Survival Aesthetics

An attempt to appreciate the beauty inherent in survival (and what it takes for an organism to survive)

What fosters creativity, meaning, and accountability in human structures of every size and shape? What does this mean for how we should (and shouldn’t) organize our world, our tribes, and ourselves?

This idea is well-trodden, and my goal is to share some of what the masters have had to say. A sampling: Sun Tzu, Taleb, Foucault, Machiavelli, Catmull, Epictetus, Rumi, Gardner, Postman, Jaynes, Thiel, Junger, Mauboussin, Feynman, Knuth, Sussman, Minsky, Jung, Marcus Aurelius, Hesse, and many more.

I will be sharing brief essays periodically. Hope you enjoy. (You can read all old essays here)

- Ammar
  1. The Curiosity Organism
    • What is the nature of an institution and why do we join one as a default? What do institutions produce? How do they die? How do they thrive?
  2. The Aesthetic of Survival
    • There are three primary fashion sensibilities that determine our relation between ourselves and others (Power, Prestige, and Prowess). Why are we drawn to success stories or certain types of plans over others? How do the best learners actually learn? What is the difference between a rose and a cockroach?
  3. Memes and Culture in the Curiosity Organism
    • A group's ability to remain a curiosity organism depends on the memes that are cultivated and grassroots-produced in its public spaces. What effects do our social streams have on our ability to think independently? Why is culture often talked about but never actually practiced the way we say it is being practiced?
  4. Trust, Norms, Transactions, and Protocols
    • The largest impediments to survival for a curiosity organism are distrust, high transaction costs, and ineffective norms. What purpose do social norms play? Why do social norms become barriers to authentic behavior?
  5. The Mysticism of Telemachus and Mentor
    • Mentors are the stewards of the culture of the curiosity engine (its survival engine). What are people actually looking for when they join a firm? How does a firm continuously renew?

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