Thoughts on: Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Review of Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Now Rousseau is getting interesting! Imagine yourself a man of intellect, before the Darwinian theory, speculating about man in his naturals state before the burden of civilization was put on his/her shoulders.
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In Rousseau vision, natural man was a carefree and happy loner, peacefully roaming the woods. Picking apples to eat from the trees as he went, slept when tired, and running in to a specimen of the opposite sex- they lay. A existence without a worry and a world of abundance.
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We are so used to the comparison of early mans conditions to chimpanzees that it becomes absolutely fascinating to hear another version of the story.
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📝 Sex, yes please? If men and women met in the forest, they had sex and then walked their separate ways. The women raised the child until it was old enough to take care of itself and he/she went of on their own; another noble savage free to roam alone in peace and fulfillment.
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📝 Inequality comes when man exits his natural state and come together with other people and starts to compare himself to the in terms of skill and possessions.
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🔥 4 ROUSSEAU-OIDS: 🔥
🥖 – Argued for a return to breastfeeding in an era where the activity was outsourced by the well to do. “Breastfeed, and morals will come by themselves” was his message.
🥖 – Emotions rather than deeds! Father of romanticism.
🥖 – The noble savage. Rousseau, like many people during the age of discovery, was fascinated by the native tribes found throughout the world. He also realized what civilization did to these “savages”.
🥖 – He invented the word “bourgeoisie”
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⚖️ VERDICT:
This book is much more interesting than The Social Contract; more entertaining, much less sober, and a certainty more naive!
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
I’m more of a Hobbesian view as it stands right now. Rousseau’s Noble Savage with it carefree existence sounds too utopian to me. Life in its natural state described as “nasty, brutish and short” sound more plausible. Maybe I’m just having a bad day? Also, I haven’t read Hobbes (yet!)
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3/5
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⁉️Rousseau or Hobbes?⁉️

Quick Video Review – Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents: The 3 General Sources of Human SUFFERING

Freud talked about 3 sources of general suffering in his famous book Civilization And It’s Discontents.

1. The Body

2. Forces of Nature

3. Other People

Civilization protects us in part from natural forces but it puts us in complex relationships with other people (taxes, landlords, neighbors etc..) that bring their own suffering.

Are the sacrifices worth it? Is it worth renouncing part of our selfs in order to live the civilized life? Either way we have to pay for our sacrifices through the anxiety of brings.

Thoughts on: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

The ideas of having read it was more exciting than actually reading it..

Sometimes the idea of having read a book is more exciting than actually reading it. That’s the case with The Social Contract.
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But “fun” and “easy” is seldom what we strive for in our quest for understanding. I knew this would be challenge to get through the works of the major thinkers of the history of the world.
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That said; after finishing the book ,and with a few YouTube lectures in the bag, I feel it was an endeavor worth the effort.
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Here are some notes:
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📝 With the SOCIAL CONTRACT man loses his natural liberty—the strength of the individual—in exchange for civil liberty: which is limited to the GENERAL WILL.
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📝 What is this GENERAL WILL? The will of the people as a whole. The common good.
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📝 Rousseau: “It’s always in times of crisis that laws are easily passed that would never have passed the scrutiny of the public otherwise.” (Paraphrased)
Sweden today: Laws have been changed to give the government power circumvent parliament, enabling them to act faster in the battle against CoVid-19 crisis. 🦠
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📝 Wise men/women can come up with concepts and ideas that the public doesn’t understand and will therefor not stand behind. This is where the divine is called upon. We use “the gods” to make the laws seem natural. By turning the laws of men, into laws of nature. 🌳
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: The big takeaway for me does not come from the book, BUT from what I realized about myself by reading it. I have the ability to read and understand the big thinkers and learn from them (with some occasional help from YouTube lectures). I can turn books like this one into building blocks in the puzzle of the history of thought.
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I’m super pumped to continue this exploration of human thought journey! Learning about Hobbes and Locke. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. All the rest!
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When I’m old and grey I might actually have insightful philosophical lessons to share to the deaf ears of my grandchildren 😂 👴🏻 🧐
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2/5
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⁉️What big thinkers are on your list to study?⁉️

Check out my reading list for more reviews!

