Jul 12, 2022Liked by Heather Heying

The triviality of modern existence is especially worrying when one thinks about the fragility of it. Every person should cultivate a non-trivial pursuit lest we lose the fundamental habits of a non-trivial lifestyle if we should be faced with it again. Gardening, woodwork, animal husbandry are all just "hobbies" for us today, but may become fundamental again.

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Absolutely true. The fashion, in some parts, for becoming a "hobby farmer" or for buying an old property and fixing it up, is smart and honorable, except that too often, the actual work and skill involved in such pursuits has been wildly underestimated, and is soon abandoned.

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Jul 13, 2022Liked by Heather Heying

This is why I knit. After 55 years, the rhythms are in my bones. There is a slight groove in my index finger from holding the tension of the yarn there. I can knit and ponder and reflect, and magically from sticks and string, I make something useful. I am so grateful I had a lot of life before computers. Thank you for sharing this very relevant piece.

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Jul 12, 2022Liked by Heather Heying

The "ascent of the trivial." It describes our current culture all too clearly.

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022Liked by Heather Heying

Just the introspection I have on most days -- the zero-sum game of this relentless cultural pattern. Finally, to turn our attention to the mundane. For in there, we find miracles not possible with our fixation on the trivial. Thank you Heather. You are alive and well in this world, thank goodness.

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I love this , Thank you Heather. As the world gets more chaotic the more I want to go back to simpler times. I love my garden (even though the deer ate most of my strawberry plants this year) it brings me a sense of peace.

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Your pieces are always an invitation to stop and think. To ponder, to meditate. Can't thank you enough for that. The triviality of modern existence is, no doubt, "a thing". At the risk of misinterpreting your piece (and I sincerely apologise if I do, English is not my first language, as you have surely noticed), there are a couple of thoughts that seem to pop up from time to time in intellectual circles, thoughts that used to be the foundation of how I filtered the world around me, not necessarily for the better, thoughts that I was able to more or less exorcise by bumping into C.P. Snow's "The Two Cultures". My inner world did positively change after that.

These thoughts are:

1. A sort of implicit assumption that we were promised things, a better world, and we were just simply helpless before such promises. Our role was to be passive. There was nothing we could do, but wait for those promises to come true. It is a one-sided promise, we just have to wait for it to materialise. Nothing required on our side. There's nothing we can do ourselves, our attitude, to make the best out of the new, emergent innovations, the innovations are going to fix everything in and on itself.

"Such promises—the labor saved! The heights attained!—are revealed to have been empty to begin with, or long since broken."

Were we simply helpless before those promises? Is the finger only to be pointed at the thing itself? (the technology, the change of paradigm). When I first encountered similar observations, I was in my 20s. It lead to me feeling victimised by the world, victimised by circumstance, dragged away from the more desirable past by careless innovators, profiteers and entrepreneurs. I began to disdain them. Along came C.P Snow, and he rescued me. Offered me the other side of that story, which I should have known all along: I was born and raised in one of the poorest parts of Mexico, to parents who worked at least 12 hours a day in a field, and which made every effort so I could skip that part of their existence and I could, instead, make a living out of the trivia of things. They succeeded. I did.

Something became really clear to me, from COVID times. The idea already had roots before that, but then it became painfully fully realised: if I was forced to point a finger to one single thing in order to explain our modern predicament, the finger should be pointed at me. At us. Things turn rotten with our full cooperation. If we had to find only one guilty actor on this drama, that actor is us. A thought like that, rather than being depressing, became empowering. I'm not going to change the world by recognising, but I can change how I interpret the world, and realise that I can thrive, learn, share and grow with the emerging hypernovelty, as long as I take ownership of it. As long as I'm aware of their addictive potential, their economic incentives, their capacity to distract and disconnect. Haven't been happier in years. I'm unbelievably humbled by the good fortune of having brought up in this time and age. Couldn't be happier to have escaped the fate of my parents's existence.

2. People in the past were capable of deriving meaning out of work, because the nature of work has changed, in many cases dramatically.

Being a huge fan of your work, I have consumed countless hours of your content. You're one of the most careful modern thinkers I've encountered, so point number two makes me very hesitant to express, since it is hard to for me to reconcile that you and Bret would actually believe it. As such, the most likely explanation is that I have severely misunderstood ideas from your piece and other comments made on your phenomenal podcast... and if this is the case I sincerely apologise, and I won't dwell too much on this point because of that reason. I do want to point out that even recently, on Bret's interview with the fantastic Mattias Desmet, a similar idea was expressed. Mattis pointed out the correlation between the advent of the Industrial Revolution and People's sense of isolation and meaninglessness. I find such assertion quite puzzling. I have no doubts that people, more than ever, feel isolated and devoid of meaning. What puzzles me is that "The Industrial revolution", or "technology" is given as the only possible explanation. Completely brushed aside, it feels, are: the decline of religion, the strive for hypersecularism, formation of urban centers, etc, just to name a few.

If I was forced again to give one single cause explanation (besides ourselves), my own view is that people's higher income, relatively speaking, is a big factor. I have no data to back this up, just meaningless intuition, maybe the circumstance in which I grew up: I have seen people rise from absolute squalor, to gain more free hours per day, a better economic circumstance, only to squander all of it on vices and obsessions. I suppose my view is a derivation of the supposedly discredited Maslow's hierarchy of needs. For what my Dad would tell me, and my grandparents, and so on, "there was no time for anything else but to do (physical) work... there was no time to think, to worry about things... only to keep your family afloat... and that was your life and that was your satisfaction".

I've seen my very very poor community become more prosperous. Much more time to spare. In my personal experience, and this is very sad: most people I know don't know what to do with their free time. I can count with the fingers on one hand, the people who use their time to learn and grow, and find themselves. All the rest? all the rest is squandered.

I wan to apologise again, if I drastically misinterpreted any of your ideas. Love your community, love your book, love your podcast, love your writing style. Big virtual hug

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