This week, awareness
A new week, reader, colder than the last. A warm scarf may help—but first, our weekly reflection.
Uncertainty plagues all meaningful pursuits; if we are to do our best work in the face of uncertainty, perhaps we must first hone our inner virtues as guidance. So in these notes I reflect on various themes. This week, awareness.
Noted academic Dan Ariely—known well as a pioneer in the field of behavioral economics—has turned his attention to morality, uncovering how we make ethical and unethical decisions that impact everyone from immediate friends & family to entire economies. Through the Dishonesty Project, a way to glean a bit of that special kind of awareness that comes only with being honest with yourself.
Long time favorite writer John Koenig has recently begun producing entries from his Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows in a video series capturing incredible complexities of the human experience. Most recently, Onism, a word coined to express the awareness of how little of the world you'll experience; "the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people's passwords, each representing one more thing you'll never get to see before you die—and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here." A sorrow, perhaps, but today consider it a joy instead—an acute awareness of what being here truly means, indeed amplified by infinite opportunity cost.
A long time ago, when the idea of sensors embedded in one's phone was still fascinating and new, this prototype diagnosis service was being developed to analyze one's cough for medical abnormalities. I soon saw a tweet in response, something like "I can't say I want my phone to diagnose me with a disease I didn't know I had." It's entirely likely the author was making the statement in jest, but it's worth reflecting on the kind of self-deception we all put ourselves through, such that we might always strive for more awareness rather than less.
Alongside each scarf I make are the stories of people who embody the virtues I want to remain diligently aware of—remembering makes things real. Soon enough I'll hope to share yours as well. For now, scarves and other stories at alwayscomposure.com/shop.