How about a listicle to end the month?! WHY NOT. I’d like to start collecting some of the best things I read the previous month. Shameless easy-out on a blog post? MAYBE. Delightful romp through my learnings of the past 30 days? MOST DEFINITELY.
Ok, enough shouting. On to the good stuff… what I read that I loved!
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling: I really, really love works that point out how our brains betray us. I don’t think it’s a SPOILER ALERT to express marvel at just how much our brains are not wired to present to us the world as it is, but rather tend to interpret the world in a way that, no matter how false, is more advantageous to our ego. Rosling does a marvelous job of showing that the world as a whole is so much better than it has been, even while we still have a long way to go to being a “good” world. This book is a great companion to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. In fact, I would give all college graduates these two books for graduation, if I had the money and if I wanted to cement my reputation as a stodgy, boring, cynical old cat lady. (I mean, that is a true description of me, but do I want to be known as that before I’m 79?!)
On the value of philosophy: “Philosophy makes the unthinkable thinkable”: https://aeon.co/ideas/philosophy-can-make-the-previously-unthinkable-thinkable
Honeyball Discourse: https://www.wisdompubs.org/landing/madhupindika-sutta A fascinating Buddhist argument for how the root of our delusion and struggle is the human tendency to make any piece of knowledge or experience more than what it is, to extend it into the past and future and into a framework for interpreting the world. I loved considering how easily we take one truth and try to make it true for all situations, even while I do think there are general truths and laws we can observe and use to rightly predict future events. (And that there are general truths that can bring us a deep sense of peace and joy, rather than just suffering.)
David Hume A Treatise on Human Nature, Book I: I. Wow. I’m so awed by David Hume’s careful, penetrating, far-reaching insight. It’s slow, but gorgeous, reading. No one else perfectly balances skepticism and realism like Hume, nor did anyone else INSPIRE EINSTEIN TO DISCOVER THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY (I MEAN SERIOUSLY, HOW AMAZE-BALLS IS THAT — TAKE SOME TIME TO LET THAT SINK IN), and I am so grateful that I have had the chance to study him seriously and carefully this year. (Sorry, I guess I hadn’t gotten all my yells out in the intro.)
This thread, for a good, beautiful welling up: https://mobile.twitter.com/griergxsm/status/1094388564513693696