Digestable #42: Top Hat Traverse, Pickle Tickle, Low-Back Tweaks, Russia vs Ukraine, AI is Legal, Crypto is Moral, The Secret of Angels

Hey everyone!

Here’s the latest Digestable, the short, weekly email where we ramble down Curiosity Street. This edition was emailed to subscribers on March 6, 2022.

Ramble on!

Top Hat Traverse: Last weekend just didn’t feel complete, did it? It’s because Digestable #42 didn’t arrive in your inbox! Thank you for your grace in giving me the weekend off. I was away on an Adventure Club trip and the highlight was ski touring the Top Hat Traverse. This epic route started at Emerald Lake, BC, and featured views of countless peaks, deep snow, 1200m of climbing, and a few kilometers of uninterrupted descent. Take a “peak” at what it was like with this video:

Popcorn for Sale (including “Pickle Tickle” flavor): My second oldest son, Judah, is graduating from high school this year. He has been homeschooled since Grade 4 and he has joined up with a number of other homeschoolers to organize their own graduation ceremony and celebration. To help cover some of their costs they are selling popcorn from PopcornWala! After grad, Judah has been accepted into the Explore: Certificate of Outdoor Leadership Program this September. The program is a one-year leadership incubator in the Canadian Rockies, and he intends to continue with linguistic anthropology or some type of intercultural studies afterward. If you would like to support this homeschool grad celebration take a look at the flavors below and email judahdel@gmail.com before March 31st to place your order. Judah is also seeking part-time and full-time work this summer to save up for school, if you know of any job leads in the Sherwood Park or Edmonton area please let him know!

Fix Your Low-Back and SI Joint Pain: If you’ve tweaked your low back give this do-it-yourself routine (YouTube link) from Dr. Kelly Starrett a try. Amanda and I have followed Kelly for over a decade. He is a physio to the elite, founder of MobilityWod/Ready State, and bestselling author of Becoming a Supple Leopard. Amanda and I both deal with low-back tweaks from time to time and this particular routine was recently recommended by Tim Ferriss.

The Russia / Ukraine Conflict: Have you put in the work required to have an opinion on this issue? If our information comes from scanning headlines, sound bytes, short-form articles seen on mainstream media, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, or YouTube videos pulling in carefully curated out-of-context quotes, etc., the answer is no . . . we are probably parroting propaganda, misinformation, or disinformation. I’m not trying to guilt anyone, I haven’t put in the work either! This is a complicated issue and if we want to truly know what is going on we need to roll up our sleeves and put in the work required. If we want to understand what is going on and where things are headed, we need to start with where it began. We need history lessons from multiple sources. Here are a few resources I have started to dig into and I’d love to hear any you would recommend.

  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in 1918 in Kislovodsk, Russia. In 1945 he was arrested for criticizing Stalin in private correspondence and sentenced to an eight-year term in a labour camp, to be followed by permanent internal exile. He wrote extensively on Russia and The West, and a great starting point is his insightful 1978 Commencement Address to Harvard University. Thank you David Perell for the link.
  • Dr. Frederick W. Kagan is a former professor of history with a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet military history from Yale. You can listen to a 2-hour interview of Dr. Kagan on the Jordan Peterson podcast. Jordan even shuts up long enough for Dr. Kagan to share his extensive knowledge and history! 😉
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky & Leo Tolstoy: perhaps an easier way to back into some context on Russian history is through the novels of these two literary giants. I have immensely enjoyed reading a couple of Dostoevsky’s novels in the last couple of years, and am planning to dig into more Tolstoy this year.

Artificial Intelligence is Legal, Crypto is Moral: If you enjoyed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s comments on legality vs morality in the Harvard Commencement Address noted above, you’ll also enjoy Rabbi Zohar Atkin’s short essay: AI is Legal, Crypto is Moral. While Solzhenitsyn strongly criticized the lack of a rule of law in the Communist regime (“a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed”), he notes that the rule of law in the West has stifled our morality so that our laws are the only standard (as opposed to the minimum standard) and we no longer reach beyond it. Rabbi Zohar digs into the same topic but compares AI to the Law, and Cryptocurrency to morality, Old Testament (law) vs the Apostle Paul (morality), among others.

Quote I’m Pondering:

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”

It’s tough to attribute this quote. See the variations here: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/10/12/acting/

This quote speaks to me about getting started when you don’t feel like you know enough to get started. Like starting to exercise before researching the best exercise programs, launching a business before you have it all figured out, or even diving deeper into spirituality or religion when there are clearly more unknowns than knowns.

According to the Jewish Talmud, the ability to put action before understanding is the “secret of angels,” and Rabbi Zohar Atkins riffs on this concept in a short essay here. This idea and quote also appeared in the recent Tim Ferriss interview of Cal Newport, and Cal recommended the book “The Case for God” by Karen Armstrong to explore it further. We see a similar approach advocated by Jesus, who simply instructed his disciples to “Follow me” – which was literally a call to physically travel with and imitate him – rather than hash out their incorrect thinking and false beliefs before joining him.

Where did your curiosity lead you this week? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for following along. I’m having a riot putting these together, so if you are enjoying this newsletter I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two and we can keep the great conversations growing.

Yours truly,
Jeff

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