Zuihitsu: 2021-11

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

1. Give the conversational ball back.
2. Stories from yourself and trusted people are almost the only kind of evidence that’s real.
3. The secret of life is to do something you care about.
4. Listening means willing to be changed. 
5. Brevity is achieved by selection, not compression.
6. Potential isn’t real; it’s a projection.
7. Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost, but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.—Leo Tolstoy
8. Efficiency is fundamentally opposed to democracy and self-determination.
9. To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.—G. K. Chesterton
10. All killer, no filler.
11. Centralization is quick, both feature and bug.
12. Behind every criticism is a wish.
13. Imagination can be sparked by a change in medium.
14. A basket of options is worth more than an option in a basket.
15. Culture cannot be separated from cult.
16. Good solutions still could have errors.
17. A new thought about what everyone sees is better than seeing something new.—Schopenhauer paraphrased
18. The sensible people are the first to leave.
19. Blaming people increases fear and decreases reporting of problems.—Six Sigma paraphrase
20. You either die a Guitar Hero or live long enough to become Fat Elvis.
21. Keep him nerdy, he won’t do you dirty.
22. Do it for love. Love is often only thing that can turn good enough into great.
23. Write five times more and divide the length by five.
24. Code, clubs and cults win arguments.
25. Before the elevator, the penthouse was for maids.
26. Don’t trust the map; trust the compass.
27. One man’s rancid garbage is another man’s Golden Corral buffet.
28. Remaking the world means you’re going to have to remake yourself.
29. Grind grit down to grease for the gears.
30. There are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
31. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.—Gandalf in the Fellowship.
32. Those who act without regard to the moral and physical limits implicit in the human condition do not become as the gods but rather descend into an inhuman, bestial state.
33. Where there is no room for reflection, there is none either for justice or prudence.
34. Possess power, and you’ll be possessed by it.
35. Big ideas need crazy people, and then outgrow them.
36. Writing heightens consciousness.
37. Love without fear, restraint or obligation.
38. Invent full-time.
39. Completely open minds become dumps.
40. When choice trumps values, everything is for sale.
41. If you fit in, you’re replaceable.
42. No one owes you friendship or love. A relationship can stop at any time. So, cherish it while it lasts.
43. Radical change in a person is often them getting tired of faking it.
44. The true test of goodness is how we treat those who are at our mercy.
45. What you think is the point is only the beginning of sharpness.
46. Explore/exploit is another way to think about fox/hedgehog.
47. The longer it takes, the more the worst aspects are magnified.
48. A deep life is a good life. Concentration and craft are related.
49. There’s no need to repeat the truth.
50. Spend more on things keeping you off the ground, e.g., shoes and beds.
51. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.—Gerald G. Jampolsky
52. All of us have things we can’t do alone.
53. Some things can only be known through experience.
54. Friends are hard to earn, harder still to keep.
55. Live true.
56. Too much love is never good.
57. Loneliness is a darkness of the soul.
58. The more you say no to things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.
59. Maybe we can’t all change the world. Maybe it’s enough just to do good for the short time that we’re here.—Arcade Gannon
60. What is the value of illuminating the landscape from our darkened past?
61. A game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.—Bernard Suits
62. How much of our behavior is governed by things that are, effectively, a social game?
63. There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing.—Prometheus quoting Lawrence or Arabia
64. Big things have small beginnings.
65. Never confuse who you are with what you do.
66. Master your inner dialogue.
67. Learn to live in the moment.
68. Find your real family, and clear out toxic people.
69. Crisis is opportunity; look for growth when it gets hard.
70. Be the sort of person who isn’t blandly likable and safe to know, but rather extracts a cost to be close to and then repays that cost with rare and complicated gifts of personality.

