Welcome to Salmon Theory, a newsletter about philosophy, strategy and hope.
My name’s Rob. Thank you for your attention. Let’s do this.
🔍 Here’s the thing
I consider myself a prolific reader, but often a misguided one.
I like going to the edges, I get lost, I always have ten too many tabs open.
But until last week, I hadn’t realised what that lack of focus meant.
On the one hand, it meant I tried to keep my mind fresh on occasion.
But it also meant I’d get lost in a variety of subjects that came easy to me.
Which also meant that I’d prioritise breadth over depth.
Last week triggered a renewed need for depth – perhaps a healthy one.
There are a couple of things at play here.
First it’s my obsession to have all of the information at all times.
I subscribe to way too many things and then freak out I don’t have time for them.
Then there’s the topic of not doing as many deep dives as I’d like to.
May be part laziness, part insecurity. It feels easier to just tick another newsletter.
But bottom line, I’ve started to deep dive a bit more into Black history.
And related to that, Black intellectualism.
I still don’t believe it’s my place to have an opinion on Black Lives Matter.
But. But. But.
By reading more Black literature, I’ve realised that I was also part of the problem.
I’ve conflated “not being racist” with “being anti-racist”. That was a mistake.
And I’ve certainly done a terrible job at amplifying Black voices here.
In my pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, I need to grow.
Grow out of my own biases. But also out of my own sources.
Last week, I found myself browsing Black intellectuals.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (going through her book now).
Ibram X. Kendi (possibly next in queue).
Mungi Ngomane (need to read properly about ubuntu philosophy).
Kwame Anthony Appiah (identity is always a fascinating topic).
It’s a start, but I hope these authors will open up my eyes to many others.
I’m also thinking about who in my network needs to have their voice heard.
I won’t lie to you, I am scared shitless about it.
About making mistakes. About it feeling like posturing.
But equally, someone told me to do it – as long as you do it organically.
Let it slowly change the nature of your thoughts; don’t make a thing out of it.
Now, of course you could argue writing about it is making a thing about it.
But I just see it as a moment of admission that there are things I need to change.
I am just starting my journey into Black philosophy, the references are still being built.
So for now I will share this from Carlos Fraenkel.
“You have to love the truth more than winning an argument.”
In many ways, by writing about this I am admitting a personal defeat of values.
But a defeat that now needs to be overcome, for the better.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and wisdom is multi-faceted.
And – dare I say the word – diverse.
Fuck, of course it is. There’s no one answer. There never was.
The one thing I can gather though is as follows.
In the backdrop of all the hate, you gotta also respond with love.
Love for the people around you. But also love for the truth.
I don’t care about winning arguments here. I care about exploring ideas.
And that means finding them from as many places as I can identify.
Men. Women. But also people of colour. Again – of course. And yet.
I guess there is a lesson here for strategy: always focus on the endgame.
How you get there matters, but make sure you do get there.
I am less interested in processes than I am in outcomes.
Partly because my processes are always a bit chaotic anyway. So there’s no system.
But there’s always that moment where you get to your point. And that’s the point.
One way or another, this project is my own creative expression of hope.
But the journey towards hope is often filled with pain too.
Because by reading about what you didn’t know, you realise how ignorant you’ve been.
That’s just part of the process.
And it sure beats preferring to stay isolated from the truth.
I got an education job to do. I hope you’ll indulge me as I do some of it in public.
Not because I have an opinion worth hearing on the matter.
But because I can learn more from Black philosophy than I have so far.
I can use it to frame my broader world views in a fairer way.
And because I can, over time, also elevate more Black voices that I know.
Or that I will get to know in the process.
If you have thoughts on this, I’d love to hear about them.
Who are Black intellectuals worth reading?
Who are Black strategists or marketers worth speaking to?
I struggle to now agree with myself on how I should finish this.
So I guess I’ll do the classic Salmon Theory cop out and paraphrase the above quote.
As a white dude, now’s not the time to focus on winning arguments.
I much prefer to love the truth.
Even if it hurts.
🍬 Link love
😽 Furry feels
Stay safe. Stay sane. Send replies, I like hearing from you. 😘
PS: See you on Twitter.
PPS: Thanks Heleana for helping edit this.