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When does political discussion go from deconstructive to constructive?

Before 2020, I’d spent three years living abroad, in a place largely free of political polarization and where there was general harmony among the people. So when I came home, I was quickly overwhelmed with the deluge of politics I encountered at every turn. Everywhere around me, people were arguing — a war of words at its most animal level.

On Twitter — a perfect example of the peak of human unconsciousness — people go back and forth nonstop, defending and rebutting with trite party-standard arguments, which then devolve into personal attacks. Having been outside of the country for so long, it all seemed so pointless — a diversion. I started to understand that, in America, some people see arguing as a hobby. A way to pass the time. I think we can all agree that political arguments on Twitter are not a constructive use of time, but it’s the polarization that they represent which is more than just unconstructive; it’s actually deconstructive — perhaps the single biggest key to our country’s decline. …

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My December 2020 trip to Mexico was revitalizing, and virus-free

Life has been strange for everyone this year, and mine is no exception. I got back from finishing my degree abroad at the end of last year, and since then I’ve been home — no school, no job, no (real-world) social life — for a full year. So without implying that I understand what anybody else is going through, I’ll just say that this year has beaten me into a pulp, mentally speaking.

With this as context, it’s easy to understand why I may have felt the need to travel at the earliest opportunity.

Over the past few months, I’d been seeing plenty of travel bloggers and Instagrammers all posting from Mexico, and I felt a sort of gravitational pull. Not only is it one of the few countries still open to Americans, but it also happens to be pretty close by, and not to mention, a place I’ve never been before. To me, it was clear: I’d go to Mexico, take a mental break, and come back refreshed. But to some, my decision seemed less clear, or even irresponsible. …

And how we can tell who to trust by looking at what they do, not what they say

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I deleted my Facebook account in mid-2020.

That time was what seemed like the peak of social media hysteria: a perfect storm of data abuses, political interference, and the threat of an AI apocalypse.

I listened to podcasts, read articles, and followed hundreds of Twitter accounts of people who would attest to Facebook’s negative influence on society. Every other day, it seemed, there was a new smear against Zuckerberg or some aspect of his monstrous company.

I did what was the only logical think to me: took action. Rather than only expressing my discontent with the platform, I removed myself from it. How can one go around saying that this platform is destroying our democracy, blurring the lines between truth and lies, and taking too much control over people’s lives — and the keep on using it. …

The benefits of choosing the right career path go beyond material returns

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I applied to university as an English major, and I was admitted, most likely because my academic record in English, languages, and liberal arts was very strong. But later on, I was convinced to switch my major to engineering. I was capable of it. I passed all my courses and graduated. But I lacked passion. My purpose is not engineering. Although I could do it, I was doing it without any passion.

I chose not to work as an engineer after graduation. Four years later, I am still re-educating myself to work in a career which is aligned with my purpose. It’s a long process, and one which might be called useless — “a career is a career, just go and start earning money”. But for me, it’s absolutely necessary. Because once this process is complete, work will no longer be work. A job won’t be just for the paycheck. …

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An optimistic message on how we can revitalize our broken democracy

If you are exhausted of arguing, and you feel that partisan politics, regardless of which side you agree with, is tearing our country apart, let me be the first one to tell you: it’s okay not to vote.

With the electoral college, gerrymandering, vote-counting controversies, there are countless arguments as to whether an individual vote matters. But let’s take a moment and look at this, not from a systematic perspective, but from an external view. Let’s try to understand whether the system, as a whole, is working for us. And if it is not, what can we do to make it better?

Firstly, we have to understand that our choices in who to vote for have little to do with the actual candidates, and more to do with the ideological basis upon which their campaign is built. Each candidate represents a party, and each party represents an ideology. But countries are not run by ideologies. …

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Why this type of entrepreneur has little chance at success

What is an entrepreneur?

Is an entrepreneur someone with a passion, who dedicates their life and livelihood to an idea despite all obstacles and challenges? Or is an entrepreneur someone who takes small, calculated risks, with niche expertise, and who makes commitments only in proportion to magnitude and way in which their idea has been received?

They both could be true from a surface perspective, but despite what pop culture has taught us, the first type of entrepreneur will more likely be a “former aspiring entrepreneur” whereas the second type will become someone with the title of “CEO” or “founder”; i.e. …

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Avocado toast. Photo by Anna Pelzer.

How the debate over ethical technology will lead to an industry where there’s something for everyone

We all use technology even if we are not directly involved in the industry. While, of course, we have interactions with plenty of industries we do not have a role in ourselves, technology plays a proportionally larger role in a majority people’s lives in comparison with number of people who produce said technology. And because the risks involved with not understanding it are relatively high compared to other fields we don’t understand, technological awareness is becoming less and less and niche and more so common knowledge.

For example, we don’t have to understand the process of catalytic cracking to trust that the gasoline we pump into our cars will be consumed as fuel and allow us to drive. Perhaps the only other industry that poses the same level of risks as technology is food, and people have become intensely more aware of what goes on in that industry in recent years, seen in the rise of organic, vegan/vegetarianism, fair trade, and all other sorts of mindful food consumption trends. …

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The way civilization has proceeded through history has been cyclical. Empires rise and fall.

America is in decline, and it would take a substantial thickness of skin to refute that. Our social unrest will eventually — and may well have already started to — tear our nation apart. Then, what started out as social and political issues, will become economic ones. We are seeing this with the way our hyperpartisan political dynamics have resulted in ineffective handling the COVID epidemic, resulting in mass unemployment. Our deep-rooted polarization, as well as an inequitable history gone too long unaddressed, is catching up with us. This is the beginning of a turning point American society. …

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The battle of Issus, Albrecht Altdorfer (1529)

The harsh truth behind entrepreneurial motivation

If the best way to learn something is through making mistakes, I may just be a genius by now.

I’m writing this to share some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made on my professional journey up to now, to 1) acknowledge them so that I do not make them again, and 2) to hopefully help others avoid making similar mistakes in their own journey.

The biggest and most important mistake I made was: not knowing what a startup actually was.

Depending on who you ask, there may be a difference in opinions on this; some having to do with company size, amount of funding received, whether it’s a private or public company, whether it’s dynamically scalable, and so on. …

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A non-contextual reflection on hate and ego

Right now is a time of mass suffering and grief, for many people, for many reasons. There are so many claims and arguments, demands and conciliations. So with all that’s going on, I think it’s important to ask ourselves the question: what really matters?

I’ve asked myself that question, and here’s the answer that I’ve been given.

What matters is who you are on the inside. Not what you say on the outside.

And what matters is not what you feel right now, in response to what’s going on in the world. …


Nick Sukie

Former techie turned blogger. Writing about the intersection between travel and spirituality.

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