Sam is a civil servant currently working in a research role. His academic career centered on international relations, politics, economics and security, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a focus on political issue framing, the historical development of current trends in discourse and the relation of underlying ethical beliefs to social theories.
We asked Sam Sam Rico Batista Morris a few quirky questions—he shared the following:
🐙 What is your spirit animal?
I think (and sorely hope) that my spirit animal is the ever-fascinating octopus. I think their comfortable loner vibe matches my own introverted way of being. Their ability to change not only their color, but also shape and texture, makes them masters of camouflage, which I think could be a good metaphor for moving in very varied social groups, as I tend to. Also, scientists have found that they sometimes ‘punch’ fish out of nothing other than pure grumpiness and spite… I think this one might speak for itself!
🦸🏻♂️ If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be the control of time, because if you think about it, this basically gives you most of the others anyway. Want to be invisible? Freeze time and move between two points where you can’t be seen. Want to teleport? Freeze time and move between two points, accelerating the time within your frozen-time so that you get there almost immediately. Want to ‘take someone out’… use your imagination. Plus, it essentially grants immortality.
Never heard a convincing case for any other superpower being superior to time control. I’m not very good with making up names, so I’d probably go with something pretentious like Tempus Homine.
🧞♂️ If you had one wish to improve the world, what would you change?
There are a lot of potential options here, but I think I would wish that the world would become a true meritocracy (or at least as close as possible to this). I think in practice this would have to include proper early opportunities for all (including education, obviously), a sensible set of taxes on unearned wealth, and an effective justice system. I think the latter is often overlooked when we think of meritocracy, but to me justice would be central to it, and vice versa.
📚 Which books do you recommend to others?
Let’s confuse everyone:
- ”Moneyland” by Oliver Bullough
- “Winners Take All” by Anand Giridharadas
- “Selfie” by Will Storr
- “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene
- “Natives” by Akala
- “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
- “How Not to Be a Boy” by Robert Webb
- “Assata” by Assata Shakur
- “East West Street” by Philippe Sands
- “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond
- “Kill the Black One First” by Michael Fuller
- Both of Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules” books
- “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
- “Waking Up” and “The Moral Landscape” by Sam Harris
- “Just and Unjust Wars” by Michael Walzer
- “The Worldly Philosophers” by Robert Heilbroner
- “The Prosecutor” by Nazir Ifzal
- “What Do Men Want?” by Nina Power
- “Understanding Power” by Noam Chomsky
- “America: The Farewell Tour” by Chris Hedges
- And “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins
❤️ Name three self-care practices you have adopted to treat yourself well?
The main one is running, which I became consistent with over COVID and has honestly changed my life. Another is allowing myself to ‘read’ audiobooks, rather than paper ones, which has allowed me to consume a lot more knowledge over shorter periods, especially as it allows me to multi-task (often combining with running). The third would be meditation, but it would be a lie to say I’ve become consistent with this—it’s one to watch for the future, really.