• Beartown (Series) - Fredrick Backman
  • Creativity Inc. –– Ed Catmull
    • #comment This is the case with individuals, too, not just teams.
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
    • A large part of our artistic creativity, our political commitment and our religious piety is fuelled by the fear of death.
    • #comment
      • **There is so much wrong with the idea of mortality. Isn't the fear of death what keeps us going and what provides us with a reason to live and do things? **
      • What are the consequences of everyone being immortal? Our resources aren't enough to feed 7 billion people, let alone everyone who has ever existed. We don't have space for immortality, we don't have resources or technology for immortality. And more important, if we begin to value equality, immortality doesn't become an option. The gap between the rich and the poor will only begin to increase. The elite will get access to the better technology, making them do worse things and making them superhumans, while the poor will remain.. human
    • The evolution of ideas might slow down the longer we live, though.
    • The biggest competition to us is technology, and it only accelerates. But it seems like we're moving in opposite directions, because the acceleration of technology is what makes us live longer. But if you live longer, you're somehow less fit to compete with technology since your ideas evolve more slowly and are based in older times.
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
    • #comment How much of this do I believe? If there aren't enough resources for everyone now, how will there be when demand skyrockets and the population grows with technology? Even if only distribution is the problem right now, how will technology solve this problem of [[resource scarcity]] if people aren't willing to?
  • Mastery –– Robert Greene
    • Author: Robert Greene

    • Date Started: [[September 28th, 2020]]

    • Date Finished: [[February 21st, 2021]]

    • Type: Kindle

    • [[More Notes On Mastery]]

    • We imagine that creativity and brilliance just appear out of nowhere, the fruit of natural talent, or perhaps of a good mood, or an alignment of the stars. It would be an immense help to clear up the mystery— to name this feeling of power, to examine its roots, to define the kind of intelligence that leads to it, and to understand how it can be manufactured and maintained. Let us call this sensation mastery— the feeling that we have a greater command of reality, other people, and ourselves.

    • Anybody can become a master, you don't have to be special - you follow the process for years, or decades and you have the capability to be a master. It's in your hands.

    • In the process leading to this ultimate form of power, there are three distinct phases or levels. The first is the Apprenticeship; the second is the Creative-Active; the third, Mastery.

    • If there's something that you connect with and go in with, you'll find it over time. If you're always looking for the best or the most, you'll never get started. Don't optimize for optionality, the sooner you get into it the better off you'll be. [[The Trouble With Optionality]]

    • The big excuse: The less we attempt, the less chances of failure. If we can make it look like we are not really responsible for our fate, for what happens to us in life, then our apparent powerlessness is more palatable. For this reason we become attracted to certain narratives: it is genetics that determines much of what we do; we are just products of our times; the individual is just a myth; human behavior can be reduced to statistical trends. Many take this change in value a step further, giving their passivity a positive veneer. They romanticize the self-destructive artist who loses control of themself.

    • #comment I'm still not sure how much of the "Life's task" I believe in - I think i have certain fixed notions about what someone's life task could be or how it relates to me. Also how does a "life's task" apply to a generalist, and someone with several interests in a variety of fields. How does one find a specification within the multiple fields their in? Maybe I just haven't found the right combination yet - and there's no hurry either.

      1. Discovering Your Calling
      2. You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your Life’s Task— what you are meant to accomplish in the time that you have to live. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you toward activities and subjects that fit your natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity that was deep and primal. In the intervening years, the force tends to fade in and out as you listen more to parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear away at you. This can be the source of your unhappiness— your lack of connection to who you are and what makes you unique. The first move toward mastery is always inward— learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force. Knowing it with clarity, you will find your way to the proper career path and everything else will fall into place. It is never too late to start this process.

