Reminders

 

Keeping self on straight and narrow. So many blind alleys, so many distractions. I want to do my best and this is hard work. Many are doing this work. 

Only go straight. Try, try try. Today might be my last day. It might be the last day for anyone I meet. Meet them fully. Be who I want to be. See the way I want to be seen. Look at life fully and with an open mind. Free of biases and illusions. Fill life with kindness. This is the hard work of being a human.


Curious.

Super podcast featuring a conversation with Tristan Harris. Tristan is a former Design Ethicist at Google and left the company to lead Time Well Spent. A company looking at and educating technologists and the public, us, about the problems of the attention economy. Take back our time and apply it where we find value not where some corporation finds value.

How to like people. Simple reminders.

It is here, in this wave, in the next.

 
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One, seven, three, five
The truth you search for cannot be grasped.
As night advances, a bright moon illuminates the whole ocean;
The dragon’s jewels are found in every wave.
Looking for the moon, it is here, in this wave, in the next.
— Xuedou Zongxian, from the Blue Cliff Record
 

Meaning in life is a product of my internal workings. It is not anything external, otherworldly, metaphysical. It is mysterious in the sense of surprise and wonder and not in the sense of anything supernatural. Meaning is made of meat! It is a feeling originating in my brain. Meaning is wonder. Wonder is meaning. This, for some, leads to fatalism. With the realization that meaning is derived from genes, and neural chemistry and the mental processes outside our conscious awareness then they ask ‘Why get up in the morning and do anything, things are already decided?” I find this line of thought foreign. A foreign question. Even though this thing called ‘I’ that “gets up and does things" has a small connection with my mental processes, it is the part of life I live with and share. It is my connection with experience. Knowing that meaning is a feeling produced by the brain via the wonder of neural connectivity and chemistry is freeing. It is a surprise, a wonder, a joy.

There lies the meaning of life. We don’t have to spend any more time looking. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything", calculated by an enormous supercomputer named Deep Thought took over 7.5 million years to arrive at. We can get the answer in an instant. This is sooo comforting. 
 

Try, try, try.

How would I live if I knew I’d live 100 more years?

One of the best things I ever did to change my life (along with calorie tracking, exercise, reading, journaling, backpacking, meditating) is to focus on my health. This is still a work in progress. I try and be open to new information that modifies my thinking. 

I am continually asking myself, “Am I doing the optimal things with regards to my health?" I'm trying to make up for all the poor health decisions I made when younger. 

A thought experiment: “How would I live if I knew I’d live 100 more years?” Rather than the cliche: “How would I live if I know today was my last day?” This is not a excuse to put off action “because I have 100 years” it is more a spur because I only have 100 years! But pressure is off because if an action doesn’t succeed, I have time to improve and try again. I can work on improvement. 

Seems a little weird to consider this as a short couple of years ago I was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder with an unknown outcome. Of course death is the outcome but it appeared to be sooner rather than later. Now I’m considered what it would be like to live for another 100 years. This brings up a few questions.

  • Would I do the things I’m doing now if I knew I’d live for 100 more years?
  • How would I shape my activities?
  • Would I spend time journaling like I do?
  • Could I do more making?
  • Would I have the relationships I do?
  • Could I find meaningful work?
  • Could I eat better and workout differently?
  • Could I be more or less politically active?
  • Can I be a person of action?
  • Would I hesitate to act? To be present?
  1. Thinking, materially only appears in the mind. No mind, no thinking. Change thinking, change mind.
  2. Thinking is valid only to the degree that it reflects or correlates with what is outside mind.
  3. Thinking that does not reflect this validity is called a delusion.

Links I Loved This Week
Marcus Aurelius on Business, Investing, and Modern Life