Clarity First Newsletter,
March 18, 2022

“The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Love & Work

A notebook about how we work, learn, love and live.

Even as we fight wars, challenge democracy, build extractive economies and act indifferent to our biosphere, we learn.  Here’s a few learnings I fished out of the firehose this week.

Happy Friday.



“Not all societies make war.
In other words, war is not intrinsic to humankind.”

Nonviolence characterizes the daily life the Semai of Malaysia. They do not war and they do not feud.
Image by Kiran Kreer.

“After searching the worldwide ethnographic literature for several months, I was able to locate 74 societies that are clearly non-warring. The Semai of Malaysia are a good example. Nonviolence characterizes daily life. They do not war and they do not feud. Even when confronted with slave-raiders in the past, their response was to flee into the forest. The Mardu of Australia are another example. Anthropologist Robert Tonkinson observes that ‘peaceful intergroup relations are imperative for long-term survival. . . . The Mardu have no word for either ‘feud’ or ‘warfare,’ and such forms of group violence are totally lacking there.

“The non-warring societies list is far from exhaustive. It doesn’t, for example, include pacifist “enclave societies”—groups existing within larger societies—like the Amish or the Quakers. The list also excludes nations that have avoided warfare for long periods of time. Iceland has been at peace for more than seven centuries. Sweden has not been to war in more than 170 years. Costa Rica, a nation surrounded by violent instability, abolished its military after World War II.

“Even omitting these societies, both my list and the list of peaceful cultures found by the Embers point to the same conclusion: Not all societies make war. These findings debunk the belief that war is intrinsic to humankind.” – Douglas P. Fry

Article: Worlds Without War

Related Article: Semai People of Bertam, Living With No Light



We transmit culture through play, through games.

des plaines History Center

“The internet is our community theatre. Especially during COVID-19 lockdowns and the stumbling recovery of in-person entertainments, amateur videos have become the site for a vital, if distributed, sociality. On TikTok and Instagram Reels, we watch everyday people – adults as well as children – play.
“In the 1840s, a similar interest in amateur play took hold in the United States. ‘Home amusements’, as one guidebook dubbed them, ranged from elaborately scripted and staged theatrical entertainments and living pictures (tableaux vivants) to simple charades, pantomimes and optical illusions.

“At a time when perfecting genteel codes of behavior promised upward social mobility, the closed rehearsals of at-home entertainments were crucial for climbers who wanted to avoid failure on a more public social stage.” 

Article: What TikTok Videos Have in Common with Victorian Parlour Games



“When you are the oppressed, you know things about your oppressors that even they don’t know.”

Twitter Post: Why Women Are Qualified to Speak About Masculinity


Design, Culture

The Smiley logo turns 50 this year.

“Predating the emoticon by several decades, the yellow Smiley ideogram and its joyfully ubiquitous, graphic positivity span pop culture and advertising, home design and beauty, comic books and streetwear. It’s a universal countercultural icon with a message of hope that inspires and influences across the globe, its design continually reinvented, reimagined and redefined for each generation.

“Trademarked 50 years ago by French journalist Franklin Loufrani, and used as a grinning endorsement of good news stories in the France Soir newspaper, the Smiley quickly became one of most instantly recognisable icons in design.

“It was adopted first by hippies in the 1970s, then US new wave band Talking Heads used the Smiley on the sleeve of its 1977 ‘Psycho Killer’ single. It was later co-opted as the unofficial logo of the UK’s Acid House movement during the 1980s, more recently making cameos in contemporary art by Banksy, Takashi Murakami and James Cauty.”

Article: Celebrate 50 Years of Smiley Culture


Apple’s scrappy ‘Underdogs’ return to the office just in time to quit.

“The so-called ‘Great Resignation’ has been a subject of much debate and discussion in the past year, and now it seems even the employers and large businesses are jumping on this trend.

“Yesterday, Apple released its latest short-film-turned-ad, ‘Escape From The Office’ featuring the ‘Underdogs’, a ragtag group of workaholics who we’ve already seen pitching an idea, navigating the awkwardness of working from home, and avoiding the wrath of their overbearing boss, Vivianne, in two previous Apple ads.”

The result is a funny, entertaining and shareable film that showcases Apple products authentically while avoiding the obviousness of conventional product placement.

Article: Apple’s “The Underdogs” Return For The Great Resignation In New Ad


Advertising, Corporate Social Responsibility

Considering the carbon emissions made by advertising.

Image by Stefano via CC

“Advertising is a $700B industry that has been overlooked as a source of significant carbon emissions. To achieve sustainable advertising, we must make it easier for companies to calculate their Scope 3 emissions. Here’s how some of the world’s largest brands, agencies and ad-tech companies will benefit from new innovations.” – Holly Peck

Article: Advertising: A Missing Link in Successful Corporate Climate Action Plans


Social Messaging

Campaigners in Ukraine and beyond are using any means necessary to beat Russia’s information firewall.


“Targeted ads follow us around the internet, pitching us everything from meme-based T-shirts to Mahabis slippers wherever we go. Now the power of tracking pixels and pop-up ads is being used to try to tell ordinary Russians what’s really happening during the invasion of Ukraine.”

Article: Activists are Using Ads to Sneak Real News to Russians about Ukraine.


Article: Why the war in Ukraine is also a make-or-break moment for climate change

Article: Future Med? A Little LSD Cuts Anxiety in Mice

Article: Meet the Co-ops Building a More Ethical Food Delivery System


Last week Austin Kleon, an inspiring beacon for this letter, talked in his letter about discovering the roots of the riff that drives The Beatles’ song I Feel Fine. As the radio version of I Feel Fine was my first-ever exposure to feedback as a legitimate instrument, and as I loved it then I love it now.

Austin cites a book called Anatomy of a Song, a book that he describes as having “some fun stuff in there, and some good ‘swimming upstream.'”

This is why I love The Beatles, and why I love swimming upstream. Strong roots grow naturally to express larger patterns. When I was still a kid The Beatles showed this to me. They knew all the chords. They knew a ton of songs in a whole lot of styles. And they were so loose and open.

For example, for John Lennon the root of I Feel Fine is Watch Your Step, a song by Bobby Parker.

Video: Bobby Parker – Watch Your Step – Killer Early Soul / 60’s Jump Blues

And according to Anatomy, Watch Your Step, in turn, was influenced by Ray Charles’ What’d I Say?

Video: Ray Charles – What’d I Say LIVE

Which in turn was influenced by Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca.

Video: Manteca – Dizzy Gillespie

And these amazing influences landed here. I do so love rock and roll.

Video: The Beatles – I Feel Fine (Blackpool Night Out ABC Theatre Blackpool – Live)


Image of the Week

“Le Mont.Saint-Michel at Sunset” © Cigdem Ayyildiz, Turkey, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Article: Awe-Inspiring National Award Winners of the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

“Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island and mainland commune in Brittany, France.

“The mainland part of the commune is 393 hectares (971 acres) in area so that the total surface of the commune is 400 hectares (988 acres).

“As of 2019, the island had a population of 29.

“The commune’s position—on an island just a few hundred metres from land—made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The island remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. Louis XI recognized the reverse benefits of its natural defense and turned it into a prison. The abbey was used regularly as a prison during the Ancien Régime.

“Mont Saint-Michel and its surrounding bay were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 for its unique aesthetic and importance as a medieval Christian site. It is visited by more than 3 million people each year. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques.” – Wikipedia


What’s Love & Work?

Love & Work is the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation.

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