Timeless Ideas | March 28, 2021

Here’s your weekly dose of timeless ideas to sharpen your mind, make smarter decisions, and live better.

Quotes

I.

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.

― Eckhart Tolle


II.

Infinite patience produces immediate results.

― Foundation for Inner Peace, A Course in Miracles


III.

Most successful people are people you’ve never heard of. They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs.

― Ryan Holiday

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Ideas

I.

Our growing dependence on technologies no one seems to understand or control has given rise to feelings of powerlessness and victimization. We find it more and more difficult to achieve a sense of continuity, permanence, or connection with the world around us. Relationships with others are notably fragile; goods are made to be used up and discarded; reality is experienced as an unstable environment of flickering images. Everything conspires to encourage escapist solutions to the psychological problems of dependence, separation, and individuation, and to discourage the moral realism that makes it possible for human beings to come to terms with existential constraints on their power and freedom.

Christopher Lasch in The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations


II.

Decide that no matter what happens, you will do what you set out to do. If you are determined, possible distractions will still be there—but you will continue on your path and remain undisturbed. Sankalpa (determination) is very important. You cannot change your circumstances, the world, or your society to suit you. But if you have strength and determination you can go through this procession of life very successfully.

Swami Rama in Living with the Himalayan Masters


III.

Does a man who is acting on the stage in a female part forget that he is a man? Similarly, we too must play our parts on the stage of life, but we must not identify ourselves with those parts.

Ramana Maharshi in Be As You Are

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Articles Worth Reading

I.

The Curious Case of Florida’s Pandemic Response

Derek Thompson | The Atlantic

While Florida’s pandemic success has been inflated, the state has surprised people. In 2020, smart media figures and scientists predicted that COVID-19 would especially ravage Florida, given its open economy and elderly population. They were wrong. Why? Did Florida just get lucky? Is this mostly about the salutary benefits of the outdoors, or the coronavirus’s sensitivity to heat and humidity? Do strict lockdowns simply fail the cost-benefit analysis? The answer to all three questions may be yes. But they are important unknowns, and we should investigate them with data rather than political headlines alternately claiming that Florida is an economic heaven and a pandemic hell. If the numbers can tell us anything at this point, it’s that Florida is neither.


II.

Self-compassion is not self-indulgence: here’s how to try it

Christina Chwyl | Psyche

From a young age, we learn how to be a good friend to others. In kindergarten or nursery school, we’re taught how to share, cooperate and play. Any child who calls other kids dumb, losers or ‘fart face’ is swiftly scolded or given a time out. All in all, we grow up learning to follow the golden rule: ‘Treat others how you want to be treated.’ Yet many of us receive no guidance on how to be a friend to ourselves. In fact, we might even get counterproductive messaging about what it means to treat ourselves with kindness. We might come to believe that being kind towards ourselves is self-indulgent, lazy or weak.


III.

What Data Can’t Do

Hannah Fry | The New Yorker

Numbers don’t lie, except when they do. Statistics can be used to illuminate the world with clarity and precision. They can help remedy our human fallibilities. What’s easy to forget is that statistics can amplify these fallibilities, too. To count well, we need humility to know what can’t or shouldn’t be counted.

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