A timely quote from one of my favourite podcasts.
Full episode is linked. This particular discussion starts at the 1:00:00 mark.
“Maybe it’s by virtue of the fact that I do see stuff like social media, and I just see how pervasive that’s become as the way that we express everything… You’ve got this feeling amongst people that seems to be like “if I don’t take a photo of this and put it up, it didn’t actually happen.” That’s starting to seem like a real thing amongst a lot of people… It’s getting difficult for people to separate their idea of themselves from their opinions, from the body politic, from America’s Next Top Model, or whatever it is. It really seems like everybody is supposed to have an extremely strong and deeply-held conviction about big issues as well as things that just happened. And if you have no opinion, or if you have a light opinion, or if you’re open to getting more information, you’re kinda not a fully-branded character yet. And in order to fulfill your personal brand, online and therefore consequently in your life, you have to come down super-hard on one side, and then stick to it. And maybe it’s always been that way, it’s just that now there’s so much on the line… it was one thing to sit there and yell at the TV while President Nixon was talking, and it’s another thing now to be part of these coalitions of people - these little flashmobs, flash-slash lynch mobs of people - who are constantly looking for what latest indignity or problem they can decide to rally around. And there’s not that much incentive anymore for somebody to just be kind of a reasoned person who shows up, and listens, and says things sometimes… I think that’s a bigger problem than most of us are willing to admit. because then each side benefits from stoking those people, and from getting them more and more and more dug in on that one side. It just doesn’t feel like there’s that much
incentive out there to go out and try and become a reasoned person who can figure out what you’re willing to give away in order to make something good happen.”
Elizabeth Kolbert on John Maynard Keynes’ 1928 short essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” which predicted life in 2028:
Several contributors to the volume attribute Keynes’s error to a misreading of human nature. Keynes assumed that people work in order to earn enough to buy what they need. And so, he reasoned, as incomes rose, those needs could be fulfilled in ever fewer hours. Workers would knock off earlier and earlier, until eventually they’d be going home by lunchtime.
But that isn’t what people are like. Instead of quitting early, they find new things to need. Many of the new things they’ve found weren’t even around when Keynes was writing—laptops, microwaves, Xboxes, smartphones, smart watches, smart refrigerators, Prada totes, True Religion jeans, battery-powered meat thermometers, those gizmos you stick in the freezer and then into your beer to keep it cold as you drink it.
Well all say we want to be less busy, but when faced with the possibility, we tend to find more things to do. This will never change.
A Letter Home is the thirty-fifth studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young. It was released on April 19, 2014 on Record Store Day by Third Man Records. The entire album, which consists of covers of classic songs by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and others, was recorded in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at Jack White’s Third Man store in Nashville, Tennessee. A message on Young’s website described the album as “an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever”.