Be gentle with others...
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

- Robert F. Kennedy, Cape Town University, South Africa, 1966. The quote is placed alongside The Wall of Tolerance at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama.
The five:
  1. "I want to believe in journalism. But my faith is waning,” writes technology and society researcher Danah Boyd. As a former journalist, I found this piece a very satisfying read. What if, instead of thinking about how we could save the Fourth Estate, we think about how we could destroy it? That’s inversion, which James Clear identifies as “the crucial thinking skill nobody ever taught you.” Also, are we wasting the talents of America’s “smartest”? Maybe they can get to that work later in life, because we apparently haven’t reached the limit of human life expectancy💰
  2. The “father of stress” wishes he had chosen a different word, because we’re getting stress all wrong. We try actively to avoid it, and see it as bad for our health when, in fact, "The opposite of stress is death”. While we’re on the topic of health, here are five exercises trainers recommend you do at the gym, and here are three simple morning routine steps as identified by a neuroscientist
  3. "I know now that trying to mold yourself into something you're not by diluting your uniqueness is the surest way to ensure you won't work the way you hope to.” Where actress Sarah Paulson blows up assumptions she (and likely millions of others) hold about working with other women and the incredible power of bringing your whole, true self to what you do. (Also, she would have loved Wellesley.) Actors memorize a lot, and it turns out that if you want to invent more … memorize more. Going back to women though, there are clear benefits to having women in civic technology
  4. CEOs have a lot of power, but little is known about them. This is one of the most comprehensive studies of CEOs I’ve read yet💰. Speaking of work, here are five books that could make you happier at work. And speaking of leadership and decisions, it’s always great when a company is flexible enough to let spouses stay together, as this finance professional-gone-screenplay writer got to do when his wife got a job in L.A. Seriously, there are fewer and fewer jobs these days that can’t be accomplished from anywhere with wi-fi. He also got from A to B professionally through cultivating a writing hobby. Here’s Austin Kleon on hobbies and knitting at the end of the world, "I’m interested in this idea that hobbies can not only help us cope in times of crisis, but they can also foster in us a sense of personal liberty that, no matter how small, can help us resist tyranny.” Here are two traits of the best problem-solving teams💰
  5. Where Robert Green, author of “48 Laws of Power” and other bestsellers, defines “alive time” and “dead time”. Speaking of power, how about Nintendo? Did you know the company is 130 years old?  

💰 = Paywall, though please do consider paying to read what people write. Writers like to eat too. (Apologies if I miss one…) 
How to co-exist 👫👬👭
Between the headlines and the commentary, I’ve been feeling a keen sense of loss. Specifically, I am feeling that we are losing our ability to co-exist. Here, in Palo Alto, there was a rally in support of human rights and keeping immigrant families united. As the child of two immigrants, I felt it would be wrong to stay home and pretend I had something better to do. So, as the temperature crept north of 80 degrees, I walked over, grabbed some water, and stood with people of all kinds as they chanted and waved signs. 

Drivers honked as they drove by, and I talked to the occasional person who would walk up to me, trying to suss me out. I was, after all, one of very few African Americans there.  

I took pictures and some video to send back to friends and family, but mostly I just stood there — no sign, no chanting, no calling on drivers to honk. I just stood there co-existing with people and reflecting on what I fundamentally believe in: that all people, regardless who they are, where they were born, or what they believe, have the right to "equal justice under law".  

I let my mind rest on that as I stood among a mass of people shouting and playing tambourines. I stood with them, and I was struck by how good it felt to simply co-exist with others. That’s when a lady walked up to me and struck up a conversation. She pointed to a gentleman she said had been struggling with depression for weeks, and told me this was his first time attempting to break out his depression and participate in a new activity. She said he looked like he was doing well, and that she had encouraged him to start small — with a protest in Palo Alto, rather than going to the city. Looking at him, I could tell he was feeling what I was feeling: the power of being with others in a space and feeling a clear sense of purpose. It’s certainly a good tonic.  

This week, I’ve been thinking deeply about co-existence and paradoxes, specifically these two paradoxes:

  • tolerance is not achieved by tolerating intolerance 
  • civil rights are not won and kept through civil actions alone. 
Then there’s the fact that some things are starting to co-exist that shouldn’t, assuming the goal is a healthy, peaceful democracy. Jean-Marie Guehénno, the former president and CEO of the International Crisis Group and author of “The Fog of Peace” outlines this in an interview here (emphasis is mine):  

"The end of the Soviet Union and Cold War has really generated a crisis of politics in the sense political ideas are not really what motivate people today. You see it in advanced democracies, where you are hard put to define political programs. You see it in developing countries, where the traditional political movements are under stress. What you see now are agendas where the political, the criminal, the religious agendas are all very blurred. …The amorphous nature of modern politics and of conflict is one reason why conflicts are more difficult to end today."

So, how do we co-exist? Is it turning a blind eye? I don’t think so. Is it constant confrontation? No, I don’t think it’s that either. I think it’s six things (thanks for the help on pinning down #4, Natalya):  

  1. Know what you believe.  
  2. Know that others may believe differently.  
  3. Tolerate difference.  
  4. Actively question your own experience. 
  5. Be open to new facts. 
  6. Reject intolerance.  
These are so easily said, and yet so difficult to do. It’s hard to sit and listen to someone who doesn’t agree with you — to share space with them, and break bread with them. It’s difficult to hear facts that don’t align with what you believe to be true. It’s harder still to reject intolerance when you try day to day to be tolerant of others. But these are, at least to my mind, the actions it takes to co-exist.  
Thank you a million times...
Thank you so much to my long-time donor Natalya Pemberton! Natalya is a culture and design enthusiast learning Sustainable Systems at the innovative Presidio Graduate School.

She has generously supported E is for Everything on Patreon. Please jump on through to learn more about both them and their projects.
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...and with yourself.
Emi Kolawole · E is for Everything HQ · Palo Alto California 94306 · USA
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