I'm writing you from holiday, so I'm keeping this intro short. In fact, so short that it ends right here.
Past progress doesn't guarantee continued progress, let alone progress without setbacks. However, looking back at the progress humanity has achieved over the past two centuries should inspire us, especially when times feel darker than usual. I'm fairly sure most of you will learn new things in this overview, and be astonished. Then pause for a moment and try to imagine what might be possible in the next 50 years, 100 years, 200 years.
I'll be honest, my first reaction was: Well, that's not gonna help 🙄. And judging by most of the coverage on two climate activists throwing soup at a Van Gogh painting, that has been a common first reaction. My second reaction, though, was: Hm, how sure am I about this? This article is one of very few that took the time to go deeper and look at actual evidence. Turns out: «Despite many people claiming that disruptive or radical protests have negative impacts on a movement’s likelihood of winning, the evidence suggests the opposite is true: Nonviolent radical tactics are likely to increase support for more moderate groups, in ways that increase an overall movement’s chance of achieving their aims.» Apparently, it's called the radical flank effect.
Emphatic and empathetic 5-minute commentary on the uprising in Iran.
4. Ark Head
Overall, I think this essay is too pessimistic (see recommendation 1 and the quote at the very end of the newsletter). Still, these quotes hit home:
- We increasingly respond practically to the world without even attempting to make sense of it.
- We’ve given up on the prospect of actually solving or managing most of the snowballing global problems and crises we’re hurtling towards
- We’ve accepted that some large fraction of those problems will go unsolved and unmanaged, and result in a drastic but unevenly distributed reduction in quality of life for most of humanity over the next few decades
You've probably heard of the world's blackest black. So far, it has gotten excited mostly artists and designers. This week, I learned that there's a race for the whitest white as well. It doesn't look as cool as the blackest black, but its effect is cooler, or, well, cooling.
- Sometimes, writing feels magical. This week I experienced that magic.
- Beautiful landscape photography from the Gobi Desert
- Two post-its to get you unstuck
- If you like a tidy desk (and parting ways with money), this is for you
- Science fiction gave us the wrong image of a futuristic city
- «The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.» — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Thanks for reading. I wish you a nice weekend and hope to see you again next Friday!
— David 👋