Zuihitsu: 2021-10

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

  1. Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.—Josephine Hart
  2. Life is a perpetual act of self-authorization.
  3. What cannot be summarized can only be experienced.
  4. Attempts to escape the physical world find it stubbornly persists.
  5. Instead of lightening our burdens, make them heavier. You might decide to put it down.
  6. Suffering is believing there is an escape.
  7. Ought implies can. Are you able?
  8. Get on with what counts most and let the other chips fall where they may.
  9. Lower the stakes.
  10. The best work is work we aren’t sure we can do.
  11. Writer’s block is a reluctance to write poorly.
  12. Hoist an unwanted confidence on someone today.
  13. A genius in the one most like himself.—Theolonious Monk
  14. Make a list of what you want to say. What comes first? What’s last?
  15. Write down what you see.
  16. Ask again.
  17. You can close your eyes, but you can’t close your ears.
  18. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.—Carl Jung
  19. You cannot change people or organizations. They can only be made anew.
  20. Find balance between building capacity vs. getting things done.
  21. Don’t confuse motion with progress.
  22. Little is learned from comfort.
  23. Thinking about anything that is not happening in the moment comes with an emotional cost.
  24. The question is not what you look at, but what you see.—H.D. Thoreau
  25. Nostalgia is slow repetition.
  26. Never stay stationary. Repeat, vary, evolve.
  27. Society evolves one funeral at a time.
  28. Patience and commitment are the keys to perseverance.
  29. All advice is contextual, yet it is rarely delivered with any context.
  30. Everyone is scarred by past experience.
  31. Sharpening is a prelude, not a substitute, for cutting.
  32. Just because someone doesn’t share their opinions doesn’t mean they don’t have any.
  33. Everything that is important is explainable.
  34. Everyone wants you to tell them their $0.02.
  35. Data is computation in a trench coat.
  36. Opacity has its purposes.
  37. Artists are the antenna of civilization.—Ezra Pound
  38. New selves first emerge in simulacrum.
  39. Make things you want to see and put on your own shows.
  40. This world values children, not childhood—Bioshock Infinite, Burial at Sea
  41. There are only personal apocalypses. Nothing is a cliche when it’s happening to you.—Max Payne
  42. I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.—Joshua Graham, Fallout New Vegas
  43. The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.–G-Man, Half Life 2
  44. A man chooses, a slave obeys.
  45. Surviving is winning, Franklin, everything else is bullshit.— Michael from GTA V
  46. [H]uman beings define their reality through suffering and misery.—Agent Smith, The Matrix
  47. The point of travel is to experience things you haven’t.—Freddie deBoer
  48. Resist optimization culture.—Freddie deBoer
  49. Don’t cling to the nurse out of fear of something worse.
  50. Nothing is easier than to become subhuman.
  51. Love for the wrong person will destroy you.
  52. Do you want truth or comfort?
  53. Even tainted knowledge can point the discerning to truth.
  54. Not all families last.
  55. Even gods want mysteries.
  56. Risky odds are better than none.
  57. People that serve everyone can be trusted by no one.
  58. Pleasure is often used as a weapon.
  59. Meaning lies everywhere around us and within us.
  60. We live many lives, die many deaths. But in each of these lives and deaths all the others are present, and we can hear their echo.—paraphrased Roberto Calasso
  61. Always show up and keep showing up.
  62. Nothing is safe but what we put at risk.
  63. Report to the heavens the true features of the human story.
  64. Being early is the same as being wrong.
  65. The desire for consistency is a source for poor decision-making.
  66. Optimize for variance.
  67. Look for unrecognized value.
  68. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.—Oscar Wilde
  69. Put yourself in the path of discovery. Discover something new every day.
  70. Mental models tend to be grounded in experiences in a material world. 
  71. Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.—Frank Herbert, Dune
  72. Everything is more beautiful when you’re doomed.
  73. The purpose of death is release of love.—Laurie Anderson
  74. Create the reality you want to live in.
  75. Are you thinking or rearranging your prejudices?
  76. Mass media homogenizes minds.
  77. Wanting to do it is almost always enough qualification.
  78. All publicity works upon anxiety.—John Berger
  79. It is not a war, but it’s a fight.—Annick Girardin
  80. You are free to do whatever you want. You need only face the consequences.—Sheldon Kopp
  81. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.—Sheldon Kopp
  82. All important decisions must be made with incomplete information, and yet, we are still responsible.
  83. Heroes imply diminishment.
  84. You’re not going to get everything you want.
  85. The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.—Rilke
  86. Disillusion can be positive.
  87. The key to doing anything well is preparation.
  88. Self-discipline, self-control and the ability to work when we’d rather not is more important than intelligence.
  89. The triumph of culture is to overpower nationality.– Ralph Waldo Emerson. Corollary: Nationalism triumphs when culture is weak.
  90. Being known by strangers, and, even more dangerously, seeking their approval, is an existential trap.
  91. Too much money breeds arrogance, bad behavior, and jealousy, and society just loves to take it down.
  92. Sometimes not quitting is avoiding the harder thing, confronting the uncertainty of change.
  93. Everybody’s battling something at the gym, the bigger people are deeper into the struggle.

