As some of you might know, I volunteered (first time!) at
The atmosphere at Aracon was quite amazing. About 500 attendees gathered at the Bölle to discuss governance for two days. I didn’t attend too many talks as I was mostly busy tracking down speakers, but the ones I did attend were quite interesting. I definitely got the feeling that many intelligent minds are coming up with great ideas on governance. Special shoutout to Jordan from Frame, and Carlos, another volunteer, who launched Guesser.io, a front-end for Augur. Decentral Identity was another hot topic, with
If you’re going to re-watch only one talk, please check Christoph Jentzsch’s “TheDAO – From the Author’s Perspective.”
I highly recommend you play around with Aragon and create your own DAO. Go to aragon.org for more information.
I am applying for the Cross-Disciplinary Strategies studies at
About the “Cross-Disciplinary Strategies” studies
The bachelor degree Cross-Disciplinary Strategies: Applied Studies in Art, Science, Philosophy, and Global Challenges (CDS) communicates a broad spectrum of artistic and scientific skills, strategies and principles of artistic and scientific praxis. This is linked with the aspiration to promote a critical approach, collaborative skills, and goal-oriented learning not only in individual areas of
The curriculum of the CDS bachelor course is wide in scope, drawing on knowledge from a variety of disciplines and covering basic principles from the arts, philosophy, science, engineering, and the humanities and including strategies in art. A further focus is to explore the foundations and impacts of global challenges and dynamics, such as demographic change, climate change, mass migration, scarcity of resources, violation of human rights, social inequality and poverty, mass unemployment, and the re-definition of human
Entrance Requirements and Application Procedure
The applicant provides the examination committee with documents and information about his or her qualifications attesting to general, visual, and linguistic aptitude to successfully complete the degree programme.
The application consists of two parts (both parts are in English):
- the applicant submits:
- a short biography
- a letter of motivation (600 words / 4000 characters)
- the cover page
- and is given a personal interview.
In the short
In their letter of motivation (600 words / 4000 characters) applicants outline their expectations about the study programme and how they would apply the skills and competencies gained from this course of studies.
My short biography
Born and raised in Belgium (10/10/1991), I left for Brazil as an exchange student, to move to Hamburg a few years later, and finally, settle down in Vienna. Up until recently, I was self-employed, working as a consultant and freelancer, contributing to literary projects and marketing campaigns. I am the host of my own podcast, in which I’ve talked to people from a wide range of fields, including astronauts, writers, politicians, art directors, academics, entrepreneurs, artists and people like you and me. These conversations are in- depth and long in form, where I try to satisfy my own curiosity, explained through their life stories. My first book bundled their stories. I am currently writing my second book.
Letter of motivation
As I kid I always thought of talking to people as my major source of learning. I set out the goal to be able to have a five-minute conversation with anyone in the world, forcing myself to develop enough mental and emotional capacity to try and understand the other person. Later, I discovered the extent of typical the Liberal Arts educations, where the goal is not to deliver experts but to shape a broad field of understanding and allow people to draw from different fields and come up with novel solutions.
To grow as a person and become a good citizen is an integral part of that. I find the observation of my own emotions, thoughts, ideas, and reflections fascinating. Not that my thoughts themselves are fascinating, but the observation of yourself and your own behavior, allows you to deeply think about your core values, about who you are, where you make a stand and where not. To enjoy the process of discovery where one learns to think critically, gathering strength as we go (“Vires acquirit eundo.”).
What I enjoy most in the conversations on my podcast is not to necessarily agree with the other person, but to understand their point of view. Also, I find it fascinating to look at the world through different lenses -not simply taking things at face value- ranging from the political, biological, mathematical, psychological or philosophical. I build my own private library to satisfy my curiosity in these wide-ranging fields, from Benjamin Franklin and John Stuart Mill to Thoreau, Wittgenstein or Popper. I follow my curiosity and try and combine different ideas from different fields, which could be medicine today, and a biography on Leonardo Da Vinci tomorrow.
There are two reasons why I apply for the course.
(i) Even though I appreciate my solitary practice, I want to develop and/or strengthen my knowledge through discussion and active study. I want to discover the topics that I find most exciting, and grow my understanding of them in a critical environment. I also think that I do not test my ideas and opinions enough against the bigger reality. Discovering problems for myself is one thing. Thinking about and solving problems that potentially include an entire continent or the entire world, is a level of abstraction that doesn’t come easily to me. Understanding the dynamics of a local economy is very different from the impact of global markets, and I want to expand my knowledge of the latter type of challenges.
(ii) I lack scientific literacy, a field that remains largely unknown. I want to improve my knowledge of scientific tools in order to rely more on my own understanding when researching scientific findings.
I look forward to being a valuable part of a like-minded group of critical thinkers, against the backdrop of Viennese cultural, economic and philosophical history (and future). If given the opportunity for a personal interview, I will gladly supply more examples of my personal qualifications, including my book, recent writings on my blog, and other projects I’m currently working at. Looking forward to hearing from you.
