What we tell ourselves matters

TED talk: Suzanne Duncan The Dark Side of Storytelling

Professional EQ

I want to talk about the relation between emotions and professionalism, but I have been unable to find an article that just seems to ... explain it, or make some amazing inspiring point about it. So instead I just am going to put a collection of all the halfway decent points I found in various articles here, and maybe we can discuss our way to enlightenment, ha.

What is EQ?
Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who coined the term emotional intelligence, recently talked to the Huffington Post about the many characteristics of emotional intelligence. Lets go over a few here, so that we can know what to train in.

You're curious about new people
Do you ask a lot of questions when you meet someone? Do you actually listen to their answers? Then you might be a highly empathic person, someone attuned to the needs and feeling of others, and you may also mark high on openness to experience–a trait correlated with creativity.

You're self-aware
To be emotionally intelligent, Goleman says, you need to have confidence. To have confidence, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Then you work from that framework.

You know how to pay attention
As Arianna Huffington told us, you can’t make connections if you’re distracted. Additionally, the ability to remain focused–and not carried away by texts and tweets–predicts not just the ability to form strong relationships and cultivate self-knowledge, Goleman says, but also your financial success.

“Your ability to concentrate on the work you’re doing, and to put off looking at that text or playing that video game until after you’re done,” he tells the Huffington Post. “How good you are at that in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of your financial success in adulthood than either your IQ or the wealth of the family you grew up in.”

You can say no

If you have high emotional intelligence, Goleman says, you can avoid unhealthy habits and otherwise discipline yourself–which also allows for relationship-nourishing, success-engendering non-distraction.

You know precisely what's pissing you off
Folks with a high EQ acknowledge emotions as they come rather than repressing them or misattributing their causes. You could also call this emotional agility.

You trust your intuition
There are neuroscientific reasons for trusting your gut: they’re markers for what to do next. Part of having a high EQ is learning when to trust them.

討論逐字稿: Drawdown

The original article post for this discussion is here "Drawdown":

Drawdown is the goal for all of us, in terms of taking care of global warming
greenhouse gases = gases that trap the sun’s heat in our air = CO2
drawdown is when the amount of CO2 starts to decline.

How do we reverse global warming? By drawing down the amount of gasses in the air.

HFCs are 100 to 1000x more potent than CO2


We’re all concerned about climate change, of course, but all we do is say woooooo, what can we do, and we don’t do anything but watch tv and eat chips. but I think this video lets us to discuss some points that we can do, like refrigerants. I do think we still need this.
—we just need non HFC refrigerants
—so these chemical engineers can find some solution to this problem. also about this food. Taiwanese love to eat buffet, and it wastes so much food. Like my mom, will take a lot, then try, and be like “ don’t like it”. You should just take a little to find out if you like it or not first. and not waste so much food. so not just in Taiwan, but all around the world we waste food like this. also the convenience store problem, the food expires today, but the food is still on the shelf, and it’s going to get thrown out. Can we not find a way to recycle this? or eat it? or have a sale at 11:00? At least you have one hour to eat it? I just want to say, this problem makes me impressed because it is so vivid to me. my mother just takes so much food and she doesn’t eat it all, it’s such a waste.
—and there’s lots of people like your mom!


Hello. I'd like to introduce you to a word you may never have heard before, but you ought to know: drawdown. Drawdown is a new way of thinking about and acting on global warming. It's a goal for a future that we want, a future where reversing global warming is possible. Drawdown is that point in time when atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. More simply, it's that point when we take out more greenhouse gases than we put into Earth's atmosphere.

Now, I know we're all concerned about climate change, but climate change is not the problem. Climate change is the expression of the problem. It's the feedback of the system of the planet telling us what's going on. The problem is global warming, provoked by the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases caused by human activity.

So how do we solve the problem? How do we begin the process of reversing global warming? The only way we know how is to draw down, to avoid putting greenhouse gases up and to pull down what's already there. I know. Given the current situation, it sounds impossible, but humanity already knows what to do. We have real, workable technologies and practices that can achieve drawdown. And it's already happening. What we need is to accelerate implementation and to change the discourse from one of fear and confusion, which only leads to apathy, to one of understanding and possibility, and, therefore, opportunity.

討論逐字稿: Who deserves what and why?

The original article post for this discussion is here.

—they are lacking a strict thinking process
—i agree with you and I also think this is true of americans

Imagine that we’re distributing flutes throughout Taiwan. Who should get the best flutes? How should we decide?
—I think we should have a lottery, and the winners can do what they want with the flutes.
—I think I will give flutes to who performs on the flute well, but cannot afford a good flute.
—I agree with her. we should have a competition to predict the winner to get the best flute, because the best flute should go to the best player.
—I agree with the three of you but I think we have to think about the people who really need these instruments. because for me, because if someone gave me a flute it’s basically garbage, I don’t need it because I don’t play. so I think maybe we can just open a vote, for people to say, for the people who want this instrument, and we choose randomly from this pool of applicants.
—that’s an interesting compromise.

Who deserves what and why?

Who deserves what and why? How can we have a civil discussion in society about people’s needs and how society should respond to those needs?

Before we watch the video, let’s answer two questions:
Number one: Imagine that we’re distributing flutes throughout Taiwan. Who should get the best flutes? How should we decide?

Number two: In PGA (the American Professional Golf Association) tournaments, you are not allowed to use a golf cart. A respected golfer developed a circulation problem in his legs which meant if he couldn’t use a cart, he couldn’t play the game, and he asked to use a golf cart in the PGA tournament.
Should the PGA let him use a golf cart?

The Lost Art of Democratic Debate

討論逐字稿: What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people?

