3 Minute Monday
Ever get the feeling that you were loaded into the wrong version of the matrix?
A man dressed as a shaman, wearing bull horns and facepaint breached the US Capitol and Twitter has removed the sitting President.
At least 2021 can’t get much weirder from here.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the lack of meaning and direction that seems pervasive at the moment and how that may have contributed to events over the last year.
Here’s some ideas for why:
For all of history, personal differences in opinion sat atop a shared common belief in the local religion.
You might support Newcastle not Sunderland, I might be a farmer not a carpenter, but we’re bound together by a common philosophy of life.
Removing this ritual, sense of grandeur, connection to a higher power, regular events with your neighbourhood and everything else associated with religious faith gives people even less to agree about.
Not only don’t we agree on Issue X, but we don’t even agree on how we arrive at X.
Love of meritocracy.
I really like being in a meritocracy.
I love the chance to make what you want of life by utilising your skills and abilities.
But if the people who are successful deserve their successes, then the people who are not successful are deemed worthy of their failures.
In ancient Greece the term would have been “unfortunates” – those who had not been blessed by Lady Fortuna.
In 2021 the unemployed & homeless get branded as “losers” – those who did not apply themselves properly within the meritocracy.
In a world where you are what you achieve and status is more socially quantifiable than ever, inevitably this leads to entire swaths of people who didn’t win at the game, or decide not to play, so why not tear up the rule book?
A rejection of traditional values.
1930’s society was unequal and had some pretty unsophisticated views on gender & race.
However it was also heavily concerned with virtue and integrity.
People were bound to their family, had a duty to society and lived by tradition.
In movies the hero was always born of fairness, courage and righteousness, the bad guy always got his comeuppance.
What made that era so constrictive and stifling wasn’t great if you’re a budding digital nomad, woman wanting to work in STEM or a world class violinist.
But much of society needs more guidance (tradition), not more choice (rejection of tradition).
The Paradox Of Choice is real and in a world where you can be anything you want and no one can tell you otherwise, it’s very easy to feel lost, not empowered, and float along without any direction.
It makes sense to me how this perfect storm (plus many other contributing factors) could make people feel anomie and look for meaning in a common cause.
Whether that be BLM, UFC, BDSM, Fortnite, 4Chan or QAnon.
People want to feel like they belong, have shared values & beliefs, are accepted as part of a group and walk a common path in life.“Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was.”
— Donald Kingsbury
I do a podcast which has had 9 million+ downloads. You should subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Brian D. Earp explains the ethics of taking drugs to enhance or dampen down your romantic feelings. Awesome, deep, challenging topic.
Richard Meadows breaks down Optionality – how to design your life to automatically generate your own luck in and constantly be taking advantage of opportunities.
Dr Stu McGill returns to explain how to avoid back pain whilst working from home and the importance of your mental state during recovery from injury.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
The Happiness Hypothesis is a great read.
Currently reading this by Jonathan Haidt.
It’s really accessible and has a great blend of philosophy, pop psychology, evolution and history.
Also has tons of interesting insights about our own minds.
Might Tit For Tat happen in politics too?
“Treat others as you have been treated” is the most successful strategy in Game Theory.
You do X to me, I do X to you.
The problem with this is that it can cause us to act in ways we wouldn’t normally, purely because we feel we’ve been mistreated and now have justification for retribution.
Imagine this situation:
You don’t care about your partner being late, but they do care about you being late.
One night you come home from a dinner after you said you would and your partner complains at you.
Then, a few weeks later, your partner is at an event and THEY arrive home late.
Even though you don’t care, your hypocrisy radar starts firing and you highlight how they brought this exact situation up when you were at fault.
This now spirals into an ever-intensifying routine, leaning toward more and more impassioned responses.
Would the Capitol situation have started without the BLM Riots in 2020?
Would the BLM Riots have occurred without Charlottesville?
And so on…
Beware the little wars you start, they can quickly turn into the big ones.
Egypt has loads of spare room.
About 95 percent of Egypt’s population lives on about 4 percent of the land.
This green belt, roughly half the size of Ireland, follows the Nile as it snakes through the desert, then fans out into the Nile Delta.
Put first things first.
I’ve changed my daily routine to have my morning as an uninterrupted deep work session until midday.
I plan what I’m going to do during that morning on the night before.
This is usually “if I only could do one task, which would have the biggest impact on moving me toward my goals?”
Once my morning routine is out of the way, all I need to do is sit down & do the work.
Even if the rest of the day is a complete disaster, I know that by midday I’ve completed the most essential task for my progress.
It’s an awesome feeling and gives you tons of satisfaction.
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I reacted to Cosmopolitan’s new campaign with Dr Rangan Chatterjee.