      3. The three steps to finding your calling
        • First, you must connect or reconnect with your inclinations, that sense of uniqueness. The first step then is always inward. You search the past for signs of that inner voice or force. You clear away the other voices that might confuse you— parents and peers. You look for an underlying pattern, a core to your character that you must understand as deeply as possible.
        • Second, with this connection established, you must look at the career path you are already on or are about to begin. The choice of this path— or redirection of it— is critical. To help in this stage you will need to enlarge your concept of work itself. Too often we make a separation in our lives— there is work and there is life outside work, where we find real pleasure and fulfillment.
          • This is a big distinction - that separation can exist if you make it exist. This is also the problem with "side hustles".
          • Comparing yourself to other people isn't really the metric you should be using.
        • You have to see your career path as a journey, with twists and turns on the way, instead of a straight line. You begin by choosing a field or position that roughly corresponds to your inclinations. This initial position offers you room to maneuver and important skills to learn. Once on this path you discover certain side routes that attract you, while other aspects of this field leave you cold. You adjust and perhaps move to a related field, continuing to learn more about yourself, but always expanding off your skill base. Like Leonardo, you take what you do for others and make it your own.
      4. Strategies for finding your "life's task"
        • Return to your origins: for many of the masters, their inclination presented itself clearly during childhood. What were you obsessed with when you were younger?
        • Occupy the perfect niche: Find where your interests align in a field to identify a particular niche that you can dominate.
        • Avoid the false path: We’ll all be attracted to fields for the wrong reasons: money, fame, parental influence. We have to rebel against these forces and be honest about what our interests are.
        • Let go of the past: Avoid the sunk cost fallacy, if something is wrong for you, abandon it. You’re not wedded to your past choices. Don’t feel like you have to rigidly stick with a plan that you set before.
        • Find your way back: You’ll be tempted to deviate from the path throughout your pursuit of mastery, even if you do mistakenly veer away, you can always come back.
      1. Submit to Reality: The Ideal Apprenticeship
      2. Your whole life is a kind of apprenticeship to which you apply your learning skills. Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention. The creativity that you gain in learning a skill so deeply must be constantly refreshed, as you keep forcing your mind back to a state of openness. Even knowledge of your vocation must be revisited throughout the course of your life as changes in circumstance force you to adapt its direction.
      3. Everyone who's been successful has had a mentor - whether that's a person or a collection of books when that's out of reach.
      4. Deep observation: observe who's doing well in the field, and study as much as you can about other people. Absorb it and internalize it.
      5. Skill acquisition: you want to reduce these skills to something simple and essential— the core of what you need to get good at, skills that can be practiced.
        • The initial stages of learning a skill invariably involve tedium. Yet rather than avoiding this inevitable tedium, you must accept and embrace it.
        • Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life, which makes them constantly search for distractions and short-circuits the learning process.
        • It is better to dedicate two or three hours of intense focus to a skill than to spend eight hours of diffused concentration on it.
        • As you learn and gain skills you can begin to vary what you do, finding nuances that you can develop in the work, so that it becomes more interesting.
      6. Experimentation: deliberate practice, [[Deep Work - Cal Newport]]
        • Take the skill and apply it yourself, break out of the rules and create on your own.
        • You cannot make anything worthwhile in this world unless you have first developed and transformed yourself.
        • Let your ideas marinate - the not-active work time will allow thoughts to consolidate and the quality of the work goes up.
      7. In acquiring any kind of skill, there exists a natural learning process that coincides with the functioning of our brains. This learning process leads to what we shall call tacit knowledge—a feeling for what you are doing that is hard to put into words but easy to demonstrate in action.
      8. [[cycle of accelerated returns]] in which the practice becomes easier and more interesting, leading to the ability to practice for longer hours, which increases your skill level, which in turn makes practice even more interesting.
      9. Strategies for Completing the Ideal Apprenticeship
        • Value learning over money
          • Practical knowledge is the ultimate commodity, and is what will pay you dividends for decades to come—far more than the paltry increase in pay you might receive at some seemingly lucrative position that offers fewer learning opportunities.
          • It is a simple law of human psychology that your thoughts will tend to revolve around what you value most.
          • Train yourself to get by with little money and make the most of your youthful energy.
        • Keep expanding your horizons
          • Meet a lot of people, read a lot of books and ideas, etc.
          • If you read the same books as everyone else, you'll think the same way as everyone else. [[don't read what everyone else is reading]] - you become the media you consume.
        • Revert to a feeling of inferiority
          • Assume you know nothing and that you can learn anything from anyone.
          • [[The Hardened Mind]]
            • If we feel like we know something, our minds close off to other possibilities. We see reflections of the truth we have already assumed.
            • Children are generally free of these handicaps. They are dependent upon adults for their survival and naturally feel inferior. This sense of inferiority gives them a hunger to learn.
          • That is why everyone must constantly be pushed to the abyss, starting over and feeling their utter worthlessness as a student. Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. Not even enlightenment is enough. You must continually start over and challenge yourself.
        • Trust the process
        • Move toward resistance and pain
        • Apprentice yourself in failure
          • Be okay with making a mistake, even failed projects are good opportunities for learning.
        • Advance through trial and error
        • Combine the "how" and the "what"
          • Get a full understanding of the skill, not just the recipes or tools, don’t leave parts of it unlearned.
      10. [[The Defining Decade - Meg Jay]] In this new age, those who follow a rigid, singular path in their youth often find themselves in a career dead end in their forties, or overwhelmed with boredom. The wide-ranging apprenticeship of your twenties will yield the opposite— expanding possibilities as you get older.
      1. Absorb the Master’s Power: The Mentor Dynamic
      2. The mentor-protégé relationship is the most efficient and productive form of learning. The right mentors know where to focus your attention and how to challenge you. Their knowledge and experience become yours.
      3. Poor is the apprentice who does not surpass his Master.
      4. We must admit that there are people out there who know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent or privilege, but rather of time and experience.
      5. What took ten years on your own could have been done in 5 with proper direction.
        • #comment what does this mean for self-learning? mentorship makes a huge difference in comparison to self directed learning, but what if those resources aren't accessible?
        • If you work on yourself first, as Faraday did, developing a solid work ethic and organizational skills, eventually the right teacher will appear in your life. Word will spread through the proper channels of your efficiency and your hunger to learn, and opportunities will come your way.
      6. When you're a novice, you need recipes and clear guidelines. Experts rarely communicate well because they're functioning only on intuition. [[Intention vs. Intuition]]
      7. Strategies for Deepening the Mentor Dynamic
        • Choose the mentor according to your needs and inclinations: find someone who supports your life's task, and understands the bigger picture.
        • Gaze deep into your mentor’s mirror: understand the feedback, overcome your ego in the criticism you receive.
        • Transfigure their ideas: think for yourself and integrate what they're teaching you elsewhere. Avoid their bad habits.
        • Create a back and forth dynamic: work on the relationship together. You have to provide something to the mentor.
    • See People As They Are: Social Intelligence

