The World

Iceland tries a 4-day workweek with good results

I guess if you’re an island in the far reaches of the North Atlantic, then you’re pretty self-sufficient and can try stuff out on your own terms. Thank you, Iceland’s Association for Sustainability and Democracy 🇮🇸 (hey, we could use one of those! 🇺🇸), for experimenting with a 4-day workweek.

It turns out the reduced workweek is a win all around. According to Mashable, the extra day was shaved off largely by “delegating and prioritising tasks more effectively”, plus fewer and shorter meetings.

Via Apple News.

creativity

The Opposite of a Story

We humans are made for stories. We love to hear stories. Stories make ideas more relatable and memorable.

I have been learning about the art of storytelling, both written and verbal. Basically it comes down to this:

  • Cut the BS
  • Build tension
  • Stay focused on your message

Whatever you do, don’t be boring. ✔️

I personally want to tell engaging stories to inspire people.

But the latest Invisibilia episode raises an interesting point: Yes, stories are powerful. But is that always a good thing? What if stories can be weaponized to manipulate you? (For example, I don’t know, maybe “The election was stolen.”)

To that end, Invisibilia decided to look at the opposite of a tight, message-driven story. They decided to focus on super slow, boring non-stories. For example an uninterrupted 9-hour train ride through Norway. It originally aired on Norwegian TV. They also did a ship’s 11-hour journey and more.

I have to say that the result is oddly satisfying. I mean, it’s not The Usual Suspects or even Citizen Kane, but it hits right if you want something relaxing. And it definitely will not manipulate you into thinking anything more than, “Gosh, Norway is pretty.” or perhaps just, “Ahh, trains…”

Hell, I have it on in the background right now just for the sound. They describe this kind of video as having “weak narrativity”. 😆

The video is so slow that you have to make sure it’s not paused after you start it. 🤔

But it picks up (kind of). 🚞

👉 The podcast also suggests that this kind of non-narrative might promote democracy, individualism, and community. Not bad for some train footage.

And don’t forget slow radio.

Books · The World

On Tyranny – Little Things You Can Do To Save The World

In America, we have the assumption that tyranny naturally comes from the government. After all, our whole origin story is based on some scrappy settlers rebelling against a meddling, powerful empire.

But the January 6 siege of the US Capital showed us that tyranny can also come from common American citizens, determined to disrupt the own constitutional process, spurred on by distributing, nonsensical, violent theories. It’s a reminder that tyranny can happen here, and it may come from the most unexpected sources. 🤔

“We see ourselves as a city on the hill, a stronghold of democracy, looking out for threats that come from abroad. But… human nature is such that American democracy must be defended from Americans who would exploit its freedoms to bring about its end.”

With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to visit practical tips from book On Tyranny. This book is full of simple lessons from 20th century Europe that we can apply to our own lives to help maintain our freedom in this really weird modern American scenario.

On Tyranny book cover
Look for the fun graphic edition coming this summer. 🙃

Contribute to good causes. (Some ideas: help make good information accessible, empower people, fight hate, or go local.)

Pick a charity or two and set up autopay. Then you will have made a free choice that supports civil society and helps others to do good.

Support a newspaper or a magazine. Real journalism is tough work and needs your support.

“Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Take responsibility for what you communicate with others.”

Support the multi-party system. It is critical to have viable liberal and conservative parties vying for power.

Support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. Vote in local and state elections while you can. Consider running for office.

Be inclusive. Take responsibility for the face of the world.

“You might one day be offered the opportunity to display symbols of loyalty. Make sure that such symbols include your fellow citizens rather than exclude them.”

I try my best. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Practice professional ethics. State election officials got tested this time around but stood strong, even dealing with violet threats. It’s a reminder that democracy doesn’t just happen automatically.

Maintain your rational, independent thought and individualism. Don’t let yourself get duped into something just because you like being part of a group (looking at you, yoga moms).

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

The renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual—and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism.

Be a patriot. Love your country and the best of what it stands for.

A patriot… wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves.

A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.

So there are some simple things anyone can do to help. It’s easy but also hard.