Zuihitsu, 2023-01

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

  • In your closet and your life, subtract whenever you add.
  • When the wrench is on the nut, tighten it.
  • Ask: does it light me up? If no, don’t do it.
  • Every hatred must serve a purpose.
  • Never force, beg or chase.
  • Even a beautiful straightjacket is only going to be worn for special occasions.
  • What’s the focus? Surviving or flourishing.
  • Change is inevitable. The question is whether you accept it, direct it, or resist it.
  • Relationships reveal. What do your say about you?
  • Not everyone can be beautiful. But, everyone can be less ugly.
  • Clarity of purpose drives motivation.
  • Know your worth.
  • Control your emotions.
  • Avoidance is the coward’s burnt bridge.
  • Peace is better than revenge.
  • You do not know what other people feel.
  • The difference between a good and a bad person is their choice of causes.
  • Language that obscures, limits.
  • Skimming the top does not clean the bottom.
  • There is no investment without risk.
  • Be selective who you take advice from, and criticism is a form of advice.
  • Trust your feelings but use your calculator.
  • We all broke our rules for someone.
  • Meaning is often created in hindsight, not in the present.
  • Often one decision implies many others.
  • Standards for evidence are inverse to one’s desire to believe.
  • Actions over words.
  • Altered traits, not altered states.
  • Surround yourself with people with ideas they are working on rather than people that talk about other people.
  • Wrong questions are worse than wrong answers.
  • Dreams make life interesting.
  • Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.—Alan Moore
  • Choose life-expanding choices over comfort.
  • Ask yourself how this serves your growth.
  • Can I accept the consequences of this choice? If I can, that is true freedom.
  • What would my fully-actualized self do?
  • When in doubt, opt for the natural path over the forced path.
  • Creativity requires “wasted” time.
  • The biggest risk is playing it safe.
  • The narcissism of small differences leads to the most boring conformity.


“Write the title of the book you last read and liked. You can also enter just any book you like.
The more titles you add to the list, the more our recommendations will match your preferences.”


Artificial intelligence offering book recommendations. All that is needed is a CSV file upload, Good reads API, or similar. It would be great to be able to input a list and both the books to read first, as well as surface the books that should be on the list but aren’t on it.

The Bath, Soyuzmultfilm

The Bath is a story about an inventor, Strangefellow, and the time machine he’s trying to build. It really does work — yet he finds his project caught in the endless red tape, dead ends and labyrinths of Soviet bureaucracy. Ultimately, a time traveler, the nameless Phosphorescent Woman, arrives from 2030 to carry the worthy into the coming “Age of Communism.” The question is: who’s worthy?”

-“The Bomb That Is ‘The Bath’.” animationobsessive.substack.com. January 22, 2023.

I haven’t watched the film yet, but the write-up made me want to bookmark it.

Generalizing the 5/10/15 Rule for U.S. Drug Development, Or The Cycle of the New

“U.S. drug development cycle, which he says “always follows the 5/10/15 rule. For the first 5 years, companies hype new drugs; next 5 years all hidden side effects are exposed, leading to black-box warnings and class action lawsuits; in [the] last 5 years, the companies start dissing their own old drug as the patent runs out to begin the hype cycle for their next new drug.” 

-Jane Metclafe, “2023 Predictions-The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” neo.life. January 2023

This article on 2023 predictions is worth reading in full. However, I particularly found this piece interesting. Ultimately, this is about how incentives drive behavior. So, we might generalize this rule to something like: “Any novel thing goes through a period that focuses on benefits, another period on the risks, then finally becomes the status quo that will be replaced by some other, new thing.”

Boxing Time & Losing

Over the course of writing this blog, I’ve come to view writing as an important activity, like meditation. And like meditation, I find my motivation comes in fits and spurts. One thing I found helpful with this site is the “don’t break the chain” method. Simply create the expectation and the space that you will sit down and do something for some period of time. It’s alright if you don’t do it. But, if that thing is say, running, and you know that it’s the time and you have your running shoes on. Chances are, you’ll do it.

The problem is when you have people in your life that want to live schedules that are different than yours, or have no schedule at all. So, in a moment of spontaneity, they’ll say something like: “I’m going to run some errands. Do you want to come with me?” Or, you have children, who when they are around behave in this way. I suspect that is why parents are so eager to put them on a schedule. If you don’t box the time, you’ll have none left for yourself or the things you want to do.

Perhaps the place where this is most insidious is social media. Like having children around, it is always there, an inexhaustible hole in which to dump your attention. With children, we do this because giving them our attention is an act of love. However, even love needs limits. But, what are we doing with social media? What benefits does it offer?

It can be entertaining. It is certainly distracting, so you do not have to focus your attention on the problems at hand. But, I cannot help feel that it is not time well spent. Whereas, time writing comments like this one, feels more like it is helping me gain a better understanding of how the world works and how I want to be within it.

Social media is like dipping into the Overmind of humanity. There’s interesting material there, but it needs to be balanced again incorporating it into our lives in a way that is beneficial. I’m currently failing to do that, as the infrequent posts to this blog serve as evidence. But, I’m working on it.