Primum non nocere

“First, do no harm.” If you have no access to good things, then strive for the absence of bad ones. A logical short-term choice but no permanent way to live. Good things have to be too. If they’re not present eventually you’ll have to make them, somehow.

In cultures that brew bad beer or e.g. confuse sediment and microbial contamination with personality you might be able to get by for a while by drinking beer that’s as watery as possible. But that’s no way to live. You can’t not talk about religion and politics forever, especially when people are taking advantage of the vacuum to make culture war. Another example: women readers probably can’t enjoy science fiction from fun thinkers such as Robert Heinlein unless it’s a work with no female characters, just humans and aliens. But as tempting as a modern moratorium on female characters sounds, it would create more generations of… uninformed writing about women.

Fortunately, the world’s goodnesses are multiplied by good discussions. Useful ideas shared are solutions doubled and time/effort halved. As we get older the problems we haven’t solved yet seem impossible, and yet one entertaining lunch with a curious friend can save you five years of frustration.

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