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Sloww Sunday Newsletter 055 (Mar 28, 2021) — Self-Actualization, Understanding the Brain, Big Questions, & More
Sloww Sunday is a free newsletter delivering the latest from Sloww along with the most interesting modern knowledge and timeless wisdom I discovered last week.
I always aim to respect your time and attention, so every newsletter can be read in under 5 minutes. Enjoy!
⏱️ A Sloww post about “timeboxing” (the #1 productivity hack for actually doing your to-do list) was featured on the Optimal Living Daily podcast. You can listen to the audio narration, or read the original post.
🐦 Here’s a new Twitter thread titled “The Naval of Fame”—my all-time favorite one-liners from Naval Ravikant.
In Case You Missed It:
This post includes Abraham Maslow’s writing on self-actualization from the book The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Learn what self-actualization is, who self-actualizers are, what their behaviors are like, how self-actualization relates to identity/work/money, discovering your own personal path, and more.
New Premium Post:
Am I self-actualized? How do I know if I’m even on the right track? I thought it could be fun to take the self-actualization synthesis and turn it into an informal self-actualization self-assessment. Of course, self-actualization isn’t as simple as fulfilling a checklist of characteristics. My aim here isn’t to be scientific. I just want to get a directional sense of how I’m doing—better understand where I feel like I’m excelling and where I have opportunities for growth. If you’re interested in doing the same, simply take this post and give yourself your own assessment!
🧠 The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain
(75 mins | YouTube)
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been big on the brain lately. It’s equally fascinating and humbling at the same time—there’s so much we know, and so much we don’t know. David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, author, technologist, and entrepreneur. This video is an intriguing introduction to his new book, Livewired.
Here are some highlights:
- Unlike computers, brains are very flexible: “You cannot think about the brain as hardware and software. It’s instead what I call ‘liveware’ … Brains are reconfiguring their whole lives … constantly moving, and unplugging, and replugging, and changing.”
- The brain is unrivaled in its complexity: “There are 86 billion neurons. Every neuron … has the entire human genome in it, is trafficking millions of proteins around in very complicated biochemical cascades, and is interacting with about 10,000 of its neighbors over this 0.2 quadrillion connections.”
- Nature and Nurture: “The nature vs nurture question is actually a dead question in biology now because it is always both.”
“Consider that whole beautiful world around you, with all its colors and sounds and smells and textures. Your brain is not directly experiencing any of that. Instead, your brain is locked in a vault of silence and darkness inside your skull.” — David Eagleman
🚣 The Parable of the Tourist and the Fisherman
(3 mins | YouTube)
This is one of my favorite short stories. Watch a short video below or read a couple different versions on Sloww. Have you spent the time to ask yourself simple (yet tough) questions like: “And then?” “Then what?” “Why?”
“Then what?” — The Fisherman
💭 Deep Quote
“No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.” — Alan Watts
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Have an alive week!