The original article post for this discussion is here.

elections = democracy?
elections can create dictators
In 3000 years experimentation of democracy, there's been only elections only 200 years, since the American and French revolutions
before elections, they did “lottery” “sortition”
“The appointment of magistrates (= public officials) by lot is democratic, and the election of them is oligarchic/aristocratic.” —Socrates

archy = order
an = no
anarchy = no order
hiero = layers
hierarchy = 等級制度
patrio = father
patriarchy = rule by the fathers
oligo = the few
oligarchy = rule by the few

if you choose people by lot, you get people from all walks of life
if you give them time and information, they can make decisions, based on their experience and this information, and having time to understand it.
because the job changes hands a lot, and so lots of people will have experience doing the job, so then people will understand how their city runs better.

increased public trust
decreased corruption
increases long term thinking

What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people?

Here are two sort of very passionate persuasion videos for a concept called "sortition".
Is sortition a good idea? Let's talk about it!

What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people? Link with transcript

More videos and articles about sortition can be found here:
Top ten best sortition videos

討論逐字稿:Iceland's Gender Equality Education

The discussion for which this is the transcript is here.

極光 = northern lights
nature vs nurture = was it innate or was it learned
innate = born that way, born in to the person

—Our ancestors seriously discussed the idea of nature vs nurture 1000 years ago. Confucious said that humans were born good, we’re naturally good, but others, Mengzi, said that humans are born , can’t see evil, but at least not good, and we need to teach them to the right path.
that’s the two ideas we learned as a child. but neither of those ideas matter, we still also need to send kids to school to be educated, and this is since Confucious.
students can be molded in certain ways, based on your education system.
—can you explain to me what was this kind of education that surprised you?
—because i just read part of it, and I don’t understand the difference between a regular kindergarten, what do they do differently.
—the main points are
.keeping the kid segregated by sex
.understanding that boys and girls have certain basic tendencies based on their sex
.giving extra education to each sex to counter the tendencies of that sex
For example: boys are naturally more violent, (according to this article) so teaching boys self control and compassion, thinking about others
girls are naturally more compliant, so teach them self-reliance and independence
—so they separate the boys and girls into separate classes, and do so with different materials.
—I think it’s largely the same, with just some behavioural differences
—in the video the guy said, that gender segregation is NOT the goal, it’s just a tool, to work on the negative mirroring that children do
have you spent a lot of time around children?
—not a lot, but i have a niece and a nephew, and they’re getting very naughty right now. one’s already in kindergarten
—like 3 and 5
—one is two and one is around 4.
I don’t understand why they use this way to… Like they already know, or assume that boys are more violent and girls are more emotional, and they set this as a goal to do something that will counteract this result. For me I feel like it’s something like this. But to do it on purpose is not too good. And boys become more violent, girls play dolls or girly stuff, I think mostly because we’re affected by society. kids don’t know things, so we adults teach them. but we already have our concepts and ideas, and we project those things in their daily living. for example, last time I went to the US I bought two coloring books for my niece and nephew, I bought one is a car, and the other is Froze, and i thought the girl would take Frozen, but she took the truck. and I asked her mom, did you leave the truck one to the little boy, and she said, no, her daughter took the truck. and what about the brother? she said, they can play together. but I was thinking, why? I already projected that she would take that, but I didn’t realize she would also think cars are interesting. and I think it’s because we adults we project those kinds of ideas, and so when they grow up that’s how we see things. so if we give her a different environment, then she’ll adapt to it and have different living style. so that’s how I think about education for kids. so for gender equality, it’s what we show them that they learn.
—I think that’s the idea of this kindergarten too.

Iceland's Gender Equality Education

A New Model for Kindergarten?
Iceland is consistently ranked first in the world for gender equality. But the Hjalli teaching model, as practiced in the nursery school, is considered progressive even in Iceland.

Founded in 1989 by self-described radical feminist Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir, Hjalli schools aim to counter stereotypical gender roles and behaviors.

Boys and girls are separated for most of the day and they actively compensate for their gender by practicing behaviors usually associated with the other sex: from being daring and taking the initiative to helpfulness and being considerate of others.

The best way to get closer to equality is to admit the differences?
“The best way to get closer to equality is to admit the differences,” Ólafsdóttir said.

According to the Hjalli theory, by keeping the sexes apart, boys and girls are free to develop their personalities and discover their interests without the pressures and constraints of conventional gender roles and stereotypes. The toys at the schools are all gender-neutral and all of the children wear identical uniforms.

Ólafsdóttir, 60, believes that if children practice only the stereotypical gendered behaviors as society encourages, they risk slipping into what she calls the "blue" and "pink haze."

Found at the two poles of the gender spectrum, this is where the natural strengths of each gender tip over into weaknesses, she explained.

Green is Good for Us?

This is a podcast from NPR, which is National Public Radio in the US. This show is called "Hidden Brain" and their topic this time is Our Better Nature: How The Great Outdoors Can Improve Your Life


This is HIDDEN BRAIN. I'm Shankar Vedantam.


VEDANTAM: If you're living in a city, you may have noticed new buildings popping up - a high-rise here, a skyscraper there. These concrete jungles make urban living possible. They allow millions to live together in close proximity and allow modern economies to flourish. But is there something important missing in this picture?


VEDANTAM: For most of the last 2 million years, humans lived in a natural world, relying on nature for food and shelter. The amount of time we've spent in urban dwellings is a small sliver of the total time humans have spent on Earth. When you look at it this way, our shift from forest life to freeways and overflowing cities has been very recent and very dramatic. Today on HIDDEN BRAIN, we explore how this shift in the way we live might be having powerful effects on our lives and our well-being.

MING KUO: We are overlooking a crucial ingredient in the urban fabric, which is nature and elements of nature. So parks and greenery turn out to be not just something that brightens our lives but turns out to be really functional. It helps us be our better selves.

VEDANTAM: Ming Kuo has been studying the effects of nature on humans for more than 30 years. She works at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Early in her career, Ming studied research looking at the well-being of animals in zoos. Researchers found that even what animals were provided all the basics of food, safety and shelter, they often failed to thrive.

