Showing posts from 2015

THIS Butterfly -- Smashing teacups for a better tomorrow

This is a followup to two different posts (which you may want to go take a look at if you haven't):
Which Butterfly? Looking ahead on your pathsAntifragile, a Magical Introduction Part Two In Which Butterfly? I suggested that the most interesting use for divination was not to tell the future, but to identify what actions now will get you to the future you want (which butterfly do you startle to get the right hurricane, see?). The reading in this post is a first pass on that kind of thing (there is a more elaborate general reading in the works). In the second part of my Antifragile series, I mentioned a fourth option for dealing with fragility in your life -- smash it.

But first a clarification. In the risk management post, I talked about four options for dealing with risks:  Accept: Do nothing and accept the risk as is.Avoid: Dodge the situation so that it doesn't affect you. Strengthen/Mitigate: Reduce the impact by being more robust or mitigating the risk.Benefit/Gain: Turn th…

Mind War: Part 3 -- How much do you trust your government?

A couple of years ago, we realized that some of our mail was getting stolen. Particularly some Christmas checks and cash from well-meaning relatives. We purchased a locking box, but the issue continued. We ended up working with a postal investigator. She would send us tempting looking cards and letters and call us to see if they arrived.

When she called to let us know that the issue was resolved and we wouldn't have any more problems, she was evasive and vague. But I can tell you that we had a new postal carrier the very next day. And in the following year we had enough issues with our mail delivery (notes saying that our mailbox was blocked and they would no longer deliver, mail in the street -- locking box, remember?) that we ended up getting a PO Box for a time. Retaliation, I figure.

Maybe you're cynic enough to just nod and say "yeah, that's how it goes." But I can't help thinking, you know, if you can't trust mail to come, then doesn't that tell…

And Now For Something Completely Different

Back in 2004, when I had just published my book, a friend asked me to contribute a chapter to a project he was working on based on the magic of various crafts. I wrote the chapter and sent it off, but the project never came together and no book was published. Recently, I was digging through my old computer files and found a copy of it.

While it's outside the scope of this blog, I couldn't resist finally seeing this in print. It's definitely more my "book" style rather than my blog style. For example, the inclusion of various example spells is something that book publishers really like. One fascinating element is a rather large (and admittedly lazy -- though I did get permission from the author) extract from a now defunct website.

Cords and Knots

The origins of cording (or braiding) and knotting are ultimately unknowable, hidden in our furthest past. Knot historian and researcher Pieter van de Griend believes that knots are "man's oldest technological achi…

PMPM Execution -- Organization

Sometimes, the kid comes home from sleepovers with other kid's clothes. It's usually because the original owner outgrew it or didn't like it and my kid did. Or it could be a swap of clothes. I usually only discover this when I catch it in the laundry (the kid sometimes does laundry, but when I do it, I'll grab whatever's dirty, so it's a mix). I long ago stopped worrying about this sort of thing. As long as the garment is cleanable and generally suitable for age and weather, the kid can wear whatever, so I don't stress too much. This is in part because I'm a cool parent (ask anyone) but also in part because I just don't have my shit together enough when it comes to laundry.

Not being organized about laundry doesn't cause me too much woe in my life. Enough gets done so that we have clean things to wear and I'm always conscientious about dress clothes and dry cleaning. Beyond that, if the laundry room is a mess and we're usually about four…

Antifragile, A Magical Introduction, Part Two (Antifragile Divination)

In Part One, I started a basic overview of the concept of antifragility. Reading that will make this make more sense.

The Antifragile Mindset
What kind of life do you want to have?

If your family comes from the US or Western Europe, you were probably raised to desire a stable life. Indeed a stable life is the promise of Western Democracy. To be able to withstand shocks and keep things the same (or on a modest arc of generational improvement AKA the American Dream) was what our grandparents and great-grandparents were working for. It's what many of us work for now. In fact, many of our current systems were designed for this goal and still operate that way: education, university, the free market, housing, social contracts like marriage and procreation, media.

Do you want a fragile life that will collapse under the slightest shock? Probably not. Most people wouldn't. However despite craving stability, many people still have crazy fragile lives. Why? Because the world of our antece…