Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports?
"Another reason white-collar workers are flocking to endurance sports has to do with the sheer physicality involved. For a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research this past February, researchers from the Cardiff Business School in Wales set out to understand why people with desk jobs are attracted to grueling athletic events. They interviewed 26 Tough Mudder participants and read online forums dedicated to obstacle course racing. What emerged was a resounding theme: the pursuit of pain.

“By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness,” write the researchers. “When leaving marks and wounds, pain helps consumers create the story of a fulfilled life. In a context of decreased physicality, [obstacle course races] play a major role in selling pain to the saturated selves of knowledge workers, who use pain as a way to simultaneously escape reflexivity and craft their life narrative.” The pursuit of pain has become so common among well-to-do endurance athletes that scientific articles have been written about what researchers are calling “white-collar rhabdomyolysis,” referring to a condition in which extreme exercise causes kidney damage."
from instapaper
4 days ago
Aziz Ansari on Quitting the Internet, Loneliness, and Season 3 of ‘Master of None’
"I heard you deleted the Internet from your phone. And that you deleted Twitter and Instagram and e-mail. No way that's true, right?
It is! Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there's a new thing, it's not even about the content. It's just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You're not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don't care anymore. When I first took the browser off my phone, I'm like, [gasp] How am I gonna look stuff up? But most of the shit you look up, it's not stuff you need to know. All those websites you read while you're in a cab, you don't need to look at any of that stuff. It's better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute. I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there's a new thing. And read a book instead. I've been doing it for a couple months, and it's worked. I'm reading, like, three books right now. I'm putting something in my mind. It feels so much better than just reading the Internet and not remembering anything."
from instapaper
4 days ago
the mystery of Google’s position – Snakes and Ladders
"I think the third option above is the most likely, with the fourth the next-best candidate, but I seriously doubt that Google will get much more specific. Their goal will be to create a climate of maximal fear-of-offending, and that is best done by never allowing employees to know where the uncrossable lines are. That is, after all, corporate SOP.

It’s going to be really, really difficult to get reliable information about what happened here and why it happened, not just because Google will want to be evasive, and will be encouraged by its lawyers to be evasive, but also because, as Conor Friedersdorf pointed out, the misrepresentations of and straightforward lies about Damore’s memo are pervasive: “I cannot remember the last time so many outlets and observers mischaracterized so many aspects of a text everyone possessed.”"
from instapaper
4 days ago
Answers to your questions about Ulysses 2.5 for iOS
"Notes are pretty self-explanatory. I’m the type of writer who, in the past, added ideas and notes to the bottom of the document I’m writing in. Now I add them to the Ulysses attachment sidebar for a few reasons.

One is that they’re easy to get out of the way when I don’t need them anymore and just want to focus on writing. My other big reason is that I do enough work that requires specific word counts, and having all those notes in the document I’m writing messes with those counts. However, I do have a pro-tip here: if you display Ulysses’ word count bar (the speed dial button on the left of the text shortcut bar) and select some text, the bar will update live to show you the character count of just your selection. This is useful, but I still prefer to keep notes in the sidebar."
from instapaper
5 days ago
Review: Ulysses 2.5 for iPad and, now, iPhone
"Writing Goals is another of my favorite Ulysses features, and it does exactly what it might sound like. You can set a goal for any number of metrics, including words, sentences, lines, paragraphs, and pages, then set a limit of "about," "at least," or "at most." Your progress towards this goal is displayed as a colored pie chart in the sidebar, and any sheet that has a goal gets a small badge of that chart on it in a sheet list.

Even better, if you're working on a large, multi-sheet project like a book or, say, a lengthy review of an iOS writing app for MacStories, you can assign a goal to an entire Group. That Group also gets a small badge counter when viewing a list of Groups."
from instapaper
5 days ago
Review: Ulysses 2.5 for iPad and, now, iPhone
"Ulysses supports Groups (Folders) and sub-groups for organization, but things get interesting with Favorites and Filters. You can mark a sheet as a Favorite to make it appear in a dedicated, top-level Favorites section. It's a great tool for focusing on current projects and getting back to them quickly, and one of my favorite features."
from instapaper
5 days ago
Letter of Recommendation: Duolingo
"Learning a language to fluency requires discipline, frequent practice, ideally immersion — much more than a simple language-learning game can offer. That’s fine, though. Fluency stopped being my goal a while ago, when I realized that trying to master several different foreign languages in the span of a few months would only be another stress-inducing, insurmountable project, exactly the sort of thing that led me to seek distractions in the first place. More than anything, though, Duolingo made me confident in my decision-making — I had good taste in bad ways to spend my time."
from instapaper
10 days ago
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
"If you were going to give advice for a happy adolescence based on this survey, it would be straightforward: Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen. Of course, these analyses don’t unequivocally prove that screen time causes unhappiness; it’s possible that unhappy teens spend more time online. But recent research suggests that screen time, in particular social-media use, does indeed cause unhappiness. One study asked college students with a Facebook page to complete short surveys on their phone over the course of two weeks. They’d get a text message with a link five times a day, and report on their mood and how much they’d used Facebook. The more they’d used Facebook, the unhappier they felt, but feeling unhappy did not subsequently lead to more Facebook use.

Social-networking sites like Facebook promise to connect us to friends. But the portrait of iGen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely, dislocated generation. Teens who visit social-networking sites every day but see their friends in person less frequently are the most likely to agree with the statements “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.” Teens’ feelings of loneliness spiked in 2013 and have remained high since."
from instapaper
10 days ago
Tim Urban: How He Turned His Blog Into A Global Movement
"Schawbel: What are your top three pieces of career advice?

Urban:

1. Think hard about whether you’ll be a happier person if you’re working for someone or for yourself. I don’t think the answer is as obvious as people think, and each of those is very right for some people and very wrong for others. It’s a fundamentally different type of career, so maybe try experiencing a little bit of both to help you decide.

2. Try to ignore conventional wisdom if you can. It tends to be unnecessarily fear-based and terribly outdated. Instead, read the books of people you admire and hear what they say about careers.