      • The principal problem we face in the social arena is our naïve tendency to project onto people our emotional needs and desires of the moment. [[The Obstacle is the Way - Ryan Holiday]]
      • Understanding Mastery is also learning to read and interact with people. No matter how good you are, if you can't communicate your ideas or thoughts, it doesn't matter.
      • Specific Knowledge: Reading people
        • Pay less attention to the words people say, but to the tone and the body language.
        • After you have known people for a while, try to imagine that you are experiencing the world from their point of view, placing yourself in their circumstances and feeling what they feel.
        • Often it is the quiet ones, those who give out less at first glance, who hide greater depths, and who secretly wield greater power.
      • General Knowledge: The 7 Deadly Realities
        • Envy - you don't want to be too threatening.
        • Conformism - tribal mindset might set in
        • Rigidity - the best strategy is to simply accept rigidity in others, outwardly displaying deference to their need for order. On your own, however, you must work to maintain your open spirit, letting go of bad habits and deliberately cultivating new ideas.
        • Self-Obsessiveness
        • Laziness
        • Flightiness
        • Passive aggression
      • Strategies for Acquiring Social Intelligence
        • Speak through your work.
          • Master the craft, that will say more about you than what you say about you.
        • Craft the Appropriate Persona
          • Do this more deliberately, and with consideration.
          • By creating a persona that is mysterious, intriguing, and masterful, you are playing to the public, giving them something compelling and pleasurable to witness.
        • See yourself as others see you
          • We are quick to discern the mistakes and defects of others, but when it comes to ourselves we are generally too emotional and insecure to look squarely at our own. Second, people rarely tell us the truth about what it is we do wrong - find people who will call you about.
          • We can develop increasing self-detachment, which will yield us the other half of social intelligence— the ability to see ourselves as we really are.
        • Suffer fools gladly
          • In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them.

      1. Awaken the Dimensional Mind: The Creative-Active
      2. As you accumulate more skills and internalize the rules that govern your field, your mind will want to become more active, seeking to use this knowledge in ways that are more suited to your inclinations. What will impede this natural creative dynamic from flourishing is not a lack of talent, but your attitude.
      3. As you emerge from your apprenticeship, you must become increasingly bold. Instead of feeling complacent about what you know, you must expand your knowledge to related fields, giving your mind fuel to make new associations between different ideas. You must experiment and look at problems from all possible angles. As your thinking grows more fluid your mind will become increasingly dimensional, seeing more and more aspects of reality. In the end, you will turn against the very rules you have internalized, shaping and reforming them to suit your spirit. Such originality will bring you to the heights of power.
      4. The goal here is to awaken your “dimensional mind,” to think beyond the typical constraints of your skill and keep growing and learning. Not get stuck in your ways, or conform to the norms of your time.
      5. Step One: The Creative Task
        • Pick something related to your interest that you choose to work on - something that you have an obsessive relationship with.
        • Your emotional commitment to what you’re doing will determine your success. Choose something that appeals to your sense of unconventional-ness and has a hint of rebellion, it will keep you emotionally engaged.
        • It should be realistic, hard but not impossible. Let go of your need for comfort and security.
      6. Step Two: Creative Strategies
        • Cultivate Negative Capability: Learn to embrace mystery and uncertainty.
        • Allow for Serendipity: Move outside your normal realm of comfort and interest, explore far and wide, while staying open and avoiding jumping to conclusions. Let yourself be surprised and discover new opportunities. Keep a notebook with you at all time and record ideas as they appear to you.
          • The first step is to widen your search as far as possible. In the research stage of your project, you look at more than what is generally required. You expand your search into other fields, reading and absorbing any related information. If you have a particular theory or hypothesis about a phenomenon, you examine as many examples and potential counterexamples as humanly possible.
          • The second step is to maintain an openness and looseness of spirit. In moments of great tension and searching, you allow yourself moments of release. You take walks, engage in activities outside your work (Einstein played the violin), or think about something else, no matter how trivial.
          • The wideness of his searches and the openness of his spirit allowed him to make this connection and “random” discovery.
          • “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”
        • Alternate the Mind Through “the Current”:
          • The Current is a constant dialogue between our thoughts and reality. If we go into this process deeply enough, we come into contact with a theory that explains something far beyond the capability of our limited senses. The Current is merely an intensification of the most elementary powers of human consciousness. Our most primitive ancestors would take note of something unusual or out of place—broken twigs, chewed leaves, the outline of a hoof or paw. Through an act of pure imagination, they would deduce that this meant that an animal had passed by. This fact would be verified by tracking the footprints. Through this process, what was not immediately visible to the eyes (a passing animal) became visible.
          • All that has occurred since then is an elaboration of this power to increasingly higher levels of abstraction, to the point of understanding hidden laws of nature—like evolution and relativity.
        • Alter Your Perspective: Try to see the subject or problem from different angles, look at the how instead of the what, shift from the macro to the micro (or vice versa), look for what’s weird about it, look for what’s absent instead of just what’s present (dog that didn’t bark)
        • Revert to Primal Intelligence: Try to think beyond language, get visual or physical, use diagrams and models, exercise.
      7. Step Three: The Creative Breakthrough - Tension and Insight
        • At a particular high point of tension, they let go for a moment. This could be as simple as stopping work and going to sleep; or it could mean deciding to take a break, or to temporarily work on something else. What almost inevitably happens in such moments is that the solution, the perfect idea for completing the work comes to them.
        • Think about your biggest problem before you sleep. Whenever you leave, fixate on a problem, when you arrive, jump right into it.
      8. Emotional Pitfalls
        • Complacency - remind yourself that you know very little.
        • Conservatism - make creativity rather than comfort your goal and you will ensure far more success for the future.
        • Dependency - don't rely on anyone else's approval.
        • Impatience - The best way to neutralize our natural impatience is to cultivate a kind of pleasure in pain— like an athlete, you come to enjoy rigorous practice, pushing past your limits, and resisting the easy way out.
        • Grandiosity - We fail to understand the element of luck that always goes into success— we often depend on being in the right place at the right time.
        • Inflexibility - Don't be afraid to question what you've learnt or what the field says.
      9. Our culture increasingly tends to separate us from these realities in various ways. We indulge in drugs or alcohol, or engage in dangerous sports or risky behavior, just to wake ourselves up from the sleep of our daily existence and feel a heightened sense of connection to reality. In the end, however, the most satisfying and powerful way to feel this connection is through creative activity. Engaged in the creative process we feel more alive than ever, because we are making something and not merely consuming, Masters of the small reality we create. In doing this work, we are in fact creating ourselves.
      10. Understand: to create a meaningful work of art or to make a discovery or invention requires great discipline, self-control, and emotional stability.
    • Strategies for the Creative-Active Phase

