Bay Area: vibes

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Paul Gra­ham says that cities send sub­tle mes­sages about what your am­bi­tions should be—differ­ent ones tell you to be richer, or be smarter, or to live bet­ter. I have lately been feel­ing like the same is true of peo­ple, and groups of peo­ple, and TV shows, and songs, and work­places, and Twit­ter, and places you sit down to get a quick drink.

Ob­vi­ously peo­ple (and all these other things) ex­plic­itly tell you to do differ­ent things some­times. But I think there are sub­tler sug­ges­tions, both about what is valuable, and about what the world is like.

Some ex­am­ples, mostly from peo­ple I know, anonymized:

  • Alice says to be more care­ful with your min­utes. Also maybe your seconds

  • Bob says to find things to laugh about

  • Celia says to find flaws to smirk about

  • Doris says to have more novel insights

  • Erica says to feel more, and better

  • Fran­cis tells you that just your be­ing there is amaz­ing, but that do­ing some­thing would also be a fit­tingly won­der­ful man­i­fes­ta­tion of that

  • Ger­ald says to be more reasonable

  • Har­riet says that ev­ery­thing is fun­da­men­tally ok

  • Ira says to know more stories

  • Jared says to know more facts

I had thought in the ab­stract that peo­ple around in­fluence a per­son, but lately I more viscer­ally an­ti­ci­pate it, and shy away from some of the in­fluences.

It’s din­ner time, so I won’t elab­o­rate fur­ther. Does this fit your ex­pe­rience?

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