Quieting the lizard brain How can I explain the never-ending irrationality of human behavior? We say we want one thing, then we do another. We say we want to be successful but we sabotage the job interview. We say we want a product to come to market, but we sandbag the shipping schedule. We say we want to be thin but we eat too much. We say we want to be smart but we skip class or don’t read that book the boss lent us. The contradictions never end. When someone shows up and acts without contradiction, we’re amazed. When an athlete just does the sport, or when a writer just writes the words, we can’t help but watch, astonished at the purity of their actions. Why is it so difficult to do what we say we’re going to do? The lizard brain. Or as Steven Pressfield describes it, the resistance. The resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. The resistance is writer’s block and putting jitters and every project that ever shipped late because people couldn’t stay on the same page long enough to get something out the door. The resistance grows in strength as we get closer to shipping, as we get closer to an insight, as we get closer to the truth of what we really want. That’s because the lizard hates change and achievement and risk. The lizard is a physical part of your brain, the pre-historic lump near the brain stem that is responsible for fear and rage and reproductive drive. Why did the chicken cross the road? Because her lizard brain told her to. Want to know why so many companies can’t keep up with Apple? It’s because they compromise, have meetings, work to fit in, fear the critics and generally work to appease the lizard. Meetings are just one symptom of an organization run by the lizard brain. Late launches, middle of the road products and the rationalization that goes with them are others. The amygdala isn’t going away. Your lizard brain is here to stay, and your job is to figure out how to quiet it and ignore it. This is so important, I wanted to put it on the cover of my new book. We realized, though, that the lizard brain is freaked out by a picture of itself, and if you want to sell books to someone struggling with the resistance (that would be all of us) best to keep it a little more on the down low. Now you’ve seen the icon and you know its name. What are you going to do about it?
Socrates didn't charge for "education" because when you are in business, the "customer starts to become right". Whereas in education, the customer is generally "not right". Marketeers are catering to what people want, educators are trying to deal with what they think people need (and this is often not at all what they want). Part of Montessori's genius was to realize early that children want to get fluent in their surrounding environs and culture, and this can be really powerful if one embeds what they need in the environs and culture.
Teargas—my lungs are burning. A guy next to me sprays cleaning agent into his girlfriend’s eyes. I am shocked at this violent attack, but no one else is. Everybody around me seems familiar with this act, and it soon becomes clear why. The pump spray is filled with milk and used to ease the effect of teargas on the eyes.
operating with two alphabets [uppercase and lowercase] is particularly awkward when capital letters occur comparatively seldom, as in the english language. it seems incomprehensible to carry a huge apparatus for such limited use.
printing with one alphabet makes for more harmonious makes for more harmonious typography than mixing the different styles of two alphabets. if typographic emphasis is desired at the beginning of sentences, for example, bolder type or wider spacing could serve the purpose.
THE CAPITAL LETTERS OF ANCIENT TIMES, ALTHOUGH MORE HARMONIOUS IN THEIR CONCEPT, ARE DIFFICULT TO READ IN A LONG TEXT
the lower case alphabet is, for that reason, the foundation for the “universal type” and capital letters have been omitted.
In antiquity, written texts were supports for what you already knew. Putting spaces was irrelevant; it was just an aide memoire. By contrast, the Irish are the first people who had to cope with Latin for whom Latin had never been a spoken language. They were beyond the confines of the old Roman Empire and, of course, as they were converted to Christianity in the fifth century, just as the tide of the Roman empire was moving away from them, there was no one who actually spoke Latin as a living language. Imagine, then, trying to learn a foreign language with no native speakers and not knowing where the ends of the words are. And in this context someone in Ireland had the—to us obvious, to them innovative—idea of breaking up words and putting spaces in between them, the better to comprehend what was going on.
I was in Delphi, Greece looking at ancient inscriptions on the Oracle of Delphi—they’re impossible to see from far away; each line is only about an inch tall. I noticed that there were no spaces between the words. When I asked why this was I was told that they were prayers, and that it didn’t matter if they could be read easily by people. The gods don’t need spaces.