      • The Authentic Voice - Anyone who would spend ten years absorbing the techniques and conventions of their field, trying them out, mastering them, exploring and personalizing them, would inevitably find their authentic voice and give birth to something unique and expressive.
        • If you can look back on yourself and realize how little you knew then, you're doing the right thing. It takes that amount of time to be good at something.
      • The Fact of Great Yield - Better to look into ten such facts, with only one yielding a great discovery, than to look into twenty ideas that bring success but have trivial implications. You are the supreme hunter, ever alert, eyes scanning the landscape for the fact that will expose a once-hidden reality, with profound consequences.
        • What's the one truth that you believe in that no one else does?
        • Where is your energy going?
      • Mechanical Intelligence - You win through superior craftsmanship, not just marketing.
      • Natural Powers - Give yourself open-ended time and focus, develop a wide understanding of your field, never settle into complacency, and embrace slowness as a virtue in itself. Imagine yourself years ahead looking back on the work you’ve completed.
        • Keep the beginners mind.
      • The Open Field - Create a space to build something new, by creating something new you will create your own audience, and attain the ultimate position of power in culture.
      • The High End - Your project or the problem you are solving should always be connected to something larger— a bigger question, an overarching idea, an inspiring goal. Whenever your work begins to feel stale, you must return to the larger purpose and goal that impelled you in the first place.
      • The Evolutionary Hijack - What constitutes true creativity is the openness and adaptability of our spirit.
        • Creativity actually resembles a process known in nature as evolutionary hijacking.
        • Perhaps language itself developed as a strictly social tool and became hijacked as a means of reasoning, making human consciousness itself the product of an accident.
      • Dimensional thinking - Think beyond the recipes and the rules. Everything interacts with everything else, nothing is isolated.
      • Alchemical Creativity and the Unconscious - Your task as a creative thinker is to actively explore the unconscious and contradictory parts of your personality, and to examine similar contradictions and tensions in the world at large.
      1. Fuse the Intuitive with the Rational: Mastery
      2. All of us have access to a higher form of intelligence, one that can allow us to see more of the world, to anticipate trends, to respond with speed and accuracy to any circumstance. This intelligence is cultivated by deeply immersing ourselves in a field of study and staying true to our inclinations, no matter how unconventional our approach might seem to others. Through such intense immersion over many years we come to internalize and gain an intuitive feel for the complicated components of our field. When we fuse this intuitive feel with rational processes, we expand our minds to the outer limits of our potential and are able to see into the secret core of life itself. We then come to have powers that approximate the instinctive force and speed of animals, but with the added reach that our human consciousness brings us. This power is what our brains were designed to attain, and we will be naturally led to this type of intelligence if we follow our inclinations to their ultimate ends.
      3. [[Intention vs. Intuition]]: At first, our intuitions might be so faint that we do not pay attention to them or trust them. All Masters talk of this phenomenon. But over time they learn to notice these rapid ideas that come to them. They learn to act on them and verify their validity. Some lead nowhere, but others lead to tremendous insights. Over time, Masters find that they can call up more and more of these high-level intuitions, which are now sparking all over the brain. Accessing this level of thinking on a more regular basis, they can fuse it even more deeply with their rational forms of thinking.
      4. Strategies for Attaining Mastery
        • Connecting to your environment - Primal Powers.
        • Play to your strengths - it's too difficult to move forward when you're creating your own resistance.
        • Transform Yourself Through Practice - The Fingertip Feel
          • Each time one skill becomes automatic, the mind is freed to focus on the higher one. You move through layers of abstraction.
          • At the very end of this process, when there are no more simple skills to learn, the brain has assimilated an incredible amount of information, all of which has become internalized, part of our nervous system. The whole complex skill is now inside us and at our fingertips. We are thinking, but in a different way—with the body and mind completely fused. We are transformed. We possess a form of intelligence that allows us to approximate the instinctual power of animals, but only through a conscious, deliberate, and extended practice.
        • Internalize the Details - The Life Force
          • You must see whatever you produce as something that has a life and presence of its own.
        • Widen Your Vision - The Global Perspective
          • In any competitive environment in which there are winners or losers, the person who has the wider, more global perspective will inevitably prevail. The reason is simple: such a person will be able to think beyond the moment and control the overall dynamic through careful strategizing.
          • Create a micro-macro view.
        • Submit to the Other - The Inside Out Perspective
          • We can never really experience what other people are experiencing. We always remain on the outside looking in, and this is the cause of so many misunderstandings and conflicts.
        • Synthesize all forms of knowledge - The Universal Man / Woman
          • In any way possible, you should strive to be a part of this universalizing process, extending your own knowledge to other branches, further and further out. The rich ideas that will come from such a quest will be their own reward.
          • Broadening your horizons and creating a holistic view. Do it for the process, not for the reward.
    • As [[Marcus Aurelius]] expresses it, “Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness. All things are implicated in one another and in sympathy with each other. This event is the consequence of some other one. Things push and pull on each other, and breathe together, and are one.” #connections

