Can procrastination be a good thing?
Plus, how religion shapes politics
“Money is never purely fungible. We're continuously putting boundaries around different pots of money. And those boundaries are often moral boundaries.” – Bill Maurer
Maybe tomorrow. Are you a procrastinator? (You can decide later.) If so, you might enjoy this classic essay by philosopher and Stanford professor John Perry. Perry makes the case for what he calls structured procrastination. “All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you,” he writes. It’s not that procrastinators spend all day doing nothing – they keep themselves quite busy but with tasks other than the one they should be tackling. You can take advantage of this, Perry argues, by rearranging your to-do list. Add tasks you’ll use as an excuse to procrastinate but that nonetheless still need to get done. Can’t seem to finish that project that’s due on Tuesday? Cram other tasks into your schedule on Monday: Make a doctor’s appointment, call your mom back, update your 401k. Yes, you’re still procrastinating, but at least you’re doing something productive with your so-called wasted time. “The observant reader may feel at this point that structured procrastination requires a certain amount of self-deception,” Perry writes, “since one is in effect constantly perpetrating a pyramid scheme on oneself. Exactly.” Read the full essay here.
Not today, Satan. It’s not surprising that our religious views shape our values. But they do so in ways we might not even realize. A recent study found a link between people’s religious beliefs and their views on immigration. Specifically, people who believe in “supernatural evil'' tend to support stronger immigration policies. Researchers looked at data from over a thousand responses to the Baylor Religion Survey, which asked people whether they believed in the existence of things like Satan, Hell, or demons. But the survey also included questions about people’s attitudes on immigration and government spending on border control. There was a strong and positive link between immigration restrictions and beliefs in supernatural evil. The researchers think that people who believe in things like demons are also likely to have strict boundaries about group identity in the real world. “For Americans who believe strongly in supernatural evil the world has an added layer of hostility,” said Seattle Pacific University assistant professor Joshua C. Tom, who co-authored the research.
Love and marriage. Sometimes, relationships come easily. But for most of us, maintaining a long-term relationship or marriage takes a lot of work. That’s in part because our expectations of these relationships have changed over time. Maybe we can improve marriage by asking less of it. Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
5/16: An anthropologist's take on the origin story of money. What if the cash and coins we carry are not just tools for transactions, but manifestations of human relationships?
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
May 17: Sarah Marshall was feeling adrift during her freshman year of college. Then a simple comment from a professor helped her understand herself in a new way.
May 19: When Lauren Passell slipped on the ice and broke her hip, a stranger stepped in and took charge.
Don’t forget to send us the story of your unsung hero! Record a voice memo on your phone and email it to email@example.com.
How can 8 + 8 = 4?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Is the capital of Kentucky pronounced Louisville or Luee-ville?
The answer: Neither. The capital is Frankfort.
We’ve stumped ourselves. A few of you pointed out that the puzzle in our May 11 newsletter was incorrect. The text should have read, “If the arms on the clock are rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, the time will be 12:20.” Please accept our apology for the error.
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
“It is still partially a mystery how Nala, a lost dog, was able to get into the house of Julie and Jimmy Johnson and climb her way into their bed overnight.”
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