Categories
Getting Shit Done Lifestyle

Who do you give power over your time?

Bookmarked The Imperfectionist: Because the bell rings by Oliver Burkeman (ckarchive.com)

And so the risk is that a period with the potential to be absorbingly delightful…becomes something to “get through” instead – an obstacle one must get past before “real life” can resume, simply because it can’t be made to conform to how you think your days ought to go.

The more general… point here is that there’s often a deep tension between the desire many of us feel to exert control over our time – because we believe, if perhaps only subconsciously, that something will go very wrong if we don’t do so – and the possibility of actually being fully absorbed in that time. So it’s not really that the Christmas holiday gets in the way of real life. That would be absurd: Christmas is part of my real life, and a part I cherish. It’s my desire to control things that causes the real trouble.

Your family?

Your boss?

Your friends?

Your community?

Wanting to absolutely control our time conflicts with wanting to be part of community, and sharing experiences with others.

Burkeman discusses the conflict between community, efficiency and convenience in Four Thousand Weeks as well. Individualism puts our focus on ourselves and our personal productivity, but can lose us the experience of being part of a whole. When our own goals take precedence, it’s easy to distance ourselves through resentment of loss of control or treat activities as items on a checklist that must be done before we can get back to the real stuff.

(I say this also as someone who believes in setting boundaries with family and not doing things merely to placate others’ demands. So when you do agree to do something, it’s important to commit to the experience with intentionality.)

Categories
Health Lifestyle Society

Society and environment sets the baseline for your health

Liked https://mobile.twitter.com/thefatdoctoruk/status/1591062358532972545 (mobile.twitter.com)

Rest of the thread:

We like to blame others for making choices that cause their woes but it’s easy to fall into some logical fallacies — turns out the whole every individual for themselves thing doesn’t really reflect reality, or help improve outcomes.

See also: Stress response — finding / achieving health as a community

Categories
Future Building Political Commentary Society

Public spending needs context

Replied to

It’s easy to scoff at big projects and think they’re wasting tons of money, but there are valid reasons public projects cost a lot.

People are not good at thinking at scale. Even small roads through neighborhoods are like 25 feet wide, yeah it’s going to cost a bit to maintain an entire city’s roads. It’s also overwhelming how many people live near you who are sharing those costs — my city doesn’t feel that big, but 90,000 people live here, over 40,000 households.

I saw an article recently complaining that it takes way longer to build things now than in the past. Some of that is staffing limitations causing permitting delays, yes. *cough* I don’t hear the same people calling for higher development fees to cover increased staffing *cough* But some delays come from public process requirements. It’s important to give people a chance to hear about and comment on projects that will affect them — as much as I hate NIMBYs, in the past a lack of public process has allowed racist development decisions, so public process is important for equity. There are also environmental permitting requirements — so many impacts are externalities that the community will bear the costs of rather than the developer, so it seems fair to ask developers to evaluate and limit those impacts upfront. Inspections and plan review are also needed, because whatever gets built now, people will have to use for decades to come, and shortcuts can have bad long-term impacts, and cost-cutting can increase a building’s carbon footprint for its lifespan.

Government is concerned with protecting the public good, whereas developers are focused on the bottom line. Yes, if we let developers do whatever they wanted they’d make more money — and we’d get a city with no trees, mostly paved so rain runoff is terrible and streams become unlivable for fish, built using the cheapest (and likely most carbon-intensive) materials.

The bigger issue is that people seem to have lost touch with doing things for the common good — back to our society’s toxic individualism. The same attitude that makes people reluctant to pay for programs they don’t use also makes them reluctant to do things that benefit others at little cost to themselves, like wearing masks on public transportation.

Categories
Reuse Society

Shared Goods Versus Owning Your Own

Liked Every child on their own trampoline (The Earthbound Report)

However, there are reasons why I didn’t buy them a trampoline the first time they asked. Or the second, or the 34th. There is something that makes me a little uncomfortable about it, and it’s more than the aesthetics or the safety.
Looking out of my daughter’s bedroom window, I can see a grand total of seven different trampolines in back gardens. Almost every family with children has one, of varying sizes and quality. Some are used all the time, some rarely. But it seems to be almost universal now. Every family has its own trampoline.

Meanwhile, the playground round the corner falls apart quietly. It’s usually empty when we go there.

Private affluence is individuals gaining things for themselves – possessions, nice homes and experiences, trampolines. Public affluence is money spent lavishly on things that are shared – libraries, parks, buses, playgrounds.

Capitalism pushes us towards private affluence. We aspire to acquire our own things.

Having access to your own things looks like progress, but there is a cost. Community is one of the victims. Shared spaces are places where community happens, where people mix and meet. Nobody makes new friends on their own rowing machine, in front of the TV.

Was just reading Four Thousand Weeks and he brings up the deceptive seduction of convenience. We try to strip away all the minor inconveniences and frictions in life but a lot of them are what make us part of our community.

Public affluence builds community, saves resources and reduces inequality. In an advanced economy such as Britain’s, public affluence is one of the best ways to increase quality of life without increasing environmental damage. “Public affluence”, writes urbanist Mike Davis, “represented by great urban parks, free museums, libraries and infinite possibilities for human interaction – represents an alternative route to a rich standard of life based on Earth-friendly sociality.”

Categories
Future Building Personal Growth

Stoicism and Individuality

Liked Stoicism is Not Enough by Simon Sarris (medium.com)

Stoicism has found renewed interest in technology circles especially.

I suspect this kind of stoicism — for Marcus and Wallace and some modern popularizers — is a response to perceiving the breakdown of a functioning world. Their prescription for dealing with such troubles is to develop profound internal strength, and in doing so the stoic attitude can dodge some societal-level failures by compartmentalizing toward a robust individualism.

I think Sarris hits on something that has bothered me about stoicism: its focus on the individual. It leads too much to detachment from responsibility to our communities and the broader world, when the harder, less glorious task of working together and finding compromise and actively working for a better future is what will get us through. We can’t wait for a hero, we all need to be heroines.