Thoughts on the post-individual

I read The Post-Individual essay yesterday; written by the writer and entrepreneur Yancey Strickler -today behind Metalabel, before that behind Kickstarter. I highly recommend it. It goes back in history and the creation of the individualism. Here are the first 3 paragraphs:

On the internet we can be whoever we want to be. We can choose from any number of qualities, real or imagined, and express ourselves and live our lives from that point of view online.

To go online is to become re-individualized — an individual in a whole new way and place. You still exist in the physical world, but you gain a new social existence that floats over-top of, around, inside of, and as a force within almost all other areas of life.

Because of the internet we don’t need to define our identity based on where we physically live, who we’re born to, or what we look like, as has been the case in human history until now.

Analog activities and their impact on happiness

When do I feel the happiest? I'm actually not sure 'happy' is the right word here. Maybe it's closer to 'feeling at peace', 'feeling complete', 'whole', a deep sense of 'calm and serenity'. I still choose 'happy' because there is a layer of joy, adrenaline sometimes, a genuine feeling of fulfillment.

Going back to the question itself, well, the straight-forward and instinctive answer is: playing with my kids, alone time with Mathilde, deep discussions with people -sometimes animated but not necessarily, building stuff -which might imply deep and animated talks with my co-founders, exploring outside, skateboarding, boxing, distraction-free reading -good coffee not optional. I could go on for hours. Typical example being: I hate running -the activity itself- but I would 100% put 'running with Mathilde' up there in the list of moments where I feel the happiest. I don't golf but again, I would 100% put all the mornings I spent with my grand-father 20 years ago on a golf court up there in the list. I'm not a foodie but again, well, you get the point.

Photography by Alisha Jucevic | For The Times

Our relationship to children

Two weeks ago my oldest had some fever. Result is he didn't go to school and stayed at home with us. Since Mat went to Paris I was alone with both kids on Thursday. We dropped the youngest at school and then, I spent the whole day with the oldest. There were many scenarios for this specific day. The most common one being: putting the kid under the 'digital nanny' supervision -- aka movies on the laptop -- and trying to work as much as possible in the meantime.

I chose another one: dropping everything I 'had to' do for work and spend the whole day playing, discussing, cooking, exploring with him. We're still early 2024 but I can tell this was my best day of the year so far.

Your decision-making skill, focus and working hard

I decided to launch my first startup I was still a young 20-ish student. Back in 2011 in France, there weren't much to rely on. Which - in retrospect - was most probably the beauty of it all. And I've to say this kind of wild-west created very strong and authentic bonds between many 'players'. Typically in my case, we rented out one little room in the basement of the first office of a fresh brand named Jimmy Fairly [still around and thriving -- think of it as the french version of Warby Parker] and that's also where I met Stan; now Dust co-founder.

Now is the greatest time to be alive

I've no idea if this is due to my age or the average age of the people surrounding me - mostly in their 30s - or my parents and grand-ma getting older - the former in their 60s, the latter in her 80s - but I hear more and more 'complaints' about how hard nowadays are, how doomed we are, and how better it was in the past. I know how inevitable it is to think such things when you grow up. This is genetically speaking how we work, how our brain is operating. Which is why we can find some exact same complaints by 'older people' about their youth and current state of affairs from centuries and millennium ago. Still, I find it challenging to watch myself and my closest people fall into this trap.

History is storytelling

I read a wonderful - sometimes disturbing - article about history; more precisely about how storytellers (and their biases) crafted our history. I highly recommend it. It also made me realise there is 'story' in the word 'history'. Never really paid attention. By the way, in french, these are the same word: 'histoire' [pronounced his-too-ar]. So we could say 'raconte moi une histoire' [which would translate into 'tell me a story'] and when we're talking about history add something like 'l'histoire avec un grand 'H'' [history with a big H]. I realise now - deeply rooted in our language - how history is only a story of the past we collectively agreed upon.

Do kids naturally hold the keys to a good life?

My kids are still young, respectively 4 and 2 years-old. The more I observe them, the more I tend to think they already hold all the right keys to live a good life. A few things here: it's not about 'my' kids, but kids in general. Since mine are the ones I observe the most, on a daily basis, of course they're the ones I might refer to the most. Then, when I say 'holding the keys to a good life' I mean: they already possess, play and use all the right ingredients to live life at its fullest but of course, everything is still raw. Hence childhood by the way, as a time to mature, learn, develop and we - adults - have such an important role to play here.

Jew

I'm sad. We got some tear gaz downstairs yesterday because the police was breaking up a local rally. I've seen/ heard/ read [on- & offline] things I couldn't have imagined possible. My only consolation prize is to know that my great-grand-ma [named Tiszelman; born in Poland and who ran away during the 30's to come to France] isn't here anymore to (re-)experience such darkness.

Virtue signalling and disappointment

I've heard 'virtue signalling' a few times in the past few years - mostly on twitter actually - and while I understood the concept and critics pointed out behind it I also felt pretty distant. Like a 'oh here's something between some activists and companies'. And then recently I realised (a) that behavior is present all around me way more than anticipated/ thought at first (b) it affects me and my mood pretty often. Let's unpack this.