300-Word Sunday

On intellectual vagabonding, friendship, rationality, and more

Hello friends!

Vizi here.

Let's jump right in.

Here are 3 aphorisms to reflect on, 2 philosophical jokes, 1 heuristic, and 1 (bonus!) short essay.

Enjoy!

3 Aphorisms

I.

Progress: we’re destroying natural landscapes, cultural heritages, and historical monuments to build fantastic roads so we can drive faster than ever to go…nowhere.

II.

Good friendships are bittersweet.

They need both kindness and honesty; both fun and pragmatism; both arguments and understanding.

III.

Never worry about missing opportunities.

Worry about not being in a place that attracts opportunities.

If you're at the wrong bus station, every bus is the wrong bus.

H/T Sahil Lavingia

Art of the Week

An entertaining scene. Title: Peasant Kermis. Date: 1665. 

2 Philosophical Jokes

I.

The educated fool: he uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts―for support rather than illumination.

H/T Andrew Lang

II.

Physicists who only study physics happen to be clumsy physicists―as well as philosophers who only read philosophy happen to be foolish philosophers.

You can’t bring out the flavor of your mind if you don’t aim to establish relations with disciplines outside of your intellectual comfort one.

My friendly advice is that politicians should study biology; scientists should read poetry; lawyers should study morality; and economists should find another job.

1 Heuristic

When someone says: “My rational argument is…”―expect a completely emotional point.

The need to emphasize that your argument is rational may signal precisely that you're insecure about its logic. If it were so rational, there would be no need to underline that.

1 Essay

Dare to develop a vagabond intelligence.

The education system is yelling that we need specialists; but the real world is whispering that we need polymaths.

In 2002, Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics; although he’s a psychologist. The Wright brothers are credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane; but they were not aeronautical engineers. Stoicism was not founded by a scholar, but by a successful merchant, Zeno of Citium.

Innovators―while plenty of them are experts in a narrow field―have a rich intellectual toolbox. Their toolbox is filled with many mental models from different fields that help them solve problems specialists can’t address. They enjoy a helicopter view over various issues while also having the capacity to land anywhere―they can bring in freshness, reject consensus, and reveal blind spots.

To innovate, as Arthur Schopenhauer put it, “the task is not so much to see what nobody has yet seen, as to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody sees.”

Be a strategic rebel.

Feed your curiosity, yet don’t get in trouble.

Defy modernity, but do it with elegance and style.


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Until next week,

Vizi Andrei

Creator of The Sovereign Artist