KUO: It turns out that zoo animals, first of all, are extremely expensive. They die at fairly alarming clips. And so biologists have studied animals in the wild, and one of the ideas that they have is that there's this thing called habitat selection theory, which is that we are - we're wired for whatever habitat we evolved in. And so there seems to be this general kind of rule that animals who are in their, quote, unquote, "natural habitats" will do much better. They thrive both in terms of physically and psychologically and in terms of their social behaviors.

VEDANTAM: So if zoo animals thrive in their natural habitat, some researchers have asked, could this also be true for humans? Given that humans first evolved in the forests of Africa, could it be that depriving humans of this natural environment has effects similar to housing a zebra in a cage? We'll get to Ming's answer to that question in a moment. But first, it's important to understand how she came to be studying this in the first place. She wasn't particularly interested in the benefits of greenery and nature. She was interested in the negative effects of noise and crowding.

討論逐字稿: Designing for Joy

The discussion for which this is the transcript is here: Designing For Joy

uptalk ˈʌptɔːk/
noun: uptalk; up-talk
1. a manner of speaking in which declarative sentences are uttered with rising intonation at the end, as if they were questions.

What are your first impressions after watching the video? What did you notice, what did you think of, what associations do you have?
—colorful and smooth and calm is common sense, most people would do that. but I have a different idea, that joy is related to something that makes you happy and comfortable, but some people like dark, or evil, or death. and i you ask ‘what makes you comfortable’ people might choose instrument music, or hyper or happy music. and some people prefer heavy metal and rock music, and they dress up, the idea they represent is all stunning, black and white, and pointy and sharp, like that, but they seem to enjoy that. and young kids listen to loud music, and the parents ask why , and they say that it makes them feel happy. so that’s what i was thinking about. it’s not colorful and peaceful, but probably most people would do it this way, but they do it another way. joy is related to being happy or comfortable, but there’s no good or bad in there.
—I listened to really depressing music when I was a kid and i loved it. but it’s because i was depressed, and it made me feel less depressed when I listened to it’—
—I think what the author is talking about for common shared experience, is about physical design. and some of her observations quite surprise me. she mentioned like a sense of abundance, or elevation
—going up!
—it seems like, yes, that’s like a common human nature. so it seems like, probably there are some really something is crossing the limitations [borders] the common desire, for the physical, or visual intention.
—the image or designs may be subjective, because you may like this kind of design but I prefer another. so i think colorful is common for making people happy, but for some people, they prefer another way, a pure wall, a pure design makes them feel peaceful
—actually that’s something I wanted to talk about, because some of the spaces were so busy
—yes because color, so it was busy. only one color, it’s not colorful, but at least five colors, it’s a lot. but I agree the with too many colors it becomes too busy
—I agree joy, it’s related to colorful and abundance, does it imply unprofessional
—it does, doesn’t it. and I want to know why
—i have the point but I shouldn’t’ say it so early
—say it!
—because she mentioned that those joyful things are kind of human nature, very related to basic human experience. but being professional means you have to be away from natural.
—say more!
—for example, why people think colorful things are more joyful. because in the four seasons, in the winter everything is dead. so there’s no color. bu tin the spring and summer, the flowers are all in full bloom, so the colors bring a sense of joy. but in professional, we have to wear the black and white suits, because it means we have to be away from our nature ourself.
—I agree with you, and why is that?
—but some profession prefer colorful, like designer
—it signifies their profession in a way
—for me it’s hard to concentrate in a colorful environment. and if you can’t concentrate, you’re unprofessional. in a colorful environment, you want to have a party. so if your clothes are too colorful, you are not going to the office for work
—so you couldn’t be in a design office
—yeah, never
—although architects are famous for wearing very severe colors.
—but I found it very interesting, that for example that wearing official suits, black and white, it’s that you try to keep it simple so you can concentrate. but it’s like a conflicting idea that they want to make the working environment more colorful
—like google
—well you don’t wear a suit at google, probably!
—but like at EVA air, we all wear suits, because evergreen is a very old company, it has that kind of Japanese company spirit. so it’s very straight and serious. and recently they start modifying the company, making the cafeteria more colorful and relaxed, and I don’t know.
—do you not like it?
—well, I like it, it’s just like they restrict you to follow the rules, but they use the other way to change it and try t make you more joyful, relaxed, comfortable
—in THEIR way
—yes! they think you’re happy, and they ask you and you have to say yes you’re happy otherwise bye-bye

討論逐字稿: Using Our Practical Wisdom

The discussion for which this is the transcript is here: Using Our Practical Wisdom

—rules and incentives are so important for pharmaceutical companies. they depend on SOPs to do their jobs. they have a lot of incentive criteria to their sales person. I feel very interested in these two words.
—I’d like you to say more
—about what?
—about how incentives work
—they set a target, for example you need, your target is maybe 1000 tables (for example, this is too little) and if you achieve 1000 tablets, you get a percentage of incentive.
—like a cash bonus?
—sometimes? because I don’t know too many details.
—that’s like a sales incentive
—he’s talking about incentives to follow the law or help people
—it’s a different explanation
—it’s more like a different purpose.
—yes, but the rules are so close to our daily work. not just pharmaceuticals, but in many industries, it also applies
—sales incentives are a thing
—the practical wisdom, it’s an unclear concept. what is practical? wisdom, I get, but what is practical wisdom?
his examples, I agree with, but what is practical wisdom.

