Arjun Khemani - 042 Never-Ending Progress

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042 Never-Ending Progress

Hello!
Here's the weekly "Amazing Things & Ideas Newsletter" which aims at making the reader a more rational thinker. As always, find one original idea from my side followed by the List.
     And if you like reading this edition, let the world hear it!

 

Never-Ending Progress


When people in a society stop making progress there's a genuine danger for catastrophe. The end of intelligent civilization (at least yet and on this planet) being one of the eventual risks.

When progress slows down, our shared higher job as a universal explainer species—to create knowledge and solve our problems—is not efficiently being taken care of. By the same metaphor, we might well get "fired" by one of our problems.

A problem not taken care of leads to catastrophe. 

It's rational to be optimistic about our species though. We can create knowledge to solve the problems before letting them turn into catastrophe. We need only to progress and make obsolete the stuff that doesn't work before a problem turns into a catastrophe. This is simple, but not easy.

If societies embrace dogma and suppress critical ideas that would supposedly lead to progress, then although the society may seem quite stable (since everyone believes the same ideas and follows dogmatic behavior), in reality that place is a really dangerous one to be in and any problem could arise which would lead to the apparent end of that society. 

As David Deutsch wrote in chapter 17 of The Beginning of Infinity, "Only progress is sustainable".

To avoid bad fate and do our job properly, we must have never-ending progress.
 

The Amazing Things & Ideas List

  • The size of the Universe:

    We all know the Universe is huge. But at scales like that of the Universe, adjectives aren't fit for the job. Since we call elephants and oceans "huge" too, we need something that helps us imagine the scale of the Universe.

    This video helps with grasping the relative size of the mind-boggling Universe. It's fascinating every single time I watch it.
     
  • It is becoming harder to hold on to illusions:

    "It is not becoming harder to know what is true. It is becoming harder to hold on to the illusion that you know what is true."

    — Chrisman Frank (on Twitter)
     
  • Illusions you fail to understand even after knowing they are illusions:

    The Illusion That Makes You Question Reality - a YouTube video by the channel "Be Smart"
     
  • On the nature of conflict and the consequence of unresolved ones:

    "conflict is an opportunity for mutual growth and understanding. We are not advocating a need for perfect harmony in relationships, but a rupture that goes unacknowledged and leaves anger unresolved will do damage."

    — (excerpt from) Intimacy from the Inside Out: Courage and compassion in couple therapy
This week's article posted on my blog:
  • "Acta non verba: the illusion of hypocrisy"

    (Excerpt): 
         Acta non verba is a Latin phrase which translates to “Actions, not words.” It reminds that words (however big they may sound) are of trivial importance without execution. And that actions speak louder than any of the noise one makes—since anyone can be a hypocrite and simply talk about stuff (as many do). What one does and really embodies are what actually contribute to greatness (or whatever you like to call it). Not words.

    Read the full blog post here.
 

Thank you for reading.

Onward, 
Arjun

* If you liked this newsletter, I encourage you to share it. That’ll reach more people who may benefit from this.

** If you have any questions / suggestions / comments / criticisms, I'd love to hear them from you; please write to me by replying to this email.


Check out my Twitter (@arjunkhemani) where I post more about these kinds of topics.

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