Choosing to be a Citizen

Citizens aren’t profit-seeking agents who are simply constrained by rules. Citizens behave even if there isn’t a rule about it.

Citizens aren’t craven partisans, voting for party over fact. Citizens do the right thing because they can, even if the short-term cost is high.

Citizens live by the rule of community: If everyone did what I’m about to do, would it lead to a useful outcome? Continue reading

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A Michael Moment

“Every great second act has a midpoint. In this instant something happens that ratchets our entire story to a higher level. The stakes go up, way up.

“Characters whom we thought we understood must suddenly be viewed in an entirely different, and far more serious, manner. The story upshifts. Every relationship in the narrative alters. Until this moment, we had thought the drama was about ‘X.’ At once we understand it’s about ‘X squared.'”–Steven Pressfield

In the upcoming “War Story”, what is the mid-point, what is the moment, and who is “Michael”?

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Immediacy

“One of the most useful bits of advice I ever got, came from the writer Anne Herbert who said that whenever she got an invitation to do something months away or even a week away, she asked herself whether she would accept the gig/meeting/task if it was tomorrow. The answer was often no. I use that immediacy trick all the time, and it has served me very well.”—Kevin Kelly

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The Internet of Beefs

“A beef-only thinker is someone you cannot simply talk to. Anything that is not an expression of pure, unqualified support for whatever they are doing or saying is received as a mark of disrespect, and a provocation to conflict. From there, you can only crash into honor-based conflict mode, or back away and disengage.”–Venkatesh Rao

Personally, backing away and disengaging has proved much more useful in the long run than full, “Go out in the parking lot and practice falling down, I’ll be right out” conflict mode.

Worth reading the whole thing, or it seemed so the first time I saw it.

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Muddled

“Feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”–G.K. Chesterton

Of course, that’s only the case in Chesterton’s day, and he died in 1936. Today’s feminism is different because…

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Nothing I Want You To See

“It’s not that I have something to hide. I have nothing I want you to see.” — Anon

Seen online this morning. This strikes a chord with my background in security and patient privacy. Most of us, or at least many of us, were we to notice someone staring at us, particularly if they follow us around while showing particular curiosity about our every move and word, would take exception. “Is there something you want?” would be a mild response. “You–leave me alone.” a little more direct. Continue reading

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Say Something…

“I started public speaking a few years later. I was always scared to speak in front of others and be judged. But I always had two goals when I spoke:

“Say something they’ve never heard before. Usually wrapped inside a story.

“Make them laugh, or even shock them.

“I’ve been writing every day for 29 years.

“My one goal when I write: never hit “publish” unless I am afraid of what people will think of me when they read it.

“Better to be free than locked in an opinion ghetto. People are only your friends in opinion ghettos as long as you agree with them.”–James Altucher

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What Can I Do?

“If you are asking me what the individual can do right now, in a political sense, I’d have to say he can’t do all that much. Speaking for myself, I am more concerned with the transformation of the individual, which to me is much more important than the so-called political revolution.”–William S. Burroughs

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The Dominant Media Narrative of the Day

“The thing the media is talking about, in heavy rotation.

“The breaking news, the one you’re required to give an opinion on.

“The thing is, if it’s not for you, about you, or something you need to engage in, then who put it on your agenda?

“The media benefits from turning you into their product, once you give them your attention.

“Feel free, but do it because you’ve chosen to.

“Here’s something to consider: the world doesn’t get better when you spend more time engaging with mass media. That’s pretty clear.

“But it does get better when you spend more time doing things that matter. Actions matter.”–Seth Godin

Or, as my friend Susan might say, “Do you have agency? If not, why have you given it space in your head?”

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Freedom

“Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It’s not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights – the “right” to education, the “right” to health care, the “right” to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle. There’s only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”–P. J. O’Rourke

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