Week 48 of 2023 has arrived. The smell of cold and damp leaves is in the air, and squirrels are gorging, butts up, in pumpkins on porches. In the States, most of us are on our sixth plate of leftovers.
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?
I have an experiment to share with you this week... The audio version of the weekly newsletter! Coming in at around 15 minutes, if you don't want to read... try listening!
And if you like it, let me know, subscribe to it in your feed, and review it! Thanks...
Thanks for being here and reading! These blogs help me "Sharpen The Saw" and hopefully help you to sharpen yours!
Week 48 in 1919, Nancy Astor is elected as the first female member of the British House of Commons. She was 2114.42 weeks old (40.55).
Week 48,of 1932, Groucho Marx performs on radio for the first time. He was 2199.57 weeks old (42.18).
Week 48, of 1972,Nolan Bushnell, cofounder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game in Andy Capps's Tavern in Sunnyvale, California. He was 1555.71 weeks old (29.83).
This Week's Quote
Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"... ..."Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!" -Jacob Marley, from A Christmas Carol
The reason for the season, regardless of which flavor your tribe celebrates, is to be generous and kind with your time, attention, and treasure.
I don't know what the hell we are all doing here... that mystery confounds me daily... but there is zero chance that leaning further into generosity and compassion isn't part of the right answer.
What I am Consuming This Week
"The Gray Area" with Sean Illing. The Case Against Free Will. This conversation with Robert Sapolsky is insane. I don't mean that hyperbolically. Some paradigms that we have are so "natural" that they seem baked in to the fabric of the Universe. During this conversation, I had a few glimpses of what it might begin to be like on the other side of this the free will paradigm... keep an open mind!
"The Moment" with Brian Koppleman, Rick Rubin rebroadcast. This episode is amazing. Rick Rubin is a special kind of being. There are a lot of lessons for people who do creative work in here.
"The Unmistakable Creative", with Srinivas Rao. I have listened to a few of these...the Seth Godin episodes are great. Long form interviews with good questions.
"The Daily", Inside the Coup at OpenAI. I think this is an interesting story, and commentary on where we are right now with AI... and the reports that a huge breakthrough preceded his ouster is super interesting...
And then... You should listen to "Hard Fork's" interview with Sam Altman, the character at the center of the kerfuffle.
A very important moment in this podcast occurs at minute 34:08... I DISAGREE! Corporations, and their products (even when the product is AI) don't deserve the same rights as people.
Insta Nuggets: I have been trying to boil these down to good content that pushes you forward... but sometimes a hysterical meme will sneak through...
PSA: Please send me podcasts that you love! I need input! Most podcast players have a "share" button... just click that and type in my email address... Spencer@4kweeks.com Thanks!
What I am Thinking About This Week
I have always thought that is was a strange bit of burecratic decision making that at 17.99 years old, you aren't fully responsible for your choices, but then at 18 years old, you are, and that even if you have been crapped on by life for the first 18 years, you still are expected to suck it up and thrive at 18 or suffer the consequences.
But at the same time, it is hard to fit the "demonstrable lack of free will" in to my current paradigm. Nearly everything I think about and talk about and do relies on me believing that I have agency.
I don't know how to fit these two pieces into the same puzzle.
The Stoics had an iffy relationship with free will. They believed in determinism, and fate, but also that it was incumbent upon each person to strive to do better and be better each day...which is an odd thing to believe if you believe that everything is predetermined.
Maybe it is just one more example of the struggle being the point.
Perhaps the right path is for me to continue to hold myself accountable, but let everyone else off the hook.
Here is the important thing to note... there is no real intellectual disagreement about IF you are the result of all the good and bad things that have happened to you up until now... That is settled... the only real question is how we are going to fold that understanding into how we live as a culture. It seems should all be a bit less proud of our "accomplishments" and hold less contempt for our neighbor who is struggling.
There is a quote from Epictetus that relates..“Don’t be puffed up with pride if you are able to provide for your needs with very little cost."... "Consider how much more frugal the poor are than we, how much better they forbear hardship. If you want to develop your ability to live simply, do it for yourself, do it quietly, and don't do it to impress others."
Do you all have any thoughts to share about how to think about free will in a world that prizes personal achievement?
Have a great week!
Thanks for being a part of the journey with us! Please tell me if you liked/disliked the blog this week. Ask my wife... those are the only emails I like to get!
Dad Joke O' The Week
What did Santa pay for his sleigh?
Nothing, it was on the house!