coromandal


not a leader
August 16, 2014, 6:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , ,

To be a leader – in this view below – you must: see yourself, rule yourself, see others, act altruistically, and organize people. There’s a heavy emphasis on charisma, self and action, and a cursory mention of others.

Curiously no mention at all of knowledge or vision: in this view what you know of yourself is more important than what you know of the world. So much so that knowledge of the world isn’t even mentioned. Is this a case of “the worst  / Are full of passionate intensity”?  Charisma is all you need in the age of sheep.

I think a leader pulls us into new places. The rope attached to a dog’s collar is a lead. The whole purpose is wagging your tail on the way to the new place.

Calvino describes the “agile… poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times – noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring – belongs to the realm of death.” A leader pulls us up to a place of lightness and life.

The fatally incomplete list:

What Makes a Leader? Daniel Goleman



where notable individuals live (and die)

A fantastic mapping of centers of intellectual life in Europe. All Rome until the 18th C when England and Europe explodes into life. It would be fascinating to add schools of thought into this research / visualization. Also, a 20th century map would be instructive to see what ideas are controlling – or freeing – us today.

From CITYLAB, What We Can and Can’t Learn From 2,000 Years of Migration Data for ‘Western Intellectuals’, Researchers recently compiled birth and death data for famous North Americans and Europeans, Mark Byrnes:

Rome was the center of western culture from the Roman Empire to the 1700s, while Paris gained international prominence soon after. Once the industrial revolution took hold, the United Kingdom saw an explosive amount of migration into its cities, as seen in blinding white lights.

The more deaths than births of ‘notable individuals’ a city has, the more likely it serves as a hub for such people. A good example would be Hollywood, a place that, the researchers note, saw more than 10 times as many deaths as births among the names studied. The western world’s ‘notable individuals’ of the 14th century died an average distance of 133 miles from their birth city. But thanks to cars and planes, today’s now die an average of 237 miles from where they were born.

From YouTube:

This video depicts European birth to death network dynamics 0 to 2012 CE according to “deceased persons” in Freebase.com. The video was first published as Movie S1 in the article “A Network Framework of Cultural History” by Schich et al. in Science Magazine on August 1, 2014.

In the current video, the dynamically applied color scheme indicates birth sources (blue) and death attractors (red). Individuals in the videos appear as particles gravitating towards their death locations, indicating collective directions of flow. The video is rendered with one frame per year at 30 frames per second. Further characterization of the movie content is given in the Schich at al. paper.

Data / Video Copyright: Maximilian Schich and Mauro Martino, 2014



learn remorselessness

Is business to do good and do well, follow rules, keep obligations, listen to your conscience, be loyal, have a sense of commonweal, think long term, be thoughtful?

Or is it a terrifying place, with a devastating pace, where people are reckless, ruthless, predatory, and thieving, are remorseless, think only of short term gains, have no regrets, are disruptive? Schumpeter’s gale.

It’s a choice. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.

From Jill Lepore, The New Yorker:

The upstarts who work at startups don’t often stay at any one place for very long. (Three out of four startups fail. More than nine out of ten never earn a return.) They work a year here, a few months there—zany hours everywhere. They wear jeans and sneakers and ride scooters and share offices and sprawl on couches like Great Danes. Their coffee machines look like dollhouse-size factories.
They are told that they should be reckless and ruthless. Their investors, if they’re like Josh Linkner, tell them that the world is a terrifying place, moving at a devastating pace. “Today I run a venture capital firm and back the next generation of innovators who are, as I was throughout my earlier career, dead-focused on eating your lunch,” Linkner writes. His job appears to be to convince a generation of people who want to do good and do well to learn, instead, remorselessness. Forget rules, obligations, your conscience, loyalty, a sense of the commonweal. If you start a business and it succeeds, Linkner advises, sell it and take the cash. Don’t look back. Never pause. Disrupt or be disrupted.

The Disruption Machine, Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

 

 



Incredulity, not docility

An inquiring mind, one that challenges authority, and has a mentoring relationship with teachers

vs

A soft compliant mind.