An Eschatological Laundry List: By Sheldon Kopp (1974)

“10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune…

23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems…

29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps…

41. You are free to do whatever you want. You need only face the consequences.

—Sheldon Kopp, “An Eschatological Laundry list.” The Therapeutic Care Journal. October 1, 2016.

Zuihitsu: What Is It?

“The Japanese describe the genre as “a running brush” as it does not lie so much in the subjects it deals with but rather in the movement of the wind. The style consists of personal interconnected essays or fragmented ideas that respond to the author’s surroundings; however, these “essays” jump from one to the other by association, as the mind does as it distractedly meditates and memories, abstractions, extracts of other texts, lists, opinions, dreams and poems crop up. It gathers all of the inventory that we are, Calvino would say.

In zuihitsu we feel the writing process and touch the textures of the author’s mind more than the themes or subjects referred to, which is why it is often translated as “miscellany” or “miscellaneous essay;” there is no central point but rather parts that interact with each other. There could be, for example, parts in verse, and which is perhaps the best vehicle for an idea, and parts in prose, whose function is to absorb the sentimentalism in a way that verse cannot. Reading or writing zuihitsu is, in short, to see how the form changes the content.”

-“Zuihitsu: The Literary Genre In Which The Text Can Drift Like A Cloud.” faena.com

I liked this definition and included in my about page:

“[S]he writes personally and casually, for the joy of it, about anything that comes to mind, providing that what she thinks might impress readers…excluding anything completely fictional.”

-Stephen Carter, ed. Introduction to The Columbia Anthology of Japanese Essays: Zuihitsu from the Tenth to the Twenty-First Century. Washington, D.C: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Zuihitsu: 2021-09

