Modern Versions of the Traditional

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Happy Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.

  1. About Civilization. You’re reading this on an electronic device, so I’m guessing you’re pretty bought in on this whole modern civilization thing. But what are the trade offs? And what can we learn from the way people used to live? I’m enjoying reading The World Until Yesterday and I’ve read Civilized to Death. My sister enjoyed Hunt, Gather, Parent.  One item (of many) that has stuck with me is the nature of dispute resolution. The state-run legal system focuses on keeping the peace and the state’s monopoly on force. It does not seek to address the emotional or relationship needs of the disputants. Traditional mechanisms emphasize healing relationships but do so at the cost of a higher threat of violence.

  2. Coliving. Traditional cultures often included more communal living.  The modern version of that is coliving or cohousing. The book “Creating Cohousing puts the "neighbor" back into "neighborhood" and is a great read. If you want to dive deeper, my friend Phil’s substack on coliving offers tactical advice and case studies. (BTW, Phil has a recent piece about the impact of a Zoom world on building our life bundle.)

  3. Playborhood. Do you want to bring together your neighborhood without moving? Consider creating a playborhood where your outdoor space includes play features for kids. Check out the book and let me know the results. My brother reports good things. By putting a swing in his front yard and spending a bit more time there, they have had many more conversations with neighbor families. They are enjoying it and are talking about doing more.

  4. Breathing. Bridging the ancient to the modern: the meditation app. There are a lot of good ones including Waking Up and Insight Timer. My current favorite is the Breathe app which queues you to breathe in a certain cadence. “Inspired by the resonance, the scientific name that describes what happens when our heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, and brainwave function come into a coherent frequency. It occurs spontaneously when we breathe at a rate of five to seven breaths per minute (instead of our usual 15-18). It results in a calm, restful alertness, and many other benefit.” For example, “a recent meta-analysis found that clinical interventions involving paced breathing at a resonance frequency of the cardiovascular system resulted in large effect size reductions in anxiety and stress”. Or you could take my sister and mother’s course on meditating at home.

  5. Ventilation is Good. Speaking of breathing, a friend and loyal reader pointed out that we hear so much about masks but much less about ventilation. The CDC provides some guidance on ventilation in buildings. How effective are these strategies? Are buildings employing them? I have heard that higher Indoor air quality makes people perform better. Another reason to let in fresh air.

Until next week,

Miles