Key Ideas and Definitions
A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste: The campaign slogan of the United Negro College Fund was “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” In practice though, minds never go to waste. Either, people whose minds can’t find a way to succeed within society find a way to succeed outside society like the former drug kingpin Freeway Rick Ross who drove the rise of crack cocaine or some pimp, warlord, cult leader or terrorist comes along and scoops up lost, young men and women and offers them a vision of their place in the world. The Israeli writer Amos Oz said: “To beat these bad ideas we have to build a better idea to outcompete it!”
Atomism: is the mind breaking everything down into little parts. Atomism is favored in the West and it leads to a society focused on everyone thinking of themselves as an individual free from context and constantly arguing with each other over their ideas and trying to stand out. More HERE
Awe: The emotion of awe triggers the human brain to blindly copy the person who inspires that awe. When you think someone is the coolest, you want to be just like them. Advertisers have figured out how to take advantage of this blind copying mechanism. They photoshop fashion models. They placed cigarettes in the mouths of famous actors and actresses knowing that people would blindly copy that behavior as cool. In fact, our tendency to copy people we think are cool is so blind and unthinking that when you put a McDonald’s hamburger next to Michael Jordan’s face, people will desperately want a hamburger to be like Michael Jordan. McDonald’s is not how Michael Jordan got to be the world’s greatest basketball player. The problem is that in a village we would meet our heroes. We would spend time with the best fisherman, hunter, cook or basket weaver in our tribe and come to learn all their skills. Now, we don’t. We remain in awe of photoshopped models, hamburger-selling basketball stars and countless other public figures who create images of themselves to sell things that don’t fit reality. The result is that we blindly copy unrealistic expectations about how to achieve success. In the Information Age, Genius Myths will cheat not only you out of success but exclude people from doing the only kind of work that will survive the Jobocalypse.
“Baldwin-Larkin Principle” (as coined by Hunter Maats: Most of us though, come to realize that our parents while they were a mixed bag, had their good points and bad points. We try and develop and nurture the good and weed out the bad so that we don’t screw up our own kids quite so badly. Over time, the hope is that humanity has slightly less emotional baggage. That’s progress. This phenomenon was understood by humans long before science came along. I’m going to go ahead and call it the Baldwin-Larkin Principle based on a poem I loved as a kid for its irreverence and a quote I only learned this year from Jamie Holmes. If you listen to the show or read the blog, you’ll have heard both before. If not, they’re below…excuse Philip Larkin’s swearing and extreme cynicism at the end.
This Be The Verse
BY PHILIP LARKIN
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
“The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” ― James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985
Blind Men and the Elephant: A group of blind men come across an elephant and decide to figure out what it is. The first blind man wanders up to the tail and feels the rough hairs at its end and announces proudly that he has figured it out. “It’s a rope,” he announces. The second blind man feels the ear and contradicts the first one, “No, my friend. I think you’re mistaken. It’s obviously a palm leaf.” The third blind man feeling the elephant’s trunk writhing in his hands screams, “You fools! It’s a snake. Get away from it.” The fourth blind man feels the leg and insists they’re all touching a column. The fifth feels the side and screams at the top of his lungs that it’s obviously a wall. They then proceed to spend their time beating each other up and abusing each other as fools for not seeing things “as they are.” In some versions, the blind men kill each other over their conflicting views. This story was originally about religion but it does a good job of capturing the modern world. All of our conflicting beliefs about economics, education, health, fitness and the environment are somehow describing the same reality. In theory, we should all recognize that we are blind, calm down and grope our way around until we figure out a view of the world that makes sense of all the pieces. Why don’t we? Naive realism. We think we see things as they are. We think that everybody else is in a cargo cult but not us. And that is why, as of this writing, so few people in the world have even a white belt in mixed mental arts.