I just finished reading an excellent essay by the girl (woman?) behind autotranslucence, called Becoming a Magician. In it, she writes about the people we look up to. The ones we want to surround ourselves with. The ones we want to be like. The ones that make whatever they do so seem so easy, it feels like they’re performing some magic trick on us. (That’s close to her
In my first exploration on the topic, I briefly touch on a similar thought (under “Heuristics”). “Only give advice on things you’d suffer from yourself. I saw this rule in action on my first pilgrimage to Santiago. I asked a car driver for instructions on what road to take. Now, after having walked 25 kilometers in the burning sun, an additional two kilometers (four, if you’re going in the wrong direction) is hell. For any car driver, that’s a five minute-mistake. For you, that’s two hours wasted. Only ask advice from those who will suffer from their predictions (other pedestrians, in the Santiago case). This rule is widely applicable. Want to become a doctor? Go and talk to doctors – and doctors only. Want to start a family at age 22? Go and talk to people who started a family at age 22. So often we expect others to hold the answers to our questions, only to find out later that they’re as clueless as we are. You can partly solve that by limiting your sphere of influences to those who have actually experienced it.“
She (I wish I knew her name) adds a few questions to the introspective part of the journey. I highly enjoyed answering these for myself. So grab a piece of paper and see how far you get! 🙂
- ‘What is the most capable version of me that I can imagine?’
- ‘What would I be like/spend my time doing if all my current major problems had been solved?’
- ‘What are the things I say I value but don’t act as if I value, and what would my life feel like on inside if I actually acted as if I valued those things?’
- ‘What am I afraid of doing, and what would my life be like if I wasn’t afraid of doing those things?’.
The last month of the year traditionally gives us the chance to reflect on what we’ve done and how we want to move forward. It’s also a great moment to give a friend or lover or parent or child a nice gift. Like a book. Here’s my list of 52 all-time favorite books.
- Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
- Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
- Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
- Letters to a Young Poet
- Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
- On Doing Nothing: Finding Inspiration in Idleness
- We Learn Nothing: Essays
- How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel
- The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
- The World of Yesterday: Memoirs of a European
- Montaigne (Zweig)
- Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age
- The Crossroads of Should and Must: How to Find and Follow Your Passion
- Leonardo Da Vinci: The Biography
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
- The Meek One
- Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust
- If This Is A Man/The Truce
- Brave New World
- Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
- The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
- On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Think On These Things
- Hannibal and Me
- Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II
- The Prophet
- The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By (watch Entourage, the series, first)
- Milk and Honey
- Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
- The Sun and Her Flowers
- The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II
- The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
- Norwegian Wood
- Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character as Told to Ralph Leighton
- Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger
- The Big Fat Surprise
- The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
- Atrocities: The 100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History
- Atlas Shrugged (small print version. Not the nicest to read.)
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
- Stories of Your Life and Others
- Idea Makers: Personal Perspectives on the Lives & Ideas of Some Notable People
- Investing: The Last Liberal Art
- The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking
You cannot go wrong with any work by Matt Ridley, David Deutsch or Walter Isaacson. And last but definitely not least: Elephant in the Brain.
I was just wondering what your top gift ideas are for kids that won’t just become clutter in a couple of weeks. I know how special it is for children to open gifts on Xmas but I also don’t want to just buy toys or gifts that will ultimately end up in the back of a toy box in a few weeks. What do you guys get for your nieces, nephews, and children? Board games, books…etc? I really want to stay away from regular toys.”
Spend time with them.
- We made a coupon book that has things like “Go to Zoo”, “go to library”, “Go to Christmas play”, etc. We would have done most of that anyways, but we thought it was fun to have coupon book. Plus gives us a nice list to work off when we run out of ideas 🙂
- Sometimes on their birthdays, we’ll take off work and do something fun with them. It’s one vacation day, but feel it means a lot to them (most of the time, lol)
- Gifts that include interaction. I got a “clock kit” off aliexpress. It’s just a bunch of electronics that you solder into a clock. The kit it’s self was only $4 shipped, but took us a good part of a Saturday to put together. It was a great opportunity to spend time and transfer some skill knowledge and teach them with it being fun.
It doesn’t have to be electronics, it could be wood working, painting, hiking, computer programming, etc. If you are an expert or have a hobby, then I’m sure you could find a cheap way to introduce them to it.
I fondly remember my Dad showing me how to shoot a BB gun. He made it into a big deal, going over how BB and real guns work. Showing me the mechanics using charts and videos and diagrams. He even stripped a BB gun and a shotgun to show me how they worked. Then we had a gun safety “course” and even had some super duper cheesy VHS gun safety video, but he did install a sense of respect for firearms… My Grandpa even came out, a real WWII vet to help with the training.
After lunch at the “mess hall” [my mom making us sandwiches], then he finally took me “out in the field” with “live ammo” and safety glasses and spent an afternoon pliknking paper plates with bullseyes on them. The thing is, my Dad isn’t even a “gun nut”, just knew a little about them. He really made it fun and magically but using a lot of grown up terms and having my Grandpa there. I was only 7, but felt like quality man time.
- scavenger hunt. either make one your self or if you are lazy, just go geocaching 🙂 (I almost always do the latter). Protip: your phone has a GPS unit most likely so cost is near zero. Make or print out some “lore” and a “treasure map”. Soak it in tea overnight and let it dry. It’ll look old and mystic.