Digestable #22: Magic Rings, Treehouses, Adventure Makes You Better, Mountain Bike For Sale, The Stockdale Paradox, 12th Level Mountain Biking

Hello guys & gals,

Welcome to another edition of Digestable, the short, weekly email where I share information, ideas, and what’s new with me. This edition was sent to subscribers on June 22, 2021.

I’ve been chewing on this lately:

  • Plato’s Invisibility Ring: What if you had a magic ring that could make you invisible? Would you murder the king, seduce his wife, and take over the kingdom? Does having power and ultimate privacy cause us to act unjustly? If it does, does that mean that a just society requires individuals with limited power and no privacy? These are the kinds of thought experiments you can find in “one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory,” Plato’s Republic. Before you jump into this book from 375 BC, get the backstory in this fascinating podcast interview with professor of philosophy at the University of Tulsa, Jacob Howland. Thank you, Michael Harvey, for gifting me my own copy of this classic book.
  • Treehouses > Good Grades: It’s not clear to a kid building a treehouse that there’s a direct (though long) route from that to architecture or engineering. And instead of pointing out the route, we conceal it . . .. Instead of telling kids that their treehouses could be on the path to the work they do as adults, we tell them the path goes through school. And unfortunately schoolwork tends be very different from working on projects of one’s own . . . It’s a bit sad to think of all the high school kids turning their backs on building treehouses and sitting in class dutifully learning about Darwin or Newton to pass some exam, when the work that made Darwin and Newton famous was actually closer in spirit to building treehouses than studying for exams. If I had to choose between my kids getting good grades and working on ambitious projects of their own, I’d pick the projects.” This new essay by Paul Graham, A Project of One’s Own, is less about education and more about the joy of engaging in projects of your own. Enjoy, and be inspired to carry on with your own projects!
  • Adventure Makes You Better: Stunning views and an important message make this 2.5 minute video by the talented Matt Blacklock a great use of your time today. Look closely and you will see glimpses of yours truly and fellow Adventure Club members enjoying top-notch guiding from Girth Hitch Guiding.
  • Mountain Bike For Sale – 2021 Trek Fuel EX 8My son, Ariel, has too many bikes. If you need a new, size large full-suspension trail bike, you can check out his ad and contact him here.
  • Quote I’m Pondering – The Stockdale Paradox: When Admiral James Stockdale was asked which prisoners didn’t make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied: “Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be . . . This is what I learned from those years in the prison camp, where all those constraints just were oppressive. You must never confuse, on the one hand, the need for absolute, unwavering faith that you can prevail despite those constraints with, on the other hand, the need for the discipline to begin by confronting the brutal facts, whatever they are.”

Thanks for reading. If you know someone who would like to receive these types of updates I’d appreciate it if you shared it. Should you come across anything noteworthy this week please send it my way!

Yours truly,
Jeff

P.S. The mountain biking trails at 12th Level, in Nordegg, just get better and better thanks to the efforts of folks like Nick Shain, Mark Blydorp, and friends. Here are a few pics from a Father’s Day ride at 12th Level, that was followed by some of Miner’s Cafe’s famous pie! Most of these pics feature Mac Vidal, who is apparently a photogenic rider 🙂

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