Evide

Thoughts on: “The Drunkard’s Walk” by Leonard Mlodinow

There were two chance events that stood out to me that night I waled out of the murky cellar bar in central Stockholm where I had discussed this book with four other non-fiction junkies.

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The 1st coincidence was that during the cause of reading the book, one of the group members had unknowingly ended up at a family dinner with the author. Only when seeing the book in the household, and mentioning she was reading the book, the fact became obvious.

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The 2nd coincidence was that during

a discussion about the properties of true randomness—it’s tendency towards repetition- another attendee showed a tattoo he had made all over his left arm, displaying long slithering snake of quantum generated random 1:s and 0:s.

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What are the odds of that? 🤷‍♂️

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📝 Regression toward the mean:

In any series of random events an extraordinary event is most likely to be followed, due purely to chance, by a more ordinary one.

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📝 Randomness clusters: here is a random series of 1:s and 0:s. Notice the repetition. Let’s say you are a reasearcher and get random numbers to work with and you end up with a sequence with overwhelming repetition. This is not unlikely. When do you start to doubt the randomness of the sequence?

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1

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📝 “If you want to succeed; double your failure rate.” – Watson

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📝 Apple had to make their iPods shuffle function less random because people experienced getting the same song twice as ”un-random”.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Since chance seems to play a bigger role in life than we like to admit, the number of chances you take and the number of opportunities you seize matters.

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⚖️ VERDICT:

The basic concepts of randomness is laid out in this books and how they are often overlooked. We are also served a great history of how the science of probability evolved.

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I recommend this book if you enjoy the work of Nassim Taleb and/or find joy in logic and math problems. Suitable for an aspiring know-it-all!

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3/5

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⁉️ How do you maximize exposure to “luck” & chance?⁉️

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Photo: bombsaway_

For more great books and reviews: check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Let’s face it, successful people and unsuccessful people have the same goals. It’s the systems and strategies you put in pace that makes the difference between the two.

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“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the levels of your systems.”

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James Clears book is the ultimate guide to the WHYs and HOWs of those systems.

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🎭 IDENTITY:

Improvements are only temporary until they become who you are. You are not just going to read a book; you are going to become a reader. You are not going to run a Marathon; you are going to become a runner.

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🏞 ENVIRONMENT:

Make bad habits difficult to perform and good habits easy: prep your gym bag the day before and put by the front door. Bring a book everywhere you go. Move candy and snacks from the kitchen to the cellar. Remove the batteries from the remote after watching tv if your struggle with bingeing.

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🚦 SYSTEMS:

Stack new habits on top existing ones! “After I brush my teeth, I floss”

“After I finish’s my morning coffee, l journal for 5 min.”

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🔁 REPETITION:

Don’t ask yourself HOW LONG it takes to build a habit but HOW MANY TIMES it takes to build a habit. Start small and get the reps in.

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📈 PROGRESS:

One of the most satisfying feelings is to make progress. Habit trackers and other forms of visual measurements can make your habits more satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress. “Don’t break the chain”: Instagram is a habit tracker for me (“visual reading progress”) and to keep a streak alive (“posting at set intervals”)

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⚖️ VERDICT:

The one-stop-shop for habit building.

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4/5

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⁉️ What habit did you build that you are proud of?!⁉️

For more book reviews and good reads, check out the Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

