Zuihitsu: 2021-08

Collecting these little ideas has become a major focus. Here’s this month’s installment.

  1. Calm people live, panicked people die.
  2. Emotions are the barometer of mental health.
  3. Belief is a way to remove the irritation of doubt.
  4. The Internet amplifies variance.
  5. We’ve lost and need to go back to the drawing board and start over is one of the hardest things for people to say to themselves.
  6. Let the bullets fly for awhile.
  7. Approach everything like a curious idiot, rather than a know-it-all genius.
  8. New words are addresses to previously unused embeddings in concept space.
  9. Selling is part of life.
  10. Do not prize originality. It’s easy enough to be original when you stay on the same bus long enough.—cf. Helsinki Bus Station Theory
  11. There is power in mystery.
  12. Widen the limits of what is or is perceived to be possible, and it will come with the cost of lowering your ability, real or imaginary, to discern the probable.
  13. There are no shortcuts; there are no miracles.
  14. A schedule is more important than a to-do list.
  15. Generation, degeneration, regeneration.
  16. Life is a read, eval, and print loop (REPL) process.
  17. Surprise enables seeing with different eyes.
  18. Do not look for a successful personality to duplicate.—Bruce Lee
  19. Do not rule over imaginary kingdoms.
  20. Whenever the law falls short, people find a way.
  21. A fish doesn’t know what water is, until it is beached.—Marshall McLuhan
  22. No risk it, no biscuit.
  23. The most effective debugging tool is still careful thought, coupled with judiciously placed print statements.—Brian Kernighan
  24. Arguing with someone who doesn’t care about the truth is a waste of time. Most people care more about fitting in than truth.
  25. Don’t mind what happens.
  26. Many people’s presentation of self are masks hiding secret pain.
  27. It’s better to whole-ass one thing than to half-ass many.—Kelly Shortridge
  28. Unix-philosophy: (1) design for creativity, not tasks, (2) embrace constraints, and (3) self-host and iterate.
  29. Technology is the art of arranging the world so that you don’t have to experience it.—Heidegger
  30. Where is the taser for the reader’s balls?
  31. The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.—William Blake
  32. Everything’s a flyer for the show.
  33. The world is full of wonder. What are you doing to experience more of it?
  34. What you see is all there is.
  35. Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.—Mary Oliver
  36. Look beyond the default options.
  37. It’s only integrity when it hurts.
  38. Our failure to reach our perceived ideal ultimately defines us and makes us unique.
  39. If force could solve a complex problem, wouldn’t it have done so already?
  40. Real praise is specific.
  41. Stopping the bad is easier than starting the good.
  42. Foster self-realization.
  43. Try to escape the darkness outside and within.
  44. Detailed models and graphics more often explain imagined possibilities than reality.
  45. Marketing of innovation is selling the ideas of five years ago to those stuck 10 years in the past.
  46. If you don’t save your own history, no one else will or they’ll do it badly.
  47. The enemy also gets a vote.
  48. Just another dot in a galaxy of uses.
  49. The difference between water and ice is one degree.
  50. Augment and magnify different types of culture.
  51. If you want to take a good shit, you’re going to have to eat well.—Milos Forman
  52. Instant feedback encourages experimentation.
  53. Nature is not a temple but humanity’s ruin.
  54. A.I. is a technology of extraction not of intelligence.
  55. Forget individualism; life is a collaboration.
  56. Fear fame, wealth and power as a pig fears getting fat.
  57. Some entropies are measurements of ignorance.
  58. The only people who get upset at you having boundaries are the people who benefited by you having none.
  59. Start small. One change at a time. Process over results. Be grateful.
  60. Sometimes the expression of an idea is more important than the idea.
  61. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.—Jane Goodall
  62. Labeling the past is propaganda, not history.
  63. If you want wilder, curiouser thoughts, you have to avoid the Aunties, or recommendation algorithms.
  64. Reject all mass movements.
  65. “[T]he politican is powerless against government bureaucracy; society cannot be changed through political action.”—Jacques Ellul
  66. Nothing escapes technique, broadly defined as methods of efficiency.
  67. The master shapes tools and is, in turn, shaped by them.
  68. Society is made up of countless conflicting forces that don’t cancel each other out but continually give rise to new situations.
  69. Feed your head.
  70. Disposable work, disposable lives.
  71. Don’t let a cop live in your head. Don’t be a cop.