    • [[Passive Aggression]]

  • Mastery –– Robert Greene
    • #comment what does this mean for self-learning? mentorship makes a huge difference in comparison to self directed learning, but what if those resources aren't accessible?
    • If you work on yourself first, as Faraday did, developing a solid work ethic and organizational skills, eventually the right teacher will appear in your life. Word will spread through the proper channels of your efficiency and your hunger to learn, and opportunities will come your way.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    • It keeps coming up in the book, over and over again in different words but essentially with the same meaning. But I guess this is what he wanted to do - not just accept it but remind himself time after time of these facts. Perhaps it's not enough knowing it once but meditating on it that makes the difference.
    • #religion How can you appeal to people's morality without bringing up their faith? Is replacing the word God with nature enough? Spirituality + religion? Giving the same power to something external (maybe internal) only using different words/names.
      • People just need something to hold on to - to pour their "faith" into - whether that's this book, the Bible, the Quran, etc. And maybe that's what I'm doing too?
    • #comment It takes a certain kind of humility to accept that you (or anyone else) don't know what's on the other side. I think he's telling us to value the mind and the spirit more –– because that's the one that will potentially last longer/transcend the physical? But is this true?
    • [[Ryan Holiday]] really wasn't kidding when he says "Memento mori" is the motto of the stoics. It comes up everywhere. Everything is about remembering the impermanence of life and honoring what's important because of the short life we have. Quotes, again, and explanations stemming from those quotes.
    • In any case, why is the fear of death such an important topic? Is the monotheistic world that inculcates the fear of hell the reason people are afraid to die? Or have people just not thought about it enough?
      • Perhaps its some deep internal psychology that everyone has to come to terms with - a product of #evolution
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment [[Ryan Holiday]] talks about about each read of the book offers something. His first read, he realized the paragraph is about being prepared for the day, and accepting and facing mean-spirited or difficult people. But later reads of the same book revealed that the para is about working together, helping each other and not obstructing. There's lots more to be unpacked with each read.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment neglect the physical? or give more importance to the mind? Is despising the flesh the right answer, or valuing the connection between the three (mind, body and soul) and finding a balance?
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment Should we live our lives in this urgency? That time is running out? But he's right at the same time - to make use of ourselves is somewhat our purpose.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
      1. #comment [[Ryan Holiday]] talks about about each read of the book offers something. His first read, he realized the paragraph is about being prepared for the day, and accepting and facing mean-spirited or difficult people. But later reads of the same book revealed that the para is about working together, helping each other and not obstructing. There's lots more to be unpacked with each read.
      1. #comment neglect the physical? or give more importance to the mind? Is despising the flesh the right answer, or valuing the connection between the three (mind, body and soul) and finding a balance?
    • The world is maintained by change –– in the elements and in the things they compose. That should be enough for you; treat it as an axiom.
      1. #comment Should we live our lives in this urgency? That time is running out? But he's right at the same time - to make use of ourselves is somewhat our purpose.
      2. What world is it that we belong to?
    • "Like a Roman –– like a man" – #comment we can't hold people to their world-views when the world they viewed was limited. That being said, we can recognize that times have changed, and accept that maybe this wasn't the best way to put across his point.
    • "People who labour all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting time –– even when hard at work.
      1. #comment Not just "investigations" but judgements of other characters and bucketing people to being a certain kind. Looking for the faults in the souls of others is ultimately a fault in our own souls.
    • A brief instant is all that is lost. For you can't lose either the past or the future; how could you lose what you don't have?
      1. [[Maya and the concept of perception]]
      2. All the quotes in the book are reminders that even Aurelius mixed and matched learnings from different sources. Nothing is original. Curation.
      1. The connection to #Buddhism - Thich Nhat Hanh and the water/wave analogy to death.
      2. What is dealt comes from the same place we do.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment Not just "investigations" but judgements of other characters and bucketing people to being a certain kind. Looking for the faults in the souls of others is ultimately a fault in our own souls.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment Worrying about other people doesn't mean caring for other people - it means being bothered by their judgements, their behaviours, etc. These things are much easier said than done. How can one be empathetic while still maintaining some detachment? Or be helpful for the common good without getting sucked in?
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    • Choose not to be harmed and you won't feel harmed. Don't feel harmed, and you haven't been.
    • "It was for the best so nature had no choice but to do it"
      • Chaos? Randomness? Maybe that counts as nature, too, but you can't attribute that to being "for the best".
    • "While you're alive and able, be good."
