Neil deGrasse Tyson for president of the universe.
A little late on this, but love to see everything great about Kurt Vonnegut confirmed.
From Advice to Sink in Slowly series.
Really interesting way to think about idea evolution. When people clustered in groups of 10-15, you needed 1-2 inventors in the group to create new tools (technologies) that the rest could copy. Now that we’re connected in larger and larger groups of, say, 2,000-3,000 people, the inventions of 1-2 people can be copied by a group of 2k-3k, which means far less inventors are needed to keep us moving forward as a culture. The way we’re evolving socially is kicking off a process of natural selection favoring copiers over inventors.
Charlie Chaplan’s closing speech in The Dictator via @juliangutman
"I think what actually happens at universities, and in our high school system as well, is that we learn how to go to school. That’s the main thing our children become good apprentices at. What, of course, we want in a university is for people to learn the skills they’re going to need outside the classroom."
Marathons + @Meetup(s) - great for the same reason.
A long time ago I read Emile Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life and didn’t think much about it until the first time I went to cheer on a friend running the NYC marathon. Then again at my first Meetup and now every time at either.
Durkheim talks about Collective Effervescence which is essentially the feeling that overwhelms a group of individuals coming together to perform a certain communal ritual, or for any collaborative purposes really. Digging a little deeper into the subject recently, I stumbled upon the academic journal of Tim Olaveson who captured the idea really well:
…participants experience this great charge with each other. Individuals collide, gang up, get caught in the pulse of the moment. Time is suspended and all that exists is the moment, and for that beautiful instant the act of creation lies within each and the whole all at once. This electric moment is very real, and not only makes participants feel stronger, it makes them stronger. The moment of collective effervescence is always temporary, guided in creation but unbridled once set loose. It’s more than just mob behavior, though; it’s a very conscious event, one of creation and revolution in one mass controlled burst. It is willful and intentioned.
I’ve been reluctantly moved to what I’ll call almost-tears, at every marathon I’ve been to - (and I’m really, really, *not* a crier) - because I feel I’m surrounded by something bigger than the sum of its parts. Meetup exists on the same idea. It feels like collective effervescence is at play for both.
(Also interesting: Durkheim thought CE accounts for why + how early societies began to believe in the notion of god - the effervescence was so powerful and, more importantly, existed outside of each individual participant, so there had to be some higher being involved in their communal rituals).