Cargo Cult: On islands across the South Pacific, there were humans using stone tools who in the 20th Century had not had contact with the wider world for thousands of years. Suddenly, a large number of aircraft began flying overhead which for tribesmen who had never seen metal must have been utterly mind blowing. Even more mind blowing was that scattered throughout the jungle they found large crates of provisions that they came to find out were called cargo. Inside these crates of cargo were metal tools that unlike stone tools never seemed to go dull and tins of incredibly calorie rich food. Understandably, the tribesmen wanted more of this cargo and so they crept through the forest to find more of it. There, they discovered the nesting place of the giant metal birds they had seen flying overhead, which we would call an airfield. They watched. They observed. They copied. And then they went off into the forest to repeat the ritual. And so, they built a giant airplane entirely out of twigs and then hundreds of men stood around the twig plane and flapped their lips to make the sound of a plane taking off. Well over half a century later, these cargo cults are still going. Needless to say, none of them has taken off. And when they don’t take off, the believers just keep making them more elaborate. They have added giant wooden towers that mimic aircraft control towers and sent a man up there who place half a coconut on each ear. And they have “figured out” how this new phenomenon of planes fits within their existing beliefs. They believe that good things come from their ancestors and since the people who control these planes are overwhelmingly pale faced they must be from the land of the dead. Their beliefs make sense to them and so they perpetuate.
Culture (/ˈkʌltʃər/) can be defined in numerous ways. In the words of anthropologist E.B. Tylor, it is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. “Alternatively, in a contemporary variant, “Culture is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common.
The Cambridge English Dictionary states that culture is “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time.
Terror management theory posits that culture is a series of activities and worldviews that provide humans with the basis for perceiving themselves as “person[s] of worth within the world of meaning”—raising themselves above the merely physical aspects of existence, in order to deny the animal insignificance and death that Homo sapiens became aware of when they acquired a larger brain.
Culture Binds and Blinds: Culture binds people together into tribes and holds us in those tribes. It also blinds us to seeing the world in other ways. It creates cultural blindspots. Culture binds and blinds is an extension of Jon Haidt’s Morality Binds and Blinds.
It may also refer to:
- Cultural selection theory, studies of cultural change modelled onevolutionary biology
- Dual-inheritance theory, a specific framework for studying cultural evolution
- Memetics, neo-Darwinist view of the transmission of cultural traits
- Social evolution, the evolution of social behaviour
- Sociocultural evolution, a historic theory of social change based onlinear progress
Cultural SDK: In computer software, an SDK is a Software Development Kit. In the same way, the cultural SDK is a set of tools developers of cultural software (bloggers, musicians, video makers) can use to develop content that empowers humans everywhere to update their cultural software.
Curiosity: Kills cats, also the engine that drives innovation, progress and all those fun things.
Descartes’s Error: The idea that reason and emotion are separate. A lot of scientists still believe in reason and it really screws up their thinking because they confuse their rationalizations for reasoning without reflecting to see whether the underlying feeling makes sense. All human thinking–including mine–is constantly colored and distorted by our emotions. Unless you’re hyperaware of that, then you don’t watch your emotions and correct accordingly so that over the long run you can tease out a better version of reality. The idea of reason lets you think that the effects of emotion are a temporary state. They’re a permanent and constant one. If you’ve listened to that episode, then you know Jon Haidt’s analogy of the brain being like a rider and an elephant. There’s no point at which the rider gets off the elephant and simply goes for a walk around without the elephant. They are inextricably linked in your brain. You can purchase the book Descartes’s Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain by Anthony Demasio HERE
Don’t Mess With Texas: The solution to bipartisanship; how important it is to package an idea/concept to facilitate adoption.
Dunbar number(s) is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain only 150 stable relationships. Dunbar explained it informally as “the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar”. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 250, with a commonly used value of 150. Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size. Dunbar theorized that “this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained”. On the periphery, the number also includes past colleagues, such as high school friends, with whom a person would want to reacquaint himself or herself if they met again.
Emotions: in everyday speech, is any relatively brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure.Scientific discourse has drifted to other meanings and there is no consensus on a definition. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. In some theories, cognition is an important aspect of emotion. Those acting primarily on the emotions they are feeling may seem as if they are not thinking, but mental processes are still essential, particularly in the interpretation of events. For example, the realization of our believing that we are in a dangerous situation and the subsequent arousal of our body’s nervous system (rapid heartbeat and breathing, sweating, muscle tension) is integral to the experience of our feeling afraid. Other theories, however, claim that emotion is separate from and can precede cognition.
