On judgment and skepticism

  • “Skepticism enforces discipline” but it cannot exist on its own. It must be part of a team because it is fundamentally “non-generative”. It is a razor that reduces. It does not build.
  • Popova paraphrases Dostoyevsky: It is our responsibility as human beings, to peer past the surface insecurities that drive people to lash out and look for the deeper longings, holding up a mirror to one another’s highest ideals rather than pointing the self-righteous finger at each other’s lowest faults. We are inherently good despite the badness we sometimes put on like an ill-fitting suit to impress by imitating those we mistake for impressive. Dostoyevsky: “Judge [people] not by what they are, but by what they strive to become.”
  • Lord Acton: “judge talent at its best and character at its worst; suspect power more than vice”
  • When making a decision separate what you need from what you think you want. Then don’t be afraid to chase what inspires you (”a protagonist in your own movie”). I think of it as shedding to build.
  • Praise in public, criticize in private