Medley 226: Made You Think, Values, Alcohol, Neopets, Curators, Hot Sauce, Trustworthiness...

This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:

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Happy Monday!

Today is the last day to join for the Live Effortless Output in Roam sessions, which start tomorrow!

I also did a workshop last week live writing part of the Medley and sharing some tips and tricks on writing and knowledge management. You can watch the replay here if you wanted to see it.

And I shared some tips on taking notes from books and how I've collected 250+ of them in an article in the Superorganizers newsletter.

Finally, Made You Think is back! Neil and I did a wide-ranging catchup episode since we haven't published anything in over a year.

Alright, on to the Medley

The World of Alcohol

🍺 I love this idea of alcohol as a social technology for checking others' trustworthiness:

"the act of getting drunk together might be a social technology that helps us verify the trustworthiness of others by inhibiting their higher cognitive functions and thus making it harder to consciously fake things. That would make sense."

"To enhance our natural thin-slicing abilities, humans have therefore also developed various cultural practices that make these instant assessments more reliable. These techniques take advantage of the fact that deception is fundamentally a cold-cognition act and relies on cognitive control centers. This means that if we can impair the cognitive control abilities of people we're trying to judge, we’ll do a better job of sussing them out: they will be less able to confuse our cheater-detection systems."

🍄 Most takes I've read on alcohol's place in society tend towards being extremely negative, especially considering how damaging it is to our health. From Food of the Gods by Terrence McKenna:

"… how can we explain the legal toleration for alcohol, the most destructive of all intoxicants, and the almost frenzied efforts to repress nearly all other drugs? Could it not be that we are willing to pay the terrible toll that alcohol extracts because it is allowing us to continue the repressive dominator style that keeps us all infantile and irresponsible participants in a dominator world characterized by the marketing of ungratified sexual fantasy?"

But we can't deny that pretty much every culture has some relationship with alcohol, except when prohibited by religion. If it were purely a personal indulgence, there'd be more stigma around consuming it, so I like this "trustworthiness checking" hypothesis as an explanation for its prevalence and our seemingly innate desire to get drunk with people.

The World of America

🇺🇸 This was an interesting article from Matt Taibbi on the disconnect between coastal Democrats and Republicans outside the major cities.

"That Democrats needed Thomas Frank to tell them what conservatives fifteen miles outside the cities were thinking was damning in itself. Even worse was the basically unbroken string of insults emanating from pop culture (including from magazines like Rolling Stone: I was very guilty of this) describing life between the cities as a prole horror peopled by obese, Bible-thumping dolts who couldn’t navigate a Thai menu and polished gun lockers instead of reading."

I know I've been guilty of this, and one thing I'm grateful for is that living in Austin gives me a slightly more holistic view of the very different values throughout America. Certainly much more holistic than when I was living in New York.

🎣 Ian Sigalow shared a good stat related to this on Twitter: "49 million people in the US go fishing each year. More people go fishing than go biking (47.5 million bikers). Fishing is more than twice as popular as golf (24 million golfers)."

The World of Creation

👨‍🎨 This is an oldie but a goodie. If you haven't read or listened to it, Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech is phenomenal. Kudos to James Clear for publishing the transcript:

"There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby. I started answering fewer emails, and was relieved to find I was writing much more."

"The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right."

"That was the hardest lesson for me, I think: to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places."

🍱 I also love this idea that "curators are the new creators." Obviously there'd be nothing to curate without creators, but there is increasing value in being a great curator. That's what I try to do a good job of here, and it always feels really good when a reader tells me that I'm doing a good job curating info from a wide variety of topics.

📨 And if you wanna learn about growing a more professional newsletter, Austin Rief broke down some insights for how they grew Morning Brew to 1M daily opens.

The World of Just for Fun

🧛‍♂️ This is a hilarious saga of how absolute power corrupted one Neopets user.

🌶 And here is a remarkable history of the most well-known hot sauce.

End Note

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Have a great week,

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