The Common Core debate is important not simply because of the standards’ immediate effects on pupils, but because it offers us an opportunity to ask the biggest questions about our education system: What should be the guiding ethos of public education in a democratic society? What are we preparing students for, other than participation in economic life? And how should schooling be structured to reflect democratic values?

The short answers: Incredulity, not docility, is the trait to inculcate, along with a citizenry disposed to questioning received wisdom and orthodoxy and a less hierarchical teacher-student relationship. In each instance, the Common Core is an impediment.

Participation is a necessary component of freedom

vs

Memorization of facts will make us dutiful.

From a democracy standpoint, there’s much to question here. First, the virtual omission of civic education, an area already treated as an afterthought in many public schools. The civic education we do have tends to be sanitized, fact-heavy regurgitation that casts democratic participation more as a duty than as a vehicle for emancipation.

Continue reading



happily intrinsic
July 26, 2014, 12:50 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: ,

Alain-Laboile-Photography-1

Alain Laboile

Between friendship and fame pick friendship:

Consider fame. In 2009, researchers from the University of Rochester conducted a study tracking the success of 147 recent graduates in reaching their stated goals after graduation. Some had “intrinsic” goals, such as deep, enduring relationships. Others had “extrinsic” goals, such as achieving reputation or fame. The scholars found that intrinsic goals were associated with happier lives. But the people who pursued extrinsic goals experienced more negative emotions, such as shame and fear. They even suffered more physical maladies.

Love People, Not Pleasure, Arthur C. Brooks



Enjoyable autonomous work
July 19, 2014, 9:51 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a case for finding enjoyable autonomous work. It’s probably impossible to find it for 100% of your day / week / year / life, but maybe 50% or 40% or maybe much less. Anyway whatever the number you are lucky enough to achieve, increasing the proportion should help to decrease boredom.

Boredom was invented in 1760. That is the year, according to academic Lars Svendsen in his excellent study A Philosophy of Boredom (2005), that the word was first used in English. The other great invention of the time was the Spinning Jenny, which heralded the start of the Industrial Revolution. In other words, boredom arrives with the division of labour and the transformation of enjoyable autonomous work into tedious slave-work.

Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Free, p 18

 

 



We must learn not to care

What makes us anxious? Everything it seems: job, relationship, traffic, people in general – ha! The quote below by Tom Hodgkinson says anxiety compromises our creative natures; that’s the most important message. To get creative again, which is our natural state, we must overcome anxiety. And to overcome anxiety, we must identify the things that make us anxious and counter them. Identify and counter. Here are some notes from my reading of this text.

Generally speaking, the pursuit of security is the root cause of anxiety. This pursuit includes all the biggies of modern life: career, mortgages etc; they make us anxious because they cancel our creativity.

The pursuit of security gives anxiety which cancels creativity. That’s the present formula. The new formula could be the rejection of security reduces anxiety and reinstates creative nature.

One antidote to security is fatalism. The mystical, ecumenical, smells and bells, communal, mindful, slightly superstitious faiths, with icons and saints and processions make us less anxious. Why? Because they emphasize fatedness over security and control; they help us to see our place in the world as haphazard, willed by some force outside of ourselves. They free us back into our natural creative natures.

From How to be Free:

Anxiety is the sacrifice of creativity in the service of security. It is the giving up of personal freedoms in return for the promise, never fulfilled, of comfort, cotton wool, air conditioned shopping centres. Security is a myth; it simply doesn’t exist. This does not stop us, however, from constantly chasing it.

/…/

Another simple solution to anxiety is to embrace a fatalistic theology. Catholics, say, are probably less anxious than Protestants. Buddhists are certainly less anxious than Jews. If you believe that there’s nothing much that you can do that makes any sense other than to enjoy yourself, then your anxiety will fade. If you have that Puritan cast of mind and feel that you are terribly important in the world and it really matters what you do, then your anxiety will increase. Self-importance breeds anxiety. We must learn not to care – not in the sense of being selfish but in the sense of being carefree.

Tom Hodgkinson, How To Be Free, p 11

 




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