3. You might think you can be happy without work/life balance, but it’s a trap. You can’t. And you don’t need to. You can be a prolific creator/producer working 40 hours a week, if you actually put in 40 real hours of work each week."
from instapaper
10 days ago
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
"What’s the connection between smartphones and the apparent psychological distress this generation is experiencing? For all their power to link kids day and night, social media also exacerbate the age-old teen concern about being left out. Today’s teens may go to fewer parties and spend less time together in person, but when they do congregate, they document their hangouts relentlessly—on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. Those not invited to come along are keenly aware of it. Accordingly, the number of teens who feel left out has reached all-time highs across age groups. Like the increase in loneliness, the upswing in feeling left out has been swift and significant."
from instapaper
10 days ago
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
"You might expect that teens spend so much time in these new spaces because it makes them happy, but most data suggest that it does not. The Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and designed to be nationally representative, has asked 12th-graders more than 1,000 questions every year since 1975 and queried eighth- and 10th-graders since 1991. The survey asks teens how happy they are and also how much of their leisure time they spend on various activities, including nonscreen activities such as in-person social interaction and exercise, and, in recent years, screen activities such as using social media, texting, and browsing the web. The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy."
from instapaper
10 days ago
This Googler Explains How To Design Your Time Rather Than Manage It
"I start by dividing my work responsibilities into four quadrants:

People development (managing my teams, coaching, mentoring)
Business operations (data analysis, running sales meetings)
Transactional tasks (one-off things like responding to an email or reviewing a budget)
Representative tasks (serving as a “face” for the business, like having drinks with customers or speaking at conferences)"
from instapaper
17 days ago
Time-maximizing strategies of highly-successful people | MIT Sloan Executive Education
"Handle your email
Business leaders, CEOs, and managers often receive hundreds, if not thousands, of emails a day. Most would agree that email is necessary, but extremely distracting. Pozen recommends checking your email only every hour or two, and then skipping the majority of them because "you can see from the subject line that they are not important." Unless you're on vacation, it's equally important to handle emails immediately and only once. Waiting to respond to an email only means you'll waste time later relocating it, re-reading it, and thinking about the issues all over again. Slightly more extreme, Tim Ferriss, well-known "life hacker" and author of The Four Hour Work Week, advises checking email only twice a day (such as 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.). To further curtail your email impulses, he suggests setting up an autoresponse, which indicates that you’ll be checking email twice per day or less."
from instapaper
17 days ago
One surprising way money can buy happiness, according to scientists
"If you look at the many scientific studies on how to buy happiness, you find evidence supporting several other ways. Buying material goods, especially those that match our personality, can satisfy our need for establishing or expressing our identity. Spending money on others “pro-socially” — through charitable giving or to improve relationships with people we care about — fulfills our desire for human connections. And investing in experiences has been repeatedly shown to increase happiness.

Especially beneficial are experiences that help us develop new skills or apply our talents in novel ways and make us feel more confident, Howell said.

There’s no magic answer for how to stretch our dollars to achieve maximum happiness, but for many people, spending money to save time and improve well-being isn’t even on their radar. DeVoe hopes this research will give people a more concrete understanding of the abstract value of investing in free time."
from instapaper
18 days ago
Four keys to successful digital transformations in healthcare
"Indeed, never before have so many technologies with the potential to affect the healthcare industry matured so quickly en masse. Next-generation genomics; big data and advanced analytics; machine learning and automation programs; connected, sensor-enabled devices and wearables; 3-D printing; and robotics—all have the potential to fundamentally change the way healthcare companies develop products and provide services. Consumers are more informed about and more engaged in healthcare decisions because of technology, and regulators and policy makers are advocating for the development of open data and technology standards as well as knowledge-sharing initiatives among companies in the industry."
from instapaper
27 days ago
Four keys to successful digital transformations in healthcare
"Our experience with companies inside and outside the healthcare ecosystem suggests there are four core principles for succeeding with this kind of all-encompassing change program. Healthcare companies first need to identify and prioritize their critical sources of value; they need to identify the products and services they provide that lead to competitive differentiation and that would benefit most from digitization. Second, they must build their service-delivery capabilities—not just in physically integrating and managing new digital technologies but also in implementing new approaches to product development and distribution (for instance, agile and DevOps methodologies). Third, healthcare companies should look for ways to modernize their IT foundations, for example upgrading pools of talent and expertise in the IT organization, moving to digital platforms such as cloud servers and software-as-a-service products, managing data as a strategic asset, and improving security protocols for the company’s most vital assets. And fourth, companies must ensure that they build and maintain core management competencies. In other words, all the enablers that allow them to pursue a successful digital agenda."
from instapaper
27 days ago
What executives should know about open data
"Not all data that’s valuable is internal and proprietary. New initiatives by governments as diverse as those of the United States, Mexico, and Singapore are opening the spigots of readily usable public data. Corporate information too is becoming more “liquid,” moving across the economy as companies begin sharing data with their business partners and, sometimes, consumers. Also surging is the richness of the information from data aggregators, which are assembling, rendering anonymous, and selling (to interested third parties) a wide range of data flows. Then add huge volumes of data from social-media interactions, available from providers of digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 1. Data sets range from completely open to completely closed, across four dimensions: accessibility (the range of users permitted to access the data), machine readability (the ease with which the data can be processed automatically), cost (the price to obtain data), and rights (limitations on the use, transformation, and distribution of the data)."
from instapaper
27 days ago
How Tyler Cowen—Superstar Blogger and Economics Professor—Writes Every Single Day - Writing Routines
"How many words a day do you produce, or try to produce? How much of that ever sees the light of day?

I don’t know, I guess I try to write a few pages every day. I don’t obsess over the counting, I just do as much as I can and stop before I feel I am done, so I am eager to start up again the next day, or after lunch. That to me is very important, not to write too much in a single day, but to get something written every single day. As for the second question, I have hundreds of pages of unfinished junk, cut material, outtakes, etc."
from instapaper
29 days ago
How Tyler Cowen—Superstar Blogger and Economics Professor—Writes Every Single Day - Writing Routines
"Let’s start with the basics: What time of day do you start writing? Is it easier for you to write early in the morning? Late at night?