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

  1. What is the underlying issue of the dispute?
  2. The Internet is a machine for wrecking consensus and trust.—Marginal Revolution
  3. To correct a mistake, acknowledge a mistake has been made and state any new information necessary. Don’t repeat whatever needed correcting. 
  4. The world rewards you for outcomes, not effort.
  5. What would make you change your mind?
  6. You can never go back. Change cannot be undone.
  7. Change tends to effect relationships with everything.
  8. Some goals require being and not having.
  9. Extending our senses also means limiting them. The microscope and telescope changes our view completely and are valuable as alternatives that can be used at will.
  10. Vanity Fair is in our pockets and it is always open for business.
  11. We should be wary of allowing the logic of the market to colonize all facets of our experience.
  12. Only the experience of sharing a common human world with others who look at it from different perspectives can enable us to see reality in the round and to develop a shared common sense.—Hannah Arendt
  13. Codes, even the best codes, can become idolatrous traps that tempt us to complicity in violence.—Charles Tayler
  14. What frames what?
  15. To betray, you must first belong.—Kim Philby
  16. Only the paranoid survive in a computerized world.
  17. You teach best what you most need to learn.—Richard Bach
  18. The best problems are insoluble.
  19. Management is a discipline. When used as an incentive, it becomes something else.
  20. Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.
  21. Sometimes dreams are poison.
  22. The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.—Brandolini’s law
  23. Sing the newspaper.
  24. The point of abstracting responsiblity to policies, algorithms, bureaucracies, etc. is to replace anger with disbelief and resignation.
  25. Talent is the capacity for doing continuous hard work in the right way.
  26. Fan is an abbreviation of fanatic.
  27. The correct value of most of our assets is zero.
  28. No past, no future.
  29. Human behavior is driven by love or want of love.
  30. Do your best, and as you improve, do better.
  31. Escape the sociology of the last five minutes.—cf. Michael Mann
  32. Military veterans don’t laugh at the circus.
  33. Most people are interested in discovering the truth, if it is within walking distance.
  34. Disruption is never one variable, but a wholesale revisiting of all the variables.
  35. Comfort always comes at a cost.
  36. The earth is slippery, slick.—Nahuatl proverb
  37. Write to tell stories, not explain research.
  38. Never a day without a line.
  39. Silence doesn’t allow for difference or self-aggrandizement.
  40. Avoid strain, anxiety and tension.
  41. Misuse of words leads to abuse of people.
  42. Learn to hear what you’d rather not hear.
  43. The sedated cannot be engaged.
  44. Loneliness can be like air, something unnoticed until it is gone.
  45. Intimacy comes when there is nothing left to say.
  46. Reality binds everybody to limits.
  47. Commerce reduces product to commodity.
  48. Be a sound craftsman, in whatever work you choose to do.
  49. If you’re big on the Internet, three likely outcomes: you burn out, you get cancelled, or you disappear.
  50. A weird paradox of the Internet. It amplifies and aggregates, which, in turn, creates new niches.
  51. What’s the lingering cost of life lived on a pedestal?
  52. In the firehose of faces, you need a strategy to stand out. Be unique.
  53. Identify the best tool for the job, and use it.
  54. Hard problems can be made smaller and/or reframed into easier problems.
  55. Always seek to better yourself and your tools.
  56. Volume is just about the number of fools.
  57. The secret ingredient to anything great is love.
  58. All progress runs the risk of bad precedents. No decision worth making is free of potentially bad consequences.
  59. In some games, there is no such thing as overkill.
  60. Do not shit where you sleep.
  61. One with courage makes a majority.
  62. Commitment means compounded returns on effort and creates meaning.
  63. There are no rules; there are only targets.
  64. Technology changes exponentially but our institutions adapt only linearly, if at all. 
  65. Selective with strong citation.
  66. Everything digital is mental representation that can be changed as the mind changes.
  67. Creativity rarely emerges rapidly.
  68. Run away from monoculture.
  69. Having our perception of the world increasingly mediated by proprietary technologies that immerse us in ever more sophisticated realms of digital simulacra is a way of surrendering the experience of a shared reality with others.
  70. The final form of the physical store is an environment where prospective or existing customers just hang out, marinating in the brand without necessarily buying anything while inside.
  71. Our stories fit reality to the narrative instead of the narrative to reality, i.e., they are fictions.
  72. Look for things that don’t make sense.
  73. There is no clean way to enter the heavy machinery of the heart.—This is the Nonsense of Love by Mindy Nettifee
  74. Only those who do not seek power are qualified to hold it.–Plato
  75. To be happy, be unashamed.
  76. Very occasionally, it is okay to be angry, even with the gods, but anger as a default mode is poison.
  77. Sigmoid or singular?
  78. Payments is the most frequent and effective means of controlling discourse.
  79. Markets roll over when you least expect.
  80. People often signal left, only to turn right. Turns over signals.
  81. Focus on process over results. Work on multiple problems and rotate them. Discuss with people who perceive it differently and can help.
  82. Pour les encourager les autres.

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.

