Zuihitsu, 2023-05

  • Freedom over money.
  • Human problems require human solutions.
  • Many cultures gnaw on the bones of cheap hate and discord.
  • Building and addressing problems as they arise is superior to talking.
  • Express what you feel. Anything about others is projection.
  • A scabbard makes its sword neither good nor bad.
  • Remember to remember.
  • What is your story, cosmology to you, the person?
  • Orient, then create your own map/story.
  • Some people’s good thoughts are lost in poor expression.
  • The shouting, wounds, and blood were in plain view, the cause was hidden: fortune ruled the rest.
  • Love without purpose, and do not hate without reason.—Aesop
  • Life is a series of bets, and sometimes, things don’t work out and the consequences can only be endured.
  • He who is deaf, blind and silent will live a hundred years in peace.—Sicilian proverb
  • Friendships transform your character and there is no greater sign of a difference in character than in choosing different friends.
  • Being able to sustain effort over time is a superpower.
  • We learn by suffering.
  • Take your best guess and put in a stop loss in at 10%.
  • Listen to the bomb throwers. They are more often right than not.
  • Ecstatic cults don’t scale and generally don’t survive their leader.
  • Moral panics are always and everywhere stupid.
  • Culture replaces authentic feeling with words.
  • Where there is language, there is disagreement.
  • Letting go of an old idea is better than grasping onto a new one.
  • Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Fanaticism is a monster that pretends to be the child of religion.—Voltaire
  • Find the closed doors inside of you.
  • Regard any answer as a hostile act.
  • All ideas are new to someone at some time.
  • …to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.—Sherlock Holmes
  • A lack of education is the mother of all suffering.
  • Liberal arts are the subjects worth studying by free people.
  • You must fight for what you believe to be right while never losing your sense of humor or your sense of proportion.—Neil Gaiman
  • There is no hack subject, only hack approaches.
  • Don’t speak badly of a friend, an enemy or yourself.
  • Don’t be arrogant when you are lucky or wretched when you’re not.
  • Ambition required the tongue to mask what is in the heart.
  • Persevere beyond competence.
  • Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.—T.S. Eliot
  • The defender only needs to survive. The attacker has to win.
  • Performance is not competence.
  • Knowledge speaks. Wisdom listens.
  • Exploitation demands make-believe.
  • Most people are trading in the marketplace of passions.
  • Eternal truths are always hypothetical.—Bertrand Russell
  • The primary purpose of regulation is it protects politically influential businesses, workers, and other constituencies from the disruptions of growth.
  • Simplicity comes at the end.
  • Burn the junk your past selves left behind.
  • What then should we say, considering that there is great utility in both silence and in speaking?—Sallust
  • Whoever trusts a dishonest man to keep him safe, Discovers ruin where he thought he would find aid.

Zuihitsu, 2023-04

  • Data over narrative.
  • Authoritative without being authoritarian.
  • Don’t be a push-over.
  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.—Albert Einstein
  • Look for the slope not the Y intercept.
  • Doing leads to becoming.
  • Panic and overreaction—the late response of fools.
  • We are what we do/make.
  • People with full lives tend not to pass judgment on the lives of others.
  • Choose your feelings as you would a weapon.
  • Constraints can be invisible.
  • A life deeply lived connects to truth beyond itself.

Zuihitsu, 2023-03

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.