Most of my core writing is done between 9 and 12 in the morning. Blog posts I might write at night or in the late afternoon, but my books are written in the morning, my columns too. Morning time is precious time."
from instapaper
29 days ago
Identify Your Values - Joshua Hook
"Self-direction. Main goal is independent thought and action—choosing, creating, exploring.
Stimulation: Main goal is excitement, novelty, and challenge in life.
Hedonism: Main goal is pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself.
Achievement: Main goal is personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards.
Power: Main goal is social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources.
Security: Main goal is safety, harmony, and stability of society, relationships, and the self.
Conformity: Main goal is restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations and norms.
Tradition: Main goal is respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that one’s culture or religion provides.
Benevolence: Main goal is preserving and enhancing the welfare of those with whom one is in frequent personal contact (the ‘in-group’).
Universalism: Main goal is understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
The Sage of Yale Law
"Later, back in his office, I asked Kronman whether born-again paganism wasn’t just a kind of fancy atheism. His ideas about divinity seem, at times, more poetic than religious; toward the end of the book, he devotes many pages to Walt Whitman and Wallace Stevens. “The ‘God’ word,” Kronman said, nodding. “If there were another word that I could use . . . People say ‘spirituality,’ but that’s such weak tea. All of us have multiple beliefs. Say you believe in God. You also believe in other things: science, or the value of literature, or democracy. If you’re a curious and reflective person, you’ll be moved to ask: How do all these beliefs fit together? You could say, ‘Well, I guess I’m an atheist, because only atheism will save my science, aesthetics, and politics.’ Or you could say, ‘It’s God first and only, and if I have to throw those other things overboard, so be it.’ ” He leaned forward, steepling his fingers. “Or it could be that, by adjusting your conception of God, you could harmonize your beliefs, so that they fit together in an intellectually coherent and respectable way.”"
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
An Interview with Francis Spufford | Commonweal Magazine
"What I am finding is that the gospel, as a narrative, seems to function as a kind of attractor for me while I am telling stories. Without deliberately alluding to it, or meaning consciously to create any kind of counterpart of it, I seem to keep tracing around it, to keep drawing out partial, wandering, approximate, sometimes parodic or borderline-blasphemous outlines of its shape. Give me a story about a stranger who comes to town and instantly there, nearby, is the possibility that he may be a sin-eater or scapegoat, in some kind of redemptive relation to the ills, individual and shared, of the place he comes to. Give me a comedy of human fallibility, and I start to wonder whether the wisdom of God may be at work in it as well as the foolishness of man; but I also find myself reaching for some of the black paste of tragedy to stir in, because of the Christian story’s insistence on the mortal stakes for which we human idiots play. Conversely, give me a tragedy, and I seem to start tilting it towards laughter, because of the awareness that Easter Sunday follows Good Friday. It’s a tragi-comic religion, Christianity, hopelessly mixed in genre—the only one I know that ends with a death sentence and then a wedding."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Should Tyler Cowen Believe in God?
"What I’m looking for when I gamble on a world-picture is something that makes sense of the four major features of existence that give rise to religious questions – the striking fact of cosmic order, our distinctive consciousness, our strong moral sense and thirst for justice and the persistent varieties of supernatural experience. The various forms of materialism strike me as very weak on all four counts, and the odds that what Thomas Nagel called “the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature” is true therefore seem quite low. All these numbers will be a little arbitrary, but for the sake of the game I’ll set the probability that a hard materialism accurately describes reality at 2 percent (and I think I’m being generous there)."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Should Tyler Cowen Believe in God?
"I concede that a worldview’s coherence doesn’t prove anything definitive about its truth. You can certainly preserve a preference for human rights or any other feature of the contemporary consensus on non-theological grounds. But in the quest for truth, coherence still seems like a useful signpost, and looking for its presence still seems like a decent-enough place to start."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Should Tyler Cowen Believe in God?
"One can come up with plenty of other explanations, but still, a harmony between religious ideas, human flourishing and great aesthetic achievement is certainly consonant with the idea that we are restless until we rest in Him. And in a similar vein the claims from atheists that if we could pinpoint the evolutionary origins of religious belief we would somehow explain it all away always strike me as strange, because most evolved features of human nature evolved the way they did because they were adapted to some actual reality — and why shouldn’t the religious instinct be the same?"
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
the weakness of religion – Snakes and Ladders
"I am by most measures a pretty deeply committed Christian. I am quite active in my church; I teach at a Christian college; I have written extensively in support of Christian ideas and belief. Yet when I ask myself how much of what I do and think is driven by my religious beliefs, the honest answer is “not so much.” The books I read, the food I eat, the music I listen to, my hobbies and interests, the thoughts that occupy my mind throughout the greater part of every day – these are, if truth be told, far less indebted to my Christianity than to my status as a middle-aged, middle-class American man.

Of course, I can’t universalize my own experience – but that experience does give me pause when people talk about the immense power of religion to make people do extraordinary things. When people say that they are acting out of religious conviction, I tend to be skeptical; I tend to wonder whether they’re not acting as I usually do, out of motives and impulses over which I could paint a thin religious veneer but which are really not religious at all."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Why I don't believe in God - Marginal REVOLUTION
"I am frustrated by the lack of Bayesianism in most of the religious belief I observe. I’ve never met a believer who asserted: “I’m really not sure here. But I think Lutheranism is true with p = .018, and the next strongest contender comes in only at .014, so call me Lutheran.” The religious people I’ve known rebel against that manner of framing, even though during times of conversion they may act on such a basis."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Why I don't believe in God - Marginal REVOLUTION
"2. The true nature of reality is so strange, I’m not sure “God” or “theism” is well-defined, at least as can be discussed by human beings. That fact should not lead you to militant atheism (I also can’t define subatomic particles), but still it pushes me toward an “I don’t believe” attitude more than belief. I find it hard to say I believe in something that I feel in principle I cannot define, nor can anyone else.

2b. In general, I am opposed to the term “atheist.” It suggests a direct rejection of some specific beliefs, whereas I simply would say I do not hold those beliefs. I call myself a “non-believer,” to reference a kind of hovering, and uncertainty about what actually is being debated. Increasingly I see atheism as another form of religion."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Opinion | Mis-Educating the Young
"This gets at one of the oddest phenomena of modern life. Childhood is more structured than it has ever been. But then the great engine of the meritocracy spits people out into a young adulthood that is less structured than it has ever been.

There used to be certain milestones that young adults were directed toward by age 27: leaving home, becoming financially independent, getting married, buying a house, having a child. But the information economy has scrambled those timetables. Current 20-somethings are much less likely to do any of those things by 30. They are less likely to be anchored in a political party, church or some other creedal community.

When I graduated from college there was a finite number of career ladders in front of me: teacher, lawyer, doctor, business. Now college graduates enter a world with four million footstools. There are many more places to perch (a start-up, an NGO, a coffee shop, a consultancy) but few of the footstools pay a sustaining wage, seem connected with the others or lead to a clear ladder of rungs to climb upward.

