#15 In a Time of Holiday Cheer & Death


1.  Death gives meaning to Life. And now there's an App for that! 

My favorite new Kick in the Pants is an app I downloaded onto my second iPhone brain, called WeCroak. It's job is simple: to remind me five times daily, that death is something that is always happening and that will happen to me. Here's the back story:

"On a beautiful morning this past summer, I woke up to an email—subject line: “Death Makes You Happy”—that I initially mistook for Silicon Valley satire. It was a pitch for WeCroak, which was inspired by a “famous Bhutanese folk saying” averring that “to be a truly happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily.” “Because we are either unable or unwilling to live a rural life in the picturesque Himalayas where time for contemplation may happen more easily,” the email explained, the app’s creators had developed the next best thing: a 99-cent app that would “foster happiness” and “cultivate mindfulness” by pestering users with reminders about death. I installed it mostly to see whether it was a joke."

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/when-death-pings/546587/

The less in disagreement I am with reality, the more fully awake and vibrant my life tends to be.
Here's the link to download the App:

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2."There's a lot to be learned from refraining."  

A student asked one of our most important thinkers about race and equality and what should white people think and feel when they hear black people using the N word during a song, and how come the white person can't sing along. Here is the beginning of Ta-Nehisi Coates' reply:

"Context matters. When I hear my wife using the word 'bitch' with her girlfriends, I don't join in. I don't have a desire to join in." 

Further ruminating about how common it is for "in groups" to use derogatory words in an ironic sense among themselves, and why that rule of social discourse is not readily extended to black people, Coates says he thinks he knows why that is:

"When you're white living in this country, you're taught that everything belongs to you. You think you have a right to everything....It's the fact that the laws in the culture tell you this. You can go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be however and people just have to accommodate themselves to you... 

So here comes this word that you feel you invented...'Why can't I use it? Everyone gets to use it. It's racism that I don't get to use it. That's racist against me.' 

[This experience] will give you just a little peak into the world of what it means to be black."  

Watch the 5 minute question and reply here

Read more of his work here

3. Wisdom Pin-up: 

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4. We finished reading and discussing The Righteous Mind @ Beer and Book Club. Thank you to all those who came and contributed to the deeply engaging and important conversation! Please email me at cxd@characterbydesign.org if you'd like me to send you the mind map I made (seen above) which is like a condensed version of the most important ideas I gleaned from the book in an easy to read visual format. Next time you'll be in conversation with someone you don't agree with, you'll better understand why and how to continue to deepen the conversation regardless.