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Architect | Photographer | Writer | Polyglot | Windmill Jouster | Nomade Civilisée.

It is impossible to encapsulate a year’s worth of discovery into a single, neat list. Regardless, here are 100 insights that emerged from an intense period of exploration, discourse and distillation. It is my coda to an incredibly illuminating year.

The author © Anthony Fieldman
  1. We don’t run out of things to say, provided we listen closely enough to our inner dialogue, then spend enough time with these thoughts to put them to words.
  2. We don’t run out of things to learn, either, provided we internalize our experiences, to understand what they are here to teach us.
  3. Writing is a mental meditation. It helps us process things we may intuit…

After a year spent traveling regularly between several cities in two nations, I have concluded that regulatory OVERreactions are likely to be far more costly in the long run than the deaths borne by those who avoided shutting their economies down, wholesale. Here’s why.

JFK Airport on March 7, 2020. Image: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

I have spent the entire pandemic traveling more than most, taking planes, trains and automobiles nearly every other week without fail since it began, ostensibly so that I could continue to be both “dad” and “husband” undiminished within a family split by national borders. During this interim, I have observed life on the ground in Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, Quebec and Ontario — each one multiple times, and some of them bi-weekly.

Throughout, because of the risks I knew I was taking, I voraciously read everything I could about infection and mortality rates, demographics, human physiognomy, medicine, pathology, air…

One year and 700,000 words later, I have landed on three foundational, interrelated forces that drive all of human activity. As I close the chapter on this project, I wanted to share them with you.

The author, with Leo Villareal’s work © Suzanne Seymour, 2017

A year ago, I embarked on a mission to write 365 thought pieces in a process of self-discovery. I had a vague plan: unearth, explore, test and debate anything and everything I could find, related to the human psyche, with the hopes of ultimately distilling insights from our dizzying complexity.

The idea came to me after experiencing the alchemy of Burning Man for the first time. In Black Rock City, I encountered a 75,000-strong community of unconnected individuals, but for their unusual degree of curiosity, bravery, generosity, electricity and creativity. I’d never seen anything like it. …

How we relate to one another stems from underlying motives of varying authenticity and enlightenment. Whether we transact finitely, or relate infinitely, depends on what part of ourselves we tap into, and externalize.

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

In life, there are neither truths nor falsehoods; no absolutes that explain, contravene or declaratively prove — with detached corroborative infallibility — one’s beliefs in what “is”.

There is only relativity, as Einstein theorized cosmically, but which applies equally, to the human condition.

Our time on Earth exists — in my view — for one reason above all others. It is to discover ourselves — our authentic nature — so that we may create a framework for living that flows from that self, and allows it to flourish, “fit for purpose.”

This nature — one’s truths — are as different…

As we wade into year two of this marathon, there’s one group on which we all rely, yet who in return receive little to none of the care that they so expertly give. Here are some thoughts around what we can do for the caregivers.

Deb, on our first-ever trip as a couple… into the jaws of the California fires © Anthony Fieldman 2017

Before the pandemic began, I already had deep admiration and respect for my wife, by every possible metric. Not only has she been an exceptional mother, always showing up for the children she raised on her own for a decade before I arrived — after she lost her husband when they were toddlers. Throughout, she has also remained as competent and dedicated an executive as I’ve ever met, shouldering increasing amounts of responsibility in the healthcare industry, as more and more of her employers’ sprawling portfolios came under her capable leadership.

She is a master juggler.

Her hospital, home to…

The bad news is life is on hold. The good news is that not everyone is sitting still, while we are hiding. In fact, the opposite is true. Innovation in pretty much every sphere of life is in sixth gear. Here is a glimpse at what is incubating, and why you may want to dust off your ideas now.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I get it. You have COVID ennui. I do, too, but as long as we have our health and our jobs, both 2020 and 2021 deserve nothing but to be met with gratitude.

Not everyone is as lucky.

The truth is, until last year sent us hiding, we were all running at full tilt with our default lives, scarcely stopping to smell the flowers, or survey the garden. And no matter how good our lives may be, personally, we’d be hard-pressed not to see that a lot of our systems are showing some pretty enormous stress fractures. …

Everything in life is comprised of complexity—a sliding scale between extremes. And yet, we judge ourselves and one another according to either-or edicts and dogmas, causing undue suffering. Here are some thoughts and strategies.

Judgment: a human specialty

We love to define things in binary terms. It’s easier that way, for two reasons. First, black/white, safe/dangerous, good/bad labels use up less brain power. “Close enough is good enough” in most cases, after which many of us allow ourselves to stop thinking about them. Second, we can’t help but judge everything we experience, and a binary system of labels allows us to do just that, efficiently.

Just witness our confusion, and visceral reactions, to issues of race or sexuality.


When it comes to race, it becomes quickly complex. In the U.S. in 1970, just 1% of babies born were…

A century of industrialization has made us ironically weaker, less happy and less able to share in its spoils, turning it into a Faustian bargain. While we cannot go backward, there is a path to rediscovering our former fortitude.

Victorian farmers: “Coming Home From the Marshes” © Peter Henry Emerson 1886

Until the majority of humans fell to the transformative impacts of the Machine Age some hundred or so years ago, when power generation, electricity, the automobile, factories, and telecommunications all conspired to dramatically alter how we lived and interacted, a common set of governing principles underpinned life on Earth for more than ten thousand years.

Unless you were a noble.

Chief among these was the fact that life required immense personal effort. Most of us made our own homes from trees we cut down, and we also made everything in them. We raised animals and planted gardens. We made our…

The divergent strategies deployed in the two cities (and nations) where I divide my life have led to very different outcomes, economically and psychologically. And yet, their death tolls are nearly indistinguishable. Here’s what I’ve observed, and concluded.

The 1.3-mile stretch of 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights in Queens has become a neighborhood gathering spot.Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

I truly thought I was done with writing about the pandemic, after a year of reflection fed by a “split life” spent in two distinct realities — those of New York and Toronto, or Trump’s America and Trudeau’s Canada — with regard to the laws and behaviors that have come to define life in each city, and nation. …

We have engineered a society of competitors based on a false notion of inherent scarcity. Our fear-based narrative has fueled bids to control resources and outcomes, sowing mistrust. The rules and groupthink that grew out of this narrative to protect it are robbing us of our true potential.

My three imps. © Anthony Fieldman 2018

I’ve never been as aware of the human predisposition toward pack mentality — the urge to be part of something bigger than us, and to find safety in numbers — as when I have stood opposed to any particular instance of groupthink. When it has happened, the act of going against the grain has more often than not triggered strong reactions in others: insecurities or fears, against which my dissenting beliefs or choices somehow represent a threat.

I’ve written before that rules and laws — the things that shape rituals and norms — exist for two primary reasons: first, to…

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