Zuihitsu: 2021-07

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

  1. The interior of our skulls contains a portal to infinity.—Grant Morrison
  2. Personal density is proportional to temporal bandwidth.—Thomas Pynchon
  3. Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.—Salvador Dali
  4. Relationships come with no guarantees.
  5. The tears we cry moisturize the skin of life.
  6. Take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy.—Elvis Costello
  7. Getting married isn’t going to make you less alone.
  8. Acts demolish alternatives, that is the paradox.
  9. Individualism doesn’t scale.
  10. People who live in cities tend to collect neuroses.
  11. People become estranged from their former selves, their goals and dreams unless they continuously try to define and remember them.
  12. Life is stranger than even the strangest among us can suppose.— paraphrasing Terence McKenna paraphrasing J.D.S. Haldane
  13. Few theories work well when applied over two orders of magnitude.
  14. Let go of things not meant for you.
  15. Hold plans lightly.
  16. Action over thought.
  17. Limits usually have limits.
  18. Separate the real from the unreal.
  19. Create the job you want.
  20. The more you do what you want the less you want to compare.
  21. Most things take less time than you think.
  22. You can be the best X, and there are going to be people that hate Xs.
  23. Opportunity flows through people.
  24. Nobody knows what they are doing.
  25. Life is long.
  26. Our weakness can also be a strength.
  27. What we understand depends on how we think.
  28. Even unseen work has value.
  29. The offer of a generous spirit is not to be refused lightly.
  30. The best ideas are rarely discovered in isolation from practical implementation.
  31. To deny the past is to deny the future.
  32. When we crave power over life—endless wealth, unassailable safety, immortality—then desire becomes greed.
  33. Only one thing in this world can resist an evil-hearted man. And that is another man. A spirit capable of evil is also able to overcome it.
  34. Presume to punish and reward others, and you’ll enter into a master/slave relationship.
  35. Do nothing, unless it must be done and done that way.
  36. Save talking until you know something.
  37. The counsel of the dead is not for the living.
  38. To wield a weapon you do not understand is most likely to end with harm to self.
  39. Strange roads have strange guides.
  40. In innocence, there is no strength against evil.
  41. True power accepts and doesn’t take.
  42. A candle only looks bright in the dark.
  43. Truth varies with the man.
  44. Learn by going where you have to go.—Roethke
  45. Leave a little room for luck and chance to aid you.
  46. Nothing can be without becoming.
  47. There’s misery enough; you don’t have to go looking for it.
  48. Harm draws harm to it.
  49. Better shark than herring.
  50. Is wisdom all words?
  51. Grow in grace.
  52. Used goods can be had at less price and for more value.
  53. What cannot be mended must be transcended.
  54. Before you start, decide when quitting is the best choice.
  55. Hard times are like bad weather, they don’t last.
  56. Expression is compression.
  57. People make history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing.—paraphrase of Karl Marx
  58. Talent wins.
  59. Don’t get stuck on the details. 
  60. Bad times help you appreciate good times.
  61. Be a thread woven into the fabric of shared human experience.
  62. People in cities don’t mix, they sort.
  63. Mercy to the guilty is the only kind of mercy there is.—Eve Tushnet
  64. There are some things you just don’t want to know.—Zeckhauser
  65. If you focus on people’s shortcomings, you’ll always be disappointed.—Zeckhauser
  66. Practice asynchronous reciprocity.—Zeckhauser
  67. Pleasure is no enemy of discipline.—Virginia Woolf
  68. Habits form from enjoyment. Want to form a habit? Find a way to make it fun.
  69. The only advice one person can give another is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions.
  70. To be a happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily.—Bhutanese folk saying
  71. The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.”—William Hazlitt
  72. Some people are enlightened only on retreat.
  73. We live in a time when endless wants wreck us, and enough is a radical supposition.
  74. In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
  75. The institutionalization of values leads inevitably to physical pollution, social polarization, and psychological impotence: three dimensions in a process of global degradation and modernized misery.
  76. Useful things for useless people.
  77. Define a problem by its behavior, not by your preferred solution.
  78. Aim to enhance total systems properties, such as creativity, stability, diversity, resilience, and sustainability–whether they are easily measured or not.
  79. If something is unsustainable, it will end. You don’t have to end it.
  80. Small things often.
  81. I am not inclined to ruin myself for the sake of hurting my enemies.—Hermocrates
  82. Focus on the past is ego. Focus on the future is pride. Focus on the present is humility.
  83. It is dangerous to be right when the status quo is wrong.—paraphrase of Voltaire
  84. Personality is important in love but rarely outside of it.
  85. We squander our lives on trivia.
  86. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.—Oscar Wilde paraphrased
  87. Knowledge is acquired when we succeed in fitting a new experience into the system of concepts based upon our old experiences. Understanding comes when we liberate ourselves from the old and so make possible a direct, unmediated contact with the new, the mystery, moment by moment, of our existence.—Aldous Huxley
  88. Imitation is at the root of all behaviour.—René Girard
  89. Humour is a test of expertise.
  90. Technology is commodification, and words commodify knowledge.
  91. Social embeddedness is key to any communication medium.
  92. Good times will come, and hard times will come. If we are to endure, we must be principled and create value on solid foundations. 
  93. All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.—William Butler Yeats
  94. Early commitment leads to cost overruns.
  95. Self-sufficiency and money cannot co-exist because money implies dependency.
  96. …to resign oneself to accept the lesser of two evils is unworthy of the human spirit.—Jacques Maritain
  97. My idea of rich is that you can buy every book you ever want without looking at the price and you’re never around assholes. That’s the two things to really fight for in life.—John Waters
  98. Are you asking the right questions?
  99. When traveling, have a spare for what you wear.
  100. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.—Harry Potter

