What she is doing is wonderful, and I very much attribute Brain Pickings (or at least the ideas I found there and dug into) to a large part of my positive life changes. Yet, if I had instead latched onto the bad/contradictory/incompatible l ideas that she champions as timeless, prescient, soul-lifting, wise, etc… perhaps I’d be in a much darker place. Again, if she calls two directly contradictory things wonderful, only one (or neither) of them could actually be so.
If she’d just do something like evergreen notes - updating her thinking, finding coherence, discarding old ideas, that would be perfectly fine.
Where have I let myself off the hook for anything? I hold myself to a tremendously high (unattainable) standard. I just forgive myself when I fail to meet it, change course and keep trying to get better.
While it may seem like I’m shitting on her, its very much the opposite - I think high enough of her and her capabilities that she could seek to find more coherence (and even just accuracy). To completely defend what she’s done is to actually denigrate her by saying that she’s not capable of coherence. It would only take a slight shift in perspective to set things right.
If this represented her blog, she’s currently in the middle (knowledge) with just a bunch of interconnected thoughts. I’m advocating for her (and everyone) to try to find the gold path between the most important things, maybe even specifically saying that the other things are not compatible and explaining why.
To look at it from a different perspective, many of the people she lauds would be aghast at being equated with other people she lauds… Would MLK or James Baldwin or other social and moral warriors care to be associated by similar adjectives with completely amoral people? Its a dishonor to them, their lives and their example to do keep things as they are.
Hell, I’ll let Nietzsche - via Brain Pickings! - have the last word on all this:
No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!
This is echoed throughout philosophy. She should take her own advice (via the advice she champions). As should we all