The book has two parts; the 1st part is a sociological investigation where Orwell lives a ‘fly on the wall’-existence among the miners of an industrial town in northern England. He wants to experience life of the real working-class life first hand. A class whom he and his fellow half-bourgeois socialists claim to fight and care for.
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The 2nd part is a argument for how and why socialism is failing and what to do to get it back on track again.
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What stays with me is the account of the former; the unemployment, the poverty, the filth; the self-limiting mindset of the deprived, and the horrible working conditions of the mines. But also Orwell’s honest, sober and often beautiful worded observations.
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📝 “..the place is like hell, or at any rate like my own mental picture of hell. Most of the things one imagines in hell are there — heat, noise. Confusion, darkness foul air, and, above all, unbearably cramped space.”
The working conditions in the mines made me feel sick.
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📝 How disconnected isn’t my work life from the miner of the Industrial era? Me with my Xbox ONE Dev-kit on my adjustable standing desk and my free lattes at the touch of a bottom? Not to mention the free massage? You know, we NEED them, because office work is HARD on your body! right?! 🤷‍♂️
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📝 Why can’t the bourgeois see themselves as the equals of the working class?
“The lower class smells”, Orwell concludes “It is queer how seldom this is admitted.”
A physical feeling like smell is harder to overcome than the other dislikes he argues.
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
We would be wise to attempt to isolate the qualities in people we look up to and cultivate them in ourselves. I admire Orwell’s willingness to immerse himself in the working class life and his willingness to change his mind. I want adopt this trait further in my own life, but I’m not sure how to go about it…yet.

⚖️ VERDICT:
When I close the books for 2020, one of the images that will linger in my mind is the image of miner walking for miles in the dark cramped space of the mine to his designated spot for the day.

I found this book so powerful and humbling. A catalyst for personal reflection. A remarkably bold and honest book.

5/5

For more great books and reviews, check out my reading lists!

Thoughts on: Never Spilt the Difference by Chris Voss

Except for a few naturals, most of us hates negotiation at first. We get nervous, our hands sweat and our thinking breaks down.
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But it’s not really the person across the table that scares us; it’s conflict itself.
Humans are made for living in tribes and getting along with the group is a natural priority for most of us.
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I’m avoid conflict. I avoid negotiation.
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“The first step to achieving a mastery of daily negotiation is to get over your aversion to negotiating.”
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This book changed my view of negotiation; I’m now in love with it! And a mostly due to the fact that we created Book Club/Implementation Group around this book where really put the tactics into immediate use in real life situation alongside our theoretilcal studies.
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📝 The Pinocchio Effect: The number of words grows with lies. When people lie they use more words.
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📝 “No, is the start of negotiation, not the end of it.” The truth of this simple statement became clear to me when I payed attention to how I negotiated with my son. Once I had said “no” to one of his request was usually the time when I would opened myself to hearing him out. That’s when I was ready to consider the possibles and we could work something out together.
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📝 The real meaning of ‘no’:
🔸I’m not yet ready to agree.
🔹You are making me feel uncomfortable.
🔸I do not understand.
🔹I don’t think I can afford it.
🔸I want something else.
🔹I need more information.
🔸I want to talk it over with someone else.
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
The Accusation Audit is a favorite tool of mine that I used a lot recently (swipe for example). “You make a list of every unreasonable, unfair, crazy, ridiculous accusation your gut instincts are picking up that the other side might say about you.” When we acknowledging negatives they lose their power.
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⚖️ VERDICT:
If Atomic Habits is the definite book on habit building than this is definite book on negotiation. It can seem a bit manipulative, but if you see past that—and make an effort to use the tools in this book in everyday life with no delay—then it might be the most valuable reading you will do this year.
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4/5
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⁉️ What are your favorite negotiation tactic?⁉️


For more amazing reading experiences then check out my Reading List!

Thoughts on: “The Netocrats” by Bard & Söderqvist

I tried to explain this book to a colleague before christmas break; how it utterly fashinated me, even though I feel I only understood it partly, and how it had provided me with a new lens with which to see the world.

It must have caught his interest, cuz when I got back to work we had lunch and he told me he had devoured the book and was working his way through another work by the same authors, Digital Libido, and was enthusiastically urging me to do the same.

The book, written in 2000, talks about a new paradigm. The transition from capitalism to informationalism in the wake of the internet era and how, like any genuine revolution means that the whole Darwinian system of punishment and rewards are restructured, introducing a new over and underclass.

The idea of this new system, the Netocracy, was invented in the 90:s is re-invented in this book by contemporary Internet philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist.

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📝 Before we ran away from strangers that looked strong. Now we engage them and gain mutual benefits.

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📝 The Consumtariat: Consumption rather than production is the role of the new underclass.

