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Culture

Identifying narcissism in today’s digital age

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Millennials may have ushered in the era of narcissism, but they are no longer responsible for its durability. Everyone else has caught up to the “toxic self-absorption” that plagues the western world.

It’s already hard enough to tell the work of an amafessional from a true artist that takes their work seriously. Everyone owns their own Instagram and Twitter microphone. So how do you pinpoint a narcissist in the age of social media me-ness?

Writer Kristin Dombeck offers some ideas on how to identify a modern day narcissist in the n+1 magazine.

The narcissist acts like a rock star

“Narcissists are the most popular kids at school. They are rock stars. They are movie stars. They are not really rock stars or movie stars, but they seem like they are. They may tell you that you are the only one who really sees them for who they really are, which is probably a trick.”

The narcissist is callous

“He cannot feel other people’s feelings, but he is uncannily good at figuring out how to demolish yours.”

The narcissist won’t do the right thing

“The narcissist, in contrast, always chooses to act in exactly such a way that if everyone were to follow suit, the world would go straight to hell.”

The narcissist aims to dupe you

“The narcissist has a priori no empathy, yours is just applause to her, and she is not just fake, but evil.”

So what do we do when we face a narcissist for the first time? Do we find the quickest exit and run a “5K right there in the middle of the cocktail party?” Consider self-reflection.

Perhaps we’re all a bit narcissistic, no more superior than the emptiness of emotion that the pixels display on our screens. Some people bath in ‘selfieness’ while others prefer to get a little wet.

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Culture

Dealing with complexity

Our beliefs shape us. They are tools for living. But everything is circumstantial. Sidedness is temporary. Your beliefs today may be incompatible with your system tomorrow.

Today’s world requires you to deal with the subtleties that challenge your cognitive bias. The fact that you’re Democrat, Republican, or Independent doesn’t mean you have to see the world entirely in those views. You can hide away all day in your own cocoon but that does nothing to advance the discussion.

External forces influence your decisions: how you grow up, where you live today, your age, school/job, significant other, physical and mental health, and your family’s well-being. Nothing is permanent. How you think, and act is a culmination of how things are right now.

It’s not enough to side one way or the other 100%. But you can’t sit out hang on the fence of sidedness either. Indecision still counts. Sometimes you have to play the cards you’re dealt with even when you know they’re better truths.

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Creativity Culture Life & Philosophy

China’s ‘Chabuduo’ Mindset

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Done is better than perfect, in some cases, as in updating a web design or app. But in China, ‘almost’ is a pervasive and dangerous mindset. Known as ‘Chabuduo’ or ‘good/close enough,’ can have disastrous effects when it comes to building everyday things, especially infrastructure.

James Palmer is a foreigner living in China and writes about his close encounters with Chabuduo, including everything from shoddy apartment pipes to broken front doors, poisoned food, to half-built parking lots.

Carelessness leads to death; one government official says there’s a deadly explosion every month. State-controlled tv even suppressed the news after the Tangshan chemical plant explosion in March 2014, killing 55 and wounding hundreds.

The Chabuduo attitude may come in handy on a farm when you have to use an old cloth to stop a broken pipe, but its substandard practices fail at scale in cities and at chemical plants where building with modern materials and following safety instructions prevent catastrophes.

For all Trump’s scaremongering on China, he’d be better off pointing to the people’s willingness to cut corners, their attitude of “good enough for government work.” But he’s more concerned about the thing China excels: making iPhones.

Craftsmanship is about care and expertise, not about faking competence and skipping the fundamentals. Half-ass effort yields half-ass results. Poor quality reveals itself eventually.

“In the end, what perpetuates China’s carelessness most might be sheer ubiquity. Craft inspires. A writer can be stirred to the page by hearing a song or watching a car being repaired, a carpenter revved up by a poem or a motorbike. But the opposite also holds true; when you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.”

Read more: Chabuduo! 

