Let’s start this year with a delightful publication to set the scene for 2018:
“On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit”
by Gordon Pennycook, Jonathan A. Fugelsang et al in ‘Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563’
Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its (critical or ingenuous) reception has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.
End of year situations tend to make one reflect… so this morning I sat with my coffee and spent some time pondering over the past year, and came to the conclusion that, all in all, I am living my best life. I am doing alright. I was helpful to people, and tried not to hurt anyone. I looked after myself and others. I am able to forgive myself, and hold no grudges against anyone.
I am doing alright. Thanks world.
In its most basic term, blockchain is a database of transactions that can be arranged and added to in “blocks”. Each block represents and identifies previous transactions using cryptographic functions, to create an unbroken chain of custody for goods or services that, importantly, cannot be modified.
Acting as a digital ledger, blockchain creates a verifiable audit trail that can be used for any transaction, and this is where its impact on sustainability begins to take shape. Blockchain can be implemented – and in some cases, is already used – across numerous sectors, from forestry and fisheries to carbon accounting and energy.
It is a self-governing, online database owned by no one and usable by everyone. Because the “chain” can’t be modified* it can immediately provide proof of purchase for any transaction, whether that be procurement of sustainable materials to purchasing renewable energy.
(*before Quantum computing that is)
Read more about blockchain here.
8 strategies to up self-confidence (and this is more a post to myself than anything):
1. Ask, ‘what would I say to a loved one in this situation?’ We’re kinder and more compassionate to others than to ourselves. Also, we’re not so quick to mull or analyse all that’s going wrong when helping someone else. Questioning entails mindful awareness to a problem. Too often, people lacking in self-confidence brush off a mistake or a lost opportunity as a character flaw, not as a chance to gain insight into a problem area.
2. Expand your circle of potential. Visualisation is a powerful technique of creating an image of yourself as you want to be, within your mind. When we struggle with low self-confidence, we have a poor perception of ourselves that is often inaccurate. When visualising a positive version of yourself, several areas converge helping you to: a) activate your creative subconscious which increases creativity, b) program your brain to recognise internal and external resources c) manifest the law of attraction, thereby placing yourself in the purview of positive people and opportunities, and d) increase your motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.
3. Notice what you’re doing well. This step loosely fits into the “think positive” mantra, and with good reason. When you’re lacking confidence, it’s easy to focus on mistakes. The trick is to catch yourself before a bad mood threatens your day. For example, a while back I noticed when I awoke my mind quickly scanned all the things I didn’t accomplish from the day before. Once I caught myself, I reframed with, “what am I doing right?” This was a game changer in starting my day on a healthy note.
4. Give negative thoughts the boot. This ties into the tip above, as unhealthy thoughts pervade an insecure mindset. A hallmark of an emotionally healthy mind is vigilance around what enters your sacred mental real estate.
5. Get curious about your inner world. When you become self-aware about your thoughts and how they impact your feelings and behaviors, you’ve set the stage for reducing insecurities. “Hmm, that was an interesting reaction…wonder if there’s something deeper I’m avoiding.” Or, “if I was to let go of my need to control the outcome of situations, how would that feel?”
6. Take risks. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Regret is a huge theme in psychotherapy, especially as we age and our lives become more narrow. Bottom line: You will never reach your potential if you don’t execute a plan.
7. Act “as if” you possess the confidence your aspire to have. When life doesn’t go well it can seem like there’s no rhyme or reason. This is a good time to behave “as if” you’re where you want to be. It’s getting up early, showering, putting on nice clothes and going out in public and networking even though you don’t have a job. Building self-confidence means taking action despite your fear of failure. If things work out, then you now know you’re more confident than you think. If things don’t work out, you now know the experience didn’t break you. Either way, you’re better off.
8. Get organised. Have a system in place for problem-solving. If career advancement is hindered because you didn’t pass an important test, set daily goals for learning the material. Every problem has a solution, and a disorganised mind is the enemy of momentum. Study like there’s no tomorrow and adjust your priorities, accordingly.
The good news is research reveals that self-confidence isn’t fixed at a certain age, but tends to increase with self-awareness and life experience. You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
My favourite podcast, a guaranteed pick-me up at all times:
The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Quaker wise man Parker Palmer and journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.
Sydney is transforming, and not in a good way. Not that there’s anything wrong with height or density per se. Sydney must grow, and must end its sprawling habits. But to do it in a way that preserves and enhances flavour, character and intimacy requires strong, wise government. Instead we have government that doesn’t believe in governance.
Read the whole article here smh.com.au/comment/the-catastrophe-of-sydneys-priority-precincts
At the CSL.org.au course last night a young woman from Westpac held a talk about “shared values”, and Corporate Australia. In her talk, social and environmental considerations were ‘external factors’, which could be put into the equation because that would lead to higher economic returns.