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📝 Politicians are selected based on their value as entertainment and what narrative they can fit into. They are elected to to feed the headlines.

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📝 Money will follow attention, not vice versa. The only hard currency on the net is attention.

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📝 Knowledge, contacts and exclusive information replaces capital for the netocrat.

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📝 “Technology plays its own hand”

Take the clock: innocent enough of an artifact. But this infernal little machine, with its introduction of second and minutes, have retrospectively given a whole new meaning to our perception of time.

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📝 “Giving birth is simply not fashionable anymore.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Great book to read before reflecting on how to navigate the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Is what you do professionally raising in value or is it losing its value in this new paradigm?

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⚖️ VERDICT:

A must-read and total mindf*ck. Being outdated is one of the strengths of this book. Because now, 20 years after the books release, we can see its predictions manifest in everyday life.

5/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Time travel, the beginning of the universe, wormholes and string theory. Considering the complexity of some of these topics it is strange that the book has become an international bestseller. Though, I read somewhere that it is one of the most gifted books; but also the least read.


📝 Children dare to ask questions adults don’t: “Why do we remember the past and not the future.” 👶 Be more like a child.


📝 “The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.” 🕰


📝 “There could be whole antiworlds and antipeople made out of antiparticles.” My mother used to say that I shouldn’t be so “anti” everything to me when I was a teen. I guess I was one of the antipeople Hawkingtaled about. 👩🏽‍🎤


However, if you meet your antiself, don’t shake hands! You would both vanish in a great flash of light.


✅ TO DO LIST FOR MANKIND: Come up with a complete and consistent theory that combines quantum mechanics and gravity.


⭐️ Most fascinating to me was to learn about the Event Horizon, which is the boundaries of a Black Hole, and Thermodynamic Arrow of Time.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I have read it twice now and it was actually harder to follow the second time. Probably because I did it on audio and the complicated ideas—at least for my limited understanding—made more sense when they where accompanied by pictures, graphs and illustrations. It think there are more accessible books on the topic that N00bs like me should prioritize. The book is too much at times.

3/5


What your favorite book in the genre⁉️

(For me it’s probably Deep Simplicity, a fantastic book about what happens at the edge of chaos. Check it out!)

For more more great reads and insights–check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: The Life of Greece by Will Durant

When I first posted my goal of making Ancient Greece the focus of my studies this year, I someone cautioned me that it might be too much to deal with in such a short time.

It was only after getting a few hours into this book that I understood what she/he meant: it’s impossible to take all this in within a year. It would take a decade to cover only one aspect of Greek civilization fully; lifetimes to cover it all! Ramming everything into my head was like trying to catching a waterfall with a bucket.

I changed my approach to the book and saw it as a buffet. I got a small taste of everything and noted down where I wanted to explore more.

Now I’m looking for further reading on:


📖 Pericles, “the most complete man Greece ever produced.” Big words. I want to know more.

📖 Diogenes, he lived the cynic lifestyle to the fullest. Fascinating man! Did you know that there is a condition known as Diogenes Syndrome? It’s characterized by extreme self-neglect, social withdrawal and lack of shame.

📖 Sparta: The crazy strict and tough lifestyle intrigues me. Is David Goggins actually the last Spartan?

📖 Archimedes: “Don’t disturb my circles!”. From Levers, to Pi, to the formula for calculating the surface area of a sphere, but also: war machines! I need to know more about this genius.

📖 The March of the Ten Thousand: Durant calls it “one of the great adventures in human history”. 🧐


📝 Schliemann: A crazy archeologist, obsessed with The Iliad, and determined to uncover Troy. Which he did!


💭 🤷‍♂️ Checking one book of the Reading List and you end up with an even longer list…


⚖️ VERDICT:

“Greek civilization is alive. it moves in every breath of mind that we breath. So much of it remains that none of us in one lifetime could absorb it all.”

As I reach the summary and conclusion of this book I’m in awe and my eyes tearing up in gratitude for this beautiful account of life in Greece.

4/5


Whose your favorite among the ancient Greeks? ⁉️🤔

For more great Non Fiction– check out my Reading Lists