We Are Living in ‘A Quiet Place’


We are living in the movie A Quiet Place and its sequel.

If you speak - if you make any sound, if your existence, you living your life, you merely being or breathing - broadcasts any kind of signal that disturbs the lurking devourers, you get killed.

This is speech. This is expression. This is living out loud. This is being your beliefs.

What happens in this world?

Most people get killed. A zombified cityscape remains. An eerie, quiet shell of what it was just before the madness.

What do you do?

Most hide. Go off the grid. Flee. Hunker down. And they still get killed. Because humans cannot live in silence.

Others find a protected island utopia where they can live freely without the rest of the world knowing. But they too eventually get killed. Because humans living freely reverberates beyond the borders of any protected citadel.

Is there any solution to such a suffocating force?

It is not to remain quiet, it is not to run and hide, it is not to build a fortress. Those will not work in the long term. Because you are human. You must speak out. You must live out loud. Your existence must register.

Ultimately, the solution is to speak.

It is to be loud in a specific way. To find a frequency that cripples and destroys the enemy that wishes to silence you. And to broadcast that frequency so loudly it covers the globe.

Obeying Experts is More Dangerous Than Questioning Them


And it's not even close.

Questioning experts might lead to some mistakes. Obeying them can lead to genocidal atrocities on a mass scale.

This is a consistent pattern in all of human history and it's predictable into the future.

"Expert" implies some kind of institutional expert-conferring apparatus. Such intuitions are subject to Public Choice dynamics. They will always inevitably reward group loyalty and conformity and become cartelized and myopic. Always. Every time. You cannot prevent it with good people or good intentions.

The best way to reduce the harm of these tendencies is with outside pressure. Doubt in the institutions. Competing institutions. A free and open market for ideas, services, products, and expert-making.

A sure way to dramatically exacerbate the problem and raise the cost of its outcomes is to involve the state. Adding threats of violence to back and protect these institutions exponentially increases their evils and attracts even worse people to them.

Government-backed experts are a graver threat to mankind than any other in all of history. There is no amount of ignorance, arrogance, or stubborn refusal to listen to them that can hold a candle to the evils caused by obedience to experts. The worst outcomes of skepticism and defiance of experts are infinitesimally smaller than the median outcomes of blind obedience.

When someone says, "Just shut up and trust the experts and governments who tell you to", especially in an environment where questioning them is shunned and banned, they are on a very very dark and dangerous path, whether they know it or not.

The Mid-Career Time-Suck Siren


With a bit of a professional track-record, you start to hear the sirens.

They beckon you away from productive activities to endless cyclones of time-eating flimflam, using flattery and honorifics as bait.

Beware.

Sitting on boards, being an advisor, a mentor, a presenter, a panelist, a contributor, or an ill-defined partner are usually euphemisms for giving away your energy for a bit of pretend importance.

It's not that you can't or shouldn't help others or have a range of activities you're involved in. That is a good way to invest in yourself and build social capital. But when it comes seeking you, and especially when it comes with a formal title, it's usually a trap.

The universe has taken notice of you. You've created enough value to have a budding reputation. Energy-hungry vampires can smell it. When they see a rising star, increasing its output, they will seek to siphon off some of that energy by offering you nothing in return. The nothing will be disguised as something important and appeal to your vanity and the schooled-in absurdity of resume padding.

Business relationships should be clear, not open-ended. You pay X to get Y. You get paid Y to provide X.

Non-business relationships should be fluid, not formal. You don't need a board seat to bounce ideas around with your friends.

Highly formal yet unclear relationships are the most likely to eat your time and parts of your soul as you innocently and excitedly give it a shot to see if some unknown good might come of it.

Early in your career, when your value creation potential is limited as your reputation, it's a good idea to take as many new opportunities as you can to learn what's what. But by mid-career, you have found some higher-leverage activities and know how to create some value. You're beyond open-ended exploration mode. You've flipped from, "Unless you hate it, say yes" to "Unless you love it, say no".

The more titles and official roles you carry around at this stage, the more you signal to clear-thinking people that you're wasting time and chasing clout.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Routine Newness Haiku


Brains need novelty

Souls grow deeper through routine

Be routinely new?

Offline for the Weekend


It's one of those weekends. I feel the urge to go completely offline except for a few work obligations and my daily blog post.

A good screen detox always tends to help me. And it helps me appreciate how great the internet is when I'm back. I'm not anti-online at all. But I am pro taking control of my relationship to the flow of info.

Concentric Circles of Abstraction


Remember the controversial Starbucks Christmas cups?

