Five interesting things worth sharing this week:
(1) Why bad ideas refuse to die by Steven Poole
We know that it’s a good habit to question received wisdom. Sometimes, though, healthy scepticism can run over into paranoid cynicism, and giant conspiracies seem oddly consoling. One reason why myths and urban legends hang around so long seems to be that we like simple explanations – such as that immigrants are to blame for crumbling public services – and are inclined to believe them.
(2) A poem by William Butler Yeats titled Adam’s Curse
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
(3) Fences: A Brexit Diary by Zadie Smith
A referendum magnifies the worst aspects of an already imperfect system—democracy—channeling a dazzlingly wide variety of issues through a very narrow gate. It has the appearance of intensification—Ultimate democracy! Thumbs up or thumbs down!—but in practice delivers a dangerously misleading reduction. Even many who voted Leave ended up feeling that their vote did not accurately express their feelings. They had a wide variety of motives for their vote, and much of the Remain camp was similarly splintered.
(4) What is a story, and where does it come from? by Mark W. Travis
Maybe the creative urge we feel is meant primarily to feed ourselves, nourish ourselves, take care of, comfort and protect ourselves. We think we tell stories for others, to inform or entertain. But what if we are initially doing this for ourselves? What if our storytelling is such an essential tool to keep the human psyche in balance that it has become as important as food, air and sleep?
I will recommend that you check out the work of two video essayists on Youtube and subscribe to their channels. I discovered both of them a few days ago and I am now following both of them.