Zuihitsu: 2021-06

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

1. “I’m not saying we’ll live to see some sort of paradise. But just fighting for change makes you stronger. Not hoping for anything will kill you for sure.” —Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues
2. Figure out what game you’re playing, then play it (and only it).
3. “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”—David Bowie
4. Betteridge’s law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”
5. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” —Blaise Pascal
6. It’s always darkest before it’s pitch black.
7. I used to think I was scared of heights but now I know I was just scared of gravity.—Reid Wiseman (NASA astronaut)
8. One time is coincidence; two times is enemy action.
9. A professional is an amateur who didn’t quit.
10. Planning leads to dictatorship.
11. First thought is your socialization; second thought is reflection.
12. A misnamed thing is a mismanaged thing.
13. When one is trying to be oneself, competition will inevitably get in the way.
14. Figure out what you want to do, and do it fast. If you can’t do that, do plan B. Fast.
15. There’s nothing like real risk to clarify one’s opinions.
16. In the religion of animals, humans are the devil.
17. Judge it later. You’ll have plenty of time to judge it. Ignore the judgments of others.
18. Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond.—The Buddha
19. Everyone is different, but the differences aren’t due to being male or female.
20. “If there’s risk involved, eliminate it.” —John Havens
21. The e in email is for evidence.
22. What incentive do we have to evolve?
23. Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.—Robert Frost
24. Be prepared to lose everything.
25. Productive interactions are better than destructive interactions.
26. Whenever we try to impose control on people and situations we only serve to make them more uncontrollable.—paraphrase of Margaret Wheatley and Leia in Star Wars
27. Don’t believe anything you have to believe.
28. A perfectly tuned conversation is a vision of sanity.
29. A positive attitude, unpretentious kindness, hard work, and a sense of humor can be useful for living.
30. Life is one continuous mistake.
31. Lack of gratitude is endemic.
32. Nail down what you’ve got.
33. Once you’ve learned to see angels, you’ll see devils too.
34. Mental illness is anything that interferes with love or work.
35. Develop a good understanding of the mind, then discipline it.
36. Joy is an act of resistance.
37. Imagine another, better world.
38. Miami: a sunny place for shady people.
39. Innuendo without fact is immoral.
40. For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.—H.L. Mencken
41. Adulthood is patience. Mastery is nine times patience.
42. To hear, one must be silent.
43. Danger surrounds power as darkness surrounds the light.
44. It is impossible to tell the difference between spellcasting and prognostication.
45. Each person makes their own prison, but few think to make a key.
46. Alone, no one wins freedom.
47. Freedom is not a gift, but a choice.
48. We live in a tabloid world now.

