#SoG101 - The Prophet and The Wizard

#SoG101 - A new beginning

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SoG 101 - The Wizard and The Prophet
On my commute to work today, I heard the Freakonomics Radio episode on Meat.

In the podcast, they talk about this book, The Wizard and The Prophet. The book is a commentary on how two "deeply divided groups–Wizards and Prophets" look at the future of the world. While I am yet to read the book (just ordered), the description of Wizards and Prophets caught my eye. And that's what I want to talk about today.

So, Charles Mann defines The Prophets as the people that believe that if we use more than what our planet has to offer, it will lead us to ruin. And further, if we don't cut back, all of us will lose in the long run.

The Wizards are the people that believe that if we innovate, we can find problems to the toughest problems possible. Resources or no resources. With as much consumption as our hedonistic brains and instant gratification seeking body parts may want.

These two are ofcourse fundamentally different approaches to look at things (and tackle problems). And while in the book the prophets and wizards speak on two facets of environmental issues, I think the definitions can be widened to understand self.

For example, while I was reading about these two, I realised that I lean on the Wizard side. To me, it is super important to create new things and bring new things to life (unlike Prophets that want to optimize and stay within the boundaries imposed by perishable and limited resources). While my intent is not to save humanity or something, I definitely want to create things that make lives better, happier and more fulfilled. In an ideal world, every person will have equal opportunities and will have an option to rise to their capability. And beyond. This beyond is important. Ok, I am drifting. This is not about me.

You, for example, could be a Prophet.
For example, if you support the ban on plastic, you are a Prophet. Rather, if you seek a solution to use plastic and upcycle it, you are a wizard. If you call for a ban on fossil fuels, you are a Prophet. If you try and send humans to Mars, you are a Wizard.

You must understand if you want to optimise within the boundaries. Or you want to go beyond and create new things that may expand the boundaries. And neither is wrong.

The thing for you, to do today, is to figure out the side you lean on.

And once you know of the side you are on, go find others of the ilk and get into action.

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Tags: Freakonomics, Podcast, Environment, Future, Prophet, Wizard

1. I think podcasting is the new revolution material. Us urban-dwelling humans have to waste to much time in commute, queues, transit, waiting on, waiting for etc. There is no way out. But with podcasting, you can use the time better and learn things!

If you wish to be a thinking, evolving individual, you better add podcasting to your arsenal. I recommend Stitcher and Overcast. Try em. Start with this conversation between Naval and Shane.

2. You know, 101 is the scariest thing ever. Scarier than even the blank page. Because if you are on the blank page, you may dilly dally and say that you are waiting for inspiration. But when you have crossed the chasm (of 100), you've set expectations and on top, you are sort of restating. All that you've done does not matter (it does - you have earned credibility but that does not amount to much if you ask me). What matters is what you'd do next. Scary.