Lift13, Resilience and Resistance: Venkatesh Rao

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “Resilience and Resistance”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Venkatesh Rao

The “blogger” here. Being resilient is getting up again and again after being punched down.

How can you be resilient? The more he thought about it, the more he realized the important question is the “why” of it.

The fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows one big thing. Good and bad in both styles.

Fox gets up for new adventure. Hedgehog gets up for old passion. Turkey gets up out of habit. Different narratives.

Story 1: the stonecutters and the cathedral (stonecutters are fox, turkey, hedgehog). Fox: building a cathedral. Hedgehog: fastest stonecutter. Turkey: earning the paycheck.

Story 2: 3 stonecutters at Chesterton’s Fence. In the countryside. Fox: let’s build a bazar here! Fence on the road. Hedgehog: tear it down and put a stone fence. Turkey: hey hold off, we don’t know why this fence is there, it might serve a purpose, let’s not touch it.

Story 3: 3 stonecutters and the vicious dogs.

Morale: fox or hedgehog ok, but don’t be a turkey. steph-note: story incomplete, hope there is a complete version online somewhere.

Hedgehog resilience in Nature: the panda, knows how to look cute.

Foxy resilience: sea birds at Mira Flores, know “4-hour fishing” by Tim Seagull Ferriss.

Hedgehog resilience for humans: Transition Village, Val David, Quebec. Big organic idea of the world.

Foxy for humans: Jugaad movement in India.

Hedgehog mind: single model, one big idea, eliminate contradictions.

Foxy mind: slightly better at prediction, embrace contradiction, interdependence.

Every resilient hedgehog is alike, but every resilient fox is resilient in its own way. Hedgehogs are more predictable.

You can put people on a two-way chart (values, talents | fox, hedgehog).

Foxes: sacred = adventure, profane = boredom Hedgehogs: sacred = love, profane = betrayal

steph-note: a few more charts I didn’t manage to capture here, check slides.

Law 1: build on contradictions, not values. Enterprise = adventurous voyage rather than institution, initially! Go boldly where no man has gone before, but don’t mess with pre-warp cultures.

Hedgehog: mint condition stamp (more damage, less value) Fox: wabi-sabi bowl (more damage, more value)

Law 3: seek motifs, not truths. Globalization = container ships everywhere.

Law 4: pursue adventure, not love. Hojun Song’s devices: Global Orbiting Device (GOD), WMH = Weapon of Mass Happiness.

  • build on contradictions, values will emerge
  • preserve memories, identity will emerge
  • seek motifs, truths will emerge
  • pursue adventure, love will emerge

Act like a fox, your inner hedgehog will emerge! (but seriously, don’t be a turkey)

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