Fear: one of those emotions that gets a bad rap but you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for fear. Fear saves lives! If your ancestors didn’t react to snakes, spiders and hungry predators by pooping themselves to lighten the load and run away faster, you wouldn’t be here. Fear becomes problematic when it appears in the wrong context. As Hunter and Katie explain in The Straight-A Conspiracy, fear is the worst response to math. The last thing you want to do in the environment of math is become “so scared you can’t think.” By becoming aware of your emotional responses, you’ve taken the first step. You can spot the emotion, reflect on it and change your emotional response to that situation. How? Talk to yourself like some kind of crazy person. Self-talk is how we calm ourselves after a fight with a loved one and it’s how we talk ourselves into more helpful emotional states in the face of challenges.
Flow: The intrinsically pleasurable knife-edge balancing between demands and ability that lets you focus entirely on the task at hand. Time flies by, you don’t notice hunger, thirst or normal distractions.
Hansei: (反省?, “self-reflection”) is a central idea in Japanese culture, meaning to acknowledge one’s own mistake and to pledge improvement. This is similar to the German proverb Selbsterkenntnis ist der erste Schritt zur Besserung, where the closest translation to English would be “Self-awareness is the first step to improvement”.
Holism is seeing everything as one big picture. Holism is favored in the East and it leads to a society that prizes harmony and consensus and sees a person in terms of their relationships to other members of society. More HERE
Humanity’s Superpower: It’s not obvious what humans are good at. We’re not as strong as chimpanzees. We’re not as fast as cheetahs. We’re not sharp of tooth and claw like lions. And yet, humans have come to dominate the planet. How did we do that?!? Well, the answer turns out to be our social intelligence. If you give an IQ test to a chimp, an orangutan and a human toddler, there’s only one way in which the human toddler is smarter: social intelligence. That’s humanity’s superpower! We have the ability to learn from the people around us. As a little kid, we’re all little sponges soaking up culture from the people around us. This cultural software download enables us to thrive and survive in a given environment OR it sets us up to fail because our cultural software is not well suited to the environment in which we find ourselves. Over time, these selection pressures have driven to forms of cultural software that are highly attuned to environments as diverse as the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic, the Sahara and the Urban Jungle.
Intellectual Terrorism: Exposing people to knowledge and perspectives that help them form a more accurate world view.
Jobocalypse: AKA The end of routine work: The mass adoption of automation forcing masses of people into retraining themselves entirely and possibly constantly.
Joy: The nice fuzzy feeling you get inside yourself when you do something fun and/or pleasurable
Kaizen: (改善 in Kanji), is Japanese for “improve”. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking, fantasy hockey, and other industries. By improving standardized programmes and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first practiced in Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality-management teachers, and most notably as part of The Toyota Way. It has since spread throughout the world and has been applied to environments outside of business and productivity.
Kintsugi (金継ぎ, きんつぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, きんつくろい, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
Knowledge Bomb: The tool with which we push Intellectual Terrorism, a condensed and easy to digest piece of information or perspective which helps build a better world view
Learning: If you can learn one thing, you can learn anything: The human brain is so flexible that it can automate anything from hunting for food to playing tennis to picking out just the right shade of taupe to make your den look really cool by 70’s standards. This means if you can learn one thing, you can learn anything. The problem becomes that we feeeeeeel that we’re good at some things and not other things and so we don’t take what we already know and apply it to new areas of learning.
Lost City of Z: The key is understanding that each culture is finally tuned to a particular environment. The culture of people in the Amazon is amazing at helping them survive there. The problem is that there’s a group of people who often change environments without changing their culture: explorers.
