Mini-Feature: Wasted Human Potential

Don't fall into the traps.

What is the biggest waste of human potential?

I think it is the amount of human potential to do good for themselves and the world currently locked up and frozen in the United States of America. There is so much wasted, constrained, and pent-up human energy in this nation right now—it will burst forth, sooner or later, leading either to renewal or destruction—even if by accelerated implosion rather than explosion. The powers that be can block it from view for a while, but they can’t stop the underlying physics of human potential from operating.

We are in for sudden breaks and shocks. The tinder is dry. And the fire started four or so years ago. Be ready for sudden swells. Movements that spring up fast and allow for all this constrained energy—creative, entrepreneurial, emotional (anger, sadness, etc.)—to vent.

All the wearisome cringe is caused in part by all our old symbols and tokens. People go on and on about a short list of names in a nation of 330 million, or a few schools in a nation of many more. They joust with the aging symbols and invoke the same tattered totems. We need new ones for a new world.

The language of the old symbols and tokens is hollow, born of a world that no longer exists, or upon premises long since proved invalid. We are using a dead rhetorical language in a new landscape it can no longer describe or persuade in.

The same goes for our organizations, of course.

Consider: it would be wild if there was actually a space created by a network of companies sheltering artists to freely, bravely, and transgressively speak truth to the power of the stern religious orthodoxy of all the powers that be. Actual social justice too. You know, an anti-Hollywood.

The opportunity is real and rising on all fronts, but it’s also a real and rising project on all fronts, which is daunting. Coordination is key, as are the initial islands of new business model success.

The illusion of a free market (or democracy, say, in a one party state) is what we need to jettison. In terms of what we call entertainment, it’s not because of a lack of demand that the companies whose stories that more than half the country would enjoy do not exist. The policing role of media today is such that even the slightest hint that a mainstream star or company outside the party line and they will not be tolerated and such examples are rabidly marked for destruction.

The solution is indeed to get outside of it, but since they control every aspect of the process it’s not an easy thing to do. The right needs to realize that to win you need the sharpest businesses in media and tech in line with the right politics from the inside out. And whoever runs them will have to be tough, brave, and wily. Because it is not allowed. This asinine idea that business is wholly outside of politics in some neutral space needs to go, now.

Grifters are attracted to anything that can easily leverage political stances and convert them into cash. But what we need is a network of real talent looking to build real businesses with the end goal in mind. These people are ready to join in communities of the likeminded.

I read a lot about Michael Ovitz and Creative Artists Agency this weekend. Their story is always inspirational to me. We’re gonna build what we need and to hell with the noise. But we don’t just need a new CAA for red/purple America and all who are sick of elite narrative and woke nonsense: we need wholly new media with new platforms and distribution, advertising new products.

Creative talent or "stars" are never enough. We don't need talking heads. We need the people who employ them. For anything real, we need investment, business, tech, and managerial minds banding together to build the civilization we want.

-Matt Peterson


The biggest waste of human potential has yet to be discovered. The battle for supremacy in this area has to do with the two main responses to increased automation: retreat into fantasy realms run by machines versus submission to a reality ruled by them. Two new archetypes of squandering in servility await!

-James Poulos

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The deadening of curiosity. We are born with this faculty for wonderment, which is why you see it on such display in the young. As we age, we get set in a mental groove, we cut ourselves off from answers we don't want to hear, and most of the time we even forget the questions worth asking. Try to fight against this, and you will retain intellectual vitality, which is to say you will keep your human potential open before you.

-David Bahr


Surely it must be fear. I suppose I could rehearse here the various distinctions between healthy precaution, sensible risk management, and that reverential fear which, rightly directed, is the beginning of wisdom. But it would be tiresome and unnecessary to do so, because you know I’m not talking about any of that. You know what I'm talking about. I’m talking about anxiety, that clawing fiend which lives in your chest and immobilizes you with visions of disaster. There is a reason why “perfect love casts out all fear,” and why angels so often greet men by dispelling that terror which naturally attends them. 

One crucial distinction does need making, however: the reason to defy your fear is not because the disaster scenarios it projects are false or even unlikely in every case. The reason is because even if they did happen, so what? In the vast majority of cases, the possibility of those disaster scenarios is flatly irrelevant to how you should proceed. Once you have weighed soberly what could go wrong—once you have squared up to the truth that bad things do happen—the rest is useless trash. The fretting, the gamesmanship, the 4D chess: all fruitless, a criminal squandering of your immense potential. 

I do not actually have any good advice for ceasing to feel anxiety. I experience a considerable amount of it myself. But once in a period of great stress I realized: my forebodings of disaster and my anguish about what might be aren't actually related to anything I should or shouldn’t do. They give me no new information--they just make my daily experience unpleasant. Once you have grasped that, you can understand your fear as something to be dealt with, not by providing for the scenarios it attaches to (which would be an endless and pointless game) but by pushing through it as you would push through any other handicap. It’s like bad weather, or a hurt knee: there’s always something you have to work past, some nagging discomfort that you must disregard to get anything done. In the case of fear, it happens you have been commanded by almighty God to cast it aside. Doesn’t mean it won’t still lurk on the periphery. Just means it cannot—must not—stop you.  

-Spencer Klavan