Help Shape the Future of Curious Humans
Plus Abandoning Goals & Reflecting on Ancestral Threads 👣
|Jonny Miller 🐢||Aug 30, 2018|
Life Updates & Exciting News 🙌
👋 – Dia Dhuit! (Gaelic for 'hello') from the little known Irish isle of Inis Oírr! I've spent a calming few days recalibrating to 'Island Time', attempting to freedive in the nippy Atlantic ocean and befriending 'Dusty' the attention seeking local dolphin 🐬
⛵ – The Curiodyssey Begins >> thanks to many-a-nudge from you dear readers, this unassuming newsletter is taking on a life of its own. I am now the proud owner of "curioushumans.com" and would love to hear all of your wildest ideas for how we might build a community around encouraging people to take their curiosity more seriously!
💡 – Dept. of Silly Ideas >> I'm tempted to turn one of these magnificent vintage beauties into a 'Curious Humans Caravan', possibly to be used as a mobile podcast recording studio, a library on wheels... or something else entirely!? What do you think? 👍or 👎
✍️ – Six Word Stories >> I've recently wrapped up a rewarding experiment of asking a daily question on Facebook, the two most popular threads were: "Write a six word story about your 2018 so far" & "What is ridiculously scary and / or exciting in your life right now?" I'm so grateful to the 100+ people who have contributed (it's also not too late to add yours).
🎙️ – Future Podcast Guests >> I'm currently focusing on editing two mind-expanding podcast episodes: one with a NASA Astronomer (genuinely the most curious human I've ever met, listen to a sneak preview here) and another incredible conversation with the acclaimed philosopher-poet David Whyte. The intention is now to record 10x episodes and then publish to iTunes as a complete season. Who could I get in touch with for the final three interviews?
⛰️ – How to Choose Between Projects >> I recently gave a talk in the Pyrenees mountains on 'How to choose which project to work on next – making decisions aligned with your values not your fears' which seemed to resonate with the audience (apparently I'm not the only person with more ideas than I have time to work on!) so if this sounds relevant, do hit reply as I'm looking for guinea pigs to help kick the tyres of v1 of this workshop.
Sending all the good island vibes & high fives 👋
p.s. can you think of one thoughtful friend (or two) who might appreciate these monthly musings? Just click here for the web-version and here to forward it on in an email.
Three Ideas to Ponder 🤔
1 // Abandon Your Goals 📝 >> One thing that stuck with me from my conversation with David Whyte was this idea that whilst it is convenient to be able to explain our 'jobs' to others, it can also hold us back: '...what is worthy of a life’s dedication does not want to be known by us in ways that diminish its actual sense of presence.' i.e. to what extent does holding onto specific goals lack surprise and a sense of the miraculous? Put another way, how might we set intentions to be living a life more wondrous than our current selves can conceive?
2 // Reflect on Your Ancestral Thread 👣 >> in those moments where we lose faith in our gifts, it's helpful perhaps to consider where we came from. The very fact that you are alive in this moment means that you hold a miraculous, unbroken thread of survivorship from a thousand generations, who lived so you could be alive today!
3 // Embrace 'Negative Capability' 🤷♂️ >> I firmly believe that training our 'uncertainty muscle' and making peace with ambiguity is one of the most valuable skills that schools don't teach us. The poet John Keats described this two hundred years ago as the art of 'negative capability', "that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason."
Stoke Your Curiosity 🔥
1 //Curiosity & What Equality Really Means >> needless to say I'm biased but this commencement address is aMUST READ. Atul Gawande makes a compelling case for taking our curiosity seriously:"We are in a dangerous moment because every kind of curiosity is under attack—scientific curiosity, journalistic curiosity, artistic curiosity, cultural curiosity... among the most important capacities that you take with you today is your curiosity. You must guard it, for curiosity is the beginning of empathy." (complement with this fascinating LessWrong post on 'The Neglected Virtue of Curiosity)
2 // 21 Lessons for the 21st Century 👨🎓>>"forget programming - the best skill to teach children is reinvention." YES! (adults too). This WIRED article is anextract from Yuval Noah Harari third book, as a fellow curious human, you may also be nodding in agreement. The full essay is a worthwhile long read (his newbook has also been published today): "The decisions we will take in the next few decades will shape the future of life itself, and we can take these decisions based only on our present world view.If this generation lacks a comprehensive view of the cosmos, the future of life will be decided at random."
3 // 'Amaze' 😲>> the National Geographic photographer and storyteller Cristina Mittermeier has just published abreathtakingly beautiful photobook; combining impassioned poetic storytelling, indigenous wisdom, and an urgent plea to protect our planet: "For more than two decades, through the lens of my camera, I have sought out the hope and beauty woven into the fabric of all life and all peoples, from forest to ocean. In the face of the myriad unrecognized plights and urgent truths of our shared human and planetary condition, these shimmering threads promise change."
4 // Building a Reading System📚 >> I love geeking out on reading systems and was thrilled to find this elaborate and thoughtful reading systemdesigned by a Swedish Shopify engineer. Particularly interesting is his intention to spend 50-60% of his 'reading time' simply processing what he has already read: "My past self can recognize an idea as useful, and recognize that there’s no immediate application of it, transcribe it to a card and hope it pops up at a better time."
5 // The Case Against Careers 👨💻 >> warning: this essay will rile a few feathers, prepare to have some of your core ideas about work shaken. Andrew Taggart tells a compelling story of how abandoning God has led to 'the birth of careers' and argues that only when we can kill this pernicious concept might we begin to wake up to life... “I think a career is something your father brings home in a briefcase every night, looking kind of tired.”
Et. Cetera 🤔
🙏 – Your life is a bonus round
😴 – Fall asleep in 120 seconds flat
😍 – Tinder has an new poet laureate
👣 – Restoring Britain's ancient pilgrimage trails
🗺️ – Found: map of the entire internet, as of 1973
🐛 – Traffic makes Caterpillars' Hearts beat faster
✍️ – We all follow the exact same adjective word order
🎡 – Angular momentum explained in a 30-second video
🔭 – NASA took a selfie of the entire observable universe
🤓 – J.K. Rowling drafted HP in a hand-drawn spreadsheet
❤️ – Vulnerability is courage in you, but it's inadequacy in me
🧠 – What is hypocognition? No clue? You’ve just experienced it
🏨 – Monopoly was initially created to demonstrate the evils of capitalism
☀️ – Thought you knew how the planets revolve around the sun? Think again
Parting Thoughts 💭
“We writers are the raw nerve of the universe. Our job is to go out and feel things for people, then to come back and tell them how it feels to be alive. Because they are numb. Because we have forgotten.”
– Luis Alberto Urrea, sharing writing advice from Ursula K. Le Guin