In The Lost City of Z, David Grann (Ep 79 of The Bryan Callen Show) tells the story of Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett went on a series of expeditions deep into the Amazon looking for a mythical lost city called Z. Like many European explorers, he suffered terribly from hunger and disease. In fact, the Amazon was known by early explorers as a “counterfeit paradise.” It looked lush. It looked like a paradise. And yet, the explorers couldn’t find anything to eat. But somehow, the jungle was full of natives who were robust and healthy looking. While the explorers tramped in with their cans of tinned beef, the natives lived off what the jungle could provide and, as Fawcett learned, it provided very well. He met one Guarayo man who crushed a leaf against a stone and let its juice run into the river where it formed a milky cloud. After a few minutes, fish floated to the surface belly up. A Guarayo boy waded into the river and picked out the plumpest ones. After a few minutes more, the remaining fish came back to life and swam away. The man had used just the right amount of poison to stun the fish. Even more impressive, when the fish were cooked, the poison posed no danger to humans. Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett and the Guarayo man were in the exact same environment. And yet, one of them was starving and the other one was able to get food with very little effort by harnessing the things around him. That young Guarayo boy wasn’t just helping out. He was learning a culture that had developed over generations to allow humans to survive in the Amazon. The problem the Europeans faced wasn’t the world of the Amazon. The problem was that the culture they had learned as children didn’t do them much good in this new environment. The history of European exploration is full of Europeans with the most powerful technology of the day starving to death while plump, happy natives make a comfortable living in the arctic, the desert or the jungle as their peoples have done for generations. In fact, Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett went missing with his entire expedition in the uncharted jungles of Brazil in 1925. The difference between the Guarayo man and the Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett was how well the culture they had learned as children was suited to the environment of the Amazon.
Man’s Search For Meaning: The human mind is a meaning-making machine. It finds patterns where there are none like seeing a man in the moon, the Cydonian face on Mars or hearing dangerous animals in the darkness where there are none. While these false positives discussed in the Believing Brain by Michael Shermer can create problems, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning makes it clear what happens when we don’t have meaning: we die! Each of us is on our own search for meaning and we should aid each other in that search by sharing what we know so we don’t become like the Blind Men and the Elephant.
Make it Cake-Mix Clear:
Matrix: Great movie? Maybe the world as you see it on autopilot, unaware of cultural chains/blind spots etc
Mindset: Carol S. Dweck has primary research interests in motivation, personality, and development. She teaches courses in Personality and Social Development as well as Motivation. Her key contribution to social psychology relates to implicit theories of intelligence, per her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. According to Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a “fixed” theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness are said to have a “growth” or an “incremental” theory of intelligence (growth mindset). Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset, but their mindset can still be discerned based on their behavior. It is especially evident in their reaction to failure. Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure because it is a negative statement on their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals don’t mind or fear failure as much because they realize their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure. These two mindsets play an important role in all aspects of a person’s life. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life. Dweck’s definition of fixed and growth mindsets from a 2012 interview:
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
This is important because (1) individuals with a “growth” theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals’ theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as “good job, you’re very smart” are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like “good job, you worked very hard” they are likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it is possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.
Motivation 3.0: Daniel Pink in his book Drive lays out a great way of thinking of human motivation. There’s Motivation 1.0 which is fear-based Motivation. This is what the Medieval Period was about. You did or didn’t do things because of fear of execution by beheading or being burnt at the stake. However, later human societies became more productive because Motivation 2.0 kicked in. Motivation 2.0 is capitalism. People work because they want to enrich themselves. It’s about getting ahead! There is a motivation beyond this and that is Motivation 3.0. Motivation 3.0 is about doing things for Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. You’re doing things because you are doing it as its own reward. You trust that if you do great work that money will follow. And that faith is well-justified. As Daniel Pink explains in Drive, people driven by Motivation 3.0 outperform people driven by Motivation 2.0 in the long run!