    • #comment Content should not be confused with passivity or lack of ambitions. Make plans, strive for things bigger than you, but be flexible in the odd chance it doesn't happen.
    • "To be like a rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it."
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment Things are no longer ordered (by nature), with human intervention they are progressing toward man-made disorder. How does this fit in with evolutionary theory? The force = genes and their mutations?
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment Nature is actually indifferent to a lot of things - infact if those things have evolved instead of been created, it makes even more sense that they survive.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    • #comment We should really distinguish between indifference and non-reaction. It is not about not caring for it at all, but about not reacting to the circumstance. [[detachment vs non-reaction]]
    • #comment How can you talk about everything being connected and still separate the mind, the soul and the body so easily?
    • It is the pursuit of these things, and your attempts to avoid them; that leave you in such turmoil. And yet they aren't seeking you out, you are seeking them out. Suspend judgment about them, and at once they will lie still and you will be freed from fleeing and pursuing.
    • How false and beneath contempt is the man who says, "Let me be perfectly frank with you." What is he up to? There is no need to dress up the truth. It will be evident in your words, written on your face, ringing in your voice, flashing from your eyes.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    • #comment We should really distinguish between indifference and non-reaction. It is not about not caring for it at all, but about not reacting to the circumstance. [[detachment vs non-reaction]]
    • #comment How can you talk about everything being connected and still separate the mind, the soul and the body so easily?
    • It is the pursuit of these things, and your attempts to avoid them; that leave you in such turmoil. And yet they aren't seeking you out, you are seeking them out. Suspend judgment about them, and at once they will lie still and you will be freed from fleeing and pursuing.
    • How false and beneath contempt is the man who says, "Let me be perfectly frank with you." What is he up to? There is no need to dress up the truth. It will be evident in your words, written on your face, ringing in your voice, flashing from your eyes.
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    1. #comment Of what you've said and done, and not just the others. Free yourself of past actions and focus on making present actions something you won't regret later.
  • More Notes on Mastery
    • #comment This fits in well with a culture where information is so widely available and in which connecting ideas is a form of power.
  • More Notes on Mastery
    • Introduction:
    • Most of the time we live in an interior world of dreams, desires, and obsessive thoughts. But in this period of exceptional creativity, we are impelled by the need to get something done that has a practical effect. We force ourselves to step outside our inner chamber of habitual thoughts and connect to the world, to other people, to reality.
    • The great danger is that we give in to feelings of boredom, impatience, fear, and confusion. We stop observing and learning. The process comes to a halt.
    • The human relies instead on thinking and rationality to understand its environment. But such thinking can be slow, and in its slowness can become ineffective. So much of our obsessive, internal thought process tends to disconnect us from the world.
    • The human visual system is not built for scanning, as a cow’s is, but for depth of focus.
    • [[mirror neurons]] Particular motor-command neurons fire not only when they execute a specific action, but also when one observes another performing the same action.
      • These were soon dubbed [[mirror neurons]]. This neuronal firing meant that these primates would experience a similar sensation in both doing and observing the same deed, allowing them to put themselves in the place of another and perceive its movements as if they were doing them.
      • Without any visual cues or any action on the part of others, we can place ourselves inside their minds and imagine what they might be thinking.
      • The natural model for learning, largely based on the power of mirror neurons, came from watching and imitating others, then repeating the action over and over. Our brains are highly suited for this form of learning.
    • But perhaps most important of all, it would give them the ability to think inside everything around them. After years of studying particular animals, they could identify with and think like them, anticipating behavioral patterns and heightening their ability to track and kill prey. This thinking inside could be applied to the inorganic as well. In fashioning a stone tool, expert toolmakers would feel as one with their instruments. The stone or wood they cut with became an extension of their hand. They could feel it as if it were their own flesh, permitting much greater control of the tools themselves, both in making and in using them.
    • [[creative process]] To the extent that we believe we can skip steps, avoid the process, magically gain power through political connections or easy formulas, or depend on our natural talents, we move against this grain and reverse our natural powers. We become slaves to time—as it passes, we grow weaker, less capable, trapped in some dead-end career. We become captive to the opinions and fears of others. Rather than the mind connecting us to reality, we become disconnected and locked in a narrow chamber of thought. The human that depended on focused attention for its survival now becomes the distracted scanning animal, unable to think in depth, yet unable to depend on instincts.
    • And at the core of this intensity of effort is in fact a quality that is genetic and inborn—not talent or brilliance, which is something that must be developed, but rather a deep and powerful inclination toward a particular subject.
    • Discovering Your Calling
    • On Leonardo Da Vinci
