Protecting our marine spaces. Tarot.
Welcome to Ideothetic Flow, my newsletter sharing my reflections on finding balance, sufficiency, and security.
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This left me struggling with the conclusion that, if this were true, there is little point to life when the final outcome is the same regardless of our actions.
I realise that, while our outcomes revert to a median, the values behind our decisions - whether we make them with good or bad intentions, morals, and principles - are cumulative. These add up to define who we are, and the kind of life we have led.
One way I try to find better guideposts for my understanding of the world, is to observe contradictions in what appears to be rational behavior. Here are a few I have been thinking of recently.
Long term worries, short term lives.
Common wisdom is that short term thinking is dangerous. Our lives are filled with various myths and fables illustrating the importance of planning for the future.
We are innately biased towards the short term, we have an tendency called temporal discounting, where we discount future rewards over immediate ones.
However, we've somehow overcome our short term nature, and spend too much energy constantly looking towards what is ahead.
I've been letting Joy play with my board game collection. Initially, I would watch her like a hawk, worried she breaks something or put things out of place. Then I started questioning why I got worked up about it. Keeping things in order is only important if I'm going to play again, and the chances of that are low. Even if I do, it's not that hard to sort it out at the time. I can save my attention and enjoy the playtime with her, rather than stressing about an uncertain future.
In the end, we are very mortal creatures, with a short life span compared to the age of the universe, and little control over it.
Efficiency distraction vs inefficient productivity.
Whenever I have a small pocket of time in the day, I find myself flicking throug instagram or some other mindless thing. I’m thinking, its too short to get anything done, so why bother? I then end up sucked into a much longer span of distraction than I expected.
Our addiction to efficiency tricks us into thinking that it is a waste of time to work without the right conditions. At the same time, things that distract us are perfectly polished to be easy to access. We fail to see that its better to be making inefficient steps towards our goals, compared to making no progress when distracted.
Hard decisions are easy.
I got this from Annie Duke's How to Decide.
When I helped out at the law school open house many years ago, it was common to see parents or students with the “Medicine or law?” dilemma.
While it's tempting to laugh at such a first world problem, I'm sure all of us agonise over our “medicine or law?” type choices once in awhile. Annie Duke observes that, when a decision is hard, it means both choices are close, you can't be far worse off picking either one, and you won’t really know which will turn out better.
In contrast, choices that are far apart are easy, our preferences will clearly show. I rarely need to think whether I'd like a steak or a salad.
But, we have most stress over choices which are actually easy, wasting valuable attention we could be putting elsewhere.
Over the last 2 months I had the chance to work on this speech, helping with research and liaising with activists. Do check it out, and I hope it gets you as interested in our biodiversity as it did for me.
I've been interested in Tarot cards recently as a thinking tool. I don't believe in being able to tell the future. Instead, I find them interesting for providing a system to prompt thoughts and reflections, or throw up hypothetical scenarios to consider.
Here's one for you.
Are your possessions in front or behind you? Can you set them aside and out of your mind? Or are they something you obsess over, and need to always be looking at them? What are the things you can put behind and the ones you can put in front?
If you found that interesting, I plan to put up more on a spare IG account I made for random musings at @thecenterline_
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