Category Archives: Choosing/Decision-Making

Which is worse, blowing smoke in a someone’s face (say, a baby) or burning tons of jet fuel?

on August 21, 2023 in Choosing/Decision-Making, Nature

The title asks it all, but I’ll make it more poignant. Say I blow cigarette smoke in a baby’s face. Shocking, isn’t it? Horrible. Unconscionable. Probably criminal, like assault. But if I burn tons of jet fuel to visit the Amazon under the guise of ecotourism, people seem to view it as healthy. How is this difference possible? You could say because blowing smoke in someone’s face is directed. Still,[…] Keep reading →

What will plugging my apartment back in feel like?

on August 14, 2023 in Choosing/Decision-Making, Freedom

First some context: When I challenged myself to avoid flying for a year, I expected the worst year of my life—my family disowning me, running out of money, etc. Instead, after a couple months I unexpectedly found the experience rewarding enough to go for another year. Then each year led to another. At some point I figured I’d never fly again. It’s easy enough not to get on a plane.[…] Keep reading →

Plug in again or work less?

on April 30, 2023 in Choosing/Decision-Making

We’ve had a lot of rain in New York City. My batteries are all near zero so I have to write this post quick. I gave myself a deadline to finish the first draft of my book this month, but I couldn’t charge my computer. I also went a month without my “cheat” of plugging in at NYU last month. It turns out the battery problem that led me to[…] Keep reading →

If you would have done what Thomas Jefferson didn’t, do you act now?

on February 26, 2023 in Choosing/Decision-Making, Leadership

Do you believe we should remove statues of people who held slaves? I can see both sides of people taking down statues of Thomas Jefferson. He was President of the United States and helped write its founding documents. He advanced freedom. Yet he was a racist who believed men in Africa mated with orangutans (he spelled oranootan in his 1784 Notes on the State of Virginia) and owned slaves. Since[…] Keep reading →

Freedom exists in structure; it’s not chaos, randomness, or luck. Here’s my structure and freedom.

on February 25, 2023 in Choosing/Decision-Making, Fitness, Freedom, Habits, SIDCHAs

Freedom exists in structure. It’s not chaos, randomness, or luck. When I find something works in my life, I make it automatic. For many people, diet and exercise seem horror shows, or mysteries, wondering what they should do, how often, how much, and so on. When the most important bases of my life are automatic, I don’t have to think about them. I can focus on everything else. People might[…] Keep reading →

NYU in 2019: We will stop buying bottled water. NYU in 2023: Here’s some bottled water from us.

on January 23, 2023 in Choosing/Decision-Making, Doof

I don’t look for this stuff. It’s impossible to miss. Where is the leadership in sustainability? Why is everyone so slippery? (I know the answer, of course. Lincoln said it best: “Nothing does more damage to you than to do something you believe is wrong.” When you do, you will lie, cheat, deny, and suppress to avoid facing the internal conflict.) I start teaching this semester at NYU tomorrow. The[…] Keep reading →

Imagine a drug where you get the pleasure and others suffer the harmful side effects: that’s polluting activities.

on January 3, 2023 in Addiction, Choosing/Decision-Making, Doof

The title says it all, but let’s look in more detail. Take heroin and you get euphoria, but you also suffer the addiction and ruination of your life. You cause others to suffer too, but not directly from the drug. They suffer from your degradation, running out of money, isolation, and so on. In principle, you could use heroin and not cause others to suffer. Gamble and you occasionally win,[…] Keep reading →

Sign up for my weekly newsletter