People in their 20s seem to be compelled to bounce around more, popping up here and there, quantumlike, with different jobs, living arrangements and partners while hoping that all these diverse experiences magically add up to something."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
To Get Better at Time Management, Borrow a Training Strategy From Elite Athletes
"Studies using fMRI technology to view brain activity have found that it’s impossible to do two things at once, even in individuals who claim to be exceptional multitaskers. What’s really happening is that your brain is either dividing and conquering, dedicated only half of its available horsepower to each task, or constantly switching between tasks. Either way, your output level suffers, as does the quality of your work.

In a summary of the recent research on multitasking, the American Psychological Association wrote that seemingly effective multitasking can cannibalize as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time. To put it another way: You may feel like you’re getting twice as much done when you multitask, but you’re actually only getting close to half as much done. Of course, when you step back from the world of constant stimuli that so many of us inhabit, this makes tons of sense. A runner would never stop in the middle of a sprint to check her phone — doing so would ruin the quality of the interval"
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Opinion | Tuners and Spinners
"Cass Sunstein, the eminent Harvard law professor and writer, notes that some people are spinners and some people are tuners.

The spinner is the life of the party. The spinner is funny, socially adventurous and good at storytelling, even if he sometimes uses his wit to maintain distance from people. Spinners are great at hosting big parties.

They’re hungry for social experiences and filled with daring and creativity. Instagram and Twitter are built for these people. If you’re friends with a spinner you’ll have a bunch of fun things to do even if you don’t remember them a week later.

The tuner makes you feel known. The tuner is good at empathy and hungers for deep connection. The tuner may be bad at small talk, but in the middle of a deep conversation the tuner will ask those extra four or five questions, the way good listeners do.

If you’re at a down time in your life, the spinners may suddenly make themselves scarce, but the tuners will show up. The tuners may retreat at big parties, but they’re great one-on-one over coffee. If you’re with a person and he’s deepened your friendship by revealing a vulnerable part of himself, you’re with a tuner."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Health Plans That Nudge Patients to Do the Right Thing
"If reducing cost-sharing for high-value care is the “carrot” approach, increasing it for low-value care is the “stick.” Though less common, stick approaches have been tested, too. A program by a large public employer in Oregon raised cost-sharing for sleep studies, upper gastrointestinal endoscopies, advanced imaging services and certain types of overused procedures, like surgery for back pain. Although clinically appropriate circumstances exist for each service, copayments were raised $100 to $500 only for those specific situations where their use was deemed not medically necessary.

An evaluation demonstrated that consumers responded to these higher out-of-pocket costs. Targeted services fell by about 12 percent over all, though some fell more than others. For example, sleep studies and low-value surgery use fell by about 20 percent. But advanced imaging use fell by only 7.7 percent."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Opinion | The Golden Age of Bailing
"It’s clear we’re living in a golden age of bailing. All across America people are deciding on Monday that it would be really fantastic to go grab a drink with X on Thursday. But then when Thursday actually rolls around they realize it would actually be more fantastic to go home, flop on the bed and watch Carpool Karaoke videos. So they send the bailing text or email: “So sorry! I’m gonna have to flake on drinks tonight. Overwhelmed. My grandmother just got bubonic plague.…”

Bailing is one of the defining acts of the current moment because it stands at the nexus of so many larger trends: the ambiguity of modern social relationships, the fraying of commitments, what my friend Hayley Darden calls the ethic of flexibility ushered in by smartphone apps — not to mention the decline of civilization, the collapse of morality and the ruination of all we hold dear."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
The Pope’s Pedophile?
"The lack of any magnanimity among the victors of the culture war was also one of Trump’s aces last year. It took two decades to relentlessly persuade the American middle of the benefits of marriage equality — and now half of young evangelicals support those civil rights and support is at an all-time high. But when people who have never been engaged on transgender issues or met trans people have a visceral reaction to the idea of a girl with a dick in a high-school girls’ locker room, they’re suddenly hateful bigots? Please. Check your leftist privilege. And is it really necessary to coerce an evangelical baker to write a message on a cake that violates his conscience?"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Father John Misty’s Quest to Explain Himself
"He hadn’t told anyone he was coming. We slipped into the chapel as it was filling up with students and slid into a pew in back. We were soon surrounded by athletes, mostly women. Softball uniforms, lacrosse sticks. “More multicultural than when I was here, but it’s basically the same ‘Breakfast Club’ demographic,” he observed. “The ones you really gotta look out for are the fetishists of the individual. The ones with the pierced noses and dyed hair, the leather jacket or the studded belt. They’ve made the concession to rebellion. They’re the ones who go on to become pastors. They’re the real little monsters.” He kept going, in a kind of stage whisper, “Here’s the thing that drove me insane: what is it about Christianity, or this version of it, that is so compatible with late-era capitalism, the cult of the self, the commercial-humanist idea of individuality? Christianity is an adaptable avatar for these social movements. It’s very good at resembling the scenery.”

Tillman paused. Students were hugging. “That being said, there is no analogue for this in the secular world. The electricity in the air, the pre-service buzz, is a total narcotic to me.”"
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Twitter
logo design contest submission for on behalf of GO's biggest 9-year-old fan. All her…
from twitter_favs
10 weeks ago
Who is the Benedict Option for?
"Perhaps someone else will need to articulate a progressive Benedict Option, a separate project parallel to Dreher’s. Richard Beck has developed some thoughts on this on his Experimental Theology blog. Beck’s main point is that while Dreher emphasizes Christian culture—institutions, orthodoxy, piety, liturgy—progressive Christians should instead prioritize cruciformity: formation in the cross for the care of others. “Rod’s BenOp is inspired by medieval monasticism,” he writes, “where the BenOp I’m describing is inspired by the gospels.”

