Summary of “Shame On You”

According to Foucault, the dynamics of the Panopticon bore an uncanny resemblance to how people self-monitor in society at large.
Yes, social media might spell the end of bourgeois respectability; but doesn’t it also embolden people to be frank and open, to free themselves of inhibitions and say what they mean, without shame? Foucault suggested mass surveillance could squash free speech and thought, and enlist the cooperation of those surveilled.
Perhaps social media inoculates people against such compulsion.
We might be the democratic citizens that philosophers have longed for since the time of Socrates: people willing to lay bare their lives for the sake of discussion and debate, people for whom nothing is hidden or out of bounds.
Social media provides a public space that often operates more like a private venue, where many people express themselves knowing that those watching will agree – or, particularly for internet trolls, in the belief that there they won’t suffer the consequences of what they say online, as if protected by the mediation of technology.
Foucault cast shame in a rather less emancipatory light in The History of Sexuality.
People unburden themselves to their followers in the hope that their needs will be validated, their opinions affirmed, their quirks delightfully accepted.
There is no better way to divide and subdue a people, and seduce them into self-regulation, than to expose their perversions but promise absolution.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Kind of Self-Destructive Perfectionist Are You?”

Seeking perfection can create paralysis that hurts productivity, says Morgenstern.
“No one can do it as perfectly as you can,” says Morgenstern.
“A perfectionist doesn’t even know what it means to not be perfect. They don’t know what good enough is. It’s an all-or-nothing way of evaluating things. Work is amazing or a disaster.”
To get past the pursuit of perfect and find a balance, Morgenstern suggests using a technique called “Max, Mod, Min.” Before you start a task, write out the maximum you could do for that task, the minimum you could do, and the moderate-a happy medium of the two.
“You can find options to right-size an approach for any task or circumstance. Defining three levels of performance for a task builds edges that help you move forward.”
“The act of defining three levels of performance works a muscle that perfectionists need to learn to build,” says Morgenstern.
Using the Approach as a Leader Start the practice with yourself and then your team, Morgenstern suggests.
“You don’t want an employee to deliver a 15-page PowerPoint when you wanted a memo,” says Morgenstern.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It takes psychological flexibility to thrive with chronic illness”

Generally, living as rich and meaningful a life as possible when you are struggling with a chronic illness requires a great deal of psychological flexibility.
Below are some approaches that you can use to help you increase your psychological flexibility and, I hope, help you live a more meaningful life, even if you have a chronic illness.
If you’re dealing with a chronic illness, you might be plagued by thoughts of being burdensome to your family or loved ones.
Be the thinker, not the thought simply means increasing your awareness of the thoughts you are having, being more observant of your own thought processes, putting some distance between the thought and reality, and then making some better decisions about whether or not to engage with them.
If you think that it is time for your medication or that your family loves you and takes good care of you, then of course engage with those thoughts.
Know what matters: there are few things that will clarify your priorities and values like a chronic illness.
Chronic illness might have robbed you of much of your abilities.
With chronic illness, you can easily spend all day cataloguing what you can no longer do, but to what end? Does this move you towards your values? Maybe you can’t engage with your friends and family exactly the way you like; but if you can engage with them somehow, no matter how small, that is meaningful.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fellow Passengers”

An anthropologist from Mars might regard us humans as singularly insecure animals, curiously obsessed with identifying some quality that decisively distinguishes us from the rest of animal creation.
If we were more reflective creatures, we might realize that the answer has been staring us in the face all along: We are the animals curiously obsessed with distinguishing ourselves from the rest of animal creation.
So the available evidence seems to indicate that phenomenal consciousness is correlated with “Widespread., relatively fast., low-amplitude. interactions in the thalamocortical. region of the brain.”7 The case for phenomenal consciousness in animals is straightforward: We find precisely the same kind of neural activity in many other animals, including, as stated in the Declaration, “All mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses.” The neural correlates of phenomenal consciousness in humans are also found in these other species, suggesting very strongly that they are conscious also.
The tests are all variations on a single theme: An animal is presented with two opaque cups, A and B. The animal is initially shown two empty cups, then sees an experimenter baiting one of the cups.
26.Are Animals Moral? Can animals be moral? That is, can they have motivations that are genuinely moral, and can they act because of these motivations? Someone who is tempted by a positive answer to this question is likely to find little succor among scientists and philosophers; the possibility of moral behavior in animals has been dismissed by almost all of this demographic.
We like to kill animals that like to eat animals that we like to eat.
Animals are our fellow passengers on this bus to who knows where.
“Consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect, mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”34 When the animal on the bus looks at us, we must, with all our heart and sinew, try to look back, and see her for what she really is: a fellow passenger who is really not that different from us.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Dorsey, Marianne Williamson and the New Wellness Aristocracy”

