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Sloww Sunday Newsletter 044 (Jan 10, 2021) — Be a Better Thinker, Develop your Ego, & More
Sloww Sunday is a free newsletter delivering the latest from Sloww along with the most interesting things I came across this week.
🐦 Over a year ago, I started something on Twitter called “Wikipedia Wednesday.” I realized that I had hundreds of interesting Wikipedia pages saved, but I wasn’t making any progress reading them. So, I committed to reading one new page a week and summarizing it in a single tweet. I just officially hit 52 Wikipedia Wednesdays! It’s a great way to learn something new each week. I highly recommend giving it a try yourself.
Want to be a better thinker? This is the top book on Amazon for “System Theory” with 1,000+ ratings. I loved it—and I saved more notes from this book than any other book I’ve read lately. It easily made my list of recommended books.
“You can see some things through the lens of the human eye, other things through the lens of a microscope, others through the lens of a telescope, and still others through the lens of systems theory. Everything seen through each kind of lens is actually there. Each way of seeing allows our knowledge of the wondrous world in which we live to become a little more complete.” — Donella Meadows
🪜 Vertical Development & Making Sense of our Sense-Making
(2 hrs | YouTube)
“A good metaphor to describe this whole process (of vertical development) is a ladder. The ladder rungs represent the stages of development. The climber (on the ladder) is the ego that is navigating reality and stepping into newer and more expanded perspectives. The view (of the climber) from each stage is distinctly different.” — Beena Sharma
The concept of “vertical development” is one of the most interesting things I’ve discovered lately. It’s based on Susanne Cook-Greuter’s work on Ego Development Theory (EDT). The first half hour of this video covers the basics of vertical development, and the remainder walks through each of the 8 stages. Here’s a short overview:
- Ego’s Function: To tell a coherent story and create a map of reality. Ego makes meaning of our life, experience, and sense of reality. In each stage of development, the ego tells a new story about who you are and what is real.
- Horizontal vs Vertical Development: Horizontal development means adding new skills and knowledge. Vertical development means shifting to a new view of reality and meaning-making. Vertical is rarer than horizontal.
- The Lifelong Journey: Everyone starts at the beginning of the vertical development journey. Transitions to new stages usually happen gradually over time.
- Where People Get Stuck: Not everyone develops fully to the late stages. Many settle into a stage based on their environment and culture. Western culture only develops people to around stage 4 (of 8)!
- The Late Stages: Later stages of vertical development can understand earlier stages, but not vice-versa. The later stages connect to ancient wisdom traditions.
🌎 Buckminster Fuller’s “Best Interview” (1974)
(58 mins | YouTube)
“I now know with the resources we’ve already mined and the knowledge we already have, it’s highly feasible to take care of all of humanity at a higher standard of living than anybody has ever known.” — Buckminster Fuller
Bucky Fuller was a real one-of-a-kind human—a polymath, systems thinker, inventor, futurist, and so much more. Instead of just thinking politically to solve the world’s problems, he came up with good design to bring out the good in humanity. I’ve outlined some highlights from this conversation below. Pair with why Fuller told people to call him a “trim tab.”
- Nature & Evolution: Humans didn’t invent the universe or universal laws. There’s something much bigger operating, and evolution is at work. We are part of an extraordinary, regenerative system. Nature has a gestation rate; the time must be right for something to take hold.
- The Power of the Mind: Human minds have been gradually “pulling the curtain aside” and discovering some of the great design of the universe itself—there are some eternal principles operating in the universe.
- Problem Solving: Problems are common to all lives in all of history. The game on our planet is problem solving.
- A Design Revolution: The principle of ephemeralization is the ability of technological advancement to do more and more with less and less.
- Abundance for All: Everybody needs to know that there’s enough to go around—moving from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.
💭 Deep Quote
“‘If you seek tranquillity, do less.’ Or (more accurately) do what’s essential … and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?'” — Marcus Aurelius
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