Thinks 35

From The Book of Life by Jiddu Krishnamurti: “Have you ever thought about it? We want to be famous as a writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will. Why? Because we really don’t love what we are doing. If you loved to sing, or to paint, or to write poems, if you really loved it you would not be concerned with whether you are famous or not. To want to be famous is tawdry, trivial, stupid, it has no meaning; but, because we don’t love what we are doing, we want to enrich ourselves with fame. Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing. The result has become more important than the action…You know, it is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous, it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.” (via Yuvaraj)

Universities Now Need Govt Approval for Online International Events on India’s ‘Internal Matters’: Shifting the Overton Window, if true.

Watched: Primal Fear.

Thinks 34

Anton Hoes on Invention: “Core to the model is the observation that innovation spreads from person to person. It is a mentality, that we pick up from others. Of my sample of inventors, active c.1550-1850, the vast majority of them had had some kind of contact with an inventor before inventing anything themselves…Everything else we worry about when promoting innovation, from funding to intellectual property rights, or from education to social acceptance, is in a sense downstream of it.”

Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept’s 3 questions: “What you can be the best in the world at? What drives your economic engine? What you are deeply passionate about.”

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” (First pointed to me by Atanu Dey.)



Thinks 33

Pratap Bhanu Mehta: “The scenes at the Red Fort may have been disturbing. But the real darkness on the horizon is not the protest, or the turn it might have taken. It is the turn Indian democracy is taking, almost as if it is on the road to perdition…The real desecration did not happen at the Red Fort. It happened when we created a country where jokes, acts of love, and democratic articulation are all deemed anti-national.”

Red Fort and Delhi — symbols and narratives of power down the ages: “It was the conquest by Ghurid Turks in the late 12th century that put Delhi on the map as a centre of power. As the capital of the Sultanate, Delhi gradually developed an aura of power — in the popular imagination, it came to be associated with a dominant power in the subcontinent. Babur, having defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat in 1526, headed for Delhi, which he described as “the capital of all Hindustan”, even though the Lodis had ruled from Agra for the previous two decades.”

Frequently Asked Questions on Farmer protests: by Yogesh Upadhyaya

Thinks 32

Anticipating the Unintended: Radically Networked Societies (RNS) meet Capital Markets, knocking the experts off their pedestal, the crowd is right, it is personal. “The GameStop phenomenon is just the beginning. It is like the Arab Spring of 2011 engineered on Twitter. Today it seems like a moment when the little guys took on the big, brutish establishment and won. This victory, like that of the Arab Spring, will be pyrrhic. The genie that escaped from that movement has been hard to put back into the bottle. The markets will now have to contend with the genie. It is out.”

Aswath Damodaran on the Gamestop saga: Great read. “The story resonates because it has all of the elements of a David versus Goliath battle, and given the low esteem that many hold Wall Street in, it has led to sideline cheerleading.”

Amber Petrovich: Why we cannot and will not stop with GameStop. “I hope my fellow retail investors will make GameStop just the start — and use our newfound power to help companies and corporate leaders find a conscience. Eventually, they’ll start listening and understanding that putting their communities and their employees first can improve business and still benefit shareholders.”

Thinks 31

Dan Shipper on stress and peak performance: “Stress isn’t good or bad. It’s a tool. In small doses it’s good, but too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing pretty quickly. When your stress response is working properly it makes you run faster, your memory gets better, you’re able to focus better. But when your stress response is over-activated, or chronically activated—you get ulcers and heart disease. It’s bad!”

Morgan Housel on Writing: “You have five seconds to get people’s attention. Books, blogs, emails, reports, it doesn’t matter – if you don’t sell them in five seconds you’ve exhausted most of their patience.”

James Buchanan: “Politicians and bureaucrats are no different from the rest of us. They will maximize their incentives just like everybody else.”

Thinks 30

Kunal Shah (Cred) on Indian startups: “Unfortunately, they’re just being stupid about it. They’re trying to go for 100 million customers when they don’t have the money to afford the basics. India has approximately $2,000 per capita income. If you remove the top 25 million families, that would drop to less than $800 per capita, which is 50,000 rupees a year [683 dollars]. What do you think people can buy with that? So why is no one building for the 25 million? Everybody is building for the 100 million who have no money.”