  • The right way is the hard way.
  • Reimagine our world and create the conditions for human flourishing, which would necessarily involve self-determination, mutual aid and freedom from governments, markets, or ideologies dictating what an individual’s or group’s life can be.
  • More awareness, more choices.
  • Behavior is a combination of someone’s: past experiences, ability to self regulate, and their core beliefs.
  • You get what you tolerate.
  • The Gruen effect is when an intentionally confusing layout makes you forget the reason you came to a store to shop.
  • …sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts.—William S. Burroughs
  • Marginal improvement or create something new. These rarely overlap.
  • The world is full of people whose vision of the future is an idealized past.
  • If a lion could talk we would not understand him.—Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his Philosophical Investigations
  • Connecting is better than protecting.
  • The first draft of history is emotional, inaccurate and conflicted.
  • No meaning without mythology.
  • A focus on accumulation destroys the social fabric.
  • People are a living composite of everyone they have ever loved.
  • Play is the soil from which healthy adults are grown and sustained.
  • Get in early and get out sooner.
  • Competition brings out the best in products, and the worst in people.
  • For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.—George Seaton
  • Wherever the wind blows, so too will my thoughts and feelings take me.
  • Speech is silver but silence is golden.
  • Use time as a filter.

Zuihitsu, 2023-02

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.

  • It is easier to make a bad habit impossible than to not do the possible.
  • Good thinking requires discomfort.
  • Let your mind wander.
  • Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.—David W. Augsburger
  • Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.—Fred Rodgers
  • Never offer unsolicited advice. Even solicited, advice is a dangerous gift.
  • A man forgets his good luck the next day, but remembers his bad luck until next year.—E.W. Howe
  • Diplomacy and decisive action go hand in hand.
  • Unless the threat is immediate, observe and analyze.
  • Politics poison everything they touch.
  • Be last to judge and the first to embrace.
  • All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.—Blaise Pascal
  • Don’t give advice, do acknowledge reality.
  • On the utility to signal spectrum, the more the cost, the more signaling.
  • Better tools, better information.
  • The tall poppy gets cut down.
  • Rest is resistance.
  • Focus on making children string over fixing broken men.
  • We all have three voices: the one we think with, the one we speak with, and the one we write with. When you stutter, two of those are always at war.—John Hendrickson
  • Thought is formed in the mouth.—Tristan Tzara
  • Without mercy, there can be no mistakes.
  • Simple solutions in a complex world aren’t solutions.
  • Devalue effort and all that remains is morass.
  • Wonder is the helpmate of learning.
  • The best way to defeat the opposition is to lead it. 
  • Happy or smart. Choose one.
  • Always be willing to change your mind —especially if you’re smart.
  • We decide what to believe by deciding who to believe.
  • No need to separate the art from the artist, if the art is bad.
  • Social constructs, such as gender, race, etc. are picked up from our society. None of us escape them, except with conscious, courageous effort.
  • Peace is the product of clear boundaries.
  • It’s never going to be perfect. Do your best and let it go.
  • Conspiracy theories are the insecure person’s defense against a confusing world with too many competing narratives.
  • Specification is for guidance. Code is source of truth.
  • You don’t need to convince. Just do or be it.
  • I would never die for my beliefs, because I might be wrong.—Bertrand Russell
  • Truth is simple. Complexity is when truth is not understood or is there to obscure it.
  • The 10/10 Rule: it takes a decade to build a platform and another decade for it to reach mass adoption.
  • Fixing things you don’t like is where innovation begins.

The Five Love Languages

According to Gary Chapman, the five love languages are:

  1. words of affirmation (compliments)
  2. quality time
  3. receiving gifts
  4. acts of service
  5. physical touch

This book, “The Five Love Languages,” was published 30 years ago. I think it is a good mental model for thinking about relationships, and it probably helps to think of them as a spectrum. It’s not that we don’t employ one or another, but we prefer to use some more than others, some of which may be context dependent.

Personally, I don’t emphasize words of affirmation. I consider that the job of each person to validate themselves. Other people complimenting us should largely not matter. I think looking for outside validation is one of the larger cultural biases that people create. So, this is probably where I am weakest. I can recognize that there can be value in compliments, but I also see them as problematic. I don’t particularly need them, although it is nice to be appreciated.

I probably emphasize “acts of service” the most. Love isn’t a feeling. Or, it is least not just a feeling. Love is a verb. If it doesn’t entail actually doing something different, often putting someone else’s interests above our own, then is it love?