As Beck acknowledges, the two are hardly mutually exclusive. Conservative Christians can and do devote themselves to self-giving service, though this isn’t Dreher’s focus. I’d add that liberals can be and are formed for Christian communities in which tradition speaks but doesn’t hog the mic, in which theology and piety aren’t preserved in amber yet do matter, deeply."
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
Trumpcare Destroys Any Notion That American Conservatism Gives a Damn
"But I fear it is only a matter of time before Pride everywhere is hijacked by the social-justice left.
And that’s why it is so deeply saddening that a faction of the far left is now attempting to shut down or disrupt Pride marches next month … in part because they include gay cops. It has already happened in San Diego, where a group called “No Justice No Pride” held up the parade for five minutes and caused the local sheriff to leave the event. In Toronto, the Pride March was held up for half an hour last summer until the Pride organization agreed to a set of demands from a Black Lives Matter group, including a ban on gay cops in the parade in the future. This year, gay cops will indeed be barred from the parade entirely because BLM wants more “inclusivity.” I’m not kidding: Exclusion is now inclusion. A new board member of Toronto Pride, one Akio Maroon, explained her position: “We cannot have the same people who are beating us, who are harassing us, who’re responsible for violent encounters with us, dancing with us in revelry in uniform with their guns on their side while being paid to participate. Absolutely not.” The “same people”? Does she have any proof of this blanket description of all gay cops as violent racists? Or does she simply believe that gross generalizations about an entire group of people can be applied to any member of that group?"
from instapaper
may 2017
Trumpcare Destroys Any Notion That American Conservatism Gives a Damn
"Perhaps the first female president of the U.S. will have to come from the right, as May, Merkel, and Le Pen do. That position scrambles the gender war in such a way that conservative women may be more likely to succeed in politics than liberal women — at least at first. (The pioneer in this, of course, was Margaret Thatcher, who was subjected to sexist criticism entirely from the left.) It’s also true that feminism in Europe is still, at the political-elite level, interested in getting past gender, rather than obsessing about it. When Le Pen loses the vote next Sunday (as seems likely), the one thing you can count on is that she won’t blame misogyny. It seems as if those who actually succeed in breaking the glass ceiling don’t actually campaign on breaking the glass ceiling. I wonder if the Democrats will one day realize that."
from instapaper
may 2017
Managing for the Long Term
"Don’t misunderstand: We are capitalists to the core. We believe that widespread participation in the economy through the ownership of stock in publicly traded companies is important to the social fabric, and that strong protections for shareholders are essential. But the health of the economic system depends on getting the role of shareholders right. The agency model’s extreme version of shareholder centricity is flawed in its assumptions, confused as a matter of law, and damaging in practice. A better model would recognize the critical role of shareholders but also take seriously the idea that corporations are independent entities serving multiple purposes and endowed by law with the potential to endure over time. And it would acknowledge accepted legal principles holding that directors and managers have duties to the corporation as well as to shareholders. In other words, a better model would be more company centered."
from instapaper
may 2017
Managing for the Long Term
"A company’s health—not its shareholders’ wealth—should be the primary concern of those who manage corporations. That may sound like a small change, but it could make companies less vulnerable to damaging forms of activist investing—and make it easier for managers to focus on the long term."
from instapaper
may 2017
Managing for the Long Term
"Seeking to quantify the effects of short-termism at the company level and to assess its cumulative impact on the nation’s economy, we tracked data on 615 nonfinancial U.S. companies from 2001 to 2014 (representing 60% to 65% of total U.S. market cap). We used several standard metrics as proxies for long-term behavior, including the ratio of capital expenditures to depreciation (a measure of investment), accruals as a share of revenue (an indicator of earnings quality), and margin growth. To ensure valid results and avoid bias in our sample, we compared companies only to industry peers with similar opportunity sets and market conditions. Adjusting for company size and industry, we identified 167 companies (about 27% of the total set) that had a long-term orientation.

Then we examined how all 615 companies performed. The results were clear: As these graphs show, the long-term-focused companies surpassed their short-term-focused peers on several important financial measures and created significantly more jobs. They also delivered above-average returns to shareholders and had a 50% greater likelihood of being in the top quartile or decile at the end of the period we measured. (One caveat: We’ve uncovered a correlation between managing for the long term and better financial performance; we haven’t shown that such management caused that superior performance.)"
from instapaper
may 2017
Toppling the Idol of 'Shareholder Value'
"Paine and Bower suggest a more company-centric model in which shareholders are an important constituency but not the only one. Their plan is pretty vague — they forthrightly acknowledge that their model "has yet to be fully developed" — and it's a little hard to envision how it would work in practice. In another article on the Harvard Business Review website, Roger Martin of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management — and a long-time critic of "short-termism" — proposes that a shareholder's voting rights be increased according to how long he or she has owned the stock. That has promise, but I doubt it would fix things entirely.

The essential problem with the over-reliance on shareholder value as the only metric of success is that it creates the wrong incentives. Although the backlash against it is gaining momentum, nothing will change until its critics find new and better incentives. That's the next step. It can't come soon enough."
from instapaper
may 2017
Toppling the Idol of 'Shareholder Value'
"Then they proceed to pick apart the various rationales for "shareholder value." Many board members think they have no choice but to find ways to maximize it — especially when an activist comes calling — because they are legally bound to do so. Not so, say Paine and Bower; under the law, directors are fiduciaries for the corporation, not agents for the shareholders, and they have every right to make decisions that take into account a company's other constituents.

They write that a shareholder-centric model is "rife with moral hazard" because "shareholders are not accountable as owners for the company's activities, nor do they have the responsibilities that officers and directors do to protect the company's interests." And shareholders "do not all have the same objectives and cannot be treated as a single 'owner.'""
from instapaper
may 2017
Toppling the Idol of 'Shareholder Value'
"But the pendulum has swung too far, and today the ethos embodied by the phrase "maximizing shareholder value" does more harm than good. It has widened income inequality. It has rewarded short-term "make-the-quarter" thinking over long-term value creation. It is the reason companies take on too much debt and perform feats of useless — but stock-price enhancing — financial engineering. It explains why so few companies subsidize the local symphony or art museum anymore. It is why drug prices have risen so obscenely, why airlines have made flying such a miserable experience and why wages have remained stagnant even as profits have soared. When shareholders matter more than employees or customers or communities, some people do very well, but the purpose of a corporation becomes warped and society loses."
from instapaper
may 2017
Rod Dreher’s Monastic Vision
"“What the Ben Op means to me is this,” Leah told me. “You’re married, right? Imagine a world where people didn’t agree that marriage was a concept—where there was no social understanding of marriage. And imagine that your marriage was really important to you, and that, when you interacted with other people, no one mentioned your marriage; there was no respect for it and no acknowledgment of its existence. You would do a lot to claw out some space to manifest that your marriage was important. And that’s how it is with the Benedict Option. We have a relationship with Christ. Really, it should be our most important relationship. But my relationship with Alexi is treated as more real and important and relevant. If I say, ‘Oh, I can’t make it, Alexi and I have a thing,’ that’s normal. But if I say, ‘Sorry, I have to go to church,’ that’s weird.”"
theology  culture  from instapaper
april 2017
God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism
"Of course, mind uploading has spurred all kinds of philosophical anxieties. If the pattern of your consciousness is transferred onto a computer, is the pattern “you” or a simulation of your mind? One camp of transhumanists have argued that true resurrection can happen only if it is bodily resurrection. They tend to favour cryonics and bionics, which promise to resurrect the entire body or else supplement the living form with technologies to indefinitely extend life.