Conlangs: A term denoting a language whose vocabulary, grammar and phonology have been consciously devised rather than developing organically.  The father of conlangs is indisputably J.R.R. Tolkien, a prominent linguist who drew from Finnish, Welsh and Ancient Greek to craft 15 languages for The Lord of the Rings, including Elvish, Dwarvish and the Black Speech of Sauron. From here, all other conlangs flowed: the Na’vi language in Avatar, Parseltongue in Harry Potter, Dothraki and High Valyrian in Game of Thrones.

The Invitation by By Oriah Mountain Dreame. “I want to know / if you can be alone / with yourself / and if you truly like / the company you keep / in the empty moments.”

Thinks 29

WSJ on 100 years of ‘robot’: “In 2019, 373,000 industrial robots were sold and put into use, according to the International Federation of Robotics, a not-for-profit industry organization that conducts an annual, global robot census based on vendor data. That number has grown about 11% a year since 2014, to a total of 2.7 million industrial robots in use world-wide. Industrial robots—descendants of the Unimate robot arm first installed at a General Motors factory in 1961—are the kind common in manufacturing, performing tasks like welding, painting and assembly. They work hard, but they’re not very smart.”

Santosh Desai on mornings and how they have changed: “It is possible that it is not the mornings that have changed; it is we who have become a new version of our old selves. When we insist that everything in our life must deliver value and must have a reason for existence, we make all parts of our life instrumental, part of some grand, if not entirely well defined plan.”

James Buchanan: “If you are going to spend for one group, you have to spend the same for every group, just like if you tax one group you have to tax everybody. You have to go back to having more general laws, more general taxes and more general spending programs.”

Thinks 28

A Mint series on 30 years of India’s reforms.

Ideology Isn’t About Ideas: Michael Huemer. “What I mean is that (a) the reasons people choose an ideology are extraneous to the intellectual characteristics of the ideology (the arguments, the evidence, the explanatory virtues) and more to do with arbitrary extrinsic characteristics, like who else holds that ideology, or what vague emotional associations it carries, and (b) most people don’t take the contents of their ideology all that seriously — they don’t actually use it to understand the real world. It’s mostly something to say, and to berate other people for not saying. They use ideological debate as a proxy for tribal contests. They don’t support group G because of idea X; they support X because it’s the idea associated with G.”

Jim Collins: “Lead with questions, not answers. Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.”

Thinks 27

Alex Tabarrok on the US: “We will get to herd immunity in 2021…one way or another.” We are probably already there in India! Nitin Pai on why Why India will not see a big second wave of Covid-19.

TN Ninan on manufacturing and services in India’s future: “Perhaps the time has come to acknowledge that India is not going to replicate the export orientation of the East Asian manufacturing story, or even that of Bangladesh. If the country does build manufacturing into a bigger component of GDP, which has been the official objective from 2012, it will be oriented towards the domestic market, and probably high-cost…The story to compensate for this will come from services…The implication for the finance minister is that more fiscal transfers to the bottom tier will become unavoidable, and cannot be funded if concentrated wealth at the top is not taxed.”

Via CafeHayek: “Politicians are not pilots of a ship of state, and yet public rhetoric makes them appear to be just that. Actually, there is little politicians can do actively to promote human flourishing other than secure peace, keep taxes low, and administer justice tolerably well. If they stick to this recipe, they will avoid inserting harm into society. That is the best situation any society can attain.”

Thinks 26

David Samuels: “The people who populate the institutions that exercise direct power over nearly all aspects of American life from birth to death are bureaucrats—university bureaucrats, corporate bureaucrats, local, state and federal bureaucrats, law enforcement bureaucrats, health bureaucrats, knowledge bureaucrats, spy agency bureaucrats. At each layer of specific institutional authority, bureaucrats coordinate their understandings and practices with bureaucrats in parallel institutions through lawyers, in language that is designed to be impenetrable, or nearly so, by outsiders. Their authority is pervasive, undemocratic, and increasingly not susceptible in practice to legal checks and balances. All those people together comprise a class.” (Via Arnold Kling.) True in India also.

A good idea from Shankkar Aiyar: “Opposition must compete, present ‘shadow’ budget..A shadow budget could enable parties to answer many questions and outline the approach to sectoral challenges… The political economy of the world’s largest democracy hosting over a billion aspirations deserves choice, a plurality of competing ideas on issues of lives and livelihoods.”

Jim Collins: “Do you have a “to do” list? Do you also have a “stop doing” list?”