December 22, 2020

We barely have time to react in this world
Let alone rehearse
And I don't think I'm better than you
But I don't think that I'm worse
Ani DiFranco, "Letter to a John"
I think about this line sometimes when reading about “Guns, Germs, and Steel” colonialism and racism. Tough to know if any group would have been more moral had opportunities been reversed. And it’s one of those questions that begs the questions of existential predeterminism- how can anyone have done other than what they did in a universe that is governed by a domino chain of cause and effect? Free will is tough to pin down though moral behavior seems to depend on us acting like we have it.
What I say to them are the one or two best things that I learned from Sen. [Ted] Kennedy. First of all, the best is the enemy of the good. He didn't make that up. But if you have a choice between achieving 20 or 30 percent of what you'd like or being the hero of all your friends, choose the first. We're not here just to make speeches. The second thing, which I think is really of great practical value, is don't worry about credit. Credit is a weapon. You give the other person the credit. When you disagree with someone, get them to talk about the problem. Eventually--it happens almost always--they'll say something you agree with. Then you can say, "Let's work with that."
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on what he would tell his grandkids, or his 30-year-old self. (via slate)

Well, when I was young, I was pretty dumb. And now that I'm older, I'm pretty fucking dumb. I don't know everything, and I think I do. So there's the problem.

I didn't ever think I'd get this old. [Laughs] I always thought I was lucky to make it past 21.
Also him on daily exercise:
I still try to do a little workout every day just to pay for the day. That’s what I call it: You have to do something to pay for the day. So I’ll get up and do a little walking or jogging or whatever, just enough to keep the heart going.