Of course not. Nobody does.

But everyone remembers trending social media posts about them.

Scratch that. That's also incorrect. What people remember are articles like, "What people who get upset at backlash against people who cheer for the new Starbucks cups say about society".

None of the people in the story really existed. Yet everyone felt compelled to go to social media and post about how they thought people posting about how they thought these cups were good or bad was good or bad.

The event itself wasn't really a thing. People who experienced the non-event and shared about it weren't much of a thing either. People commenting on the people not really experiencing the non-event were a manufactured thing. And people responding to that were a real thing. But can you really call that real?

Most trending topics and emotional stand-offs on social media are abstractions of abstractions of abstractions of things that may or may not exist concretely. It's a constant flow of symbols attempting to convey meaning and signal it to others battling with other signals over other signals.

I don't know that this is bad. It's certainly interesting. What is bad is forgetting that all this abstraction is going on. If you play the game as if these are concrete realities opposing each other, you'll get all kinds of messed up. You'll add to the abstraction with your emotional reaction while believing you're on the level of concretes. When you're playing a different game than you think you're playing, you always lose.

Remember, pretty much everything on the real-time internet is a fake reaction to a fake reaction to a fake event. Trying to layer on realness adds undue weight to these symbol games.

The Problem with Legacies


Statues get torn down.

Heroes become villains.

Villains get put on T-shirts.

Orwell was right when he said those who control the present control the past. The deeds of one's life do not create an indelible legacy. It is always up for redefinition per the zeitgeist. No matter how provable and objective you think the facts are, they can be changed, hidden, forgotten, or misconstrued. You have no power to preserve your reputation once you're dead.

This is one of the reasons I've never really been motivated by the idea of leaving a legacy. It's seems to be the most common motivator for people who have achieved a lot of success and made a lot of money. People will go to great lengths to form a legacy, hoping that they are remembered as great by many generations to come. I don't really get that.

Perhaps it's because I've always believed in the immortality of the soul. If you keep living and acting beyond death, why make such a fuss about trying to cement memory of what you did during the tiny sliver of earthly experience?

I'm also a let the chips fall kind of guy. Legacy is about what other people think of you, and worrying about what other people think is disempowering. You have no control over how the facts of your life get interpreted, whether you etch them in stone or not, so why bother and fuss?

I also believe that the words you speak and how you live alter the world in powerful, permanent ways whether anyone knows it or not. Legacy is about making sure they know it, but greatness is about actually doing it. I'd rather live my best life, knowing the world will be forever changed by it, than spend energy trying to ensure people realize or think highly of it. As I've written before, I'd rather have a secret legacy.

It's hard enough to take control over your reputation while living. It's dangerous to try too hard. Why try to do so beyond the grave?

The Real Shit Test is People Who Love You


When you want to achieve something or be true to who you are at your best, the universe has a way of seeing if you mean it.

We tend to think of these shit tests as critics, negative experiences, people being rude to you, threats to your reputation, and haters. That's part of it. But that's the easy part.

The real shit test is genuine love, care, need, and concern from those close to you.

Tim Grover, trainer to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and many others, said once he was packing his bag for another work trip. His young daughter came in and asked why he had to travel so much. He said he traveled for work to earn money to pay for food, housing, and everything else for the family. His daughter said, "If I eat less can you be home more?"

Grover said at that point in the story you expect to hear that he stopped packing, cancelled his trip, and found a less demanding job. But he kept packing.

The easy thing is to say he's an asshole, bad father, selfish jerk, unbalanced, bad prioritization, etc. etc. Too easy. Everyone would call him great if he changed his goals for his daughter's desire to see him more.

I don't know if Grover is a good father in other ways, but I know that he was being true to himself by going. He knows who he is. He knows he's wired to work his ass off with top athletes to get them winning. He knows if he's not doing that, he's living a weaker version of his best life.

That's the hardest test. When good people you love want you to alleviate some of their suffering by abandoning a little bit of who you're called to be. Of course you've gotta fight to discover and rediscover who that is, and you've gotta be honest with yourself about what you find. But once you do, giving it up for the temporary comfort of those you love is not doing you or them any real favors. It will win you the easier stuff - love, praise, fuzzy feelings - but it won't win you the harder stuff, which is your deeper purpose for living.

Taking shit from haters is one thing. Disappointing those who love you is another. If you want it, you've gotta really mean it. Sacrifice doesn't always feel heroic in the moment.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the CEO of Crash, the career launch platform, and the founder of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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We Are Living in ‘A Quiet Place’


We are living in the movie A Quiet Place and its sequel.

