Week 40

Here are some highlights for leading into Week 40 🙂

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    This was the key to Sapiens’ success. In a one-on-one brawl, a Neanderthal would probably have beaten a Sapiens. But in a conflict of hundreds, Neanderthals wouldn’t stand a chance. Neanderthals could share information about the whereabouts of lions, but they probably could not tell—and revise—stories about tribal spirits. Without an ability to compose fiction, Neanderthals were unable to cooperate effectively in large numbers, nor could they adapt their social behaviour to rapidly changing challenges.

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    One on one, even ten on ten, we are embarrassingly similar to chimpanzees. Significant differences begin to appear only when we cross the threshold of 150 individuals, and when we reach 1,000-2,000 individuals, the differences are astounding.

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    While people in today’s affluent societies work an average of forty to forty-five hours a week, and people in the developing world work sixty and even eighty hours a week, hunter-gatherers living today in the most inhospitable of habitats—such as the Kalahari Desert—work on average for just thirty-five to forty-five hours a week.

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it.

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    In truth, our concepts ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ are taken not from biology, but from Christian theology. The theological meaning of ‘natural’ is ‘in accordance with the intentions of the God who created nature.’

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    But modern science differs from all previous traditions of knowledge in three critical ways:

    a. The willingness to admit ignorance. Modern science is based on the Latin injunction ignoramus—‘we do not know’. It assumes that we don’t know everything. Even more critically, it accepts that the things that we think we know could be proven wrong as we gain more knowledge. No concept, idea or theory is sacred and beyond challenge.

    b. The centrality of observation and mathematics. Having admitted ignorance, modern science aims to obtain new knowledge. It does so by gathering observations and then using mathematical tools to connect these observations into comprehensive theories.

    c. The acquisition of new powers. Modern science is not content with creating theories. It uses these theories in order to acquire new powers, and in particular to develop new technologies.

  • “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love” by Daniel Jones

    In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. … The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.

  • “When The Brain Scrambles Names, It’s Because You Love Them” by Michelle Trudeau

    It’s not related to a bad memory or to aging, but rather to how the brain categorizes names. It’s like having special folders for family names and friends names stored in the brain. When people used the wrong name, overwhelmingly the name that was used was in the same category, Deffler says. It was in the same folder.

  • “Happy And Unhappy Valentine’s: Love At Work” by David K. Law

    In one case I dealt with, two members of the management team (we will call them Beth and Bob) became a couple. Their obvious closeness meant that they had opportunities to communicate, share their thoughts and develop strategies together. Fellow managers not getting into bed with Beth and Bob each night felt (and were) excluded from significant business-related conversation.

  • “To Stay Married, Embrace Change” by Ada Calhoun

    Emotional and physical abuse are clear-cut grounds for divorce, but they aren’t the most common causes of failing marriages, at least the ones I hear about. What’s the more typical villain? Change.

  • “To Stay Married, Embrace Change” by Ada Calhoun

    “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished,” the Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert said in a 2014 TED talk called “The Psychology of Your Future Self.” He described research that he and his colleagues had done in 2013: Study subjects (ranging from 18 to 68 years old) reported changing much more over a decade than they expected to.

  • “What You Should Know If You Love Someone With High-Functioning Depression” by Lindsay Holmes

    “For me, it is having to be busy at all times. The point is to mentally exhaust myself so the bad thoughts don’t creep in as I lie in bed each night.” ―Katherine Deubner

  • “What You Should Know If You Love Someone With High-Functioning Depression” by Lindsay Holmes

    “I wish my partner knew that there is rarely (if ever) a specific ‘cause’ to my depressed states. I do not have a tangible answer to the question, ‘What’s wrong?’” ―Beranger LeFranc

  • “To Stay in Love, Sign on the Dotted Line” by Mandy Len Catron

    The latest version of “Mark and Mandy’s Relationship Contract,” a four-page, single-spaced document that we sign and date, will last for exactly 12 months, after which we have the option to revise and renew it, as we’ve done twice before. The contract spells out everything from sex to chores to finances to our expectations for the future. And I love it.

  • “7 Ways Social Justice Language Can Become Abusive in Intimate Relationships” by Kai Cheng Thom

    But in that moment with my friend, I was forced to wonder, does this mean that a “more oppressed” person can never be responsible for abusing a “less oppressed” person? Can a woman never abuse a man, or a racialized person a white person?

