Intro³: The Two Priorities

I have written two previous introductions for this blog.

The first involved using this blog to talk about self-improvement, talk about critical issues in culture and politics with “courageous empathy,” and making a list of the 100 most important books to give to my children.

While I still want to do many of those things (especially the book list), that introduction post was way too long, and has been archived.

The second involved refocusing the blog into writing a book “Julie and Julia” style (short essays which get turned into a larger book), specifically about using biotech to make astronauts healthier while living in space (and the issues attached to that).

While I still think it would be a good idea to write that book, and it needs to be written, it’s a book that will take 10 years or more to write – so that post has been archived as well.

In light of August 1st being the 1 year anniversary of starting this blog, I’ve recently reevaluated my priorities – as of right now I have two priorities, and two priorities only. With every other issue I could pay attention to, it is either being de-prioritized or ignored entirely.

The First Priority: Self-Improvement

If you wish to rule a nation, you must first rule yourself.

Put another way for those uninterested in ruling: the mastery of anything first begins with the mastery of self.

I want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. I want to be a strong person, in both mind and body. I want a life that is long, meaningful, fulfilling, and has a positive impact on the world. I want to be productive, effective, and above all competent. It doesn’t matter if I lack skills or resources for my goals – the most important skill is the ability to learn skills, and the most important resource is resourcefulness.

In my quest for self-improvement, I’m going to be reading (and have read) dozens of books – rather than write a long review that helps few, I write short reviews, which you can find here.

The Second Priority: Stopping the Climate Crisis

If climate change continues unabated for the next several decades, life on Earth will be radically altered and radically diminished.

Sea level rise. Increases in droughts, heat waves, monsoons, and other extreme weather. Melted permafrost and ice sheets. Radically changed boundaries of ecosystems. Desertification. Mass extinction of plants and animals. Ocean acidification. Climate refugees traveling to cooler ground. Resource wars and food shortages created from all of the above. The list of effects goes on an on.

There are lots of problems in the world, but you can’t solve all of them. You need to prioritize. Climate change might not kill or harm the most people in absolute numbers, but it has the most potential to make every other problem worse. Climate change won’t kill you directly, but it’s a force multiplier for any other problem that will.

As far as I can tell, climate change is only getting worse, and there’s only a few decades to stop it at most.

Right now, I have a potential solution in mind – one that works with “technology” we already have, can be deployed at scale, and at minimum will give humans more time to solve climate change (if not reverse it entirely). It’s just a matter of learning to use technologies that are exponentially decreasing in cost – and being willing to take a bold risk on a moonshot solution.

If that path doesn’t work, I’ll try something else until something does work.

What I’m De-Prioritizing

Like I said earlier, I’m de-prioritizing writing that book about making astronauts healthier. Astronauts don’t matter if Florida is underwater.

I love politics. I got a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and consider myself a political junkie. From now on I’m only going to pay attention to political issues to the extent that they affect me – unless some political issue rises to the level of nuclear war (or is otherwise about to lead to my death), I’m most likely going to ignore it. The latest tweet from the President matters for today’s news cycle, but not in the long run.

I love video games – I’m not going to give up video games entirely, but they’re being scheduled in as a “minor hobby” rather than a big part of my day or identity. Virtual piles of gold don’t matter if wars are being fought over something as basic as water.

I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes from Tim Ferriss:

“Doing the uncommon requires uncommon behavior.”