      • Leonardo had always had a strong sense of fate, and for years he had been haunted by one particular question: is there some kind of force from within that makes all living things grow and transform themselves?
      • He could not simply do an assignment; he needed to make it something of his own, to invent rather than imitate the Master.
      • His mind, he decided, worked best when he had several different projects at hand, allowing him to build all kinds of #connections between them.
      • He didn’t care so much about the finished product; it was the search and process in creating something that had always excited him.
      • “Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings a blessed death.”
      • To complete his quest, Leonardo had to become what he termed “universal”—for each object he had to be able to render all of its details, and he had to extend this knowledge as far as possible, to as many objects in the world as he could study. Through sheer accumulation of such details, the essence of life itself became visible to him, and his understanding of this life force became visible in his artwork.
    • In moments when we engage in an activity that corresponds to our deepest inclinations, we might experience a touch of this: We feel as if the words we write or the physical movements we perform come so quickly and easily that they are coming from outside us. We are literally “inspired,” the Latin word meaning something from the outside breathing within us.
      • What weakens this force, what makes you not feel it or even doubt its existence, is the degree to which you have succumbed to another force in life—social pressures to conform.
    • We are entering a world in which we can rely less and less upon the state, the corporation, or family or friends to help and protect us. It is a globalized, harshly competitive environment. We must learn to develop ourselves. At the same time, it is a world teeming with critical problems and opportunities, best solved and seized by entrepreneurs—individuals or small groups who think independently, adapt quickly, and possess unique perspectives.
    • #meaning
      • Think of it this way: What we lack most in the modern world is a sense of a larger purpose to our lives. In the past, it was organized religion that often supplied this. But most of us now live in a secularized world. We human animals are unique—we must build our own world. We do not simply react to events out of biological scripting. But without a sense of direction provided to us, we tend to flounder. We don’t how to fill up and structure our time. There seems to be no defining purpose to our lives. We are perhaps not conscious of this emptiness, but it infects us in all kinds of ways.
      • “From now on you need never await temporal attestation to your thought. You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”
    • "Our times might emphasize #equality, which we then mistake for the need for everyone to be the same, but what we really mean by this is the equal chance for people to express their differences, to let a thousand flowers bloom."
    • "You can now combine this added field of knowledge to the original one, perhaps creating a new field, or at least making novel #connections between them.
      • #comment This fits in well with a culture where information is so widely available and in which connecting ideas is a form of power.
    • Do not envy those who seem to be naturally gifted; it is often a curse, as such types rarely learn the value of diligence and focus, and they pay for this later in life.
    • Extraordinary people display calling most evidently. Perhaps that’s why they fascinate. Perhaps, too, they are extraordinary because their calling comes through so clearly and they are so loyal to it. Extraordinary people bear the better witness because they show what ordinary mortals simply can’t. We seem to have less motivation and more distraction. Yet our destiny is driven by the same universal engine. Extraordinary people are not a different category; the workings of this engine in them are simply more transparent.
    • Trying something over and over again grounds you in reality, making you deeply aware of your inadequacies and of what you can accomplish with more work and effort.
    • Later in life, when you are confronted with a career change or the need to learn new skills, having gone through this process before, it will become second nature. You have learned how to learn.
    • The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. And the process of learning skills, no matter how virtual, remains the same.
    • The great division will be between those who have trained themselves to handle these complexities and those who are overwhelmed by them—those who can acquire skills and discipline their minds and those who are irrevocably distracted by all the media around them and can never focus enough to learn.
    • In general, no matter your field, you must think of yourself as a builder, using actual materials and ideas. You are producing something tangible in your work, something that affects people in some direct, concrete way.
    • [[The Hardened Mind]] These include a sense of smugness and superiority whenever we encounter something alien to our ways, as well as rigid ideas about what is real or true, often indoctrinated in us by schooling or family. If we feel like we know something, our minds close off to other possibilities. We see reflections of the truth we have already assumed. Such feelings of superiority are often unconscious and stem from a fear of what is different or unknown. We are rarely aware of this, and often imagine ourselves to be paragons of impartiality.
    • [[The War of Art - Steven Pressfield]] To attain mastery, you must adopt what we shall call Resistance Practice. The principle is simple—you go in the opposite direction of all of your natural tendencies when it comes to practice. First, you resist the temptation to be nice to yourself. You become your own worst critic; you see your work as if through the eyes of others. You recognize your weaknesses, precisely the elements you are not good at. Those are the aspects you give precedence to in your practice.
    • Think of it this way: There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way, the hit that you take to your reputation is greatly outweighed by what you learn. Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.