—practical is ‘real life, not theory’, but it’s also ‘achievable’

—to be a good parent, to be a good spouse. why is that practical? is it not also theoretical?
—what people might think as practical might have to do with material gain, how much money is in something. practical has to do with money. impractical means that you’re not going to have material gain, so it’s not doable. When people don’t think it’ll make money, they say, ‘it’s not practical’, like especially in Taipei
—what’s the word in Taipei?
—so what’s practical wisdom?
—現實的智慧? does that work?
—I think he means more like ‘not theoretical’
—I think, after i reviewed this video, I think he want to explain, even if you obey the rule, but if the result is not as good as you expected, you can have another way, and that’s what he means by practical wisdom. he was explaining about the judge, and the teachers, you can obey the rules to teach the students, and the law, but if you have another choice to revers, you can choose to do another thing, that’s also what he means by practice,
—like I think he means like it’s not theoretical.
—practice like medical practice, architecture practice, the knowledge gained from being on the ground.

Practical Wisdom
—The moral will to do the right thing, and the moral skill to figure out what the right thing is.
—I want to add on to what he’s saying, I see a flaw in his thinking. we don’t actually know what the right thing is, but we know more about what the wrong thing is. I would say that to avoid to do the wrong thing, we don’t actually know what the right thing is. there are a lot of historical examples of people who thought they were doing the right thing, but what they were not aware of that they were hurting people in the name of doing “the right thing” but if you ask them to not ‘do the right thing’ just ‘avoid doing the wrong thing’ maybe then people wouldn’t kill each other in the name of the right thing.
—you might think your action is the right thing, I think i’m going the right thing, we might both, if we are kings, kill a lot of people in the name of doing the right thing.
so if we simplify it to , “let’s just not do the wrong thing.” killing people is a wrong thing, so we can avoid doing the wrong thing, at least.
—I feel Issac Asimov would agree with you
—yeah, it’s a little bit deeper, there’s a lot of people who thought they were doing the right thing.
—in the end of this video, he put an example for the doctors. actually they have a lot of choice, there won’t be a wrong thing, it’s just your choice. they want to influence the doctor to care for their patient. not only for their decision, they care about the patient, not just about ‘curing’ the patient. at harvard medical school, they put a course to let the medical students to have a class with their patients. he wanted to explain the practical wisdom, maybe it’s hard to explain, but for some reason, everything would be okay, the decision might be okay, but how do you improve the outcome. so that’s some thought there
—to improve the outcome.?
—With this doctor’s example, its something, if it happens to someone near you, you might be careful. with this medicine example, there’s treatments, which might at the time, medicine people thought this would improve the patient in some ay.
—I want to explain that his idea is, how do doctors care about the their patient, not just about medicine. He wants to just make their decision more vivid and care about people. The reason i’m getting so passionate. it’s because “you might be careful”, it’s not about my own thing, it’s about what he’s saying
—and I want to break down what he thinks, because I think he’s misleading. I would like to ask him questions i don’t think he could answer.

—his main theme seems to be “caring about outcomes”
—yes, and also about the results of the actions
—for the judges example, he cared about the person and his future, the judge care about the guy’s future,
—and also about the family attached to the guy

—other impressions?
—so what makes the people or the things to become better is what he’s emphasizing in his speech. How to make a better decision, it’s not only following certain rules
—or procedures?
—yes. like step 12345, no exceptions. for example we go to see a doctor, and he knows why my symptoms are, and I take medicine and go home, that’s a procedure.
—i’m not sure what your point is?

—just like you said, the speaker cares about the people future, or what they can get after some procedure or decision, so the speaker wants to explain what he thought practical wisdom means, and we just discussed a lot about what that means, he talked about Aristotle mentioned

—I was listening to one part of this article, a lot of rules is a lot of problems in our daily life. we need to do this and that, and then after work in our family. we ignore a lot of things, like feeling and love and some values of human beings. I think it’s really far to ‘how’ we have this practical wisdom. it’s hard for me to reach this in my daily life.
—when you’re saying ‘practical wisdom’ what do you mean?
—I can imagine this kind of wisdom, but I don’t know how to practice this kind of wisdom.

—I want to talk about the armed robbery case, what I noticed strongly, is that the speaker is biased to first judgement by the first judge. I noticed this because he is supportive of the first judgement, it’s an example of practical wisdom, for him. but this is one-sided. because we’re not saying, “he is not choosing to overlook that the person did commit an armed robbery” it’s the fact of this case. if this legal judgement, about an armed robbery could be given to judges, to give too much freedom to these judges based on their own judgement, it’s a slippery slope. the speaker is against minimum sentencing, but he’s not talking about arguments supporting this. he’s only talking about what he supports.
—I agree he maybe has bias, we cannot predict they guy may have done other crimes, or maybe he might actually do something worse. so the speaker may have some bias in this case.
—bias, everyone is biased. the point of listening to a person is, what’s their bias, what’s their points.
—what if I just only state only facts
—that doesn’t guarantee no bias, you can be selective with the facts
—what if I don’t know the other facts, if I believe I have all the facts, then I’d be unbiased.
—No, it doesn’t work like that. Even if you tell me every fact that you know, if you don’t know all the facts you’re still biased. my point is, we just take that into account. The point is, we understand that everyone who speaks has their own point of view, and we decide with our own judgement if that person’s ideas is something we agree with or not

—but this is leaving a weakness, he’s vulnerable, and I’m going to attack this
—so that’s your job, as the listener
—so I’m proposing that this is misleading
—so it’s on the listener to listen to other ideas. How is he misleading?
—the speaker is claiming moral high ground
—so his duty is to touch on all the different viewpoints? No, he only has to present his idea, and it’s on us to agree or disagree with him.
—It’s like he’s saying “I’m claiming moral authority to do the right thing, so you have to kill people to serve this country….”
—he could claim this moral authority, but does he have the power to make us listen? no, he’s not a president, or the leader of a church. IF he were, then he might have moral authority, and then his telling people to go kill other people would be a problem.
—it’s immoral to only present one view. it’s biased
—this is a persuasive speech, it’s about him presenting his opinion. that’s the very definition of bias. OF COURSE he’s biased, that’s his job right now, to present his selected opinion. like, right now you’re presenting an opinion that he’s biased, should you then go on to explain in what ways saying he’s biased might be wrong? are you not morally obligated to present all the viewpoints right now? is that not what you’re saying?

