🤯Unknown Unknowns #61 - Fighting Mimesis
I've never felt comfortable posting on Twitter. I felt like every tweet had to be produced like a Hollywood movie. I impose a filter when it's not necessary - people just ignore the bad stuff.
The popular Twitter methods also feel uncomfortable to me. Threads on "simple" solutions or lessons are one step up from Buzzfeed clickbait.
In Issue 57, I talked about Kenneth Stanley's advice to collect stepping stones, ideas that act as the foundation to bigger ideas. I'm applying this advice to Twitter by writing an idea list every day. Hopefully people can build on these idea lists or be inspired by them or even just reminded of something. So far, I've done idea lists on the benefits of being curious, how to listen better, and lessons from rock climbing.
"We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires." This is the central tenet of mimetic theory. Mimetic theory shows our psychologic predilection toward conformity. But the negative effects go further than that. Bad actors take advantage. Advertising, for example.
To escape, you need to solve two problems: the first is to recognize when we're being influenced (if that's even possible). The second is granting ourselves permission to take another route.
We spend our days asking for permission. In school, you can't go to the bathroom without permission. At work, you work on what your boss gives you. Waiting for permission has been baked into us. How can we feel comfortable granting ourselves permission?
I have no answers right now, this is a problem that I struggle with myself. In fact, I'm considering making this the focus of this newsletter: exploring how we can recognize when we're waiting for permission and the ways we can give ourselves permission.
Let me know if this resonates with you.
Johnathan Bi and David Perell discuss Rene Girard and mimetic theory.
David Cain writes about the role of culture in programming you. Your environment is actively programming you, and it's not friendly.
Finally, Hannah Frankman is an example of someone who actively gives herself permission. She was home-schooled, created jobs for herself, and is currently building "Rebel Educator". She was recently on the Pathless Path podcast with Paul Millerd.
Questions, suggestions, complaints? Email me me at email@example.com. Feedback welcome.
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Leaving you in peace,