Naive Realism: The illusion that I see the world clearly (due to my logic and objectivity), while those who disagree with me don’t (due to irrationality, bias or lack of knowledge). “If I could nominate one candidate for “biggest obstacle to world peace and social harmony,” it would be naive realism because it is so easily ratcheted up from the individual to the group level: My group is right because we see things as they are. Those who disagree are obviously biased by their religion, their ideology, or their self-interest. Naive realism gives us a world full of good and evil, and this brings us to the most disturbing implication of the sages’ advice about hypocrisy: Good and evil do not exist outside of our beliefs about them.” – Jon Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis
Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so: Said by Hamlet in Shakespeare. The best demonstration of this principle is The Parable of the Chinese Farmer. A Chinese farmer’s horse runs away one day and when the villagers come to see him and say how terrible this is! The farmer responds “Good. Bad. Too soon to tell.” The next day his horse returns and it brings a wild horse it has found as companion. The villagers come to the farmer rejoicing at his good fortune. He has another horse! The farmer says “Good. Bad. Too soon to tell.” The day after that, his son is training the wild horse and it throws his son causing him to break his leg. The villagers come to him cursing this free horse. His son has been maimed. What wretched bad luck! And the farmer responds “Good. Bad. Too soon to tell.” The next day the army comes and drafts all the young men except for the farmer’s son who has a broken leg. The villagers tell the farmer how fortunate he is. The farmer says “Good. Bad. Too soon to tell.” The story can go on as long as you want. However, the lesson remains the same.
Optimism is a mental attitude. A common idiom used to illustrate optimism versus pessimism is a glass with water at the halfway point, where the optimist is said to see the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The term is originally derived from the Latin optimum, meaning “best”. Being optimistic, in the typical sense of the word, is defined as expecting the best possible outcome from any given situation. This is usually referred to in psychology as dispositional optimism. It thus reflects a belief that future conditions will work out for the best. Theories of optimism include dispositional models, and models of explanatory style. Methods to measure optimism have been developed within both theoretical systems, such as various forms of the Life Orientation Test, for the original definition of optimism, or the Attributional Style Questionnaire designed to test optimism in terms of explanatory style. Variation in optimism and pessimism is somewhat heritable and reflects biological trait systems to some degree. It is also influenced by environmental factors, including family environment, with some suggesting it can be learned. Optimism may also be linked to health.
Personal responsibility or Individual Responsibility is the idea that human beings choose, instigate, or otherwise cause their own actions. A corollary idea is that because we cause our actions, we can be held morally accountable or legally liable. Personal responsibility can be contrasted to the idea that human actions are caused by conditions beyond the agent’s control. Since the late 19th-century, personal responsibility has become increasingly associated with political conservatism and libertarianism. More recently, personal responsibility has been associated with the reform of social welfare programs (e.g. in the Personal Responsibility and Welfare Reform Act of 1996). The earliest known English use of the phrase is by Massachusetts Rep. Nathaniel Gorham at the U.S. Constitutional Convention on July 18, 1787.
Pessimism is a state of mind in which one anticipates undesirable outcomes or believes that the evil or hardships in life outweigh the good or luxuries. Value judgments may vary dramatically between individuals, even when judgments of fact are undisputed. The most common example of this phenomenon is the “Is the glass half empty or half full?” situation. The degree in which situations like these are evaluated as something good or something bad can be described in terms of one’s optimism or pessimism respectively. Throughout history, the pessimistic disposition has had effects on all major areas of thinking. Philosophical pessimism is the related idea that views the world in a strictly anti-optimistic fashion. This form of pessimism is not an emotional disposition as the term commonly connotes. Instead, it is a philosophy or worldview that directly challenges the notion of progress and what may be considered the faith-based claims of optimism. Philosophical pessimists are often existential nihilists believing that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. Their responses to this condition, however, are widely varied and often life-affirming.
Red Pill: Not(I hope) to be confused with MRA – Accepting that you have cultural and ideological blind spots/fallacies, finding them and working to fix them.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms:
Shame: Although Jennifer Jacquet’s book “Is Shame Necessary?” focuses on how to use shame as a tool, it actually illustrates a much, much larger principle. Emotions aren’t good or bad. They’re tools and like all tools they can be used appropriately or inappropriately. There’s a job for a hammer and it’s driving in nails. If you use a hammer to clean your teeth, you’re going to have problems. The key with emotions is training them to be appropriate so you use the right emotion for the situation.
The Callenphate: The great dynasty of idea (and not idea) sex, bound together by a desire to more accurately view the world and also ride horses with guns maybe?
