Requiring seatbelts used to be controversial

Car manufacturers lobbied hard to keep Americans from using their seat belts.

Why?

Because most people believed they would never get in an accident and the manufacturers didn’t want to draw attention to how dangerous it was to drive.

The mentality was, “That will never happen to me.”

Of course, that isn’t how statistics work. Statistics don’t care if you are a “good person” or having a rough day.

We can never eliminate risk but we can mitigate it.

The seat belt has undoubtedly done this and has saved countless lives.

Yet, many loud and outspoken critics at the time said it was infringing on their liberties.

The same is now being said about wearing a mask.

In time, wearing a mask will show a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.

Wear a mask and thank those around you who do too.

Stay safe.

Why do gift economies struggle to thrive in our modern world?

In his magnum opus, Lewis Hyde clearly and painstakingly wrote about how previous societies moved. And that was with gifts.

“Here, I made this. I want you to have it.”

The problem with that today is it isn’t easy to track. And if there is no way to measure something then it’s hard to squeeze a profit.

Bingo.

Everything about our modern capitalistic culture is to track and leverage resources.

Gifts are much harder to quantify.

This supports at least one explanation about why women in more traditional caregiving professions receive less pay. You can’t measure the productivity or yield of caring someone who is sick or teaching someone to read (at least not in the short-term).

Money is a lousy way to measure the worth of what people provide.

Division

Jerry Seinfeld has a bit about motorcycle helmet laws; that it is a testament to how dumb people are that a law needs to be produced to keep one’s brain in-line with protecting itself.

If you spend enough time on social media, we are led to believe that there are two sides to every issue. That’s because our narrative can betray us into thinking that we are divided in everything.

This isn’t true.

We are not divided. We are frustrated.

Don’t lose hope. Your social media algorithm is not a reflection of what the world is thinking.

The pursuit of happiness

You cannot have the pursuit of happiness without life and liberty. Therefore, the pursuit of happiness always follows those first two principles.

Until life and liberty are satisfied for all there is no pursuit of happiness.

Once you know better it’s your responsibility to do better.

Some additional thoughts on liberty:

Simple answers to complex problems

Why is it so difficult for those infected with COVID-19 to quarantine for two weeks? Or to end racism? How come people are still falling for fake news?

I mean it seems simple enough. If your sick, stay at home. Treat everyone equally. Stay off Facebook and Twitter.

Right?

Yet, none of these solutions have worked. Because people misbehave. We tell ourselves stories that justify bad behavior. “Just this once” won’t hurt anyone.

Which means two things:

  1. Finding solutions is the easy part. Following through is where the challenge lies.
  2. People take problems and make them more complicated then they need to be. (Examples: Taking a science issue and making it a political one. Taking an equality issue and making it about them.)

There is no magic pill to fix these complicated challenges that lie ahead. Anyone who tries to make it seem so isn’t taking account of human behavior.

How do you see the glass?

Oil, food, water, shelter…we focus most of our attention on finite resources.

For good reason, with ecological disaster looming, people in the not too distant future will be faced with difficult choices on how to manage these limited resources.

The problem is, in a finite world, if someone gets a larger slice of the pie then me, my slice must be smaller.

Yet, infinite resources don’t work this way. When we combine your candle with mine, the light in the room grows.

That’s why your imagination is the greatest resource you have.

Because there are no limits to ideas. If one doesn’t work, we can imagine a new one. Again and again and again.

One of the biggest challenges going forward, with a world of shrinking finite resources is to help those see with a fixed mindset a new world of possibility.

When one door closes another opens up.

Possibilities are endless despite the restrictions.

You are not in a situation of no choice, just no easy choices left to make.

Why hindsight is 2020

Coronavirus has revealed how delicate our supply chains have become.

Relying on other countries for the production of PPE or medicine. The supply chain in the food industry with how hogs have been needlessly slaughtered because the production line can’t handle the excessive weight.

We have sacrificed resiliency for efficiency. And now, we are paying the price for it.

But through this adversity, we can pave a new path for a better world.

40-year slog

In the 1930s, economist John Keynes predicted that with the evolution of technology and production his grandchildren would only be working 15-hours per week.

So why is it that we spend (interesting word spend) 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 40+ years?

When are we to realize the flaw in this system.

There is a reason that mental health continues to rise. That amidst all of the progress we have made in medicine, technology, the internet, with food, clean water, shelter…we still is missing something.

That feeling of being connected to something bigger than ourselves. That feeling gives us purpose. It makes us feel larger than life and boosts us to dive deeper into hard, emotional work.

Where did it go wrong? 40 years of deregulation with a great recession and now a global pandemic hasn’t helped us going forward.

The 40-year slog isn’t about getting to the finish line and THEN we can start enjoying life.

Life begins each day, make it count.

HT John Keynes

Without imagination

Scott McCloud points out in his brilliant book, Understanding Comics, that all the action happens in between the panels.

Social media works the same way.

All we see is a glimpse, one point of view, and nothing in between. That space is left for our imagination.

Which isn’t a bad thing except when we let our fears and biases in the driver’s seat. Anxiety kicks in and we automatically go to the worst-case scenario.

Our imagination struggles to see other points of view different from ours because…

We fear what we can’t imagine.

 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

In 1963, eight white clergymen in Birmingham published a letter called the “A Call for Unity” which essentially asked outsiders to stay away and for protestors to resume negotiations.

Protesting is never meant with open arms. Even non-violent ones. They are never convenient because they call for the status quo to change and for people in power to share it.

After Dr. King was hauled away to jail, he responded to these clergymen with a letter that is now known as the Letters from Birmingham Jail.

Here is the audio. Thank you for your words.