Zuihitsu: 2021-05

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

  1. Small talk is the tax that God extracted for the privilege of human speech.
  2. It is a different skill to communicate an idea than to understand it.
  3. If someone says there was too much, then something about it was unappealing.
  4. Why not? is a terrible reason.
  5. Remember the creative power of paring back.
  6. Narrow intelligence is not on a continuum with general intelligence.
  7. Intelligence is embodied and cannot be located in the brain.
  8. “Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third-story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”—Terence McKenna
  9. The days of top-down cultural consensus are over.
  10. You are what you think about all day long.—Ralph Waldo Emerson, paraphrased
  11. “When the time is right” means “not now.”
  12. Trust is not transferable.
  13. You only have to be lucky once.
  14. Consensus does not function in spaces of true diversity.
  15. Leadership tends to reenforce accountability and rights.
  16. Business cards are for selling something. Have one? What are you selling?
  17. The iron law of institutions: people care more about their own power within an institution than the total power of that institution.
  18. Elitism can only happen in the context of relationships. If you are better, you need a comparison class.
  19. You were interrupted. What were you going to say?
  20. What did you mean by that?
  21. Any study of Internet culture is basically a study of crazy people.
  22. “Be careful who you pretend to be, because you are who you pretend to be”.—attributed to Kurt Vonnegut
  23. No thaw is forever.
  24. It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse. It is not a compliment if it comes with a request.
  25. In all things — except love — start with the exit strategy. Prepare for the ending. Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.
  26. The foundation of maturity: Just because it’s not your fault doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility.
  27. Be strict with yourself and forgiving of others. The reverse is hell for everyone.
  28. Your best response to an insult is “You’re probably right.” Often they are.
  29. If you can avoid seeking approval of others, your power is limitless.
  30. Contemplating the weaknesses of others is easy; contemplating the weaknesses in yourself is hard, but it pays a much higher reward.
  31. Write down one thing you are grateful for each day.
  32. Ignore what others may be thinking of you, because they aren’t.
  33. Always say less than necessary.
  34. Don’t treat people as bad as they are. Treat them as good as you are.
  35. Bad things can happen fast, but almost all good things happen slowly.
  36. If you meet a jerk, overlook them. If you meet jerks everywhere everyday, look deeper into yourself.
  37. All the greatest gains in life — in wealth, relationships, or knowledge —come from the magic of compounding interest — amplifying small steady gains.
  38. You don’t marry a person, you marry a family.
  39. Always give credit, take blame.
  40. Epitaph: when I die, a few people will be sorry, and a couple of people will remember me for several days.
  41. Repair what you helped break. Collective freedom is impossible without interpersonal repair.
  42. You turn yourself into the weapon when you strike someone else—in the end, another way to erase yourself—and so you do that last.—Alexander Chee
  43. In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Things will go on as they always have, getting weirder all the time.—Robert Anton Wilson
  44. Kindness is going soft where the world would make you hard.
  45. Learn a brute force method, acquire intuition as to how to speed it up, and apply it until you get stuck then figure out a new insight.
  46. Try harder to reinvest our environments with the meaning that belligerent materialism has sucked out of them.—Alan Moore
  47. Gell-Mann Amnesia, believing news articles outside expertise even after noticing errors in reporting in one’s area of expertise.
  48. Enjoy yourself. The alternative is to kill yourself. The first option is better, always.
  49. I won’t miss the circus around here, but I might miss some of the clowns.—Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
  50. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.—Mark Twain
  51. It is better to be generally paranoid than to be bureaucratically prepared.
  52. Amateurs talk strategy and professionals talk logistics.
  53. Real success is succeeding, then bombing on a new idea or approach.
  54. Is it performance or is it actual?
  55. The more incompetent one feels, the more eager he is to fight.—Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  56. It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.—Voltaire
  57. Caution can also be a risk.
  58. What you resist, persists. —Carl Jung
  59. Help wanted. No complainers, know-it-alls, whiners, sloths, manipulators, roamers, hiders, shirkers, liars, haters, clock watchers, controllers, passive aggressors, pukers, or splitters. Pukers are people that tell other people their troubles and then go about their day. Splitters are people that like to create division and sides.
  60. You can’t use reason to argue someone out of a position that they did not arrive at by reason.
  61. Even the best ideas get brushed aside by real-world data, don’t take it personally.
  62. I can’t stand it. I know you planned it.
  63. Have the right enemies.
  64. Consider the possibility that a visceral defense of the physical, and an accompanying dismissal of the virtual as inferior or escapist, is a result of superuser privileges.
  65. Change your perspective, change yourself.
  66. Everyone and every thing has a story to share, if we are willing and able to hear it.