Last November, Jack Dorsey, the brains behind Twitter, declared that he had gone on a 10-day silent retreat in Myanmar to practice Vipassana, considered the oldest form of Buddhist meditation.
Sounding more like the Monk of Silicon Valley than the Disruptor of Wall Street, Dorsey explained that giving up “Devices, reading, writing, physical exercise, music, intoxicants, meat, talking, or even eye contact with others” was a “Detox of all the noise in the world.”
Sam ­Lipsyte’s new novel, Hark, satirizes an unwitting guru who gains a mass following with what he calls “Mental archery” and inane mantras like “Unstring your bow.”
The higher beings walking among us have taken self-care to new heights, sometimes literally.
In the Himalayas, the Ananda Spa offers a seven-night Dhyāna self-realization retreat that guides participants through daily meditation sessions including “Yoga Nidra, Ajapa Japa, Antar Mouna, and Trataka.” The Ashram in Calabasas offers a $6,000 hike to Santiago de Compostela that includes daily yoga and massages.
Amassing avid followers is much easier for gurus now than in the old days, when they had to self-publish pamphlets and advertise in the back of New Dawn magazine.
Their contentment humble­brags on social media, the Runic scripts of our time, telegraph piety and double as a recruitment tool the way word-of-mouth testimonials once drew stressed suburbanites to EST. The difference is that these hyperconnected soothsayers can’t be automatically labeled hucksters.
“There is no magic pill from Big Pharma to prevent stress and trauma, although there are tons of medications for managing it. They just don’t get to the ‘tumor’ of stress. Now, 50 years later, we are getting close to finding reasonable ways to deal with it, and it’s the ancient meditation practices that will stand tall.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Find Yourself Someplace Else”

There are countless travel bloggers that have, or are, working their way around the world by car.
Really, there are countless ways to explore and find yourself in the process.
If you’re not sure what you need to find yourself, lose yourself someplace that just seems cool.
Usually “Budget travel” evokes visuals of smelly hostels and bread buttered with more bread. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Hostels are a great way to save money and extend your travels, and they’re also a solid bellwether for how expensive an area is.
Lastly, and perhaps most important, a working phone will change how you travel.
One of the easiest ways to travel for less money is by staying at hostels.
Imagine staying somewhere for $20 a night that is cleaner than your house but has a place where you can cook cheap meals? Doesn’t that sound like a different way to travel? Many hostels even have private rooms that still cost less than a hotel but give you some you space.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why the Tom’s of Maine Founder Thinks He Can Create the Next Patagonia”

On an icy day in early January, Tom Chappell peers across the rolling pasture of his 85-acre farm in southwestern Maine.
Chappell worked his entire adult life to grow Tom’s of Maine from an upstart that made hippie toothpaste into a national drug-store-chain staple.
After selling Tom’s of Maine to Colgate for $100 million in 2006, Chappell decided to join the emerging movement of entrepreneurs working to resurrect U.S. manufacturing.
In 1966, Tom Chappell discovered he was a natural at selling life insurance.
In 2006, having run Tom’s of Maine for 35 years, Chappell felt it was time to sell.
“No one could tell us how much of it there was,” recalls Chappell’s son-in-law Nick Armentrout, who had a farm outside Kennebunk and knew a thing or two more than Chappell did about ranching, which was nothing.
“We didn’t understand as a company that fit was important. Not just fit, but quality of design,” concedes Chappell of the brand’s clothing, which until this year, he says, fit inconsistently from one season to the next.
“What’s the problem? Price. And a lack of knowledge of the cost to the world and other people globally.” He’s hoping to ride the burgeoning movement in “Slow fashion”-people caring about ethical and sustainable production of their clothes-to help win Ramblers Way the loyal customer base that Chappell once enjoyed with Tom’s of Maine.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Want to be less distracted? Try this: Find the fun in tedious tasks |”

