Dry November: Day 20

November 21, 2018

Two-thirds of the way through the month. I spent the past three hours in a pub, conveniently one of the closest to my house, for an Effective Altruism social. The people in attendance were strikingly intelligent, thoughtful, and engaged, as I usually find them to be, and I greatly enjoyed their company. Some there had been involved at uni but not known it was such a thing in London, or had found out about EA itself through its excellent career guide, called 80,000 Hours, which you should check out.

Topics included:

  • San Francisco in 1860, 1960, and now,
  • the wage increase resulting from the Black Plague,
  • at what point English GDP per capita passed Chinese (I got it wrong but it‘s around 1750),
  • two views of Jonathan Haidt‘s work (from human sciences and from philosophy),
  • a critique of his studies on intuitionism,
  • radical epistemic relativism,
  • whether to address factory farms via meat substitutes or pressure on large retailers’ supply chain,
  • how studies of well-being have improved funding for mental illness,
  • and how EA will position itself in China.

Otherwise today was spent lifting before my gym begins refurbishment tomorrow, listening to Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style, reading a summary of the First World War, speaking to my mother and doing some Christmas planning, reading Empires of the Word, and, for some reason, attempting to translate part of Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra before seeing 2001 tomorrow.

Until then…

I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.