If you speak - if you make any sound, if your existence, you living your life, you merely being or breathing - broadcasts any kind of signal that disturbs the lurking devourers, you get killed.

This is speech. This is expression. This is living out loud. This is being your beliefs.

What happens in this world?

Most people get killed. A zombified cityscape remains. An eerie, quiet shell of what it was just before the madness.

What do you do?

Most hide. Go off the grid. Flee. Hunker down. And they still get killed. Because humans cannot live in silence.

Others find a protected island utopia where they can live freely without the rest of the world knowing. But they too eventually get killed. Because humans living freely reverberates beyond the borders of any protected citadel.

Is there any solution to such a suffocating force?

It is not to remain quiet, it is not to run and hide, it is not to build a fortress. Those will not work in the long term. Because you are human. You must speak out. You must live out loud. Your existence must register.

Ultimately, the solution is to speak.

It is to be loud in a specific way. To find a frequency that cripples and destroys the enemy that wishes to silence you. And to broadcast that frequency so loudly it covers the globe.

Obeying Experts is More Dangerous Than Questioning Them


And it's not even close.

Questioning experts might lead to some mistakes. Obeying them can lead to genocidal atrocities on a mass scale.

This is a consistent pattern in all of human history and it's predictable into the future.

"Expert" implies some kind of institutional expert-conferring apparatus. Such intuitions are subject to Public Choice dynamics. They will always inevitably reward group loyalty and conformity and become cartelized and myopic. Always. Every time. You cannot prevent it with good people or good intentions.

The best way to reduce the harm of these tendencies is with outside pressure. Doubt in the institutions. Competing institutions. A free and open market for ideas, services, products, and expert-making.

A sure way to dramatically exacerbate the problem and raise the cost of its outcomes is to involve the state. Adding threats of violence to back and protect these institutions exponentially increases their evils and attracts even worse people to them.

Government-backed experts are a graver threat to mankind than any other in all of history. There is no amount of ignorance, arrogance, or stubborn refusal to listen to them that can hold a candle to the evils caused by obedience to experts. The worst outcomes of skepticism and defiance of experts are infinitesimally smaller than the median outcomes of blind obedience.

When someone says, "Just shut up and trust the experts and governments who tell you to", especially in an environment where questioning them is shunned and banned, they are on a very very dark and dangerous path, whether they know it or not.

The Mid-Career Time-Suck Siren


With a bit of a professional track-record, you start to hear the sirens.

They beckon you away from productive activities to endless cyclones of time-eating flimflam, using flattery and honorifics as bait.

Beware.

Sitting on boards, being an advisor, a mentor, a presenter, a panelist, a contributor, or an ill-defined partner are usually euphemisms for giving away your energy for a bit of pretend importance.

It's not that you can't or shouldn't help others or have a range of activities you're involved in. That is a good way to invest in yourself and build social capital. But when it comes seeking you, and especially when it comes with a formal title, it's usually a trap.

The universe has taken notice of you. You've created enough value to have a budding reputation. Energy-hungry vampires can smell it. When they see a rising star, increasing its output, they will seek to siphon off some of that energy by offering you nothing in return. The nothing will be disguised as something important and appeal to your vanity and the schooled-in absurdity of resume padding.

Business relationships should be clear, not open-ended. You pay X to get Y. You get paid Y to provide X.

Non-business relationships should be fluid, not formal. You don't need a board seat to bounce ideas around with your friends.

Highly formal yet unclear relationships are the most likely to eat your time and parts of your soul as you innocently and excitedly give it a shot to see if some unknown good might come of it.

Early in your career, when your value creation potential is limited as your reputation, it's a good idea to take as many new opportunities as you can to learn what's what. But by mid-career, you have found some higher-leverage activities and know how to create some value. You're beyond open-ended exploration mode. You've flipped from, "Unless you hate it, say yes" to "Unless you love it, say no".

The more titles and official roles you carry around at this stage, the more you signal to clear-thinking people that you're wasting time and chasing clout.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Routine Newness Haiku


Brains need novelty

Souls grow deeper through routine

Be routinely new?

Offline for the Weekend


It's one of those weekends. I feel the urge to go completely offline except for a few work obligations and my daily blog post.

A good screen detox always tends to help me. And it helps me appreciate how great the internet is when I'm back. I'm not anti-online at all. But I am pro taking control of my relationship to the flow of info.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program making degrees irrelevant for careers. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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