Activism Future Building Society

Overcoming defensive reactions to entertain different ways of living

Replied to On Natural Wine by Alicia Kennedy (From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy)

Neither natural winemakers or drinkers nor vegans are the powerful ones here. If you’ve been thinking they are, perhaps it’s time to interrogate why you feel that way—to ask how we can move forward for a better world, instead of mocking anyone trying to do things a bit differently.

The actual similarities between natural wine and veganism are, at the end of the day, about giving a shit.

If there is a commonality between natural wine and “the vegan movement”…, it is that people who do not participate in them overstate the influence and strength of both of these concepts. They are threatening because of the perceived “aggression” of the believers, forcing bottles imported by Jenny & Francois and Impossible Burgers down everyone’s throats! (This is not happening.)

Health Mental Health Personal Growth Work

Assuming no change is an option

Replied to The devil you know | everything changes by Mandy Brown (everything changes)

I had spent months chewing on the various dangers and risks of each step I could take, and had not at all considered the dangers and risks of staying put.

I can see now that I was, in fact, making several mistakes. Principal among them was that I considered no change at all to be a viable option. It wasn’t, and not only because the present circumstances were untenable, but also because they were not static.

The second, related, error was that I assumed that all the risk was in moving, that by definition staying put was the prudent option.

Entrepreneurship Personal Growth

Overcoming fear and internalized norms to create a new routine

Replied to When your inbox owns you by Jenni Gritters (Mindset Mastery)

Luis would need to tolerate the anxiety of not addressing his email during those few hours, so we came up with some tactics: Listening to calming music, going on a walk, and repeating to himself: *I have the power to choose my routine*.

I could see his brain rewiring in real time: He no longer believed that his clients hired him because he was always available. He was starting to see that it was safe to wait a bit before responding. It was even safe, in some cases, to not respond to emails at all.

Featured The Internet Writing

Blogging’s emotional obstacles

At yesterday’s Galactic Bonus Homebrew Website Club, I appreciated hearing others’ perspectives and approaches to managing some emotional aspects of blogging.


We discussed overcoming perfectionism on our websites and in our blogging — a pernicious, perpetual challenge for creative expression. I’ve had some success tricking my mind to be less precious about writing shorter, less formal content: this entire mind garden is meant to be a ‘first stop’ for thinking; I created a category called “ponderings” to encourage myself to post little thoughts and curiosities; and in the course of composing a post, if I’m having trouble harnessing my thoughts, I’ll start with a framework of bullet points.

Political Commentary Society Work

Capitalism vs. children

Replied to The Endangered American Childhood by Jared Yates Sexton (Dispatches From A Collapsing State | Jared Yates Sexton)

And, before we dive deeper, a reminder that the very nature of the market is this. The exploitation and dehumanization of all of us for as much profit as can possibly be extracted from us. Preferably it could be done painlessly and with a smile, but the inherent philosophy at the heart of the process harbors deep, dark authoritarian energies that will come into full focus as soon as situations demand it.

There is a abhorrent logic to it. If adults aren’t going to accept these low-paying, backbreaking, soul-crushing jobs, and if they’re going to continue agitating for labor unions and better treatment, then somebody’s going to have to show up.

The GOP’s continued assault on teachers as “groomers” and “indoctrinators” is about destroying public education, but in due time that will switch to also rationalizing why children would be “better off” laboring rather than being “subjected to wokeness.”


I don’t think it’s solely about destroying education, though that is one aspect. Part is about demonizing “the other” and creating in/out groups to turn against, especially conflating liberalism with queerness, which they also hate and fear. Part is about vilifying intellectual pursuits and devaluing critical thinking. And part is preventing kids from learning information that conflicts with their controlling doctrines.

They will wage not only culture war but also generational war, claiming degeneracy and decay demand a return to “traditional values,” including the reappearance of young people in the workplace, where they might learn the value of a dollar and the need for hard work.

I’m wary of reading too much stuff like this in case it’s alarmist reverse fearmongering, but I kinda don’t think it is — so learning to recognize and anticipate the behavior patterns of authoritarians is important 🫤

I started working at 14 and wish I hadn’t. Wish I’d given myself a few more years before I started squeezing myself into the mold of ideal worker. Our school system does enough of this already: teaching to the test, quashing curiosity, forcing kids to follow a schedule that doesn’t suit their bodies.

I recall a day I got in trouble for not coming to work on the school paper after track. I was seventeen. I’d been at school from 8 to 3:30 then practice till 6 or 6:30. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, and had homework to do plus saxophone practice. By the time I finished dinner I figured they’d be winding down and there was no need for me to go back, but apparently they worked till midnight. I “should have” gone back and worked another five or six hours.

Except in retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t ask kids to put in 15-16 hour days — for extracurricular activities or for paid work. That means recognizing that children’s work is learning, both the skills and curriculum of their classes, as well as how to be people. Supplanting kids’ free time with labor prioritizes their value as workers over their wellbeing as people.

It’s all part of a hustle for success mindset that, at least for me, started with high school, when I was 13. My parents didn’t push me, but society was a strong influence. You won’t get into a good college if you don’t do extracurriculars or score well on standardized tests. If you make mistakes, if you’re anything less than perfect, you’ll be a failure. I’m still working on purging toxic perfectionism from my system in my late thirties. And I wish I could have let myself enjoy being a kid a little longer.