At question time I tried to explain my take on ecological economics, sustainability and triple bottom lines, whereby the economy sits as a subsection within the greater context of the natural world, the environment and the social component.
She did not follow my train of thought. She continued describing how Westpac will replace ‘a shitload of jobs’ (her words) with automation, but that Westpac would be all CSR and train 400 people up for other jobs. I mentioned the EU is considering a robot tax.
She then tilted her head and shot off a preconceived comment (seemingly a trained reflex-reply when the word ‘tax’ appears), questioning how that would “stifle innovation”. I did not reply, but the answer would have been:
If innovation only means to produce stuff cheaper, so to gain higher profit margins, then hell yeah let’s stifle that.
In my world the word 'tax' is related to involvement and responsibility… in this world it equates people to communists or socialists…
— iris ?? basically (@irisherself) September 6, 2017
Our current, prevalent, archaic and unfortunate mindset of “might makes right” is at the crux of all the hypocrisy and global tragedy that we’re confronted with in our modern times. The idea associated with the phrase “might makes right” connotes that a society’s view of right and wrong is determined, like its perspective on history, by those currently in power. The term is used in the descriptive, rather than prescriptive way, in the same sense that people say that “History is written by the victors”. Because every person labels what they think is good for themselves as right, only those who are able to defeat their enemies can push their idea of what is right into fruition.
‘Kratocracy’ describes a government by those who are strong enough to seize power through force or cunning. In terms of morality, those who are the strongest will rule others and have the power to determine right and wrong. By this definition, the phrase “might makes right” manifests itself in a normative sense. This meaning is often used to define a proscriptive moral code for society to follow, as well as while discussing social Darwinism and Weberian themes of the authority of the state (e.g. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft) in critical assessments of expressions of power.
More on Might makes right on Wikipedia
Related: Moral nihilism and the Plunder of Natural Resources.
Watch: Leif Wenar, Chair of Philosophy and Law at the School of Law, King’s College London https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLbFx2t5ZbA
All relationships need safe words. It's where communication actually starts.It creates openness. It can be a little story. Both must own it.
— Just do what you can (@irisherself) June 25, 2017
Also I miss @colvinius. Twitter (and Australia) is a much less good place without him.
“There was an innate fairness about Mark… capable of “10,000 simultaneous conversations and of making each person feel they were the only one he was talking to”… an oasis of acceptance, kindness, braininess and fun.”
“Colvin’s desire to lift up those around him up was agreed upon by all.
He would remember things you had done and said years ago.”
“He loved mischief.”
That’s what I loved him for the most. xx
The world’s crises represent three divides: ecological, social, and spiritual. The ecological divide manifests in symptoms such as environmental destruction, and is experienced as a divide between self and nature. The social divide manifests in increasing rates of poverty, inequity, polarisation, and violence and is experienced as a divide between self and self. And the spiritual divide is experienced as a disconnect between self and self — the “current self” and the “emerging future self”.
A disconnect between these two selves manifests as burnout, depression, and suicide. In 2010, more people died from suicide than from murder, war, and natural disasters combined. Suicide is not an economic problem or a generational tic. It’s not a secondary concern, a sideline that will solve itself with new jobs, less access to guns, or a more tolerant society, although all would be welcome. It’s a problem with a broad base and terrible momentum, a result of seismic changes in the way we live and a corresponding shift in the way we die around the world.
Another symptom of this disconnect is the decoupling of GDP from the actual well-being of people: we produce more, consume more, and are busier than ever before but our happiness and wellbeing are declining.
Be the third donkey you want to see in the world.
Excellent Guardian article by Paul Krugman
May 2010, as Britain headed into its last general election, elites all across the western world were gripped by austerity fever, a strange malady that combined extravagant fear with blithe optimism. Every country running significant budget deficits – as nearly all were in the aftermath of the financial crisis – was deemed at imminent risk of becoming another Greece unless it immediately began cutting spending and raising taxes. Concerns that imposing such austerity in already depressed economies would deepen their depression and delay recovery were airily dismissed; fiscal probity, we were assured, would inspire business-boosting confidence, and all would be well.
People holding these beliefs came to be widely known in economic circles as “austerians” – a term coined by the economist Rob Parenteau – and for a while the austerian ideology swept all before it.
DE: Stolz auf die Herkunft sein, OBWOHL man dafür nix kann, aber die Vergangenheit der Herkunft vergessen wollen, WEIL man nichts dafür nix kann.
EN: Proud on the heritage EVEN THOUGH not done anything about it, but want to forget the past BECAUSE have not done it.