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TODAY’S STORY
9 Oct
,
2022

What we are reading this Sunday

The Real Magic of Rituals

Repetitive action patterns found in ritual help us cope with stress. More precisely, rituals can prime the mind to think it is in a known and secure environment even when it isn't. They can anchor the psyche in the security of a system, a routine, and help alleviate the anxiety it may feel due to the chaotic nature of life.

Think about them as rooting the psyche in something solid and unchanging — which in turn equips your mind to deal with stress and surprise better. Whether this sense of control is illusory or not is of little importance. What matters is that ritual can be a reliable coping mechanism, and this is why those domains of life that involve high stakes and uncertain outcomes are rife with rituals: sports, war, public performances, and just life, in general.

How Brands Mirror Religion

"One of the key tenets of a cult is that it unites members to oppose what they see as an illegitimate or oppressive mainstream culture. To that end, many brand communities have converted both customers and merchants into devotees.

In 2004, the now-popular review-site Yelp was struggling to grow its business. To surface new ideas, it decided to gather about 100 power users. Then Yelp realized that people were motivated by other people like themselves, not by the businesses they were reviewing. The number of reviews grew exponentially afterward.

The Yelp Elite Squad gathers the platform’s most active reviewers and “role models” and distinguishes members of the Squad with a colorful elite badge featured on their account profiles. Five years of being part of the squad grants you a Gold Elite Badge. After ten years, you’ll receive the much-coveted Black Elite Badge."

Why we stopped making Einsteins

Einstein had multiple personal tutors while growing up. So did many other geniuses throughout history. Could 1:1 private tutoring have played a role in their achievements?

Author Erik Hoel proposes that in turning education into a system of mass production we created a superbly democratic system that made the majority of people, and the world as a whole, much better off. But we lost the most elegant and beautiful minds, those like Stradivari, who were created via an artisanal process.

The unfortunate consequence is that, in a very real sense, our intellectual culture is filled with figures who are essentially mass-produced knock-offs of their aristocratic forebearers.

Some food for thought

I'm once again telling you that everything finally boils down to incentives.

That's all for today, folks. We'll see you with another edition tomorrow. Till then, stay out of trouble and mourn the coming of yet another Monday.

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