metamorphosis // Cloud Cult
- The Fall of Ideals // All That Remains
- Welcome to Horrowwood // Ice Nine Kills
- WE // Arcade Fire
- Will of the People // Muse
- Fred again…
- Harry Mack
- Midnights // Taylor Swift
- Alpha Zulu // Phoenix
Pause. Don’t instantly follow. There is probably a better way. Ask. Look. Test. Lines are chances to prove your on-the-fly thinking prowess. Begin by not being upset about the line. If you do that, your mind will narrow to negativity. You need an expansion to fully tap your powers.
- “What do you think of the service here?”
- “Do you usually find rooms to be so noisy?”
- “Why do you want to work here?”
- “What are ten words your spouse or partner or friend would use to describe you?”
- “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done?”
- “If you joined and then in three to six months you were no longer here, why would that be?” (Ask the same question about five years as well, and see how the two answers differ.)
- “How did you prepare for this interview?”
- “What did you like to do as a child?”
- “Did you feel appreciated at your last job? What was the biggest way in which you did not feel appreciated?”
- “Who are our competitors?”
- “What are the open tabs on your browser right now?”
- “What have you achieved that is unusual for your peer group?”
- “What is one view held by the mainstream or as a consensus that you wholeheartedly agree with?”
- “Which of your beliefs are you least rational about?” (Or maybe better yet: “What views do you hold religiously, almost irrationally?”)
- “Which of your beliefs are you most likely wrong about?”
- “How do you think this interview is going?”
- “How successful do you want to be?” (A variant is: “How ambitious are you?”)
- “What would you be willing to trade to achieve your career goals?” Or “How do you think about the trade-offs that might be required to achieve your career goals?”
- “In the context of the workplace, what does the concept of ‘sin’ really mean? And how does it differ from a mere mistake? Can you illustrate this from the experience of one of your co-workers?”
- “In which ways might a Skype or Zoom call be more informative than a person-to-person interaction?”
- “In what ways are you not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get]?”
- “Is this person so good that you would happily work for them?”
- “Can this person get you where you need to be way faster than any reasonable person could?”
- ‘When this person disagrees with you, do you think it will be as likely you are wrong as they are wrong?”
- “How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on X? … And why is that rating the right number for you?”
- Something about revealed preferences in their past lifetime.
Lonely people tend rather to be lonely because they decline to bear the emotional costs associated with being around other humans.
Now, seeming unwatched in front of a TV camera is a genuine art. Take a look at how civilians act when a TV camera is pointed at them: they simply spaz out, or else go all rigor mortis. Even PR people and politicians are, camera-wise, civilians. And we love to laugh at how stiff and false non-professionals appear, on television. How unnatural. But if you’ve ever once been the object of that terrible blank rpound glass stare, you know all too well how self-consious it makes you. A haried guy with earphones and a clipboard tells you to “act natural” as your face begins to leap around on your skull, struggling got a seemingly unwatched expression that feels impossible because “stemming unwatched” is, like the “act natural” which fathered it, oxymoronic. Try driving a golf ball as someone asks yo y whether you in- or exhale on your backswing, to getting promised lavish rewards if you van avoid thinking of a rhinoceros for ten seconds, and you’ll get some idea of the truly heroic contortions of body and mind that must be required for Don Johnson to act unwatched as he’s watched by a lens that’s an overwhkemniung emlbelm of what Emerson, years before TV, called “the gaze of millions.”
is solid enough advice if it is given divorced from external outcomes. Because, yes, it will be hard to ever be internally tranquil if your social persona is critically divergent from your “true self.” But out in the world, no, “being yourself” guarantees you nothing. Maybe you come across as more “authentic” or “at ease.” So? That doesn’t mean any external problems will be solved by you really being you. What if your “true self” sucks? Is super weird? Cares about things society ignores? Ignores markers society deeply values?
What is true here is probably true for many bits of cliche advice: if you only want to follow the wisdom because you think it will get you something, the wisdom won’t prove all that wise.