TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I began to unlearn civilization. I am reading “Civilized to Death: What was lost on the way to modernity” by Christopher Ryan and I suspect that this book will influence a few weeks of my life (and so, yours).
You may have noticed a pause in my “productivity”. The reasons are highly personal but what I think is worth sharing is that I (and so, this project) am deeply committed to learning how to be the best human I can be. Sometimes, that requires a pause. I just learned that.
Christopher Ryan has told me in his introduction that he feels what separates us from the other animals is that we are the only species that creates our own zoos for ourselves. I assume he means cities. His thesis, then, is that we ought to create very very good zoos. To do this, we ought to learn what humans need to thrive.
I love this idea. I think that may be what is at the belly of this beast of a project, “The Underbelly”. My hunch, that we need to learn to truly learn to love the unloveable in us — in ourselves and then in others — is at the heart of this.
So, then, onward as we learn who we are and then learn to love the hell out of us.
“When you're going in the wrong direction, progress is the last thing you need.”
― Christopher Ryan, Civilized to Death
Please read “Civilized to Death” :)
This morning, I am contemplating the idea that humans are the only species who create zoos for our own species. I have not yet finished this book, but I am already considering my “zoo” and what I feel it needs and what I feel it does not need.
In the book, Christopher Ryan compares a dismal zoo he once visited with the San Diego zoo, which I am aware of and do know is a beautiful, thoughtful space where each enclosure for each species is a well studied recreation of what that animal best needs to thrive.
So: What is your ideal zoo? What does it look like? What does it need? The care and feeding of you… you are your own zookeeper :)
As you walk around this week (or drive around, or trot, or skip) consider that you are in a zoo of your own creation. How does this change your perception?
What small things can you do to make your “zoo” more human, more humane?
Hint: Likely, the answer might just stem from love (maybe?)
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
This seems like a dangerous quote:
“The depiction of human nature embedded in the NPP isn't science; it's a marketing campaign for the status quo. The politics of perpetual fear is corrosive to our well-being and our innate capacities for cooperation, community, and kindness. Fear of terrorists, fear of running out of money, fear of getting old, fear of strangers, fear of death, fear of sharks, fear of being hit by lightning, fear of fear itself. It keeps us quiet and complacent in our supposedly protective cages.”
― Christopher Ryan, Civilized to Death
“Who tells the story creates the world.” (yup, also Christopher Ryan)
Now — I am a fan of dear Hans Rosling and Gapminder, the foundation he started. I do believe that we ought to look for the good, look for the progress, look for the things that are working and do more of those things and less of the things that are harming us.
It’s simply a matter of choosing wisely what is good for us and what is not good for us.
I will say that my list of things I need to be fully human include deep faith (for me that is Christian faith and the one rule to love God above all else and love my neighbor as (deeply as I do) myself).
My list also includes attempting cooperation, community, kindness.
My list also includes attempting to learn to love the most unloveable things in me and then to pay it forward and lean into learning to love (and show compassion for) the most unloveable things in others.
Our lists can be vastly different. I will say that the one thing the we ought to have in common moving forward is a desire to want to be the best humans we can be and also that this needs to include paying it forward to our neighbor.
Are you with me? Let’s go.
9. Hero: Jacquline Novogratz — CEO/Founder of Acumen
Why? I am currently reading and taking the accompanying course for “Manifesto for a Moral Revolution” and I am again inspired by this person.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this. Please share with someone you think may enjoy this weekly.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts. We’re in the top 10% of podcasts and growing (in the right direction…) :)