Final Statements
I understand the speaker’s point, I think from what i see, his point, my guess is to look at, in the medical example, to look at a patient more holistically, not as a disease or an organ. and with the judge to not see the person who committed the crime, not as an individual, but as part of a family. so it’s about giving them flexibility to see them holistically, to see them as people, rather than as a test score. so this is probably the main point of this talk.

before this class, I never thought about what is practical wisdom, and we discussed a lot just now, some ideas may not be true, we can discuss this. I think the speaker put a lot of examples to explain what is practical wisdom. without those examples i wouldn’t be able to understand. I can’t just look at the words and understand. but maybe the speaker wants to make our lives or everyone’s distribution more humanized., because he cares about people and their future, and their health and their emotion. maybe it is not true. but I think he wants to explain this part. maybe I’ll read some Aristotle, find some chinese transcriptions.
—there are intros in chinese

I only thought he tried to remind us to think about justice and better, because we know this about what we sacrifice for pursuing a better life, under economic financial world. we sacrifice a lot of things, how we feel, and family and love, we forgot a lot of things, nature and the environment.

there is a lot in this topic. I feel like the world is at a crossroads right now. we keep getting so many signs that we can’t continue on as we have. so I like to find people to see, are they pointing us in a good direction or not? like this speaker, I like the points he’s making, but whether these are practical actually? or sustainable, that’s what i wanted to talk about today. like the judge thing. mandatory sentences, it’s taking the judging out of judging, like their job is to judge, but we’re m making them executors, “executives”, people who ‘carry out’ rather than people who judge.
it’s a question of trust, really. do we trust these people to make good decisions or not. when society is too big, and we don’t know everyone personally, it’s hard to know, whether to trust this person or not. so we have guidelines, and certifications and certifying boards, and selection committees, and rules. but in the end, someone somewhere has to decide to put that person in a position of power and to judge.

In speaking of practical wisdom, I like his examples too, but like you said, i doubt this examples are practical, actually. For example, the texas teacher, I know not only the consultants and the teachers, make the mistakes or they have wrong ideas about teaching, so I the similar experience about teaching children. so parenting is important in this case, but it’s impossible to change parents thoughts, because parents only care about the scores. So that’s why I quit the job. as teacher, i didn’t know how to deal with the parents’ thinking, so the same is it practical in this example. the reason why I did the job, but I realized I have nothing to do with this situation. So I met the mother just like you described, I told her, the situation about her kid, but she doesn’t want to listen, she doesn’t care. She just wanted me to read the books to her kid. and play with the kid. she doesn’t care how badly her child’s behavior is, he’s very rude. I told her and she was just like, uh ok.

Public Banking

There's a political action to set up a public bank in Los Angeles happening. There's also campaigns in several other states. I'm interested in what the pros and cons of public banking might be, especially in terms of Taiwan's experience.
As always, the header of each section takes you to the original source material. To get access to JSTOR you can sign up for a free account.

Let's start with a definition:
A Public Bank is a chartered depository bank in which public funds are deposited. A Public Bank is owned by a government unit — a state, county, city, or tribe — and mandated to serve a public mission that reflects the values and needs of the public that it represents. In existing and proposed US Public Bank models, skilled bankers, not the government, make bank decisions and provide accountability and transparency to the public for how public funds are used.
Public Banks are popular globally, operating on a variety of models; and new models continue to be proposed. The US, however, currently has only one public depository bank — the Bank of North Dakota (BND). All state revenues are deposited in the BND by law.

This is what the movement's website says are the benefits of public banks.
Make affordable loans to small businesses, farmers, government entities, and students
-Save taxpayers up to 50% on infrastructure projects, like bridges and trains and schools
-Eliminate billions in bank fees and money management fees for cities and states
-Support a vibrant community banking sector
-Enable sustainable prosperity
We are pioneering something truly revolutionary: a banking and monetary system that supports sustainable prosperity for all of us.

討論逐字稿: The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons

Here's the link to the discussion article: The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons.

—Don’t assume that people are selfish when we share the common goods. kind of intend to overuse it to maximize our benefit, which will make resources go quickly, because everyone will do the same thing. but that assumption is not really real, based on what we observed. like in England, people can work together to keep the land not overgrazed. the idea is there. it all depends on how to do. people can work together to make the good, or people can be selfish to make society crash it all depends.
—if we can start to think about how to make the people around us to live better not only ourselves, our lives will be better than thinking about ourselves.
—the video also mentions about the role that the government plays in governing the commons. so it seems that if they government work effectively it can actually make some good things for the entire community.
—I thought i twas interesting because there was a guess different models of what would go on, the economists’ idea of simple game theory where everyone is selfish and bad things happen, and then there’s the idea of government coming in and making mistakes, and then the idea of privatization where the company or landowner tries to maximise profits, but in the end, none of that was needed, the villagers self-regulated, and all the theories were wrong in the end, something different happened.

—how does that relate to us?
—we are regulated everyday, we don’t jaywalk because we’ll get hit by a car or ticketed by a policemen, people follow all the rules. that’s how people make things work. so it has to be that way, for human society can’t work smoothly.
—traffic is a good example of self regulating.
—but some do it better than others
—Germany is supposed to have good drivers, but they also have a strict licensing system

—the ways people self regulate is probably just as important as the regulation itself.
—that has something to do with culture
—also wouldn’t it have something to do with psychology
—what do you mean?
—we can learn and change
—people are flexible
—in the right conditions
—I drive recklessly in Taiwan but I follow the rules in the US
—so you change culture
—in Taiwan, I thought wow, people are so reckless, but then I realized nobody hits each other. it’s rare to see an accident. so they drive slower than America, and they’re paying attention to everything more. but the laws are strict in the US, so people pay attention less.