It is perhaps not coincidental that an ideology that grew out of Christian eschatology would come to inherit its philosophical problems. The question of whether the resurrection would be corporeal or merely spiritual was an obsessive point of debate among early Christians. One faction, which included the Gnostic sects, argued that only the soul would survive death; another insisted that the resurrection was not a true resurrection unless it revived the body."
theology  technology  from instapaper
april 2017
When Character No Longer Counts
"What is required of serious religious believers in a pluralistic society is the ability to code-switch: never to forget or neglect their own native religious tongue, but also never to forget that they live in a society of people for whom that language is gibberish. To speak only in the language of pragmatism is to bring nothing distinctive to the table; to speak only a private language of revelation and self-proclaimed authority is to leave the table altogether. For their own good, but also for the common good, religious believers need to be always bilingually present."
from instapaper
april 2017
Andrew Sullivan: The West Is Up for Grabs
"It remains an indelible shift of the Obama era, like support for gay rights. I’ve become immeasurably depressed by the attempt not to reform but to reverse so much of Obama’s legacy under Trump. But some deep cultural shifts are not changing at all — they are, if anything, entrenching themselves in the mainstream consensus. It seems in this case as if the actual science — that marijuana is less damaging to the body and mind than alcohol, and actually makes life better for millions — has won the day. Reason can indeed triumph eventually over prejudice. Score one for liberal democracy, the truth, and the Enlightenment! Or as I used to say, know hope."
from instapaper
april 2017
Andrew Sullivan: The West Is Up for Grabs
"You have to think about those left-wing students today, as so many of their successors focus not on opening up a space for free speech of any kind, but on policing it with ever more diligence. The Coulter Kampf followed the mob attack on Charles Murray and his host, professor Allison Stanger, at Middlebury College, who is still in physical therapy for the concussion she suffered. It happened immediately after the successful sabotage of another talk scheduled to be given by Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna College, in California, earlier this month. A student mob there did not gather to defend her right to speak, but rather to make sure she couldn’t.

The campus left, having once pioneered the idea of free speech, is now, sad to say, its most dedicated foe. And this is not some random student foolishness. It’s the logical consequence of an ideology actively taught and encouraged by faculty at elite colleges all over the country: that the power structures of a racist-sexist-ableist-queerphobic etc. society are so oppressive that non-p.c. speech is the equivalent of violence, and so must be shut down. The very existence of marginalized people is allegedly at stake."
from instapaper
april 2017
To Stay Married, Embrace Change
"“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished,” the Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert said in a 2014 TED talk called “The Psychology of Your Future Self.” He described research that he and his colleagues had done in 2013: Study subjects (ranging from 18 to 68 years old) reported changing much more over a decade than they expected to."
from instapaper
april 2017
EX-99.1
"First, never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors. Those decisions can use a light-weight process. For those, so what if you’re wrong? I wrote about this in more detail in last year’s letter.

1 For something amusing, try asking, “Alexa, what is sixty factorial?”
Second, most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.

Third, use the phrase “disagree and commit.” This phrase will save a lot of time. If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, “Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?” By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes."
from instapaper
april 2017
EX-99.1
"Why? There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf. No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.

Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen."
from instapaper
april 2017
Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove
"Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? That’s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways.

Mr. Ballmer calls it “the equivalent of a 10-K for government,” referring to the kind of annual filing that companies make.

“You know, when I really wanted to understand in depth what a company was doing, Amazon or Apple, I’d get their 10-K and read it,” he told me in a recent interview in New York. “It’s wonky, it’s this, it’s that, but it’s the greatest depth you’re going to get, and it’s accurate.”"
from instapaper
april 2017
Does Steve Bannon Have Something to Offer? - WSJ
The West is currently facing a “crisis of capitalism,” he said. The world was able to recover after the world wars in part thanks to “an enlightened form of capitalism” that generated “tremendous wealth” broadly distributed among all classes. This capitalism was shaped by “the underlying spiritual and moral foundations . . . of Judeo-Christian belief.” Successful capitalists were often either “active participants in the Jewish faith” or “active participants in the Christian faith.” They operated on a kind of moral patrimony, part tradition, part religious teaching. But now the West has become more secular. Capitalism as a result has grown “unmoored” and is going “partly off track.”

He speaks of two “disturbing” strands. “One is state-sponsored capitalism,” as in China and Russia. We also, to a degree, see it in America. This is “a brutal form of capitalism” in which wealth and value are distributed to “a very small subset of people.” It is connected to crony capitalism. He criticizes the Republican Party as “really a collection of crony capitalists that feel they have a different set of rules of how they’re going to comport themselves.”

The other disturbing strand is “libertarian capitalism,” which “really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost.” He saw this strand up close when he was on Wall Street, at Goldman Sachs . There he saw “the securitization of everything” and an attitude in which “people are looked at as commodities.”
capitalism  Economy 
april 2017
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try an M.B.A.
"Rena Pacheco-Theard applied for a master’s degree in business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management as the company she started with her husband Dan Driscoll floundered.

“I knew I wanted to do work with high social impact, but the business side of my resume was missing,” said Ms. Pacheco-Theard, who had a graduate degree in public affairs at the time.

During her second semester at MIT, she started a new venture called Prepify, which provides test preparation services to low-income high schoolers. She used roughly half of her business-school class time to fine-tune the startup’s model. She left MIT last spring with a degree, a co-founder classmate and a total of $15,000 in funding from the school. “Becoming a real entrepreneur became a distinct reality for the first time at Sloan,” said Ms. Pacheco-Theard."
from instapaper
april 2017
Is Swapping Date Night for Meeting Night the Secret to a Happy Marriage?
"Asking your partner for a weekly meeting might sound serious and awkward. So call it something else if you want: a check-in, a shindig. Or you can be sneaky and call it nothing at all. Start a conversation about a specific task: "Did you end up making that dinner reservation? And oh, I have an update on the pediatrician appointment." When that goes well, you can say, "That was really helpful. Why don't we have a quick check-in like that every week to make sure we're copacetic?"

When you say something in passing during the course of the day, it's easy to disregard it, forget it completely, or minimize it. The formality of the meeting is what makes it work. It signals that it's a priority and allows you to tackle things before they spiral out of control."
from instapaper
april 2017
How To Be Good
"For morality to matter, there had to be real reasons to care about it—objective facts about what was good and worth achieving. But if, like Williams, you believed that our only reasons for acting were our desires, then if a person desired bad or crazy things—to cause someone great pain; to cause himself great pain—there could be no decisive argument against pursuing them.

Williams says that, rather than asking Socrates’ question “How ought we to live?” we should ask, “What do I basically want?” That, I believe, would be a disaster. There are better and worse ways to live.

After years of agonizing over his inability to convince Williams of his position, Parfit decided that it only appeared that Williams rejected the idea of moral truths—that in fact he simply didn’t have the concept. Williams had often said that he didn’t understand what it would mean to have the sort of reasons Parfit talked about. Parfit had always taken this to be a rhetorical gambit, but now he thought that maybe Williams meant it literally. After all, he was a very brilliant philosopher, and if he said he didn’t understand something, then one ought to believe him. This thought came as a relief: if all those years he and Williams had not actually been disagreeing but just talking past each other, then there was hope for convergence after all."
from instapaper
april 2017
No one knew the world's worst problem so we spent 8 years trying to find it
"Does this check out? After years of research, analysts at GiveWell have estimated that spending $7,500 on 1,500 malaria nets through the Against Malaria Foundation is enough, on average, to prevent one death.

In contrast, in the US, it costs over $1m to save a life with health spending. So if we compare health in the US to global health, there is a 130-fold difference.

It’s hard for us to grasp such big differences in scale, but that would mean that one year of (equally skilled) effort towards the best treatments within global health could have as much impact as 130 years – three career’s worth of time – working on typical rich country issues."
from instapaper
april 2017
No one knew the world's worst problem so we spent 8 years trying to find it
"In short, the most urgent problems are those where people can have the greatest impact by working on them. As we explained in the previous article, this means problems that are not only big, but also neglected and solvable. The more neglected and solvable, the further extra effort will go. And this means they’re not what first comes to mind."
from instapaper
april 2017
Fly-Fishing and the Brain | Department of Neurobiology
"In other ways, fly-fishing has been compared to meditation, in that fly-fishers perform a simple, repeated task, often for hours on end. “The motion of fly-fishing is part and parcel of the activity itself and may contribute to its calming effect,” says Benson. “Besides, it’s achieving something—you might catch a fish"
from instapaper
april 2017
Thirty-Three
"Symmetry — Balance in all things, including my body which is stronger on my right side and much tighter on my left side. We also need symmetry in WordPress between the .org and .com products which differ too much.
Stillness — In echoes of Pico Iyer, so much of my life in my 20s was about movement, and “going places to be moved.” In my 30s I’m looking inward. As Saint Augustine said in Book X, chapter 8 of Confessions: “Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad flow of the rivers, the vast compass of the ocean, the courses of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
Yellow Arrows — The idea that there are clear indications of where to go next at every fork in the road, and if not you should paint them. I wrote more on this yesterday."
from instapaper
april 2017
Do Millennial Men Want Stay-at-Home Wives? - The New York Times
Using a survey that has monitored the attitudes of high school seniors for nearly 40 years, the sociologists Joanna Pepin and David Cotter find that the proportion of young people holding egalitarian views about gender relationships rose steadily from 1977 to the mid-1990s but has fallen since. In 1994, only 42 percent of high school seniors agreed that the best family was one where the man was the main income earner and the woman took care of the home. But in 2014, 58 percent of seniors said they preferred that arrangement. In 1994, fewer than 30 percent of high school seniors thought “the husband should make all the important decisions in the family.” By 2014, nearly 40 percent subscribed to that premise.
april 2017
After Great Pain, Where Is God?
"During 1940 C. S. Lewis wrote “The Problem of Pain.” Lewis’s answer to why an all-good and all-powerful God would allow his creatures to suffer pain was a bit too neat and tidy. Among other things, he wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Now flash forward two decades to the publication of “A Grief Observed,” which Lewis wrote after his wife’s death. God’s megaphone didn’t just rouse Lewis, it nearly shattered him. In writing about his bereavement, Lewis described what it was like to go to God “when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” He added: “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’ ”

