Hi! There’s a million things I could talk about but I can’t pick one so I’ll just say: life continues to be crazy, love is good, and I moved to Brooklyn. I think that sums it up.
There’s something beautiful about brevity. I have a lot less to say when I’m happy. Or at least, a lot less to say to the world and a lot more to say to the people I love. All of the tiny little grudges and annoyances I used to collect and incessantly analyze throughout the day seem silly now. Why did I care so much? Deriving my worth by my ability to reconcile the darkness of the world and then articulate it to others had a short and shallow shelf life.
Which doesn’t mean my curiosity’s gone, it just means it’s fueled by a different source. Instead of being driven by a relentless desire to pursue truth and prove my worth to the world, I’ve become far more interested in investigating the surroundings that I share with the wonderful people around me while we reflect each other back and forth along the way.
What I’m trying to say is: my heart is slowly learning that I am more than a brain. Even though everything is so much more and less complex than I thought, I know this for sure: “one day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
Scaling the personal grantmaking sector
A brief explanation of what I’m trying to do with grants and why I think it matters.
What Was the TED Talk? by Oscar Schwartz
This made me ridiculously happy (borderline gleeful?) to read. Schwartz calls these inspirational smart people stories “inspiresting” but I like my name better: “intellectual catnip.”
Cocktail Party Ideas by Dan Luu
Depth of knowledge > breadth of knowledge. Or rather, depth of knowledge grants something arguably greater than breadth of knowledge (AKA breadth of wisdom) through the process of your mind maturing in its ability to think extremely clearly on a specific subject. I call this developing a “taste for truth.”
Apprenticeship (reflections on gathering power) by Jonathan Harris
Piggybacking off the depth/breadth dichotomy, a similar rule holds true in the case of power. The interesting thing here is Harris’ articulations of the two strains of power: creative power and economic power. While the former often leads to the latter, the inverse rarely holds true. In simpler terms: money can’t independently buy mastery.
Half Staffed is Unstaffed by Andrew Bosworth
Really good one on human resource allocation within larger companies. Basically: if the company isn’t able/willing to give a project a “hell yes” amount of resources, it’s probably best to just kill it.
Improving the future by influencing actors' benevolence, intelligence, and power by Michael Aird and Justin Shovelain
A bit cut and dry, but I found this framework helpful for thinking about the ideal process by which power is bestowed on people. Short answer: first increase actors’ benevolence, then their intelligence, then grant them power.
Cosmos working notes by Michael Nielsen
If you’ve never watched Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan, you’re in for a treat. It’s stunning and a real tear-jerker if you’re a similar strain of sappy-about-life as me. Michael’s working notes act as a lovely complement that offer plenty of food-for-thought post-watch.
All Light Everywhere (film)
This is for documentary nerds and cultural commentary appreciators. It’s technically about cameras and policing but really about human behavior. While that might sound boring and/or scary, it’s actually quite interesting and has changed how I view the role of cameras and the act of being captured.
The End of the Tour (film)
It’s the David Foster Wallace movie. If you like to write/have experienced depression/are a human with a heart, I highly recommend watching.
MF DOOM x Tyler the Creator remix (album)
Lovely chill background music fusing two of my favs.
Channel Zero by Raury (song)
Non-irritating optimism noise :)
Love begins with a metaphor, which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.
― The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Very excited to learn more about Moth Minds! Philanthropic capital should be the most risk-seeking, experimental capital out there.
My sisters and I have been frustrated by how much it feels like there are lots of great experiments that can be funded philanthropically, but that aren’t for the reasons you outline in your post. Excited to follow along!
Your quote from "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," calls this one to my mind:
"...I imagined two people without words, unable to speak to each other. I imagined the need: The color of the sky that meant “storm.” The smell of fire that meant “Flee.” The sound of a tiger about to pounce. Who would worry about such things?
And then I realized what the first word must have been: ma... For a long time, that was the only word the baby needed. Ma, ma, ma. Then the mother decided that was her name and she began to speak, too. She taught the baby to be careful: sky, fire, tiger. A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin."
--from "The Bonesetter's Daughter," by Amy Tan
Thank you for your work on human agency! Found your "moth-themed" Substack via ACX. :) Then I shared it with a Substacker whose focus is intrinsic motivation. (Tania Rabesandratana of tania.substack.com) She located THIS one and shared it with me! XD