Good morning, fellow Citizen.
Welcome to the sixth issue of No Easy Answers, a curated newsletter for curious, courageous Citizens.
Twitter might be the last place you'd expect to find meaningful signal on the internet. But lately, I've been finding a heck of a lot of it.
Part of that is in the medium itself. When twitter expanded from 140 to 280 characters, and when they introduced threading, it opened up the possibility for deeper thinking and conversation. It's still largely ephemeral short-form content, but if you have more to say, you can totally do that right on the platform now.
But a bigger part is that when you go beyond the loudest, most obnoxious culture war voices, twitter is full of friendly, vibrant intellectual communities. Personally, I've been digging deeper into creator twitter, Buddhist twitter, post-rationalist twitter, philosophy twitter, and so on. And I'm making all sorts of new friends in those worlds.
All of this is to say that while twitter has a terrible reputation, the reality is far more delightful. If you put in the work to curate your feed and avoid the toxicity, twitter can genuinely enrich your life. Which is a strange thing to say about any social media platform in 2021.
Anyhow, since we're gathered here around the idea of Citizenship, I figured I'd share a handful of intriguing threads I found from the last week, all of which challenged and expanded my thinking in some way.
Let's dig in 🐦
So much of the discourse around race in the US—both from progressives and conservatives alike—is increasing division and racial animus, not healing it. Chloé Valdary is one of my favorite voices standing firm in this fight, and doing something real to move us forward.
What I love about what Chloé is doing is that she's attempting to solve the actual problem through compassionate education, and helping us love the whole of humanity, instead of trying to "beat the other team." She's playing on another level entirely, and my sincere hope is that in 20 years, her antiracism trainings are the ones that have taken root in society. Because it will lead to a world where we truly understand and value each other as individuals, not as racial abstractions.
Anyhow, this thread is a great microcosm of what she's all about. It's simply about the recognition that when a human oppresses someone else, it's always rooted in pain and unmet needs. By acknowledging that your oppressors are human, and that they're hurting others because they're suffering themselves, you open the door to real healing and reconciliation, instead of further division.
P.S. Her Theory of Enchantment universe is pretty cool, and worth diving into.
Next up is Liminal Warmth, who I also shared in last week's newsletter. (We've got our first two-timer!) To understand her thread, you should probably first read the article it's referring to.
Now, I'll be real with you. Just the title of that essay made me cringe. It set off alarm bells in my brain, and I had a strong urge that it wasn't even worth reading. But it is. And despite having serious reservations about whether white supremacy is the proper culprit this story, it's heartbreaking nonetheless.
Anyhow, what I love about Liminal's thread is that it's not dismissive of the underlying emotional truth of the article. Even though the white supremacy framing probably isn't productive or useful (it rarely is these days), there are real and shitty and destructive power dynamics at play. It seems there's something innate to the traditional corporate power structure—and the games people have to play to "win" within it—that are corrupting to the soul. The higher you climb, the more ruthless you have to be, apparently. It's a great reminder that the systems we live under shape and mold us.
For me, this was an important lesson in truth-seeking and sensemaking. Like I said, I would have completely dismissed this woman's story based on the headline alone. But that's an immature reaction. I'm learning that everyone we meet in the world—even those we fervently disagree with—have something to teach us. All of us hold a tiny piece to the larger puzzle that is the human experience, and if we genuinely value truth-seeking and empathy and wisdom, we need to listen to others without dismissing them outright. There's always something true in what they're saying, even if it's surrounded by mountains of misconceptions and unhelpful narratives.
Last but not least, we have a MAJORLY fun and thought-provoking thread of ideas for improving the US.
I have no idea who runs this account, what they believe, or where they fall on the political spectrum (whatever that means). And that's great, because I do know that our traditional binary (red vs blue) ways of solving problems don't make sense in a world that's evolving as quickly and dramatically as ours. We need new ways of thinking, and perhaps even some dramatic shakeups.
Honestly, I don't know if these ideas are any good. But I do know they're different. And in a system that's caught between two parties who seemingly don't care about solving problems, but virtue signaling and fighting each other to the death, throwing a wrench or two into the works might just be a good thing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Thanks for reading, as always. 😊
Hope you found something here that delights you a bit, and convinces you to start finding the friendly, intellectually stimulating corners of twitter.
Good luck out there, and godspeed.