The Ideaspace

Interviews, essays, and research exploring the frontiers of what's valuable and in our self-interest

Seven Ideas

Hi there, and welcome to The Bento Society. I’m Yancey Strickler.

When I first came up with the name, the “Society” in “The Bento Society” was more aspiration than reality. I hoped the bento would provide enough value to attract a community. I also knew this was no sure thing.

Now, however, it has happened.

This email comes entirely from members of The Bento Society. People from many backgrounds from all around the world. Here are seven ideas shared by members of The Bento Society in Slack and our gatherings last week.

1. From Emily (Brooklyn, NY)

Mario (another Bento Society member) mentioned the idea of taking steps on a path, and how even if one step isn’t quite right, you’re still moving in the right direction. This reminded me of something I was researching recently about how pre-GPS pilots used to navigate: by “flying the beam.”

Radio towers would send two sonic pulses out from two different locations. If you flew into one, you know the other was nearby. Pilots would try to fly into the cone of sound, then listen for the place where the two pulses perfectly overlapped and made a single tone. Once you found the tone, you knew you were on course.

2. From James (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Some encouraging news from the UK: people want a fairer, greener Britain after Covid:

Polling for the group by Opinium underlined the findings with two-thirds calling on the government to intervene to make society fairer, and a similar figure calling on ministers to prioritise the “health and wellbeing of citizens over GDP growth” — The Guardian

3. From Evan (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

There are two polar states of dealing with emotions. Both are linked to anxiety:

  • When you are highly attached & anxious, you can get highly fixated on "things"

  • When you are highly detached & anxious, you just run away

  • When you are highly detached & not anxious, you’re "like a stoner," as in I don't know what my priorities are, everything is good until it’s not — which is kind of nice when you don't have anxiety

  • When you are attached & not anxious, you are in a flow state of sorts. This is when you are not really traumatized by your own dialog

  • Hopefully this awareness can help you create a more organized way to emotionally process anxiety and attachment

4. From Jess (Toronto, Canada)

The Good Ancestor Podcast with Roman Krznaric

Fantastic podcast about leaving a positive legacy for Future Us. Plenty of lovely examples that provide some solace and much needed optimism about how we can move forward. The importance of imagination as a tool to extend our time horizon beyond 100, 200 years made me think of our guided mediation: picturing ourselves squeezed on a couch, in a park, with extra grey streaks, surrounded by multiple generations of people and sinking contently into our future skin.

5. From Anne (Geneva, Switzerland)

A Moment of Zen. The other day white trails from two planes drew lines in the sky above me, looking like some bigger hand was drawing a bento. A little magic.

6. From Erika (Paris, France)

Podcast: Working, Making, Creating in Public and Private with Nadia Eghbal and Sonal Chokshi

A really enjoyable chat about different kinds of online communities (don't be fooled by the "open source" title of the book, it concerns all of us!).


Metaphors for The Bento Society proposed by its members in a recent gathering:

  • A campfire — coming together to get warmth

  • A huddle — a group of people close together creating energy and force

  • A hike — preparing, going through a journey, returning changed by a meaningful experience, excited to share it with others

  • A trampoline — a space to go up high and explore, and where it’s always safe to come down

  • An optometrist machine — Trying on different lenses to better see the future and ourselves

  • Blindfolded and touching an elephant — None of us individually can see where we are but together we can

  • A positive energy reactor — that we give energy to and get energy from in return

Here’s to creating energy with you.

Peace and love,

The Bento Society