In the latter book, Bogost makes several bold claims that challenge the way we think about fun and play.
By relinquishing our notions about what fun should feel like, we open ourselves up to seeing tasks in a new way.
Given what we know about our propensity for distraction when we’re uncomfortable, reimagining difficult work as fun could prove incredibly empowering.
He claims her approach “Recommends covering over drudgery.” As he writes, “We fail to have fun because we don’t take things seriously enough, not because we take them so seriously that we’d have to cut their bitter taste with sugar. Fun is not a feeling so much as an exhaust produced when an operator can treat something with dignity.”
Operating under constraints, Bogost says, is the key to creativity and fun.
While learning how to have fun cutting grass may seem like a stretch, people find fun in a wide range of activities that you might not find particularly interesting.
To use a popular aphorism, “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Today, I write for the fun of it.
Of course, it’s also my profession, but by finding the fun I’m able to do my work without getting as distracted as I once did.

The orginal article.

Summary of “English Is Not Normal”

Old English is so unlike the modern version that it feels like a stretch to think of them as the same language at all.
Life went on, and pretty soon their bad Old English was real English, and here we are today: the Scandies made English easier.
Starting in the 16th century, educated Anglophones developed a sense of English as a vehicle of sophisticated writing, and so it became fashionable to cherry-pick words from Latin to lend the language a more elevated tone.
The die was cast: English had thousands of new words competing with native English words for the same things.
It is sometimes said that they alone make the vocabulary of English uniquely rich, which is what Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil claim in the classic The Story of English: that the first load of Latin words actually lent Old English speakers the ability to express abstract thought.
What’s more, one way to connote formality is with substitute expressions: English has life as an ordinary word and existence as the fancy one, but in the Native American language Zuni, the fancy way to say life is ‘a breathing into’.
It’s easy to say that comprehend in French gave us a new formal way to say understand – but then, in Old English itself, there were words that, when rendered in Modern English, would look something like ‘forstand’, ‘underget’, and ‘undergrasp’.
The English notion that big words are fancier is due to the fact that French and especially Latin words tend to be longer than Old English ones – end versus conclusion, walk versus ambulate.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can Harvard’s Most Popular Professor Radically Change Your Life?”

Professor Michael Puett: What we really are is ‘a messy and potentially ugly bunch of stuff.
On one particular Sunday, the sermon is to be delivered by Michael Puett, professor of Chinese history at Harvard University, and is based on his book The Path, which applies the lessons of ancient Chinese philosophers to modern life.
The back cover of The Path describes Puett as “Harvard’s most popular professor”.
It is unclear how this distinction is awarded, but the book grew out of a 2013 magazine article written by his co-author, Christine Gross-Loh, about the undergraduate course Puett teaches – classical Chinese ethical and political theory – said to be the third most popular class at Harvard.
Puett’s School of Life audience is very open to this notion – I think most of us already figured as much – but apparently when he tells this to his students, it blows their minds.
While Puett’s students are obliged to get to grips with the primary sources, The Path was written for people mostly unfamiliar with the history of eastern thought.
To apply the idea to one’s own life, Puett suggests “Slightly altering how you interact with people” – saying something different to the bus driver or the man at the shop’s till every morning, thereby disrupting the patterns that comprise your daily life.
“If people are just an assembly of patterns,” he asks, “What does it mean to love someone?” In a way, it seems the bleakest moment of the hour, but Puett is beaming.

The orginal article.