Radical Idea: Libraries

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If the idea of a library was purposed today it simply would be laughed out of existence because a library embodies an idea that is often ignored: that people, no matter their status, should be given a chance at no cost. In fact, libraries are free for all and generate no profit. What’s more they let people use the same shared resource over and over again – anathema in a post-Napster internet. Take a moment and marvel in the fact that despite the commodification and finalization of all aspects of our life that the simple library still stands.

The majesty of library buildings is matched only by the nobility of their purpose. The public library does not make anyone money; it does not understand its patrons as mere consumers, or as a revenue base. Instead, it aspires to encounter people as minds. The public library exists to grant access to information, to facilitate curiosity, education, and inquiry for their own sake. It is a place where the people can go to pursue their aspirations and their whims, to uncover histories or investigate new scientific discoveries.

And it is available, crucially, to everyone. It costs nothing to enter, nothing to borrow – in New York, and in many other cities, the public library system has even eliminated late fees. All the knowledge and artistry of its collection is available to the public at will, and it is a privilege made available, without prejudice, to rich and poor alike.

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Philosophers Argue Men Don’t See Domestic Duties

AI generated image of philosophers arguing about domestic duties

The age old debate about who does more around the house will never be settled, thanks to some philosophers may at least understand why it won’t be settled. Using affordance theory (which is about objects, situations, and actions being related) philosophers argue that the way the world is interpreted fundamentally defines how we react, or not, to an implication of a chore. For example, a man might see a room as being disorganized and leave it at that whereas a woman sees the same room and thinks about the necessary action of having to organize it, meaning that the woman in this example has more of a mental burden than the man. Of course, it’s a very gendered conversation and there’s no clarity of any of this being innate or learned behaviour.

Regardless, you should tidy up after yourself.

“Many point to the performance of traditional gender roles, along with various economic factors such as women taking flexible work for childcare reasons,” said Dr Tom McClelland, from Cambridge University’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

“Yet the fact that stark inequalities in domestic tasks persisted during the pandemic, when most couples were trapped inside, and that many men continued to be oblivious of this imbalance, means this is not the full story.”

McClelland and co-author Prof Paulina Sliwa argue that unequal divisions of labour in the home – and the inability of men to identify said labour – is best explained through the psychological notion of “affordances”: the idea that we perceive things as inviting or “affording” particular actions.

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Climate Crisis Course Required in Spain

tree with climate knowledge

Students at the University of Barcelona will now be required to take a class on the climate crisis regardless of their field of study. Adding the course to all students makes sense since the climate crisis impacts all aspects of knowledge from urban planning to our understanding of history.

The way the course got added to the curriculum is further proof protesting works.

“The trigger was the student occupation but it shows a general cultural change. Ten or 15 years ago the university would have sent in the police. But now you can’t kick them out because you know they’re right and society supports them.”

“It’s not just another course on sustainable development,” said Lucía Muñoz Sueiro, an End Fossil activist and PhD student at the university. “It combines the social and ecological aspects of the crisis, which are interrelated.”

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People Who Ditched Their Car Are Happier

small car

There’s are individuals who advocate against making our cities better places to live because they fear losing their dependence on their automobile (car marketers encourage this too). We need to let car-brained individuals know that their lives will be better if they have more transportation options and that they will be happier too. People who got rid of their car for non-monetary reasons increased their happiness!

to reduce energy and resource consumption beyond technological modifications. One way to do this is to forgo ownership of certain consumer goods, such as cars. Although proponents of sufficiency claim that car shedding (i.e., giving away a vehicle so that the household no longer has its own car) might increase subjective well-being (SWB), there is little empirical evidence supporting this. This paper aims to help fill this gap by adding empirical evidence on the relationship between car shedding and SWB. Data from the Swiss Household Panel is used (2006–2017) with a fixed-effects model assessing the year-to-year changes in evaluative and affective well-being (life satisfaction, leisure satisfaction, joy, and anger) before and after car shedding. Separate analyses for non-affordability-driven and affordability-driven car shedders were conducted. Results show that non-affordability-driven car shedding has a positive effect on feelings of joy one to three years after the event. Affordability-driven car shedding, in contrast, is associated with a decrease in leisure satisfaction and feelings of joy up to three years later. Levels of positive affective wellbeing already decrease in anticipation of affordability-driven car shedding. A sufficiency measure like non-affordability-driven car shedding is not associated with reducing SWB, and this may have policy implications.

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The Ultimate Happiness Guide

work and smile

Happiness isn’t the goal of life, but it sure is important. If you’re not feeling happy it isn’t because you don’t have enough stuff or not watching enough TV. According to experts you should join a club (doesn’t matter what it is just that you’re with others), walk outside in nature, sleep more, and spend time with friends and family.

This happiness advice comes from a survey of the world’s top happiness scholars. It’s a fun article which also has suggestions for policy makers to increase everyone’s happiness.

Connect

Experts advise in the first place to focus social bonds, such as by (a) investing in friends and family, (b) joining a club, (c) acting nicely (d) marrying and (e) socialize with colleagues. They see more gain in social contact when (f) the focus is on the happiness of others and that advice fits the strategy recommended below.

Seek meaning

Experts think that living a meaningful life will make that life more satisfying. They recommend the following ways to seek meaning: (a) live up to your values, and if you are religious, practice your religion, (b) be generous and (c) volunteer, and (d) do not focus on your own happiness in the first place and (e) seek a purpose in life, which (f) you may clarify by writing a personal missionstatement.

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