Zuihitsu: 2021-04

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

  1. Social media turns life into episodes.
  2. When money exchanges hands,  something is being bought.
  3. Constraints liberate, liberties constrain. —Runar Bjarnson
  4. Software is eating the world.
  5. Never forget that society can go balls-up at any moment.
  6. Pleasures deferred can be pleasures foregone.
  7. “A compromise is an agreement between two men to do what both agree is wrong.”—Lord Edward Cecil
  8. Use it right away.
  9. Use research and make a decision.
  10. You get what you pay for.
  11. Take risks, make mistakes.
  12. “We tend to get what we measure, so we should measure what we want.”—James Gustave Speth
  13. Most people are full of crap and not worth listening to. They only know what they know, which is not much.
  14. You’re an individual, no one thinks exactly like you, no one completely understands you, so factor that in in the decisions you make.
  15. Just do your own practice.
  16. Keep doing the experiment as best as you can.
  17. Integration of insights takes time.
  18. Practice, take time to develop, persist and respect the insight of good teachers.
  19. People aren’t perfectable.
  20. Narcissism and arrogance aren’t the same thing.
  21. Prioritize mental training.
  22. Understand the problem before selecting your tools. Before selecting your tools, know what they can and can’t do.
  23. “Telling the truth to someone who can’t understand it is tantamount to telling that person a lie.”—Eliphas Levi
  24. Wisdom is knowing the truth deeply enough to optimize the specifics.
  25. Perseverance furthers.
  26. Only ideologues ignore experts.
  27. Everybody needs shelter, calories, and resources.
  28. Addition is the default for solving problems. Try substraction.
  29. Large organisations are intrinsically sociopathic.
  30. Don’t tell me what you value; show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.
  31. To give everyone a loud speaker is to assure that no one can be heard.
  32. Sounds are a scaffold for thought when logic and imagery elude us.
  33. ”To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it.”—E. M. Forster
  34. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”—John Shedd
  35. Transformation happens when you tire of your own bullshit.
  36. Find the people and things you love and make time for them.
  37. Does this need to be said? Does it need to be said by me? Does it need to be said now? Yes * 3, say it.
  38. Change your perspective. The view of a river from a canoe at water level is different from  a bass boat or a bicycle on the side of the river.
  39. There is a difference between contradiction and prosecution.
  40. In every interaction, try to go in heart first and let the  mind view through a filter of compassion.
  41. Good intentions don’t work. Mechanisms do.
  42. Is your view based on reality or a fantasy?
  43. Destruction / Creation, the asteroid that formed the Amazon also killed the dinosaurs.
  44. Men are most likely to believe what they least understand.—Montaigne
  45. People are fearful of whatever they don’t understand, and creativity, by definition, means operating outside collective  understanding.
  46. It”s not how old you are, it’s how you are old.—Jules Renard
  47. ”One fifth of the people are against everything all the time.” —Robert Kennedy
  48. “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”—Kurt Vonnegut
  49. Try your best. After that, leave it.
  50. A good mentor can save you a lot of pain.
  51. The secret to a good life is to enjoy your work.
  52. Don’t ask unless you already know.
  53. Ninety percent of problems are in your head.
  54. Everyone is dangling at the end of a supply chain.
  55. Communities evolve away from reason to affirmation.
  56. “We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.”—Charlie Chaplin
  57. “Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.”
  58. “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”—Harry S. Truman
  59. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.—Stephen Stills
  60. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake. You’ve got two choices: live with it or fix it.
  61. Goals and desires are always underspecified in human language and thought.
  62. Plans impose boundaries, which can be both good and bad.
  63. It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.– Jiddu Krishnamurti
  64. “Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as means of escape.”–bell hooks
  65. There is only one hatred: the hatred of recognition.
  66. The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.—Gustave Le Bon
  67. No one else can look out for your inner life.
  68. We don’t know other people’s thought
  69. What are the seven thoughts you keep coming back to? Want to change your life? Change the way you think.
  70. What haunts you?
  71. We often don’t value something until we are about to lose it.
  72. If you live the life you love, you’ll get the blessings from above.
  73. People only change when not changing is more painful.
  74. Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, check to see if you aren’t just surrounded by assholes.