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whose mountain #5
Happy Wednesday. This is the 5th edition of Whose Mountain, which feels like a small milestone worth celebrating. Before Write of Passage, I’d tried to write online, but rarely ever made it past two posts. Since Write of Passage, I’ve published five newsletters and nine essays. I’m only getting started. Thank you for coming along on this journey.
In this week’s newsletter
My series on climate change
I’ve shared a few times that I’m afraid of climate change. Not so much of what will happen in the next ten years, but that in winning the war against emissions, we’ll lose the peace. I tried to write an essay detailing my point of view. Instead of an essay, I hit upon seven questions that, for me, define our future potential.
How do we find enough as a society in the Amazon® economy?
How do we want to value things that won’t earn us a return? Public goods, land, relationships, biodiversity, and health will never fit into a purely capital mindset. Do we really want to bend our earth to fit our current religion?
How do we save my morning french press from going extinct?
How can we encourage a spiritual relationship with land? Our rational understanding of land and systems hasn’t taught us to live in harmony with it, so what other tools do we need?
How can we protect societies which steward the land in ways other than trying to give them money?
What other ways of knowing can help us expand beyond the limits of our scientific understanding?
How can we regain our intuition about ecosystems, health, and relationships when the current societal climate pushes us to ever more partisan positions?
I was nervous to publish this essay. I care so much about our relationship with nature. Just not in the “I offset all my CO2 and show off my new Tesla” way. It’s more spiritual than that, and I don’t always know how to talk about it. Anyways, I published the questions and my thoughts this week in What I Think About When I Think About the Future. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out.
A lesson I learned this week
It turns out, I’m afraid of dying. Who knew?!
Maybe some context would help.
Many of you know I’ve been building Uniquely for a good part of this year. But most of you don’t know that I’ve felt profoundly stuck the last few months. I haven’t know what to do to make this company work. Not knowing has eaten away at the self-image I have of myself. I was always the person who knew how to make things work. If I didn’t know, I knew how to get other people to find a way. But here I am, feeling completely alone, stuck, and scared of what that means about me. In the classic fight, flight, or freeze response, I froze.
I froze because it was easier to do nothing than face my fears of being a failure. It bled over into a bunch of other areas of my life too, including my writing and drawing. Working with my coach, I finally let my subconscious admit that I was scared of not being a massive success. Turns out I want my stories to be told in history books, and would it be too much to ask to put my name on a building or two? I was ashamed to admit even wanting that level of success. I fancied myself better than that. I even wrote The Boyd Triangle about not needing that level of success. Turns out my worst impulses aren’t as refined as I’d like to imagine.
And then, my coach showed me Ernest Becker’s causa sui (Immortality) project. From The Denial of Death, when I feel like my immortality project (in this case, my company) isn’t going well, I’m forced to face my own mortality. It turns out my mortality scares me.
So there you go, I’m afraid of dying. Just having that framework helps right now. Instead of not understanding what is happening, I at least have a model for why I’ve been scared and frozen. Which means I can work my way out of it.
Thoughts on mastery
I don’t seek to be the kind of person who gets good enough. I want to be the kind of person that is an absolute master at what I choose to do. Even seeking mastery remakes me into the kind of person that really cares. I want to be the kind of person that can turn it up to 11. I want to walk down the street and be able to give a knowing nod to the artist, musician, chef, teacher, or dad who’s also seeking mastery. That’s my kind of club.
“Ameteurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics.” — General Omar Bradley
I love this quote. Mastery is about logistics and distribution. I was thinking about that when I saw this:
Things I could use help with
Does anyone know a great small events organizer? I’ve got a few questions before our next family cooking event at Uniquely. If you know of someone, I’d love an intro.
If anyone knows of companies or people working to protect biodiversity specifically (rather than as a side benefit of other work), I’d like to learn more about them. Let’s talk.
What do you think? What resonated in this week’s edition? I’d love to hear from you.
Until next week, have an intentionally wonderful week.