Jesse Sewell

About Jesse

Bio

Graduate US Army Signal Center - Fort Gordon.

I'm passionate about

Knowledge, specifically books and the knowledge they contain. I believe books contain real knowledge, information in context. I am referring of course to non-fiction books, histories, biographies

Talk to me about

History and how it impacts the present both in terms of its influence on our ancestors and in terms of how we can better understand ourselves and the consequences of our actions.

My TED story

I was shown TED by a friend who I consider to be one of the more intelligent people I have ever met. I appreciate that introduction, although I think most of the TED Talks are great, some are just windbags who want to share with us their opinions and beliefs which in no way resemble actual knowledge.

Comments & conversations

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Jesse Sewell
Posted over 1 year ago
Diébédo Francis Kéré: How to build with clay... and community
It is one of Africa's major challenges, the lack of stone with which to build. Techniques that allow Africa to take advantage of the abundance of clay, is nothing short of a miracle. Native structures in West Africa are beautiful, very carefully and skillfully built. However they are not able to withstand the punishing rainy season and often last only a few years. This is a major breakthrough for rural communities in West Africa, provided the techniques can be shared and implemented elsewhere.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted over 1 year ago
Sasha Dichter: The Generosity Experiment
My brother is a CPA and he has found the work very personally discouraging. He tells me that the more his clients make, in almost every case, the less they are inclined to give. His clients that are very, very wealthy give a pittance of their income as a percentage. His clients that struggle and do not make much, give a large percentage fo their income to church and charities. I think if you are removed from the daily struggles of life and you do not understand need on an emotional, personal level, then you are much less likely to give. It is easy to imagine that others are basically ok, or the government will care for them, etc.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted over 1 year ago
Michael Norton: How to buy happiness
Eric, I think that scientists are really good at ignoring or dismissing things they cannot explain or quantify. Essentially if they cannot use some tool to measure the outcome, then the results are unimportant or less invalid. Most of what we enjoy in this world is inexplicable or very difficult to explain and un-quantifiable. Many of the things we derive happiness from are not logically valuable or beneficial from a scientific (measurable) perspective. A beautiful woman, a sunset, a certain smell that gives you joy, colors, foods that taste amazing, etc., etc. What is dissappointing to me is when Scientists open their big fat mouths and try to enter the spiritual debate with little or no ground on which to stand and clearly no vantage point from which to speak intelligently. Over and over again you see Darwinian evolutionists ridiculing people of faith, yet these 'scientists' are no more qualified to speak on matters of faith than a plumber.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted over 1 year ago
Michael Norton: How to buy happiness
Scientists must wince watching this. What are we to do about this, a moral law or principle at work within us that makes us happier? This is a very inconvenient bit of truth. I wonder if scientists can actually learn to appreciate the laws of God by researching the character of man?
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Jesse Sewell
Posted over 1 year ago
Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
Fantastic talk. I think this has much to do with our current environmental crisis. We need science to intervene in the business community. If ROWE can become the new model for incentive, which I think it should, then we can end the madness that has 200 million Americans commuting to work every day, destroying our natural world. If we cannot fundamentally change the way we work, then we cannot address this environmental crisis that is growing all around us bit by bit, hour by hour. Many of us cannot see it because we live in places that are still relatively rural. Others are witnessing it daily on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, a vision of the hell that all of us will eventually live in if we cannot embrace a better way forward. I think ROWE is a step in the right direction.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted almost 2 years ago
Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift
You seem to accept the idea that their is a fixed amount of wealth in the world and America has simply seized a greater share of the pie than can be considered fair. This is a very common idea that many hold in the world but it is lacking any real understanding of economics and how wealth is made. Wealth can be made right now, at this instant. You and I can discuss an important idea and over the course of our discussion we can create wealth. Their is no fixed amount of wealth which has been horded away from the huddling masses. Wealth can just as easily be created in a cafe in Bangalore as in a shop in Mombassa. Do Americans have advantages which give them greater access to opportunity? Absolutely. Does America protect its interests politically and economically? Absolutely, to do otherwise would be irresponsible and a crime. It's citizens require as do all people everywhere demand that their governments work vigorously on their behalf. To suggest that somehow America's wealth is derived by tyranny is a disgraceful accusation. If anything America has brought prosperity to much of the world and continues to do so by forcefully advancing the economic theories of open and free markets. No force has liberated more people from poverty then free markets and capitalism. To suggest otherwise is simply disrespectful of the facts. In China and India today there are billions of people who are experiencing the dawn of economic opportunity. This is the result of capitalist reforms on the part of their government and the introduction of free markets, less regulation, less governmental interference and oversight. I do not understand why people are so tolerant of the notion that somehow America is the cause of poverty. I have heard nothing more absurd or indefensible in all my life.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted almost 2 years ago
Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift
I certainly appreciate the simple truth in what you are saying. Nonetheless, it is important to realize that the Roman Empire stood for over 1000 years and its Eastern empire stood for nearly 1500 years. The major factors that contributed to its demise have largely been eliminated by modern technology. We do not face epidemic diseases that wipe out 60 to 70% of a population (reducing your ability to defend yourself) as the ancient Romans did. We do not have Allies or portions of our empire that we cannot communicate with or assist easily due to the challenges of long distance travel (being limited to sailing vessels and horses). We do not have massive population shifts due to large scale famine (Goths). Certainly it is possible that this very young American empire may end suddenly. Nonetheless, history seems to be telling us quite the opposite. If comparative historical evidence is a reasonable yard stick that we can apply to Empires past and present; the American Empire is here to stay. At least for several centuries or until the global economic and political landscape changes meaningfully. As to your point about greed. I think that kind of inference falls into the same general category as most of these prophets of doom. They feel a certain distaste for American wealth and power and oddly imagine that feeling of angst will metaphysically move America closer to some unseen precipice. As if bad karma might be America's undoing. America is powerful for many reasons and when it does fall it will fall for many reasons or factors that are observable and real.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted almost 2 years ago
Is the herd instinct a boon or a bane - a help or a hindrance - in a modern society?
Can we also acknowledge that those who enjoy the company, interaction, interdependence and accountability that healthy human relationships require, will be more likely to conclude that the 'herd instinct' is beneficial? Those who wish to lead more independent and solitary lives are going to discount the importance of any impulse to imitate or value the behavior and ideas of others or the community at large. In short, social animals are going to value the actions and opinions of others whereas those who tend to be less socially inclined are going to reject the actions and opinions of society at large. This is to say nothing about whether the 'herd instinct' is beneficial in a broader scientific context.
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Jesse Sewell
Posted almost 2 years ago
Is the herd instinct a boon or a bane - a help or a hindrance - in a modern society?
It is clearly a benefit to our species that we recognize and value the actions of others. This powerful self defense mechanism accepts the principle that others generally act in their self-interest. If this is true and it seems logical that it is, then we benefit from imitating the actions of others, generally speaking. Clearly there are hundreds of examples where imitation should be avoided. Nonetheless, I would wager that the arc on the graph of human behavior bends toward self preservation and other actions that are beneficial both long and short term. I do not think that luck has permitted us to reach the 5.5 billion population mark.