Language and Racism.

A peculiar feature of the truth is that it’s funny. Actually, wait. The truth is clearly not always funny. What I mean is that there’s a certain joy that reliably accompanies the truth. And this joy will, under the right circumstances, make people laugh. Great comedians all understand this. The Richard Pryors, the George Carlins,...continue reading on Medium...
Would you have been on the right side of history during slavery?

A thought-provoking Twitter thread on how morality changes with time, perspective, and our proximity to the consequences of taking action.

I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it.

"Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness."
Making sense of the Buddhist idea that the self doesn’t exist.

If we're really being mindful as we are hearing the bell, we see that for however long the sound lasts—maybe 15 seconds, or 20 seconds, or 30 seconds—within that time, there is constant change going on. It's nuances of sound: vibration, intensity, pitch. So many different things are happening within what we would call “the sound of a bell.” So we're really seeing the changing nature on a much more refined level.

And the same thing happens with the familiar meditation object...the breath. Normally we go, "Oh, take an in-breath, take an out-breath”—as if each of them is a single unit. But when we're really being mindful, we see that even within an in-breath, there are hundreds of sensations that are happening. And the quieter we get, we tune in, we refine our perception.

It's something I call NPMs, Noticings Per Minute. In the beginning, our NPMs are pretty low, maybe 10 or 20. But as we cultivate awareness and mindfulness, the NPMs go way up and we see within a breath, or within a step, so many different changing sensations happening

And we also see the changing nature in our minds, the rapidity of thoughts arising and passing.

Well worth a read. It's not often that something like attention is described in such a precise yet relatable way.

What Is Extreme Ownership?

Excellent talk by Jocko Willink on the importance of empowering people as you lead them:

When you have to go execute something, I want you to plan it. I’m not gonna plan it for you. I want you to plan it. Now I’m gonna come and check out your plan. And we’ll collaborate to make sure it’s the best plan because maybe I have more experience than you, or maybe I have some strategic vision that you don’t have. But I want you to plan it. 

That way you own it. And if you own it when you go to execute it your gonna put that much more effort into it....If you come up with a plan, you’re gonna put more effort, and more pride into executing that plan than if I come up with a plan and I give it to you. 

How technology changes our brains.

An excellent interview with Nicholas Carr, author of "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains." The central thesis of Carr's book is that the internet hasn't just changed how we access information, but how our brains treat it:

My brain, I realized, wasn’t just drifting, it was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the same way the net fed it — and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became.

Why it’s so hard to let others care for you.

It seemed allowing others to care for us is sometimes hard to accept. We may view it as a weakness, imagine we are a burden, or not worthy of such attention; and yet we often have no trouble caring for those in need; and may even go out of our way to do so. We might well ask, why the double standard? We are so often, sooner or later in the same boat.

An impressively comprehensive article on the importance of asking for help, and perhaps more importantly, accepting it when it's given. We'll all be in this position sooner or later, and how we deal with it can be literally life-changing.

How To Not Be Racist.

It seems like everybody’s talking about racism at the moment, but there’s significant disagreement about what it is. Some people claim that black people can’t be racist. Other’s insist that racism no longer exists. Still others seem to believe that white people are racist simply because they exist. It feels impossible to unravel it all....continue reading on Medium...
How To Never Be Angry Again.

A lovely little talk by Abraham Twerski on the subject of anger:

There's some people who feel guilty for feeling don't have a choice! The feeling of anger is not a choice and if you don't have a choice there's no reason to feel guilty about it.

The stoic self.

What is the self? As with any complex and slippery concept, we can draw on literally thousands of years worth of philosophical discussions in both the eastern and western traditions to address the question. But perhaps it will be simpler to begin with two contrasting definitions from a dictionary:

A fascinating look at the stoic’s concept of the self from IAI.