The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons

"The Tragedy of the Commons" is a trope in Western culture, and it's a widely misunderstood concept. The concept comes from an essay named "The Tragedy of the Commons" that decided that the commons, which were resources held in common by villages in Britain, were a bad idea because people couldn't be trusted to not overexploit resources for their own ends, against the common interest of the community. The essay concluded that the only way to protect common resources was to privatize them. This was a very convenient argument for proponents of capitalism, who wanted to privatize resources to profit from them, and so the concept has been well publicized in Western circles for the last 50+ years.

This video explains why the original essay was wrong. (and who doesn't love a good "they're wrong!" video! haha)

Do What You Love, Love What You Do?

In today's discussion material there are excerpts from an article published in the January 2014 issue of Jacobin magazine, about the common aphorism "Do what you love, love what you do", which has inspired some and inspired guilt in others. It discusses how being asked to love your job obscures the coercive nature of work.

“Do what you love. Love what you do.”
There’s little doubt that “do what you love” (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem is that it leads not to salvation, but to the devaluation of actual work, including the very work it pretends to elevate — and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers.

Superficially, DWYL is an uplifting piece of advice, urging us to ponder what it is we most enjoy doing and then turn that activity into a wage-generating enterprise. But why should our pleasure be for profit? Who is the audience for this dictum? Who is not?

The Space of Boredom

What is the value of boredom? Is it a negative value? Positive?
What is the value of work? Is it a negative value? Positive?
What is 'worth doing'? What is meaningful work?
There's a relationship between work, boredom and leisure, let's talk about how our society values these, and the proportion in which we practice them. Also, maybe we can talk about their value to us, personally.

The Space of Boredom
Within a global marketplace that continuously operates at a manic pace, such empty time can be profoundly alienating — a condition inflicted on marginalized persons who can’t keep up, as Bruce O’Neill describes in his book, The Space of Boredom: Homelessness in the Slowing Global Order. O’Neill’s book studies homeless communities in Bucharest, where, two decades after the fall of communism, prosperity has eluded most Romanians, excluding many from the capitalist sociality of consumption and production.

In The Space of Boredom Bruce O'Neill explores how people cast aside by globalism deal with an intractable symptom of downward mobility: an unshakeable and immense boredom. Focusing on Bucharest, Romania, where the 2008 financial crisis compounded the failures of the postsocialist state to deliver on the promises of liberalism, O'Neill shows how the city's homeless are unable to fully participate in a society that is increasingly organized around practices of consumption. Without a job to work, a home to make, or money to spend, the homeless—who include pensioners abandoned by their families and the state—struggle daily with the slow deterioration of their lives. O'Neill moves between homeless shelters and squatter camps, black labor markets and transit stations, detailing the lives of men and women who manage boredom by seeking stimulation, from conversation and coffee to sex in public restrooms or going to the mall or IKEA. Showing how boredom correlates with the downward mobility of Bucharest's homeless, O'Neill theorizes boredom as an enduring affect of globalization in order to provide a foundation from which to rethink the politics of alienation and displacement

討論逐字稿: Connection

Transcript for the connection discussion.
Please note that transcript has only been spell-checked, the grammar has not been edited. Also the transcript may only be for part of the discussion.

討論逐字稿: The Unit of Caring

Transcript for The Unit of Caring
Please note that transcript has only been spell-checked, the grammar has not been edited.
Also the transcript may only be for part of the discussion.


How to end stress, unhappiness and anxiety to live in a beautiful state

Let me share a fable with you, for stories are ways of immortalizing messages. Two monks, Yesmi and Nomi are returning back to the monestary after a day of teaching in the nearby village. They are just about to cross the river when they hear a woman crying. Yesmi walks up to her and asks her what was troubling her. She needed to get back to her toddler who was living in the village across the river. Since the river has risen that day, she is feeling miserable that she will not be able to go back to her toddler and her child would cry for her all night. On hearing her, Yesmi volunteers to help her. He carries her across the river and drops her on the the other side. And they continue with their walk. About a half and hour into the walk, Nomi, in a very agitated tone, speaks up. He says, “Yesmi do you know what you have done?” Yesme calmly looks at him. “A master said, ‘Never look at a woman’, you spoke to her. A master said, ‘Never speak to a woman’, you touched her. A master said, ‘Never touch a woman’, you carried her.” Yesmi calmly looks at Nomi and says, “Yes, that is true, but I have dropped her half an hour ago, it is you who still carries her.”

The Unit of Caring

So this is not an article from an official channel, it's from a private tumblr blog, but I'm interested in discussing her proposals and framework.

1. Q: Do you support wealth inequality and capitalism?
A: So ‘socialism’ encompasses lots of policies, some of which I’m enthusiastic about and some of which I’m against, and so does ‘capitalism’. And then separately from my actual policy positions socialists I know tend to treat different harms as salient than I do, and to have different assumptions about human nature and different aesthetics, so even when I agree with them on policy and work with them on policy I end up being a bit of an outsider.

2. My big-picture opinions are: every person matters equally. For every person, it’s good when they have food, shelter, healthcare, spending money, and the means to build a good life for themself (which includes tangible means like ‘food’, less tangible ones like ‘access to education’, and super intangible ones like ‘the freedom to choose how they spend their time and use their resources’). The point of policy is to arrange for that as best we can, given the tradeoffs we have to make because of material scarcity.

Pseudonymous, Anonymous, or Real Identity?

We talked about transparency in government last week. Let's talk about transparency in internet interaction this week. Which is better, for most people on the internet to be anonymous, pseudonymous, or use their real identity? Or is it best for there to be some combination of options?

Real Name Policy ruled illegal in Germany
A German court ruled that Facebook’s real name policy is illegal and that users must be allowed to sign up for the service under pseudonyms to comply with a decade-old privacy law. The ruling, made last month but only now being announced, comes from the Berlin Regional Court and was detailed today by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (abbreviated from German as VZBV), which filed the lawsuit against Facebook.

According to the VZBV, the court found that Facebook’s real name policy was “a covert way” of obtaining users’ consent to share their names, which are one of many pieces of information the court said Facebook did not properly obtain users’ permission for. The court also said that Facebook did not provide a clear choice to users for other default settings, such as to share their location in chats, and it ruled against clauses that allowed Facebook to use information such as profile pictures for “commercial, sponsored, or related content.”

討論逐字稿: The Management of Mistrust? Part 2

Transcript for the Politics: The Management of Mistrust? Part 2 discussion.
Please note that transcript has only been spell-checked, the grammar has not been edited. Also the transcript may only be for part of the discussion.

討論逐字稿: The Management of Mistrust Part 1

Transcript for the Politics: The Management of Mistrust? discussion.
Please note that transcript has only been spell-checked, the grammar has not been edited.
Also the transcript may only be for part of the discussion.

Politics: The Management of Mistrust?

This unconventional TED speaker brings up some very interesting questions about how democracy functions in our current times. Below are excerpts of the transcript of this talk, I want to talk about these points he's brought up.

Transparency and openness?
One of the things that I want to question is this very popular hope these days that transparency and openness can restore the trust in democratic institutions.

Democracy is the only game in town.
On one level nobody's questioning that democracy is the best form of government. Democracy is the only game in town. The problem is that many people start to believe that it is not a game worth playing.

Basically people start to understand that they can change governments, but they cannot change policies.

討論逐字稿: Two Talks About Trust

Transcript for the Two Talks About Trust discussion.
Please note that transcript has only been spell-checked, the grammar has not been edited. Also the transcript may only be for part of the discussion.

Two Talks About Trust

The first video is called What We Don’t Understand About Trust.

She says there are three clichés of our society:
A claim: there has been a great decline in trust, very widely believed.
An aim: we should have more trust.
A task: we should rebuild trust.

Are these statements true?

討論逐字稿: Adam Smith in Africa?

Transcript for the Adam Smith in Africa?
Please note that transcript has only been spell-checked, the grammar has not been edited. Also the transcript may only be for part of the discussion.

Adam Smith in Africa?

The age-old sharing economies of Africa — and why we should scale them

So this guy has some ideas about how businesses should operate. Let's look at his suggestions and see if these are good ideas.

Sustainable Economy: Can we change how we do business?

Sustainable Economy Discussion links: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Continuing our discussion of the Sustainable Economy, last time we talked about the position of workers. Today we’re going to focus on the business side of things. How business practice is structured in such a way that it’s very difficult to be sustainable, and how it might be structured to make it easier run our economy in a way that doesn't kill us all.

3 Steps to a Sustainable Economy?
In our new book, Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, we argue that … we can build an economy that meets people's needs without undermining the life-support systems of the planet. Big changes are needed to achieve such an economy. Some are fairly obvious, like limits on resource use and waste emissions to ensure environmental sustainability. Others are less apparent (but equally important), such as limits on income inequality to improve societal health. There is a growing consensus that these changes are needed, but less consensus about how business would function in an economy where the goal is enough, not more.

The shift to an economy of enough requires business to change in three critical ways:

The Wisdom or Madness of Crowds

Nicki Case made another social game. Let's play the game together and see what we learn!


The Sustainable Economy: What is Owed a Worker?

Sustainable Economy Discussion links: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Since we’re talking about the economy here at the RO Studio, we probably need to talk about the ways in which each of us derives value from the economy. In short, we are paid, what does that mean for how we live in this economy?
The list of issues below is probably not complete, what other issues are a part of the labor every person contributes to society?

Job = Social Status?
Our jobs are our income, our income is a measure of our worth. The kind of job we do is also a measure of our worth in the eyes of society. Our income and job type seem to be the main measures of our status as an individual. The only other indicator that seems nearly as important is whether or not you are married.
What are indicators of status in society?
How much does your job or income factor into this status?

Fair value for labor
What is fair value for labor? How does this get calculated? Not all labor is the same, either.
Our society makes a distinction between blue-collar and white collar labor, but what actually are the kinds of labor we find in society? Are they worth the same?
Should some people’s labor be valued differently? How should that value be calculated?

For example, which job is more important to a hospital, the cleaners, the nurses or the doctors? Which, if they went on strike, would affect the hospital most? Most quickly? Most in the long term?

What would a sustainable economy look like?

What would a sustainable economy look like?
Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

There’s more to economic exchange than a pure exchange of value. In fact, the more I think about what an economy is, the more I realise that nearly every aspect of our lives is mediated through capitalism.

I want to take a few steps back and consider what are the elements of an economic system. Today's excerpts are for getting the conversation started, but to be honest I'm not very satisfied with the analysis presented by these authors. As always, the links to the original articles are in the section headers.

But anyways, let’s start with asking, what exactly does ‘Sustainable’ mean?

The 'wrong' definition of sustainablility
The world's nations presently define their top economic goal in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the total amount of production produced within a nation, usually within one year. In 2010 GDP varied from $16 trillion for the European Union, $15 trillion for the US, and $6 trillion for China to $16 billion for Afghanistan, $7 billion for Haiti, and $105 million for the Falkland Islands.
The top economic goal of most nations is a constant, never ending rise in total GDP of several percent per year. It's their economic growth target. Nothing is more important except for war. If a country's GDP goes flat, that's stagnation. If it falls for more than two quarters is a row that's a recession. Both are to be avoided at all costs.
The official GDP growth targets for several countries are: (Data sources vary per nation)

Sustainability is what people want to happen indefinitely. No country has a GDP growth target less than about 2%, except when recovering from a recession. Thus the defacto definition of economic sustainability is steady growth in total national GDP of a minimum of about 2% per year.
But this is the wrong definition. Total national GDP doesn't tell you how much the average person's income is. Nor does it tell how many people are at the low end of the distribution of income and are thus starving. Nor is steady growth even possible forever. Steadily growing total GDP is thus a flawed goal that can lead a country, and the world, terribly astray.

討論逐字稿: How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy

FYI: This transcript has been reconstructed from notes on paper, so it’s more ‘interpretive’ of what was discussed than a direct record. It's from the discussion about How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy.

Notes on the video:
Should experts run things?
Is democracy how we should run things?
What are we as a people?
How do we govern properly?
Reason and democratic organization?
Invisible hand of the market?
Can markets determine our future well?
Can markets govern us?
—Markets need/create inequality
Markets generate capital accumulation NOT growth
Markets generate stagnant economy/oligarchic class/renters
Law gets organized around oligarchy
—no equality of opportunity
—no social mobility
—can’t develop ourselves to become what we want

What we get wrong about misogyny

In her book, Kate Manne talks about the logic of misogyny. I feel like this is a very clear description of a root problem in modern society.

Sean Illing: Can you sum up your argument in this book?
Kate Manne: There’s a tendency to define misogyny as this deep hatred in the heart, harbored by men towards girls and women. I define misogyny as social systems or environments where women face hostility and hatred because they’re women in a man's world — a historical patriarchy.
Sean Illing: I always thought of misogyny as an ideology: a body of ideas that exists to justify social relations. But you argue that this is sexism, and that misogyny is better understood as a moral manifestation of sexist ideology.
Kate Manne: Yeah, that's really well put. One way of looking at it is we have these patriarchal social structures, bastions of male privilege where a dominant man might feel entitled to (and often receive) feminine care and attention from women.
I think of misogyny and sexism as working hand-in-hand to uphold those social relations. Sexism is an ideology that says, “These arrangements just make sense. Women are just more caring, or nurturing, or empathetic,” which is only true if you prime people by getting them to identify with their gender.
So, sexism is the ideology that supports patriarchal social relations, but misogyny enforces it when there’s a threat of that system going away.

The Tension Between the Global and the Local

This issue seems to me to be a central conflict in modernity, or maybe a central conflict since cities have become a thing. How do our ambitions for acheivement as individuals resolve with our need to be connected with the people and places we grew up with?
Do you think this is a struggle for people in Taipei? What have been some of the things people think about this problem? What are some of the solutions people have found, and what have we had trouble solving?
Do you think this issue has been exacerbated or simplified by technological innovation, like with cellphones and computers and the internet?

Can I do that and be a scientist too?
I’m a scientist at UC Berkeley—a card-carrying true believer in liberal Enlightenment values. Imagine that I meet a bright young woman in a small town in Wisconsin or Alabama, and that I want to persuade her to become a scientist like me. “Listen, science is really great!,” I say. “We scientists care about truth and reason and human flourishing. We include people from every country and culture. And our values have transformed the world. For thousands of years before the Enlightenment, the speed limit was the pace of a fast horse, and children died all the time. Now ideas move at the speed of light, and a child’s death is an unthinkable tragedy. Democracy has eclipsed tyranny, prosperity has outpaced poverty, medicine has routed illness, individual liberation has uprooted social convention. Come join us!”

The young woman replies, “That sounds fantastic! But there’s just one thing. I love this town. I have a boyfriend who also wants to be a scientist, and I’d like to get married and have a bunch of kids here soon. My parents are looking forward so much to being grandparents, and my own grandparents need me to look after them. My family and friends are all nearby, and I’d like my kids to live in my community and take part in the same traditions I grew up with. Can I do that and be a scientist too?”

How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy

“Neoliberalism, warns Professor Wendy Brown, has created a form of reasoning in which human beings are reduced to their economic value and activity, and in which all fields of human activity are treated as markets and institutions, including the state, are increasingly run as if they were corporations. This logic is even applied to activities with no connection to wealth creation, such as education, dating, or physical exercise, which are increasingly governed according to market rules. People are treated in this schema, as units of human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.”

What's higher education for?

So this guy has a particular viewpoint and a certain axe to grind, and yet his article brings up some interesting analysis. Let's talk about education, certification and what these things mean for society in general.

Education certifies "brains, work ethic and conformity"
There is a massive gap between school and work, between learning and earning. While the labor market rewards good grades and fancy degrees, most of the subjects schools require simply aren't relevant on the job. Literacy and numeracy are vital, but few of us use history, poetry, higher mathematics or foreign languages after graduation. The main reason firms reward education is because it certifies (or "signals") brains, work ethic and conformity.

You could get a Princeton education for free...without a diploma, does it matter?
If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn't really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts. At the end of four years at Princeton, though, the guerrilla student would lack one precious thing: a diploma. The fact that almost no one tries this route — saving hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way — is a strong sign that students understand the value of certification over actual learning.

Why Welfare States Are Important

This is an excerpt from a chapter 21 of the book "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism". It's discussing how a strong welfare state is beneficial to overall economic health as it makes workers more secure and leads to less need for trade protections for industries.

This book is very worth buying and reading. It's written so clearly and covers some of the most important economic issues affecting everyone now.

Let's look at the first bit:

What they tell you:
Big government is bad for the economy. The welfare state has emerged because of the desire by the poor to have an easier life by making the rich pay for the costs of adjustments that are constantly demanded by market forces. When the rich are taxed to pay for unemployment insurance, healthcare and other welfare measures for the poor, this not only makes the poor lazy and deprives the rich of an incentive to create wealth, it also makes the economy less dynamic. With the protection of the welfare state, people do not feel the need to adjust new market realities, thereby delaying the changes in their professions and working patterns that are needed for dynamic economic adjustments. We don’t even have to invoke the failures of the communist economies. Just look at the lack of dynamism in Europe with its bloated welfare state, compared to the vitality of the US.

This is the standard narrative on government pushed in the US. Nearly everybody who talks about the economy or government feels the need to acknowledge or reinforce this narrative.
How is this different or the same as the narrative about government in Taiwan?