Supreme Smarts, Dream Cities and More: Must-Read Links

Welcome to a new week, and a new roundup of enlightening interviews and essays gathered from a wide range of sources, on topics such as: staying open-minded on the Supreme Court, urban spaces found only in cyberspace, compassion as a stress-reliever, the good moments in life we overlook, a nun revered for her art… and more. Whatever’s transpiring in your life, may you find the words of wisdom you need.


1. Open to Evidence

“We disagree with each other, but we do listen… The challenge is to make friends who don’t agree with you, who try to talk you out of your mistakes, who try to change your mind. Whether they succeed or not is irrelevant – you learn something from them.”

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, to Notre Dame students (The Observer)


2. King of the World

“What, then, is the key to the enduring popularity of the [digital] city builder, that tool by which the municipalities of the imagination are made tangible? Perhaps, simply, the longing for reassurance that the world around us can be seen, can be known, can be understood, and, finally…tamed.”

– Simon Parkin, “In Search of the Keys to the Virtual City” (The New Yorker)


3. Try a Little Tenderness

“Just as stress is not a sign of weakness, neither is self-compassion. Self-compassion is not a way to avoid facing up to one’s challenges or limitations. Quite to the contrary, it is a force for facing those things head on and moving through and past them.”

– Monique Valcour, “A Simple Yet Powerful Way to Handle a Stress Episode” (Harvard Business Review)


4. Practicing, Not Preaching

“Corita’s art resulted from her life as a nun, not in spite of it… Over the years, her faith had expanded beyond doctrinal beliefs to one based on engaged social consciousness. Her sense of religious life similarly grew from a tradition of hierarchical power to one of greater self-determination. Corita’s idea of God continued to evolve to the point where, in an interview with Newsweek, she confessed, ‘My feeling about God is that God is a total mystery, and that’s it.'”

– Sasha Carrera, “Corita Kent, The Big G…” (Los Angeles Review of Books)


5. Life on the Low Road

“We tend to look at the existence of antisocial impulses and ask: Why are some people cruel? Why do they desire to dominate others? These, however, are exactly the wrong questions to ask. Humans have an endless variety of urges. Usually, they’re pulling us in any number of different directions at once. Their mere existence implies nothing. The question we should be asking is not why people are sometimes cruel [but] how we have come to create institutions that encourage such behavior and that suggest cruel people are in some ways admirable.”

– David Graeber, “The Bully’s Pulpit” (The Baffler)


6. Getting Too Comfy

“Somewhere along the way, we may have prioritized comfort to a level that is potentially damaging to our continued development into adulthood and global citizenship. We should not have the right to forgo learning about the difficult, uncomfortable aspects of our history… Disorientation is hugely important, and should be a valued part of the growth experience. When the rug is pulled out from under you, you learn how to find your balance.”

– Esther Boyd, “Resilient Space and the Necessity of Discomfort” (State of Formation)


7. Fresh Clues

“The idea of ‘following your gut’ to find work you love is also terrible advice. The evidence suggests that we’re bad at predicting what will make us happy. We overestimate the negative impact of bad changes to our lives, because we overlook all the good things in our lives that stay constant across changes.”

– William MacAskill, “The Many, Many Problems with ‘Follow Your Passion'” (


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