Humans aren’t overpopulated. We’re aging and shrinking

Too few babies — not overpopulation — is likely to be a major problem this century.

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  • A new study used demographic data to explore current and projected population changes around the world. Europe and Asia are shrinking, while Africa is still growing.
  • For the first time in history, people aged 65+ outnumber children younger than five.
  • Underpopulation will cause serious challenges for sustainability.
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How to live an intellectual life

Being an intellectual is not really how it is depicted in popular culture.

  • When you picture an intellectual, who do you see? Professor Zena Hitz says that somewhere along the way, the idea of what an intellectual is and does became distorted.
  • "The real thing is something more extraordinary but also more available to us," Hitz adds, differentiating between an intellectual life constantly in pursuit of something else, and one that enjoys ordinary activities like reading and thinking.
  • An example is young Albert Einstein, who spoke highly of his time working in a patent office and hatching "beautiful ideas" long before becoming a famous physicist.


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Why the world is going crazy—and how to win back our minds

Why are rapture ideologies exploding?

  • The speed at which civilization is progressing has become overwhelming for modern humans and has caused what Jamie Wheal (author of Recapture the Rapture, founder of the Flow Genome Project, and host of the Collective Insights Podcast) calls a "collapse of meaning."
  • For many, Meaning 1.0 (organized religion) and Meaning 2.0 (modern liberalism) no longer provide the structure and guidance that they used to. "It does feel like the handrails, the things we used to look to for stability and security, have evaporated," says Wheal. "If we've experienced a collapse of meaning, how do we go about restoring it?"
  • In order to reach Meaning 3.0—which Wheal says is a blend of traditional religion and modern liberalism without the promise of an escape—we need to focus on mending trauma, reconnecting with inspiration, and connecting better with one another.
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Textiles: Humanity’s early tech boom

How fabric helped build modern civilization.

  • Virginia Postrel, author of "The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World," describes how the pursuit of textiles has led to a vast variety of innovations throughout history. Notably, the launch of the Industrial Revolution started with the machines that mechanized the spinning of thread.
  • The term luddite, which has now come to mean "people who have [an] ideological opposition to technology," started with textiles. The original Luddites of the 19th century were weavers who rioted when they began losing their jobs to power looms.
  • Postrel states that human beings throughout the world and across history independently discovered different processes for creating cloth. She goes on to say that "weaving is something that is deeply mathematical… It seems to be this kind of human activity that's thinking in ones and zeros that's anticipating our modern computer age."
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How gratitude makes you more attractive

Social interactions are important for building the strongest relationships.

  • When someone says thank you, who is it for? According to Dr. Sara Algoe, expressions of gratitude have a positive effect on the person receiving the message, the person delivering it, and even those who witness the exchange. These types of social interactions are crucial for building lasting relationships with romantic partners, friends, and coworkers.
  • "When we say 'thank you,' we're sending a message to the person who just did something nice for us, that they are valued, that they're seen, that the thing that they did for us was worth doing in the first place," Algoe says.
  • Expressing gratitude is easy, and the research shows that the benefits far outweigh the effort.

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