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Culture

Fran Lebowitz on Facebook, TV, and Trump 

Author and acclaimed New Yorker Fran Lebowitz can’t sleep, can’t write, can’t stand watching television, nor does she like social media, yet she’s still on top of them all or at least, well-informed in her sardonic complaints about them. Below are some highlights from her interview with W Magazine

On sleeping and watching television

Zero. I never sleep, I probably haven’t slept since you were born — I don’t know how old you are, but you’re not so old that I could have slept since you were born. So, years ago, I decided reading in bed is too stimulating. Watch TV. It’s boring. You’ll fall asleep.

On listening to music

Questlove did an album of it that he gave to me, and I’ve listened to that. I will say this: It’s not that I don’t like music, I just never think to listen to it. I am an endless seeker of silence.

On a potential Trump presidency

Everyone I know is very worried about it. I am very worried, but not about that, and no one would accuse me of being a cockeyed optimist. And I know there are a lot of morons in this country, I just don’t think there are enough.

On Facebook

I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a Facebook page — it really sounds an awful lot like the junior high school you never get out of. It sounds awful to me. And of course there are at any given time millions of people in junior high school, so it’s bad enough they have to be in junior high school before this even existed.

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Arts Creativity Culture Quotes

Susan Sontag on taste

Intelligence is really a kind of taste- taste in ideas.”- Susan SontagFailure is notan option.png

“For taste governs every free — as opposed to rote — human response. Nothing is more decisive. There is taste in people, visual taste, taste in emotion – and there is taste in acts, taste in morality. Intelligence, as well, is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.”

— Susan Sontag

From the essay “Notes on Camp,” available in Against Interpretation: And Other Essays (1964)

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Culture Newsletter Tech

‘The map is not the territory,’ Alain de Botton’s Atheism, Seth Godin on social media, NEW beats and more

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Read of the week: ‘The map is not the territory’

Scroll down to hear the tracks of the week 🔻


Arts & Culture

Start before you’re ready

Inspiration can be a distraction. Producing something original requires concentration and distance. Roger Smith is a watchmaker at Hodinkee on the remote Isle of Man, far away from Switzerland and Cupertino.

“The influences just aren’t around, and I can just get on with my days work and just make what I want to make.”

Roger Ebert wrote this after 25 years as a movie critic

The job of a movie critic is unusual. Instead of spending your time at the office or even at home penning away your novel in ample lighting, you watch 2-3 movies a day. You get “up in the morning and in two hours it is dark again, and the passage of time is fractured by editing and dissolves and flashbacks and jump cuts.”

Alain de Botton — A School of Life for Atheists

Alain de Botton is an atheist, but his perspective on religion is far more complicated. Instead of debunking religion in thinking that all pious people are idiots–as some atheists may presume–he shines a light on some of the things where religion excels: in values, wisdom, communions, and “the wonders of religious architecture.” As he says nearly eight minutes in:

“These religions at their highest points, at their most complex and subtle moments, are far too interesting to be abandoned merely to those who believe in them.”


Philosophy & Productivity

What are you going to do with all that inspiration?

Most creators think their work is original. It’s not; we steal from the artists that came before us.

“Beethoven depended on a Mozart to be a Beethoven. Picasso depended on a Cezanne. Without Michelson, there would be no Einstein” – James Altucher

“The map is not the territory”

The human head consists of a left brain and a right brain, each with distinct cognitive functions. The left hemisphere is known for processing logic and doing verbal and mathematical analysis while the right half excels in creativity and imagination, the visual stuff.


Social Media & Technology

Why Seth Godin opts out of social media

Seth’s thoughts on social media are thought-provoking and to the point. If you listen to his latest interview with Brian Koppelman, you’ll hear Seth say this:

“Social media is based on infinity. If you look at how many Facebook shares you got, if you look at how many Twitter followers you have, you have just enrolled in the wrong dialogue with yourself.


New Music

  1. Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force – Yermande (Kick And Bass Mix)
  2. Big Peace – Diva
  3. Call Me Like – Mission Road featuring Ft. Anderson.Paak
  4. Alix Perez – Had I Known
  5. Complete Walkthru – Intuition Brought Me Here Intuition Brought Me Here

Listen

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