Years ago I had lunch with a pastor and asked him about his impressions of “A Grief Observed.” His attitude bordered on disdain. He felt that Lewis allowed doubt to creep in when his faith should have sustained him."
from instapaper
april 2017
was the sexual revolution so revolutionary?: on the benedict option and conservative christian models of culture
"And this gets to something Dreher is very worried about and for what it’s worth, I think he’s right! Christianity in a certain strong form might well be dying, at least in the United States and Western Europe. Of course, Peter Berger famously changed his mind about secularization theory, so, you know, we might be wrong about this as well. But it does look like a certain form of Christianity–the kind that insists only Jesus can get you into heaven and the institution of marriage must look a certain way–is dying out. Now there are a few ways to think about that. One is to think that Christianity is in some senses dying but in other senses has done quite well: it’s not at all a crazy argument to suggest that the ways we think about human rights and social progress have roots in Christian agape and eschatology. There are smart people who disagree, but there also many who don’t. Believe it or not: it’s possible be an atheist, hate the Crusades and the Inquisitions, remember the countless pogroms, and nonetheless recognize historical Christianity has done some good"
from instapaper
april 2017
was the sexual revolution so revolutionary?: on the benedict option and conservative christian models of culture
"Yet the basis of critique is an ongoing and important questions within the academic left, and it’s something that we too often take for granted. If not because humans are made in the image and likeness of God, then why is racism wrong? What about sexism? Autonomy you say? Sure, fine. But why is autonomy so great? What is the vision of flourishing to which we should direct that “agency” we’re all so worried about? You can make fun of critical realism all you want, but I appreciate that those folks are thinking about these questions, even as I really appreciate how other folks-like Paige Sweet and Timothy Rutzou– within critical realism are posing really important queer unpackings of what it means to flourish."
from instapaper
april 2017
was the sexual revolution so revolutionary?: on the benedict option and conservative christian models of culture
"So it’s about the sex. But here’s where things get even more interesting. Because was the sexual revolution really so revolutionary? Of course it changed a lot in a local context: the 1970’s does look different from the 1950’s, as Kristin Luker brilliant captures in her book, Yet you don’t have to be a full-on Foucauldian to recognize Foucault got something right about his repressive hypothesis* in Indeed, I wonder how much Dreher’s worldview would be a bit more cheerful and world-affirming had his medieval sage been Chaucer instead of Dante. You’ve got the Wife of Bath, you’ve got the Pardoner who’s a “gelding or a mare,” and you’ve got the Miller’s Tale, which, well, just, don’t bring your children is all. Now the Canterbury Tales is no more obviously representative of high medieval Christendom than is The Divine Comedy, but, well, if I were a betting man I’d wager there were a lot more folks like the Wife of Bath than like Dante’s Beatrice."
from instapaper
april 2017
was the sexual revolution so revolutionary?: on the benedict option and conservative christian models of culture
"That’s right enough, I suppose, even if it’s a very Evangelical Protestant way of thinking about religion, emphasizing right belief (orthodoxy) over right action (orthopraxy). One of the weird things about the history of the category of “religion” is that it was developed by Protestants who are, on both global and historical scales, the weirdest form of religion. Most things we’ve come to call religions care a lot more about what you do (praxis) than what you believe (doxa): so it’s actually not super surprising a lot of religious people have no idea what the hell they’re talking about. Of course, Smith et al would say this is a problem not just for non-Protestants, but for Protestants too: the intricacies of belief don’t seem to matter even for the ostensibly orthodox."
from instapaper
april 2017
How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book” | RyanHoliday.net
"After you finish the book, put it down for a week or so. Let it percolate in your head. Now, return to it and review all the material you’ve saved and transfer the marginalia and passages to your commonplace book.

-It doesn’t have to just be material from books. Movies, speeches, videos, conversations work too. Whatever. Anything good."
from instapaper
april 2017
How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book” | RyanHoliday.net
"Mark down what sticks out at you as you read–passages, words, anecdotes, stories, info. When I read, I just fold the bottom corners of the pages. If I have a pen on me, I mark the particularly passages I want to come back to. I used to use flag-it highlighters, which can be great."
from instapaper
april 2017
City of Rod
"Further, it isn’t clear why Dreher, who envies Medieval man’s eye for enchantment, would identify politics as a realm closed to grace. Father John Hughes, the late Dean of Chapel at Jesus College, Cambridge, and a brilliant Christian socialist wrote that “the dynamic tension between Church and state is a distinctively Christian achievement…Without religious concern for ultimate ends, we will become a society dominated by instrumental utilitarian ‘understanding’ rather than reason and its ideas.” Perhaps Dreher feels society has slid as far as it can in that direction, but I rather doubt it; the wise tend to note things can always get worse. And it is the duty of Christians qua Christians to oppose the erosion of liberalism into wanton, inhumane technocracy, even when it means setting out into risky waters."
from instapaper
march 2017
City of Rod
"Whatever the reason, the Benedict Option is also a set of best practices, and Dreher’s Option is his own rule. Dreher provides two separate, but apparently mutually exclusive, accounts of what the Benedict Option is supposed to accomplish: “[T]he Benedict Option,” Dreher writes in his first chapter, is “a strategy that draws on the authority of Scripture and the wisdom of the ancient church to embrace ‘exile in place’ and form a vibrant counterculture” which requires “focusing on families and communities instead of on partisan politics, and building churches, schools, and other institutions within which the orthodox Christian faith can survive and prosper through the flood.” Later, he advises Christians to “see their Benedict Option projects as building a better future not only for themselves but for everyone around them.”"
from instapaper
march 2017
City of Rod
"One can chase what one believes to be the good life, but one cannot place moral claims on others. This is the “catch,” as it were, of liberalism: “Liberalism,” political theorist Judith Shklar wrote, “has only one overriding aim: to secure the political conditions that are necessary for the exercise of personal freedom.” Or, as Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain had it: “Obey none but yourself.”

Even where Americans are Christian, then, they’re only nominally so in Dreher’s imagination."
from instapaper
march 2017
City of Rod
"Once upon a time, people tried to attain unity with God by cleaving to his will as they bore out their vocations as fathers, wives, laborers, or lords; now, we can hop online after Ubering home from sterile office jobs to swipe right or left and then watch, I’m told, more than 380 videos of nude yoga instruction promised to “create a closer connection with the body, yourself and your surroundings.”"
from instapaper
march 2017
The Benedict Option and the Way of Exchange | Alan Jacobs
"In the meantime, if you are a Christian who is called to life “in the midst,” in the world, you would do well to find ways to turn regularly inward, towards the traditional ways and means of the Christian faith by which you may regularly renew yourself, lest you end up being not just in the world but also of it. And if you are called to a “community of virtue,” you would do well to find ways to face outward, towards mission, towards the saeculum for the salvation of whose people Christ came. An intentional Christian community is not a sacrament, but is like the sacraments insofar as it hopes to be an outward and visible sign of an inner and invisible grace. To that degree that hope is realized such a community exists, or should exist, in the words of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, “for the life of the world.” And it can have that quasi-sacramental efficacy only if it knows itself to be related by Blood to those still fully in the world, who will, if they know what they’re about, reflect from time to time on those oddball groups of believers who just may be learning something of great value that is mostly hidden from the rest of us."
from instapaper
march 2017
The Benedict Option
"Faith seems to come in two personalities, the purist and the ironist. Purists believe that everything in the world is part of a harmonious whole. All questions point ultimately to a single answer. If we orient our lives toward this pure ideal, and get everybody else to, we will move gradually toward perfection.

The ironists believe that this harmony may be available in the next world but not, unfortunately, in this one. In this world, the pieces don’t quite fit together and virtues often conflict: liberty versus equality, justice versus mercy, tolerance versus order. For the ironist, ultimate truth exists, but day-to-day life is often about balance and trade-offs. There is no unified, all-encompassing system for correct living. For the ironists, like Reinhold Niebuhr or Isaiah Berlin, those purists who aim to be higher than the angels often end up lower than the beasts."
from instapaper
march 2017
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