What I'm Reading...

Present-day education and static societies

From David Deutsch’s The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World:

Present-day methods of education still have a lot in common with their static-society predecessors. Despite modern talk of encouraging critical thinking, it remains the case that teaching by rote and inculcating standard patterns of behaviour through psychological pressure are integral parts of education, even though they are now wholly or partly renounced in explicit theory. Moreover, in regard to academic knowledge, it is still taken for granted, in practice, that the main purpose of education is to transmit a standard curriculum faithfully. One consequence is that people are acquiring scientific knowledge in an anaemic and instrumental way. Without a critical, discriminating approach to what they are learning, most of them are not effectively replicating the memes of science and reason into their minds. And so we live in a society in which people can spend their days conscientiously using laser technology to count cells in blood samples, and their evenings sitting cross-legged and chanting to draw supernatural energy out of the Earth.

education memes society critical thinking

Default to Bureaucracy

From Farnam Street’s Weekly Newsletter (2024-01-21):

Left unchecked organizations default to bureaucracy. People default to distraction.

It doesn’t take long for 3 priorities to become 10. It doesn’t take long for 2 people in a meeting to become 8. It doesn’t take long to move from people making decisions to committees.

The most productive organizations and people spend a lot of energy fighting what feels good in pursuit of what gets results.

efficiency agile Farnam Street