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Skiff Mail: end-to-end encrypted email that protects your inbox and gives you the power to communicate freely.
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Shifting the impossible to the inevitable: How can we enable more science fiction to become reality? This piece is intended for five types of readers. Selecting a persona will create a “guided tour” for that persona, highlighting the sections that are hopefully of most interest and value.
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- Google interview warmup
Working even a good job cramps your sense of possibility, imposes narrow objectives, and eats away at the little things that could grow into big things if they weren’t so oppressed by the rigors of existing structure. I’ve seen this with my friends, in how they are full of ideas and adventurous spirit a few months after I convince them to quit their jobs. The world is full of ideas and opportunities to explore, but it takes time outside of structure to even adjust your eyes to the landscape of possibility. You are cramped by your job, unable to make the class of investments that is necessary for a life beyond the existing tracks.
If your role in the universe is structured work within order found and built by someone else, those off-road investments are pointless. This conventional work is usually more immediately valuable than anything you could do on your own and it does not require much open-ended exploratory leisure. This efficient pursuit of predictable value is the quiet dignity of the mass of working people. But if we are to solve the bigger structural, spiritual, and intellectual problems which aren’t addressed by existing institutions, someone needs to be exploring off of the established road, where there is a high probability of failing to accomplish anything at all, and a significant probability of discovering and exploiting the next big breakthroughs.
This is part of why we need an active leisure class in society. Productive exploration requires the application of skilled personal judgment to chasing hunches and interesting problems without narrow material and objective constraints. It is generally unfair and wasteful for this to be anything but voluntarily self-funded, though some well-designed research institutions can effectively simulate productive leisure and accelerate the exploration process. Thus, speculative exploration is a special duty of those with means.
Relatedly, it’s unfair and wasteful for the people who could be out there exploring and building the future on their own dime to be either working normal jobs or simply managing their money for profit. This is a key part of what it means to be a responsible elite. You use your privilege and your personal judgment to explore and solve problems that no one else can.