The author mistitled the book and it attracted the wrong type of audience. Sounding pop psychology, I had very little expectation too. I was ready to move on after 7 shallow points to boost my productivity.

As it turned out, the book was more of spiritual journey Hutson went through as someone who's lived through religious childhood and secular materialism. He wanted to find a middleground that ties inbetween, and wanted to claim there's something we can learn from "sacredness" in the world that only knows how to ridicule nonmaterial value. That's the tendency observed by a million-seller book Sapiens by Yuval who tells us to wake up from irrationality like nationalism. This book made a good counterargument. I ended up having a lot of takeaways.

News is filled with finding scapegoats. If China disappears, America will be great again. If Trump goes away, racism will disappear. If corporations go away, the environment will be protected. Finding and reducing problems to a single source of blame (whose concept was introduced in Factfulness by Hans Rosling as well) let us feel we live in an ordered world. It lets us control and reduce our own anxiety. The author claims that tendency is the same as believing in external higher being, God.

Mathew then introduces us to various philospohical applications. Fatalism happens when you believe in externality too much. That stops you from seeing you as an agency that can bring change. Lack of will, you will have an unheathy lifestyle, lack precaution. The words to look out fore are genetic determinism, gods will. The part I liked about his writing is he tries hard to bring God and religion to our everyday language.

An extreme opposite to fatalism is existentialism. Everything you do matters. That is inherently meaningful. But it's also regretful because in that thinking every reason of your suffering is you. The author suggests you'd need wisdom that tells what you can and you cant change. And this magical thinking (sacredness) let us have meaning in our lives.

Sacredness can come from the presidency, air room, freedom of speech, a stadium of your favorite sports team, Mona Lisa, anniversary, honesty, human body, Oprah Winfrey, American flag, children, animals, George Washington, doctors, work of art, mother, and nature, human life, etc.

I truly appreciate him given a concrete list of what can constitute sacred. They are all easy to have and relatable to someone. It made me self-reflect what sort of things mean sacred to me.

The big problem in our world is what appears sacred to me appears utterly stupid and irrational to others. In a world where everyone wants to prove their smartness and so many of us take politics as the highest moral ground, it's so tempting to ridicule other people's sacred values. That's why respecting each other must be the highest and enforced societal virtue.