Listen now (68 mins) | Here’s my latest conversation with John Horgan. For the first 50 minutes, we talk about our felt lack of agency when it comes to the world’s biggest injustices. Here’s how I set this up: I'm going to start on a depressing note today. My plan is: let's dig a little emotional hole in the beginning and see whether we can get out of it by the end of the conversation.
I think you being an outspoken Russian in the anglosphere is doing already much to educate people that there are intelligent Russians out there who are absolutely against the war and FOR Ukraine. This is not to be underestimated. Best of luck. I'm, looking forward to each new episode!
Sad to say, if John Horgan can't figure out how to end war, I have no chance at a solution. So you may be wise to go with the Jordan Peterson advice and start with personal goals. You're right that we are probably all more easily distracted today, and I think much of it is due to social media along with modern expectations for instant gratification, which create pressure to respond to every request immediately. But some people are more easily distracted than others, and if you're one of them, it might be because you're creative, and creatives tend to be less attentive/more distractible. Sometimes we have to appreciate the gifts we have while recognizing they will always come with weaknesses. If attention and creating structure and motivation (they go together) is a true weakness for you, and it really bothers you, get yourself a coach, even if it's just a friend who has the quality you want to develop. Or....you could always swap your drug of choice out from shrooms to Ritalin! :) Your conversation also reminded me of something Einstein allegedly said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” I've found it's true that problem solving fails most often because the problem was not correctly identified to begin with. With war, this might be rather challenging, so start small first. I do think what you're doing already is good, and you never know what impact it might have. I think the "Napalm" girl photo may have had an influence on ending the war in Vietnam (2nd link), as a picture speaks 1000 words. The first link is a good article on problem solving, not that it will solve the Putin problem! But maybe it's a good strategy for daily stuff, which is where we all have to start. This is too long already, so I will tell you the meaning of life in another post! :)
Right there with you, Nikita.
It’s a wild time to be alive. One of the pitfalls I think many of us (at least in the west) fall into is the notion of “saving the world”. Which world? Does the plan include force? Is the only way to fix everything is by the domination of a particular ideology?
And what of utopias? Wasn’t Hitler trying to do that with the Third Reich? Is the only way we get rid of our problems is by all of us living the same way? Isn’t that the path of eugenics and totalitarianism? Haven’t we played these “solutions” out ad infinitum?
I left a comment on Amy Letter’s Substack, Human in the Post Human World, along these same lines:
“When it comes to civilization as we know it and its predatory predilections, I'm plagued by thoughts of physics. Acceleration, momentum, inertia.
I'm an expert of nothing, but the predictive meat inside my skull is all alarm. Can we swerve? Derail? Ditch? How do we course correct a collective subconscious force? Can wisdom be earned without failure?
Culture is the lens of human vision and intent. Making and meaning bend to its mythos-calibration. The civilization we've manifested is wearing some super messed up glasses and I don't think we understand that the control board is spectral--a hyperobject that has been set in motion beyond our cognitive will. A ghost avalanche, if you will, of +/-20,000 years of cyclical unconscious experimentation.
We like to think we planned our way to the present, that modernity is the obvious outcome of human development. I just see a slippery historical slope.
Nora Bateson of the Multisolving Institute tweeted this a while back:
"The stain of eugenics and industrialism in the fields of education, psychology, statistics, anthropology, economics is baked into basic presuppositions.
Now what? The tower of research based on that [previous] research is premised upon efficiency, individualism, productivity. Not vitality."
We are in a helluva pickle. I don't know how to feel about being born into its climatic chapters. It's a lot to hold in my hands.”
This decade will decide much. It’s going to be terribly weird, at best. GPT-4 is alarming...and I can only imagine how the power players will leverage its successors.
When do we become AI’s pets?