It wasn’t until after the cancer diagnosis that Paul and Lucy decided to have a child, which seems like an odd choice. But there’s a valuable lesson in the details.
Time is a funny thing. Or maybe it’s the way we think about time and make choices around time that are strange. Tomato, tomahto. For example, sometimes we think there is plenty of time to put off that due-in-a-few-days task. We watch the show, stay up later than we should, and say to ourselves “I’ve … Continue reading The Right Now Paradox
A meme has been making its way around social media recently. Perhaps you’ve seen it. The reaction has been predictable. Many have passed it on in the hopes that it encourages people to wear a mask and avoid gatherings. Others have dismissed it, pointing out inaccuracies in the data. Seeing the lack of dates and … Continue reading A Coronavirus Meme-Check
I’m not sure the rest of you have noticed, but there are these people on the internet… And they’re wrong! Crazy, right? Have you seen them around? Run into any of them while you dawdle on the internet? Maybe they’ve commented on your wall, or maybe you have a mutual friend, and you just COULDN’T … Continue reading What To Do When Someone Is Wrong On The Internet
“The last 500 years have witnessed a breathtaking series of revolutions… but are we happier?”
On Harari and happiness.
I get a weekly newsletter from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, which lives up to its claim of being the “most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.” (If you’re interested in seeing his latest, you can scroll to the bottom click here A recent quotation from the newsletter was good enough … Continue reading Maya Angelou on Complaining
Thoughts about belief acquisition and permanence from evolutionary psychology and behavioral economics.
In need of a little motivation? My brother, Neal Spackman, recently finished a decade-long endeavor, The Al Baydha Project, in Saudi Arabia. The goal was to turn a desert into an oasis. He describes it like this in the linked youtube video: “The climate is hyper-arid, and the land is non-arable. The ecological degradation is … Continue reading Hope in the Desert
Recent online conversations about rioting and racism have made it clear that many writers and many readers are unaware that explaining a behavior is not the same as justifying it. I’ve seen commentators who believe they are engaged in a single conversation, when in fact two separate conversations are taking place. For example, one person … Continue reading Rioting, Explanation, and Justification
In the opening chapters of How Will You Measure Your Life, Clayton Christensen illustrates why hundreds of years of attempts to fly were unsuccessful and what changed that got the Wright Brothers off of the ground. “Early researchers observed strong correlations between being able to fly and having feathers and wings. Stories of men attempting … Continue reading Achieving Flight: Discerning Between Correlation And Causality in American Healthcare
Published Friday, May 1, 2020 as an update to the post Visualizing the Unprecedented Speed and Size of Unemployment. Unemployment numbers from the last two weeks are in. According to the department of labor, as reported by CBS, the week of April 18th saw 4.4 million claims, and the week of April 25th saw 3.8 … Continue reading Unemployment, An Update
I receive a brilliant (and short!) email newsletter from James Clear every Thursday. A poem from this week’s email is too good to not share. It captures how I want to think about aging as I near the completion of my fourth decade. Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of … Continue reading “Youth” by Samuel Ullman
As of the latest report from the New York Times, 22,034,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last four weeks. That’s a massive number of people–so massize that human minds struggle to comprehend just how large and how fast those claims are being filed. We can compare it to the Great Recession, where it … Continue reading Visualizing the Unprecedented Speed and Size of Unemployment
Seeing post after post on personal blogs and Facebook has made me want to write something… something to try to communicate what Easter is to me. But as I’ve thought of what to write, the task seems impossible. How can I fully communicate to someone else, some who hasn’t lived through the experiences that taught … Continue reading Easter Thoughts – “Alleluia, amen.”
I found a new song that alleviated, for me, a little of the existential dread that accompanies the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
How do you change a mind?
Life is about choosing between disconnection and connection.
The world, especially on the online world, can be so full of rage, misunderstanding, miscommunication, tribalism, racism, and partisanship. I’m not sure what to do about it yet, except to change how I interact with the world, both online and off. When I was a teenager, I heard a choir sing the Prayer of St. … Continue reading Prayer of St. Francis as a Rulebook for Interacting with the World
If you need a dose of jaw-dropping beauty, take five minutes and listen to this choral piece by Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds. When I was a kid I used to look up at the stars and wonder about big questions: who I was and where I came from. There was a beauty in the sky … Continue reading Stars by Eriks Esenvalds: A Five Minute Dose of Worry-Silencing Beauty
This Sunday, someone will be at church and feel like they don’t belong. Maybe they don’t have as much money everyone else, or maybe they have more money than everyone else. Maybe they’ve struggled for years with infertility, and their prayers seem to fall on unlistening ears. Maybe they don’t feel like God could love … Continue reading “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace”
“To me there is no dishonor in being wrong and learning. There is dishonor in willful ignorance and there is dishonor in disrespect.”
During high school, I developed a deep appreciation of choral music. Part of it was that I felt it connected me to divinity, to those around me, and to the past. Singing the same songs in the same places hundreds of years later seemed to create a bridge through time, connecting my experience with holiness … Continue reading Locus Iste and Sacred Spaces
I recently came across a post by Ben Spackman (who excels at being my older brother, among other things) about seer stones, and noticed something new. “While on my mission in France, I learned about Joseph’s use of the seerstone, along with the Urim and Thummim/ Nephite “interpreters,” and eventually nothing at all, in translating … Continue reading The Completeness Assumption
Note: I wrote this on Facebook and needed to publish it somewhere. Originally written July 18, 2018 I shared this in a combined lesson to the 12-18 year olds at church today. The video is six minutes and it’ll take 5-10 to read through my ramblings. These are rough-draft ideas, so feel free to pick … Continue reading Maps, Models, and Mormonism
This is one of the best podcasts/interviews I’ve ever heard. It’s Tim Ferriss (of Four Hour Workweek fame) interviewing Amanda Palmer on Creativity, Pain, and Art. Topics range from watching a friend die, to delivering her own stillborn child ALONE, to pain and the power it can bring, to the different types of pain. Favorite … Continue reading Demons, Pain, and Strength
Maybe this is obvious. But maybe it’s not. The spirituality of an experience is subjective, not objective. Three examples: Sometimes hear people say, “I really felt the spirit” in a meeting/lesson that I have found particularly lackluster. Other times, I’ll have a deep, intense experience in a sacrament meeting and look around to see that … Continue reading Spiritual Experiences Are Subjective
Having trouble converting ideas from brain to blinking cursor, I shall forego any commentary and simply quote the following, from Jeffrey R. Holland: Thirty years ago last month, a little family set out to cross the United States to attend graduate school—no money, an old car, every earthly possession they owned packed into less than half the … Continue reading A Young Father’s Fear
My favorite section of the Book of Mormon is from Mosiah 11 to Alma 43. There is so much detail in the storyline, from Abinadi to Alma I to Alma II and Amulek, from Aaron and Ammon and Ammonihah. Apparently, it’s also a treasure trove of place and person names that begin with the letter … Continue reading Context and the Death of Mosiah
I recently read through Alma 2, but didn’t get very far when I ran into verse 19: “And it came to pass that the Nephites did pursue the Amlicites all that day, and did slay them with much slaughter, insomuch that there were slain of the Amlicites twelve thousand five hundred thirty and two souls; … Continue reading Context and the Population of Zarahemla in 86 B.C.
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