The African Enterprise (23/08/2021)

Hi friends,


I have been thinking through an idea for the next essay. I am a big fan of Yuval's 21 lessons from the 21st century and he has a quote in there that's become the filament in this light. He wrote, Questions you cannot answer are usually much better than answers you cannot question. It got me thinking about the lessons we grew up with, most of our beliefs being the answers we already have.

Questioning some of them can be uncomfortable, maybe confrontational. But, with different cultures traipsing beside and over each other more closely now, what’s to gain, and how to question some of these answers?

I will like to share two essays with you this week:

Doubt it till you know it: Everything we come across, everything we learn, remodels our overall belief slowly, incrementally, but surely. Over time, most of what we are exposed to are embedded in the framework of our thought process. Doubt doesn't mean carefully scrutinizing everything we come across, it means having the presence to realize what should be internalized and what shouldn't.

Context and Understanding: Your context is as influential as it is important. Although we might all be looking the same way, we're not seeing the same things. What you see is influenced by your context and its context. To understand without considering context is like turning on the faucet without water in the pipes. Maybe a drop would come out of it, a fleeting glimmer of understanding, but it is nowhere near where it should be.

Coolest things I learned this week

The centripetal forces of unification

Every society or group is inevitably and constantly faced by forces that either divide or unite. Even within families and interpersonal relationships, these forces are present. They are the Centripetal and Centrifugal forces.

While Centripetal forces pull people together, centrifugal forces pull them apart. 

To stop the society or group from breaking apart, centripetal forces must be greater than centrifugal forces.

One of the strongest centripetal forces for countries is National identity (the flag, anthem, sports teams) which signals national unity. An example is the Olympics which put on one of the most spectacular shows of national unity and pride.

Another is the availability of resources that confer long-term stability. Nothing destabilizes more than the thought of insufficiency. Good infrastructure and economy are centripetal forces.

Culture, language, and religion are also some of the most powerful unifying forces in existence. 


Centrifugal forces

On the other hand are Centrifugal forces. They are the destabilizing ones that cut people apart like a hot knife on butter.

For countries, one of the most common ones is religious and political intolerance exacerbated by an inflamed political and religious scene.

Economic inequality is another.

The impact of these forces is not limited to countries and societies. They exist within companies, groups, and between people. It's all about figuring out the centripetal forces and ensuring that they're greater than all centrifugal forces.


Domestication of dogs 

Nothing fascinates me more than the reason behind some of the most commonplace things in our society. One of them is the domestication of dogs.

The domestication of dogs began with wolves who tentatively hung around human camps in Eurasia to try to scavenge leftover carcasses. Some of the braver ones risked being speared to get more food so they got even closer. Gradually, that boldness spread and more of them got closer to get food.

People began to see reason for semi-tamed wolves around the camp perhaps because they provided an early-warning system of an attack or perhaps because they tracked down wounded prey animals.

Over time, selective breeding and evolution have led to the breeds that live with us now. Essentially, we can have these cute friends because their ancestors were brave enough to risk being killed for food.


The washing machine

Early names for the washing machine include Fullling mill, rotating drum washer, compound rotary washing machine with rollers for wringing and mangling, Clothes washer with Wringer rolls, Wash mill, electric washer, and so on.

I'm sure at some point, someone just realized:  It washes clothes, call it a Washing Machine.

All those names are because of the various cycles of innovation it went through. They were named after by all who sought a patent. 

Early examples of Washing Machines. Source: Wikipedia

That’s it for this week.

If you have any thoughts or questions, hit reply and we can have a chat. And if you enjoyed it, share it with friends.

Till next week,