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April 13, 2020

Curated ideas, articles, questions, and music delivered to your inbox.

Links to Expand the Mind

1. Intentional Consequences. Never waste a good crisis. The seemingly unintentional side effects of policy decisions during a crisis, may not be so unintentional after all. Perhaps they are just made to seem that way. The public is more likely to accept bad outcomes if they appear to be the result of unplanned consequences than choreographed policy.

2. Finding the Way. Human beings are endowed with ancient skills that we no longer exercise with regularity. We are historic wayfinders, mapping vast terrain in our minds by remembering landmarks, star maps, and even the winds. Modern people have forgotten this birthright, and even have trouble following GPS guidance. Our brains are made for more, and maybe we should do more exploring of natural landscapes to uncover our native skills.

Passing Thoughts & Ideas

1. The collective narratives that elucidated contention between individuals are fracturing and dissipating. Individuals that have been honing their own voices are now able to speak openly as contributors in a free interchange of ideas.

Each offering something unique; standing alongside one another without contest. Locality of perceptions.

Collective narratives must compete. Individual narratives can coexist.

People can be many things at once. You may not like some of those things or the incongruence between them. However we should not dismiss a person for their inconsistency. You don’t have to embrace them fully, but dismissing them altogether leaves you blind to the value they offer.

2. Being technically correct is admirable in closed systems. But in open systems one can and should sacrifice technical correctness for something truer.

A true musician can ascend to new heights by breaking the rules. They transcend the need to be technically correct by being expressively correct. It’s the difference between being factually accurate and truthfully accurate. We abide by facts, but can be in awe of truth.

3. The odd thing about growth is that it’s more or less a matter of letting go than succeeding at getting something. The economic lens make us think through the hue of success thru acquisition. We “invest” time or money into getting better. Our psychology maps differently though.

Better analogies to growth are releasing an anchor, burning off dead wood, or shedding one’s skin. Development is evident when the things that bother us dissipate into nothingness and are forgotten because they have diminished authority over our minds.

Growth doesn’t come when you figure out an answer to your problem. Growth exists when you no longer associate with the problem or answer.

4. Our focus shouldn’t be to adapt to a “new normal”. Both a phrase and idea I detest. This makes you endlessly vulnerable to the changing dynamics of reality. We should focus on becoming as dynamic as reality itself. Able to contend with anything we are confronted with.

5. Theory on the center of the individual and the body’s adapted response: When asked where in your body “you” reside, most modern people will point to their head. This hasn’t always been the case. In the past, people would pick the heart or chest as their center.

I suspect this difference in perception has a physiological impact on how we feel and carry our bodies. When the head is perceived as our center the locus of bodily function moves upward. Breathing happens in the chest. Our shoulders and upper back carry upward tension.

People forget the connection they have to the ground, through their feet. The whole body experiences the head as the center of gravity. When the heart or torso is perceived as our center the area from which we control the body is much lower.

Breathing happens in the belly. The tension in our backs and shoulders is pulling down and back. We reconnect our center with hips and down thru our feet. Our bodily gravity is experienced through the solar plexus.

The whole body is subconsciously drawn to the place where “you” reside and acts accordingly.

6. It took 2-3 years to sink in, but I think my close following of Jordan Peterson from a few years ago created a permanent psychological shift giving religious context to my life.

I don’t consider myself religious in any traditional sense or practice, but I am informed by a deep religious substrate that hasn’t always been there. The ability to reconceptualize what words like god, faith, belief, and sacrifice released me from the bind of Catholicism and subsequent atheism that followed.

It’s been an equally conscious and subconscious process of breaking down the old structures and remaking the individualized relationship I have to these concepts. An ongoing, individuated psychological development of sorts.

The process has of religious development is not something to be “acted out”, but lived out. It’s the difference between going to church to confess your sins every week and actively making changes to live with humility, acceptance, courage, and kindness.

It’s taken me a long time to understand that I don’t need to find a conduit to god. I am a conduit to god. (I am aware that the concepts others have of these words will lead to misunderstanding of what I actually mean by this.)

Potent Quotes

1. "To imitate Christ is to do everything to avoid being imitated" — Rene Girard

2. "It is not given to human beings—happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable—to foresee or to predict to any large extend the unfolding course of events" — Winston Churchill

3. "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees." — John Muir

Questions that Liberate

Where in your body is your center? Where do "you" reside?

Offering for the Rock Gods

Rock and Roll may be down, but it's not out. Here are some offerings to the Rock Gods in the hopes that this profound art makes a strong resurgence:

Did My Best by The Voidz

Clay Pigeons by John Prine

Still The Same by Bob Seger

Afraid of Everyone by The National

The Chain by Fleetwood Mac

Trapped (Live '85) by Bruce Springsteen
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