Physical touch is probably second most important. Quality time and gifts follow in the third and fourth spots, respectively. It’s important to give good gifts in situations where they are appropriate. But, a relationship that has a focus on gifts can also be problematic. It’s a physical manifestation of the same kinds of issues as compliments. If it is severe enough it can lead to dependency and transactional relationships.

I haven’t read the book, but I intend to, at some point. When I do, I’ll add some notes to this entry or link to it from this post.

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.

Zuihitsu, 2022-12

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.

  • The first rule of life: don’t be a dickhead.
  • Men only have money the first month of dating, that’s recruitment budget. Never confuse it with operational budget.
  • Travel is a meat thing. Best for those whose meat is still fresh.
  • Emotional abuse: threats, using relationship history or traditiobal roles to avoid responsibility, pressure, ignoring boundaries, guilting, shaming, and getting other people to manipulate on your behalf.
  • Don’t believe the hype!—Public Enemy
  • Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.—Mark Twain
  • …there is no such thing as information-overload; there is just filter failure.—Clay Shirky
  • How might this experience bring out the best in me and help me grow?
  • Life is self-directed.
  • The planning fallacy, is the tendency to underestimate the amount of time needed to complete a future task, due in part to the reliance on overly optimistic performance scenarios.
  • Stop carrying the world on your shoulders. You ain’t got the build for it.
  • People rarely want advice. Most want to be heard. Learn to listen. Don’t try to fix it, change it, or project your own emotions onto it.
  • A question for wants: if I already had it, would I be glad?
  • Everything is possible. But not everything fits budget and timeline.
  • There’s always a tell, the canary in the coal mine, that announces the change. The hard part is recognizing it.
  • Adjudicating hacks allows systems to evolve.
  • …everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.—Bob Marley
  • Do things for love. Love is not earned. Love is either freely given, or it is not love at all.
  • Art is never finished, only abandoned.—Leonardo Da Vinci
  • The more comfortable you become in your own skin, the less you need to manufacture the world around you for comfort.
  • Get smart in secret and get stupid in public.
  • Do the easy bit first.
  • Looking to the past or present is a great way to miss the future.
  • Authentic love is about freedom, not possession.
  • Be the reason someone feels seen, heard, understood, appreciated, supported, and loved.
  • Choose grow over comfort, discipline over procrastination, improving over impressing, and progress over perfection.
  • Thinking stops at certainty.
  • Without nuance, ideas become more simple and more wrong.
  • It is enough for lazy wits to have the appearance of knowing.
  • Face, accept, float, let time pass.
  • Engage in a conspiracy of love with the whole world.
  • Self-directed learning is never boring.
  • The grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and, for children, it’s tiresome always giving them explanations.—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  • Most beliefs put ideology above evidence.
  • Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do at the right time.
  • Crickets are the orchestra of the stars.
  • Struggle leads to transformation.
  • We are all living off the fat of a dream gone bad.
  • Launch determines orbit.
  • You are not your thoughts or opinions.
  • When I shit job needs to be done, cover all the angles and try not to get shat upon.
  • To own an idea, you have to spend the cognitive time buying it.
  • Stay cautious, stay alive.
  • The overall aim of most thought is tranquillity, not truth.
  • Bees and flies eat different food. No fly can convince a bee to start eating shit.
  • The problem with stereotypes is people never live up to them.
  • Say, or learn to say: I’m sorry. I don’t know. I was wrong. I need help.
  • Lotteries distract from discontent with irrational hope.
  • Day wise, decade foolish.
  • Without agency, every problem is a catastrophe.
  • Speaking without thought is not the same as speaking the truth.
  • Philosophy is question fandom.
  • The path to self-realization is strewn with embracing uncomfortable truths.
  • Addiction is often an expression of anger.
  • Respect leaves room for questions and challenges.
  • Through play, we re-learn how to trust our own eyes and ears and resist those who would command us.
  • It is enough that it is engaging until we are ready to walk away.

