Welcome back to Cheers to the Weekend! I hope you are as ready for it as I am. This week I got a bit bogged down in work and busy evenings but a couple of beers were enjoyed and books were read!
What I'm Reading:
Robert Moor's On Trails
As this week continues on I'm about halfway through this book and love the seemingly random assortment of topics covered that I've never really spent any time learning about. The fascinating discussion over Indian trails was incredible. To think that most of our roadways here in North America were simply overlaid overtop of old Indian trails that were likely the result of Indians following herds of buffalo over the plains. The loss of culture that is almost gone now and yet lives on in pockets that Robert visits and discovers. Being in Calgary, Deerfoot Trail now makes a lot more sense!
From within the pages, consider this idea that really shows that many cultures share the same ideas of being centred and balanced:
"According to Tom Belt, the words osi and tohi have no direct translation in English. Osi refers to the quality of a person who is poised on a single point of balance, centred, upright, and facing forward. Tohi denotes something, or everything, that is moving at its own speed, utterly at peace."
Michael Ignatieff's The Warrior's Honour
A summer book sale purchase, this book has surprised me with some insight not expected. As a read the essay entitled The Narcissism Of Minor Difference in which Michael covers the nuances of the Serbian-Croatian War back in the 1990's. What was chilling was how people lined up on opposite sides through small differences stoked by leaders who played on people's emotions and the idea of nationalism. Let this quote sink in and consider where we are as a society today.
"When a polity is broken up into ethnic clans who communicate only with each other in the language of collective threats and ultimata, it is on the brink of civil war. What prevents such a breakdown is not just trust but the kind of individualism that can survive only in conditions of trust: when individuals feel sufficiently free of fear that they do not need to depend exclusively on their ethnic, religious, or tribal groups to secure their basic interests."
The language we see in today's media and by politicians is concerning. We must look beyond these divisive issues and remember the humanity in each and every one of us. As the splits grow larger the trust falls away and that becomes the most important thing.
What I'm Drinking:
Collective Arts Brewing Saint of Circumstance
A nice citrus blonde ale, this one is definitely an easy drinking beer. These were two cans I picked up, one with artwork depicting a hand holding a melting ice cream cone and the other with a spaceman, in space, riding a horse. Lots of nice citrus notes in this one but not overpowering. This one came in at a reasonable 4.7% ABV. Originally paired this one with
Check out their amazing can artwork here!
Modern Times City of the Dead
This 7.5% bourbon barrel-aged coffee stout from Modern Times out of San Diego California. Relatively new on the scene up here, this one packs a lot of flavor, especially on the chocolate side. The bourbon barrel flavor aged coffee really comes through with nice coffee notes and an underlying bourbon flabor that provides a nice balance. I'm always a fan of the balanced stouts that don't get too bitter and pack a nice flavor. The chocolate in this one is right there on the first taste! Good stuff! Previously paired this with Daniel Goleman's Altered Traits here.
Check out the website here! This bomber is available year-round as one of their two all season bomber beers.
What I'm Listening To:
Max Tegmark's Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
If you have any interest in artificial intelligence than this book should be a required reading. I've read a few other books on the topic and this one brings a level of depth on the issues I'd not previously seen before. The scenario building and thought process that Max puts into this book is incredible and goes way beyond the evil A.I. scenario that everyone is accustomed to reading. The nuances of intelligence are covered including a deep dive into what is consciousness in humans and how that may manifest into artificial intelligence one day. One of the cool ideas that Max discussed was substrate-independence. It's the idea that although a computer intelligence may run it wouldn't know what it was running on similar to the notion that we are operaitng here in this world but may not know what it is this world really is (ala The Matrix).
Check out the full idea in an article written by Max Tegmark on Edge.org here!
Robert H. Lustig's The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains
Dopamine and Serotonin. The two powerhouse chemicals that drive so much of what we do to try and find happiness. This book covers the gamut when it comes to these two chemicals in the brain and how we are going down the path of self-medication through the foods we eat. Alcohol is also mentioned but this is Books & Beers so it gets a pass. I'm bias! Sugar though; you are in my sights! It's a book that has a lot of great information and I'm only 2/3 of the way through so can't comment on what the solution is but I think we all know where we land on the spectrum of sugar addiction. Sugar drives us down the path of dopamine which our brain absolutely craves and can be equated to many of our deepest addictions. Good listen for sure although he does step over his own knowledge in certain cases and it does feel like we have hammered home the point that sugar is the culprit.
A shout out to Book Success (@book_success) over on Instagram. He is doing great things and bringing the spotlight to some great self-help and business books that everyone should read. Insightful and always working hard. Go check him out and give his website a visit if you like what you see!
This quote comes from Michael Ignatieff's book The Warrior's Honour and arguably one of the most thought provoking essay's I've read in the past year.
"To the degree that individuals can ever learn to think for themselves - and so become true individuals - they can free themselves, one by one, from the deadly dynamic of the narcissism of minor difference. In that sense, the function of liberal society is not merely to teach the noble fiction of human universality, but to create individuals, sufficiently robust in their own identity, to live by that fiction."
This type of thinking, written almost 20 years now encapsulates what we see before us in the current politics and human landscape. We must not allow the views of others to cloud our own individual beliefs in humanity. To be friends with a person, as an individual, must trump the notion that we belong to a bigger group or religion in order to break down these barriers we see going up. We are not a colour or a religion but an individual passing through this world. If we are friends with the next person who is a different colour or religion then those two things cannot preclude us from being friends. Insert any difference you want. Religion, sex, sexual orientation, politics, etc.
Snow is falling in September. It must be Calgary. Stay warm out there this weekend if you are facing snowfall or stay ... normal if you are every where else in the world!
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