The Columbian Exchange: (example of Idea Sex between cultures) [anchor]
In the dim and distant past, agriculture appeared in a lot of different places independently. Estimates vary but we’ll go with the number eleven. Eleven different groups of humans figured out agriculture. They then swapped those crops. The result is that on the eve of Columbus’ voyage to the New World, there were two great systems of crops. The one involving Eurasia and Africa and the one involving the Americas. When Columbus arrived in The New World, these two groups of crops mixed and one of the results has been dishes more delicious than those anyone has ever tasted before.
Pick any “authentic” dish from any cuisine in the world and you’ll find, it’s actually a result of idea sex. The pizza uses wheat, tomatoes, cheese and basil. These are from the Arabs, the Aztecs, the Turks and the Indians. And yet, we call pizza Italian because the Italians put it all together. The taco uses corn, beef, tomatoes, onions, avocados and cilantro. Are tacos Mexican? Nope. Look at the map. So, what are we to make of this day when Columbus arrived in the New World. Well, the best description I’ve found anywhere comes from La Plaza de Las Tres Culturas in Mexico City. On that spot, on August 13th, 1521, the Aztec Emperor Cuahtemoc made a final stand against Hernan Cortes. However, the culture that emerged from that bloody confrontation was neither Spanish nor Aztec. It was a third culture, the Mestizo culture. As an inscription in the plaza puts it this battle was:
“Neither a victory nor a defeat, but the painful moment of birth of the Mexico of today, of a race of Mestizos.” We are all mestizos. There is no cuisine today that our ancestors from even 500 years ago would recognize. And that cultural mixing is still happening in awesome and delicious ways. Here in LA, it’s happening a lot. Perhaps most deliciously in the form of the Korean BBQ taco pioneered by Roy Choi.
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? . . . You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. — MATTHEW 7: 3-5
It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice. — BUDDHA
Wisdom of Crowds: The world is a million puzzles with a million pieces, and each person has a handful of pieces. By looking at and using pieces from other people we can complete a more accurate puzzle then we would’ve managed on our own.
Good ISIS: JUST like ISIS, but only the good parts of it (camraderie, impact on the world, publicity?)
Always Put The White Belt Back On:
Putting the Fun Back in Fundamentalists:
Automaticity: The Brain That Changes Itself
Fix-It-Focused Practice: Deliberate Practice
Humanity’s First Family Dinner:
Flynn Effect: See Cultural Software.
Fundamental Attribution Error:
Big Enders and Little Enders:
A Modest Proposal:
The Diffusion of Innovations:
The Cobra Effect:
Gardens of Democracy:
All Power Must be Checked:
Everyone Poops/Every Thinker is a Stinker
Problem of Racism: References In the mix, we have:
1) Paul Ekman’s work on human emotion and the face as the primary site for transmitting emotional information (The Bryan Callen Show ep. 191)
2) Joe Henrich’s The Secret of Our Success on how cultural evolution is the key to understanding human’s success as a species (The Bryan Callen Show ep. 196)
3) Charles C. Mann’s 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (The Bryan Callen Show ep. 69)
4) The most interesting study in Wait by Frank Portnoy
5) Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks White Liberals
“Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary.”
The “culture of honor” in the Southern United States is hypothesized by some social scientists to have its roots in the livelihoods of the early settlers who first inhabited the region. Unlike settlers with an agricultural heritage (mainly from the densely populated South East England and East Anglia) who settled in New England, the Southern United States was settled by herders from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northern England and the West Country. Herds, unlike crops, are vulnerable to theft because they are mobile and there is little government wherewithal to enforce property rights of herd animals. The theory is that developing a reputation for violent retribution against those who stole herd animals was one way to discourage theft.
This thesis is limited, however, by modern evidence that a culture of honor in the American South is strongest not in the hill country, where this thesis suggests it has its cultural origins, but in Southern lowlands. These observers argue that poverty or religion, which has been distinctive in the American South since the Second Great Awakening in the 19th century, may be a more important source of this cultural phenomenon.
Other theories point out that the culture of honor may have its roots in the settlement of the region by members of British aristocratic families.
Robert Peace: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is a biography by Jeff Hobbs about an intellectually brilliant young African-American man, Robert “DeShawn” Peace who left the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey to attend Yale University, but fell back into the streets when he returned to Newark and was murdered, aged 30, “face down, knees bent, in a drug-related murder.