  • “7 Ways Social Justice Language Can Become Abusive in Intimate Relationships” by Kai Cheng Thom

    Claiming an oppressed identity isn’t a get-out-of-jail free card for physical or emotional violence.

  • “7 Ways Social Justice Language Can Become Abusive in Intimate Relationships” by Kai Cheng Thom

    But calling out takes an abusive turn when it isn’t targeted to specific oppressive behaviors and becomes more about instilling a constant sense of shame and uncertainty in a partner.

  • “We Are the Generation That Doesn’t Want Relationships” by Krysti Wilkinson

    We want the façade of a relationship, but we don’t want the work of a relationship. We want the hand holding without the eye contact, the teasing without the serious conversations. We want the pretty promise without the actual commitment, the anniversaries to celebrate without the 365 days of work that leads up to them. We want the happily ever after, but we don’t want to put the effort in the here and now. We want the deep connection, while keeping things shallow. We long for that world series kind of love, without being willing to go to bat.

  • “We Are the Generation That Doesn’t Want Relationships” by Krysti Wilkinson

    We sit around with friends discussing the rules, but no one even knows the game we’re trying to play. Because the problem with our generation not wanting relationships is that, at the end of the day, we actually do.

  • “Platonic, Until Death Do Us Part” by Ephi Stempler

    We joke that we are each other’s PLP’s — platonic life partners — and recall the promise we made in our 20s: “If neither of us finds a husband by 40, let’s get married. If only for the registry.”

    We’re now both 41, the same age as Stephen Daldry when he married his best friend. And we’re both wondering: What if he had it right? After all, the couples that I consider the happiest — mostly gay men who opened up their relationships decades ago — are not lovers as much as best friends.

  • “Every successful relationship is successful for the same exact reasons” by Mark Manson

    True love—that is, deep, abiding love that is impervious to emotional whims or fancy—is a choice. It’s a constant commitment to a person regardless of the present circumstances. It’s a commitment to a person who you understand isn’t going to always make you happy—nor should they!—and a person who will need to rely on you at times, just as you will rely on them.

  • “Every successful relationship is successful for the same exact reasons” by Mark Manson

    In fact, his findings were completely backwards from what most people actually expect: people in lasting and happy relationships have problems that never completely go away, while couples that feel as though they need to agree and compromise on everything end up feeling miserable and falling apart.

  • “Every successful relationship is successful for the same exact reasons” by Mark Manson

    Upon asking him to explain, he said that, like the ocean, there are constant waves of emotion going on within a relationship, ups and downs—some waves last for hours, some last for months or even years. The key is understanding that few of those waves have anything to do with the quality of the relationship—people lose jobs, family members die, couples relocate, switch careers, make a lot of money, lose a lot of money. Your job as a committed partner is to simply ride the waves with the person you love, regardless of where they go. Because ultimately, none of these waves last. And you simply end up with each other.

  • “Every Relationship is Permanent” by Scott Itterman

    The only difference between a tattoo and ex-lover is that we wear one on the outside. The other we carry on the inside as memories and experiences which translate to beliefs and values, and then are expressed outwardly through our actions.

  • “Annoyance Is a Sign of a Good Relationship” by Kira Asatryan

    The real death knell of a relationship is not conflict… it’s emotional withdrawal. When you’ve reached the point where you can’t muster any feelings about your partner-–not even annoyance or frustration–-that’s a sign that you’ve emotionally checked out of the relationship.

  • “Annoyance Is a Sign of a Good Relationship” by Kira Asatryan

    How do you know what could be improved in your relationship? Look at what’s annoying you. Maybe your partner being late to dinner points toward a deeper issue: She always stretches herself too thin. Or maybe your partner forgetting to wash the car is evidence of his irresponsibility—a legitimate concern in any relationship.

  • “These charts show who you’ll spend your time with across your lifetime” by Corinne Purtill and Dan Kopf

    Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone.

  • “These charts show who you’ll spend your time with across your lifetime” by Corinne Purtill and Dan Kopf

    Those findings are consistent with research showing that the number of friends we have peaks around age 25, and plateaus between the ages of 45 and 55.

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