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Two recent highlights
Pinker Salon; Founder's Mindset season 1 finale
I’m pleased to share two new pieces of builder-related content you can watch and listen to (respectively):
1. Whence Rationality? A SuperSalon with Steven Pinker
Here’s the YouTube video for anyone who missed the live event (or simply wants to relive it):
Our charter was to understand what motivates (or demotivates) rationality, and how we can motivate more of it more of the time, in ourselves as well as in others.
What a feast for my Enlightenment-thirsty soul! You know that niggling worry you get when you’re about to meet a person whose work you revere? That uneasy feeling of bracing yourself for the discovery that another one of your heroes will turn out to be a miserable, defensive jerk? Well, I’m relieved to tell you that Steve was every bit the mensch I’d hoped and expected. Whatever our philosophical differences (and there certainly are some), I’ve long regarded his work as a fundamental force for the good as I understand it; and this conversation clinched for me that his person is too.
Among the topics traversed: We interrogated Hume’s insistence that “reason is the slave of the passions” (invoking Plato, Aristotle, and Kant as foils); we squared Kahneman and Tversky’s picture of human irrationality with the tremendous progress humanity has achieved; we talked about why some people walk away from religious cults and mass suicide pacts, while others double down; we discussed the difference between rationality and rationalizing; we explored what roles institutions can and can’t play in keeping us rational, and what roles we must play for ourselves; and we reflected on whether rationality has in any sense “replaced religion” in the post-Enlightenment world, what this would mean if so, and whether it would be a good or bad thing. And that was just the first hour!
2. Wrap-up of The Founder’s Mindset podcast, season 1
We’ve concluded the first season of The Founder’s Mindset podcast with this wrap-up episode:
My co-host Alice Bentinck and I touch on everything from the “win-win or lose-lose” relationship principle to thinking in first principles to coping with “The Struggle” to developing a builder’s mindset. A representative quote to entice you:
What all of us are ultimately building, the ultimate outcome that we're all responsible for, is our own life. You're building a life, and that's the one thing you have no choice about building. It’s what you got, and it's going to end one day, and you only have so much time and energy and so many resources to work with. So all the choices you make or default on making, are going to shape how your life goes.
I’m already very excited for the changes coming in Season 2, including better production value, a more conversational format, and guests from all stages of the founding journey. But I’m also very proud of the stories we’ve told and the insights we’ve captured in this first iteration, and I’m deeply grateful to the bold, pioneering builders who went on the ride with us: