Sunday Wisdom No. 46
School education is still very archaic. Instead of learning how to solve unexpected problems, students learn how to follow procedures, avoid "silly" mistakes, and become efficient calculators.
Hope you’ve had a nice week.
Now it’s the time for your weekly dose of multidisciplinary reading to upgrade your thinking and decision making skills. If you’re enjoying Sunday Wisdom, share it with a friend! And if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.
📝 What I Wrote
Desirable Difficulties: Why Effective Learning Is Full Of Mental Struggle And Frustration
Recently I’ve started teaching computer programming to kids. I love teaching, and programming is one of those rare fields where it’s very easy to combine maths, physics, logic, and creativity—and create something entirely new. Although I’m teaching programming, the primary goal is to teach kids how to solve problems.
I believe the way most schools teach today is very archaic. It might have worked fifty years ago when the world was enthused to pay good salaries for procedural tasks such as typing, calculating, and working on an assembly line. But the world has moved on. These days the jobs that pay well and have the most impact require us to be able to solve unexpected problems. School education has got a lot of catching up to do in that respect. In this article I talk about effective teaching principles, and why they are full of struggle and frustration.
Once you are done reading, I would love to hear what you think about it. If you agree and want to add to it, I’m all ears. If you disagree, I look forward to hear your point of view. We can have collective growth only through a collective exchange of dialogues and ideas. Therefore, do share your thoughts in the comments.
💡 Little Bit of Wisdom
Most people know what is good for them. They know what will make them feel better: exercise, pursuing goals, hobbies, time with those they care about, etc. They do not avoid these things because of ignorance, but because they are no longer “motivated” to do them. They are waiting until they feel better all by themselves, without really doing anything. Frequently, it’s a long wait.
📑 I Enjoyed Reading
The Evolution of HEY — “It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: inventing a new product from scratch is one hell of a challenge. It’s the toughest thing you’ll ever do as a product team. There are a million reasons why it won’t work, and zero guarantees that it will, so the whole project is a massive gamble. You just have to buckle up and trust that you’ll figure things out.”
What’s Wrong With WhatsApp — “A conspiracy theory about the rollout of 5G, which originated long before COVID-19 had appeared, now claimed that mobile phone masts were responsible for the disease. Across the UK, people began setting fire to 5G masts, with 20 arson attacks over the Easter weekend alone.”
A Short History Of The Office — “For centuries people have been getting up, joining a daily commute or retreating to a room, to work. The office has become inseparable from work. Its history illustrates not only how our work has changed but also how work’s physical spaces respond to cultural, technological and social forces.”
🔍 An Interesting Find
I was watching the second season of Dark when I came to know about a concept called the “Causal Loop” which I found very interesting. It’s referred to as the “Bootstrap Paradox” in the series.
A causal loop is a sequence of events (e1, e2, e3, …en). Each event in the loop is one of the causes of the next event. But the last event (en) is one of the causes of the first event e1, made possible due to time travel.
A (hypothetical) example of a causal loop is a billiard ball striking its past self. Say, a billiard ball is moving in a certain direction. Suddenly the future self of the billiard ball emerges from a time machine and hits this ball, altering the its path, thereby causing it to enter a time machine (at an angle that would cause its future self to strike its past self the very glancing blow that altered its path). In this sequence of events, the change in the ball’s path is its own cause, which is paradoxical.
It’s also called “Retrocausality” or backwards causation. It is a concept of cause and effect in which an effect precedes its cause in time and so a later event affects an earlier one. Now take a moment to wrap your mind around this.
📹 I Enjoyed Watching
Music & Clowns — “My brother, Jamie, has a profound learning disability. Despite being close to nonverbal, he demonstrates charisma, a sharp sense of humour, and emotional sensitivity. I team up with my parents to discuss what it is like caring for someone with Down syndrome.”
The Man Bigger Than The Meme — “Most of us know the meme “Wood Sitting on a Bed” or, at least, we’ve been tricked into seeing the explicit photo of a mysterious man sitting on a bed with his genitals exposed. But there’s much more behind the meme and the man in the photo.”
Why THE FAR SIDE is a Masterclass in Storytelling — “The Far Side by Gary Larson is one of the best and most praised cartoons in history. But what makes The Far Side so good? What is the legacy of Gary Larson? And most importantly: what can we learn from The Far Side?”
🤔 Worth Thinking About
A man who committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.
🤞 Unpopular Opinion
One of the most persistent fallacies is the association of wealth with wisdom. Another is the association between intelligence and good decisions.
They are two separate things. In fact sometimes high intelligence can prevent people from making better decisions. Because when you’re blessed with intelligence you’re also cursed with the ability to concoct intricate (and often false) stories about why certain things have happened. Intelligence increases the ability to fool yourself with believable reasons. In other words, intelligent people constantly fall in love with their own BS.
Intelligent people who think they know too much also have a habit of cramming the real world into theories they’ve learnt from books. They use books and theories to make sense of the world instead of the other way round.
Average people, who don’t have many preconceived notions, are better at accepting the real world at face value. Better be shrewd yet average rather than intellectual yet dumb.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this edition of Sunday Wisdom, do me a solid and hit the ♥️ button. Did anything stand out? I’d love to hear about it. You can write in the comments, or reply to this email.
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P.S. All typos and grammatical errors are intentional.