Zuihitsu, 2022-11

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.

  • All great change comes from community and from individuals learning what  is within their individual and collective power.
  • Choose in your best interest. Forgive yourself for the past. Everyday, create your future self and some moments of peace.
  • Wear your Halloween costume on a different day.
  • Prediction is less important than adaptability.
  • The most important question: what can I learn from this?
  • In the sublime war of man against Reality man has but one weapon, the imagination. 
  • A beautiful thing is never perfect.
  • You can’t fight ideas with bullets.
  • Ignorance of some topics is wisdom.
  • Conflict can help people connect, but many people engage in: score keeping, deflection, gaslighting, or defensiveness.
  • Understand and express what you want.
  • Conflict is made worse when we fight (attack), flight (leave), freeze (play dead), or fawn (appease/people people) because information cannot be processed. Pause the discussion if any of these are happening.
  • Always three options: accept, reframe or reject.
  • Monetize your problems.
  • Complacency breeds crisis. Hustle breeds abundance.
  • The normal consists of a null set which nobody and nothing really fits.
  • Don’t yuck the yums of others.
  • The ear catches what the eye misses.
  • If your life is a mess, your work is a mess.
  • Debts to be paid: once for a simple trade, twice for free-given aid, and thrice for the insult made.
  • Risk cannot be destroyed, it can only be shifted through time and redistributed in form.—Christopher Cole
  • I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.—Feynman
  • Vanity is the quicksand of reason.—George Sand
  • Sometimes you can be done even if you’re not finished.
  • The purpose of thinking is so our though to die instead of us.—Alfred North Whitehead
  • There is always something that can’t be fixed.
  • Better to live with the devil than with an angry woman.
  • Frustration often precedes desire.
  • Coopted language is a tool of oppression.
  • You are not responsible for the emotions of others.
  • The secret of power is the knowledge that others are more cowardly than you are.—Ludwig Borne
  • Talking often runs way ahead of the doing.
  • In life, and in the circus, you need to gasp.
  • Celebrate other people’s wins.
  • A tragedy rarely ends with the principals.
  • If it’s your decision, it’s design; if not, it’s a requirement.—Alistair Cockburn
  • A rule of thumb: one needs to wait a minimum of 12 to 15 seconds for young children to respond to a question or a command.
  • If you’re playing defense, you’re losing.
  • …everything that lives, not vegetative life alone, emerges from darkness and, however strong its natural tendency to thrust itself into the light, it nevertheless needs the security of darkness to grow at all.—Hannah Arendt
  • Speak less, to fewer people and less often.
  • Lend freely, against good collateral, at a penalty rate.
  • A smart person learns from their mistakes, and a wise person learns from other people’s mistakes.
  • Never sleep with anybody who has more problems than you.—Robert McKee.
  • Being vulnerable is hard, but it’s the only way for us to more fully understand what we need to explain.
  • Speak your truth and live with the consequences.
  • All is fair if you predeclare.
  • Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king. And a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything.—Bruce Springstein
  • Who you are is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.
  • What we hate most in others is usually what we hate most in ourselves.
  • Real confidence looks like humility. You no longer need to advertise your value because it comes from a place that does not require the validation of others.
  • True adventure rarely comes freshly scrubbed. Sometimes, you gotta get your hands dirty.
  • Personal growth implies outgrowing some relationships too.
  • Fortune favors the prepared mind.—Louis Pasteur
  • Don’t water dead plants.
  • Honor your needs and limits.
  • When someone says they don’t fit in, they’re probably looking to fit in, somewhere.
  • The personal is more important than the perfect.
  • You can not calm the storm. You can only calm yourself until the storm has passed.
  • Bow down before the one you serve, you’re going to get what you deserve.—Trent Reznor
  • The world is full of lonely people waiting to make the first move.
  • Everything you feed grows.
  • Wait until the outcome is clear, and then wait some more.