Medley 237: Gods, Tea, Science, Water, PFAS, Creators, Indictments...

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!

First up, I have a new video out all about How to Profit from Chaos, based on lessons from Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. I also released a video last week on How to Setup a Life Changing Blog similar to mine.

Alright, on to the Medley.

The World of the Gods

⛪️ This is a mind-blowingly good article: "In Praise of the Gods." I'd especially recommend it to anyone skeptical of the value of religious tradition, which I would have put myself in the camp of until the last couple years.

"Rational insight is a powerful tool, and one of our worst excesses. When it becomes the only tool it brings about a mixture of certainty and naivety that makes minds brittle."

📚 As Simon explores in the article, there is an immense amount of value in mythology, tradition, and not trying to explain the things we cannot explain.

"With our own intuition, every person starts at the beginning. With tradition we partake in viewing and building larger maps of the world, and while the map is mostly water, and at the edges out of date, if you look closely you will find islands that you could never discover on your own."

🍵 It's not arguing that you need to adopt a religion, rather that we shouldn't discount the value of fiction, stories, and traditions. One simple version of this I explained in my Antifragile video is drinking some tea for minor ailments instead of going to the doctor. Does the tea cure you? Probably not, but given the likelihood of Iatrogenics or "harm by the healer" it can be better to just stay home and drink tea than get unnecessary antibiotics or surgeries.

He also comes down quite hard on the social sciences:

"Modern social sciences are so filled with fraudulent studies that a book of fables or a good history book will teach volumes more about psychology than any psychology textbook printed today, and it will do so with fewer delusions... Today’s scientists do not need better tools, they need to rent a dumpster. Hiring thousands of science janitors would be a better use of research funding than adding a single new paper to a mountain of research that is already half fraudulent."

🕵️‍♂️ I agree with that topic particularly strongly. I've argued for a while that most useful psychology and decision science ideas you can get from old myths, and the ones you can't get from old myths probably aren't correct. He shares a similar quotation about medicine from Paracelsus:

"The universities do not teach all things. A doctor must seek out old wives, gypsies, sorcerers, wandering tribes, old robbers, and such outlaws and take lessons from them. A doctor must be a traveller because he must enquire of the world. Experiment is not sufficient. Experience must verify what can be accepted or not accepted.”

🤔 I think we're starting to see some resurgence in this kind of thought. I have multiple friends who developed some kind of strange medical condition, failed to have it healed by traditional medicine, then something "untested" from more ancient medicine ended up fixing it. The effectiveness of dietary changes on auto-immune conditions is a big one, as is the insane effectiveness of psilocybin mushrooms on PTSD and depression.

And a last thought on our natural inclinations:

"Every child knows it is right to build, to dance, and to shout, though they cannot explain why. Nothing is more natural for the child or the ancient than to build a temple, or to deem objects sacred. What is less natural is it to demand a reason before one attempts such a glorious act."

Definitely check out the full article when you get a chance.

The World of Water

🚰 On to something completely different, surprise surprise, the sparkling water you know and love might be filled with toxic PFAS.

For still water, most waters were totally fine. But Deer Park and Tourmaline had high levels of PFAS, and Starkey Spring Water by Whole Foods had a concerningly high level of Arsenic.

The sparkling waters were the bigger concern though. My favorite, Spindrift, got a very clean bill of health. But Perrier, La Croix, Bubly, and ESPECIALLY Topo Chico had concerningly high levels of PFAS:

Worth watching out for next time you buy sparkling water!

The World of Creators

🛠 Hunter Walk coined a great term: "The Multi-Sku Creator."

"It’s my belief that very few “Substack writers” will make 100% of their income from their newsletter and this won’t be a failure of the platforms but instead related to the nature of creation itself. Enter, the Multi-SKU Creator."

📰 He rightly points out that a paid newsletter is just a small part of someone's personal empire. If you're smart as a creative, you can have a huge combination of different income streams with varying levels of passiveness and activeness that combine into a very respectable income.

My "multi skus" now include my courses, a bunch of affiliate deals, my app, ad revenue, and hopefully soon some merch. And that's not including non-creator stuff like Growth Machine and now real estate.

💡 If you're worried about being a full-time creator because it doesn't seem like there's that much money to make from ad revenue or paid substack subscribers, don't be. Those are only a small part of the whole monetization pie you can go after, and the more time you spend being a full-time creator, the more opportunities you'll see.

"the newsletter is just one SKU. Maybe the SKU he cares most about. Maybe even the SKU that makes him the most money. But it doesn’t have to be the only SKU. There could be a podcast SKU. A speaking fee SKU. A book deal SKU. A consulting SKU. A guest columnist SKU. And so on."

The World of Trump

🥱 I can't wait till this is no longer a Medley section.

🖋 My dad wrote a great piece on "The Case Against Indicting Trump."

"Biden reportedly says he will not interfere with the decisions of his new attorney general, but that he would prefer to “move on.” I used to prosecute public corruption cases, and I take such cases very seriously. So I don’t say this lightly: Biden is right."

It's very balanced and has a lot of good points in it. If the title immediately sets you off, I'd recommend giving it a read:

"Criminal investigations would guarantee that the next few years continue to be all about Trump. They would suck up all the oxygen and detract from Biden’s message and policy agenda. We would remain bitterly divided, with half the country convinced that Trump is being subjected to another political “witch hunt.” We can’t move forward if we spend the next four years re-litigating the past four."

🤬 But the tragedy of a piece like this is how insane an amount of hate he's getting online for it. The Twitter replies are pretty much all bile, with what I suspect are mostly people getting outraged just over the title.

So if you read it and find it compelling, send him a nice note on Twitter or reply to this email and I'll forward it to him. It's never fun having a hate mob after you.

The World of Thanksgiving

🦃 Last weekend Cosette and I got to harvest our own turkey at Roam Ranch in Austin, including everything from killing it to de-feathering it to gutting it. It was quite the experience.

🥔 My Twitter friend Julien and I were talking about good side dishes, and if you haven't made it, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is incredible. It'll probably send your blood sugar through the roof, but it's worth it.

End Note

As always, if you're enjoying the Medley, I'd love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. I try to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.

If you want to support the Medley and my other writing, there are many ways you can do that here.

And should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I love finding new things to read through members of this newsletter.

Have a great week,
Nat

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