Hope is a muscle.

GQ: On Being sometimes seems like an outlier in today’s culture, in terms of its themes: patience, civility, mystery, asking questions rather than supplying answers. Why do you think it has resonated so deeply?

And simple ones.

Or something we can implement now.

Do you have hope that we’re going to get them back on the right track?

I think that hope is a muscle. The hope that I see to be transformative and modeled in very wise people who have shifted something in their world—civil rights leaders to [social justice activist] Bryan Stevenson to [labor activist] Ai-jen Poo—it’s not [idealistic]. I don’t use the word idealism. I don’t use the word optimism. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s not assuming that things will turn out all right. It’s an insistence, looking at the world straight on as it is and rejecting the idea that it has to be that way, and then throwing your light and your pragmatism as much as your spirit at [that]. What does it look like if you don’t accept it? That’s how I think of it…

One of the criticisms that gets lobbed at these conversations is that they’re too—and I know you just said you don’t like this word—idealistic, and perhaps not as important as conversations about politics or policy. You worked in Berlin in the 1980s and you saw geopolitics up close and personal, what it can do and the effect it can have on people’s lives. And yet you still came away to have these conversations. So you seem uniquely suited to respond to someone who’s skeptical, who says, why do these conversations matter?

We have a bias—which I also inherited, it’s in our education—to take what is dysfunctional and catastrophic and frightening and failing more seriously than what works well and what is quietly flourishing. The bias is a really powerful one. We’re learning about our bodies and brains—which is an incredible frontier. They’re so mobilized by threat or fear. There’s a level at which we’re so sophisticated, and then there’s this animal creature. We don’t investigate: what is generative? This is one of the motivations for me in starting the show. The question for me in the beginning is, how can we make goodness as riveting as evil and destruction? …

In science fiction, or even at the far edges of quantum physics, you hold this idea that there are parallel universes; that there are equal realities that may be wildly divergent. Because I have trained my eyes on this, I’m looking for it, I see it. There’s a phrase that came out of a study about the incredible health benefits from an intentional practice of gratitude: Take in the good. It’s not even about getting more optimistic. It’s just saying, I’m going to attend to that. I’m going to give that my attention. Maybe that’s the spiritual practice. That has become a discipline [for me]. What we practice becomes instinctive.

Krista Tippett, excerpts from “Hope is a Muscle”: Why Krista Tippett Wants You to Keep the Faith” in an interview with Clay Skipper. (GQ, July 21, 2022)

Monumental Reckoning

Hey folks, Peter here from Peak Design.

Today is June 19th, 2022. Juneteenth. What is now a national holiday was not so long ago an unknown day of celebration to me, and to many other Americans—a day that helps us remember and learn about our past in the hopes that it’ll help us all make a better future.

In the two years since George Floyd’s murder, I would like to think that the United States has taken significant steps in the right direction to constructively talk about race. At Peak, we are particularly aware of the role private companies can (and should) take in that work. Businesses have to be part of the solution in creating a sector that is more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Peak has certainly made strong strides in becoming a more just and socially responsible company, and in acknowledging the path laid out ahead of us to do even better.

Our vocal support of environmental and social responsibility has led to our reputation of being a bunch of “tree-hugging, latte-sipping snowflakes,” as one of our customers colorfully called us a few years ago (he was also extremely complimentary of our products, fwiw). That’s a bit of an unfair characterization, though, and one that I’d like to clear up.

It is true that this company has often signaled virtues that are more left-leaning. I fully cop to that. But I would like those who support Peak to know that this is not from a unilateral stance deaf to opposing arguments. We have a ferocious spirit of respectful debate at Peak Design, and that extends to our discussion of social issues.

My personal opinion is that the greatest threat to our society is not climate change…it’s division. It’s polarization. It is being closed off to those whose opinions are different from your own. Too many people assume that those with different opinions are either crazy, or stupid. When you see someone as crazy or stupid, it is very easy to foment hate. Hate is the emotion that fuels the worst of what humanity can be.

The fact is, name an issue…and the folks on the other side, I can assure you, are neither crazy nor stupid. Guns. Abortion. Vaccines. Wars. I know where I come down on all of these issues, and it probably looks like I’m a card-carrying lefty. But while I come down on one side of these issues, I’d like to think I do the work required to truly empathize with those who come down on the other side. I seek out opinions different than my own from friends, colleagues, and even strangers. It is a remarkably liberating feeling, but it is hard-earned through tough conversations. I think that if more people earnestly tried it though, we might have a happier world.

I’m just one person with one set of values at Peak. I don’t speak for everyone. You’ll find a wide range of opinions in our ranks. And while our stances might appear to be one-sided, it’s important to me that we show respect for the variety of upbringings, cultures, and values that exist in this world.

On this day, Juneteenth, I encourage you to listen to…really listen to…and put yourself in the shoes of those who don’t have the same beliefs as you. I also encourage you to keep learning, like this holiday has helped me do.

Another recent learning opportunity for me came from a temporary sculpture in San Francisco called Monumental Reckoning. It is a reminder of, and commentary on, the roots of slavery so intertwined with our country’s history. This piece of art communicated a positive message about how we must all put in the work to heal the wounds of our past for groups that have been enslaved, marginalized, and held down by the systems of the world.

I enjoyed learning the story behind this monument, and would love to share it with you here, in our Field Notes Journal.

The Peak team and I are incredibly grateful for the customer feedback and encouragement we get from our community. Thank you for supporting the work we do.

Be well,


Photo of Monumental Reckoning: This is the purpose of Monumental Reckoning, a sculpture in Golden Gate park that was unveiled on Juneteenth, 2021. The sculpture is the work of San Francisco artist Dana King, and consists of 350 bronze figures—symbolizing the enslaved Africans aboard the San Juan Bautista—encircling an ornate 19th century monument of Francis Scott Key, a historical figure best known for writing the American National Anthem. See/Read more here.

We create worlds

We create worlds. As soon as you decide to project your misery onto someone else, you start building a grudge world. Every time you visit it, you lay another brick. I think some people build grudges up in such detail that their grudge worlds become too big and too real. They stop living in the actual world and begin living full-time in a universe built by resentment and anger. The grudge turns into something dark and obsessive. And when a person confuses a grudge with a real problem, they may start making real-world decisions using grudge-world logic. They think they really hate people they don’t even know. I don’t want to do that. I play around sometimes in these made-up worlds, in which I cast myself as a hero and a snippy person at a party as a villain. The conflict I imagine between us stands in for how mad I am about so many things I can’t do anything about. But I think I would prefer to live here, in reality.

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