Personal Growth Reflection

Evaluating your fears

Bookmarked Fear-Setting: The Most Valuable Exercise I Do Every Month by Tim Ferriss (

I do an exercise called “fear-setting” at least once a quarter, often once a month. It is the most powerful exercise I do.  
Fear-setting has produced my biggest business and personal successes, as well as repeatedly helped me to avoid catastrophic mistakes.

I’m a little iffy on Tim Ferriss but this sounds like a helpful exercise.

Finances Political Commentary

The old classic, lying with statistics

Replied to Exaggerating China’s military spending, St. Louis Fed breaks all statistical rules with misleading graph (

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis published a jaw-droppingly misleading graph that portrays China as spending more on its military than the US. In reality, the Pentagon’s budget is roughly three times larger.

In an accompanying report, the St. Louis Fed admitted that China’s 2021 defense spending was just 1.7% of GDP, “which was the lowest share among the six nations in the figure”.

Yay! I love Actual Propaganda! With a good ol dose of racist fearmongering 🙃

My Biostatistics teacher in college devoted our entire first lecture to discussing ways you could lie with data, so we would be better able to recognize it — and hopefully, not do it.

If we acknowledged how much we waste on bloated military spending, we would have to come to grips with our spending priorities. We would have to acknowledge what we don’t buy with that money. Some of that money could help stop children from going hungry, or keep diabetic people (who aren’t on Medicaid) from dying for lack of affordable medicine 🤷‍♀️ (To name some real problems in the US that shouldn’t be controversial yet somehow are.)

A much more accurate graphic created by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation shows how, as of 2022, the United States spent more on its military than the next nine largest spenders combined – including China, India, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea (and several of these countries are close US allies).

Some of what our $$$$$$$ military spending buys is impressive: a rapid response force that can be wheels up in under 18 hours (the logistics of that alone are mind-blowing), a sophisticated anti-tank weapon that still beats out everything anyone else has and is making a huge impact in Ukraine, and development of GPS.

Preserving self-governance in Ukraine A+++++++ But mayyyyybe we could spare some of the $850 billion we’re spending on the military this year to care directly for people?

Featured Meta Websites

Deciding what belongs on my website

We discussed syndicating notes from your website to Twitter at yesterday’s Homebrew Website Club in light of the upcoming Twitter ownership transfer, as a way to demonstrate existing POSSE technology and encourage more people to adopt IndieWeb approaches. I expressed that I struggle with *whether* I want to do this rather than *how*. What seems like it should be a simple step — posting to Twitter from my website — reveals itself as a complex decision rooted in how I want to present myself online.

Tl;dr: having one place to host all my content is simplest, but means being ok with uniting all aspects of my identity.

Health Society

Why others get upset when you mask

Bookmarked Why Do They *Think* That? by JTO, Ph.D. (

I’ll just give you a non-comprehensive run-down of various biases (which are basically rules of cognition that become errors when they’re incorrectly applied) and heuristics (which are basically thinking shortcuts or strategies that can lead to thinking errors), focusing on those that can cause people to be more alarmed by risk reduction than by the risk posed by actual threats.

Why people don’t seem to care about the health risks”

  • People don’t like to think about death or disability
  • Death and disability are abstract without personal experience
  • Selection and survivorship biases when they only see healthy people out and about
  • People estimate their own risk based on personal experiences
  • “base-rate fallacy: people are much more swayed by single dramatic events than by large numbers or probability statistics”
  • Optimism Bias = expect they’ll have a good outcome
  • Perceived invulnerability = don’t think bad stuff will happen to them
  • Diffusion of Responsibility –> they can’t directly see or be held responsible for the consequences of their actions (e.g. passing along sickness so people you don’t know die)
  • Just World Thinking = “people get what they deserve” because otherwise would have to admit the world is unfair and random, and can attribute their success to their own choices by blaming what others have done differently than them (e.g. get vaxxed)
  • Fundamental Attribution Error, which leads us to focus on personal vs. situational causes for other people’s behavior and outcomes – though not for our own”

Why do people seem to care so much that YOU care about Covid health risks?

  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Psychological Reactance –> people get mad when they think their freedoms are under attack or they’ll lose control –> trying to reassert control
  • “people personalize the actions of others, inferring that those people mean to have a negative effect on them – for example, thinking that masked people are deliberately trying to make them irate or imply they’re stupid” = hostile attribution bias
  • group norms, conformity, and group consensus
  • group think happens when going along with your group trumps making an informed decision –> group polarization = group beliefs gradually become more radical

“People wish to be seen (by themselves and others) as reasonable. Because of this, when folks try to decide on a “rational” response to an environmental threat, they often look at the array of available risk mitigation options and try to pick a percentage of these that is neither an ‘under-response’ or an ‘over-response.’” “Unfortunately, that’s not the way risk actually works; a threat is what it is, and it isn’t going to negotiate with you regarding how much you have to do or what is a “fair” amount of effort.”


Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

The fears that hold us back


I began to notice that they all had one thing in common: fear.

The fear that I wouldn’t get it “right.”

The fear that I was lazy or self-indulgent.

The fear that I would embarrass myself.

These fears created an inner conflict: I would feel pulled toward joy, and then yanked back by the fear.

What might happen if my best-case scenario came true?