    • Nothing he drew was ever really static; everything is in a state of change and motion—that is the essence of life. How could he capture this movement on paper, in an image that was perfectly still?
    • He applied this same rigor to capturing bodies in motion. Part of his philosophy was that life is defined by continual movement and constant change. The artist must be able to render the sensation of dynamic movement in a still image.
    • We humans live in two worlds. First, there is the outer world of appearances—all of the forms of things that captivate our eye. But hidden from our view is another world—how these things actually function, their anatomy or composition, the parts working together and forming the whole.
    • [[The Power of Multidisciplinary Thinking]] In this new age, those who follow a rigid, singular path in their youth often find themselves in a career dead end in their forties, or overwhelmed with boredom. The wide-ranging apprenticeship of your twenties will yield the opposite—expanding possibilities as you get older.
    • To learn requires a sense of humility. We must admit that there are people out there who know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent or privilege, but rather of time and experience.
    • [[The Naive Perspective]]
    • In theory, all of us today possess the natural tools—empathy, rational thinking—to have a supreme understanding of our fellow humans. In practice, however, these tools remain mostly undeveloped, and the explanation for this can be found in the peculiar nature of our childhood, and our extended period of dependency. Compared to other animals, we humans enter the world remarkably weak and helpless. We remain relatively weak for many years before we can truly operate on our own. This extended period of immaturity, lasting some twelve to eighteen years, serves a valuable function: it gives us a chance to focus on developing our brain—by far the most important weapon in the human arsenal.
    • During this time of weakness and dependency, we experience the need to idealize our parents. Our survival depends on their strength and reliability. To think of them as having their own frailties would fill us with unbearable anxiety. And so we inevitably see them as stronger, more capable, and more selfless than they are in reality. We come to view their actions through the lens of our needs, and so they become extensions of ourselves.
    • We cannot help but feel upset at the disparity between what we had imagined and the reality. In our disappointment, we tend to exaggerate their negative qualities, much as we once had exaggerated the positive ones. If we had been forced earlier on in life to make it on our own, practical needs would have come to dominate our thinking, and we would have become more detached and realistic. But as it is, the many years of viewing people through the lens of our emotional needs turns into a habit that we can hardly control.
    • Social intelligence is nothing more than the process of discarding [[The Naive Perspective]] and approaching something more realistic. It involves focusing our attention outward instead of inward, honing the observational and empathic skills that we naturally possess. It means moving past our tendency to idealize and demonize people, and seeing and accepting them as they are. It is a way of thinking that must be cultivated as early as possible, during the Apprenticeship Phase. But before we can begin to acquire this intelligence we must first come to grips with the Naïve Perspective itself.
    • When you drop your defense mechanisms and pay deep attention to others, you will need to lower your guard and open yourself up to their influence as well. But as long as your emotions and empathy are directed outward, you will be able to detach yourself when necessary and analyze what you have gleaned.
    • You will encounter thousands of various individuals in your life, and the ability to see them as they are will prove invaluable. Keep in mind, however, that people are in a state of continual flux. You must not let your ideas about them harden into a set impression. You are continually observing them and bringing your readings of them up to date.
    • You should make a point of occasionally displaying some weakness in another area, avoiding the great danger of appearing too perfect, too talented.
    • #comment This is subconscious in many people - we use these tactics without realizing. Everyone is emotionally intelligent in the sense that they understand this without necessarily verbalizing it, however, some people chose to pay attention to themselves more.
    • Intelligence is the most sensitive trigger point for envy.
    • There is no shame in this. But because being self-interested does not make us feel or appear noble, many people go out of their way to disguise their self-interest. Often those who are the most self-absorbed will surround their actions with a moral or saintly aura, or will make a show of supporting all of the right causes.
    • [[self awareness]]
    • We can begin this process by looking at negative events in our past—people sabotaging our work, bosses firing us for no logical reason, nasty personal battles with colleagues. It is best to start with events that are at least several months old, and thus not so emotionally charged. In dissecting these occurrences, we must focus on what we did that either triggered or worsened the dynamic. In looking at several such incidents, we might begin to see a pattern that indicates a particular flaw in our character. Seeing these events from the perspective of the other people involved will loosen the lock our emotions have on our self-image, and help us understand the role we play in our own mistakes. We can also elicit opinions from those we trust about our behavior, making certain to first reassure them that we want their criticisms. Slowly, in this way, we can develop increasing self-detachment, which will yield us the other half of social intelligence—the ability to see ourselves as we really are.
    • [[Original Mind vs Conventional Mind]] [[The Hardened Mind]]
    • ...the years pass, this intensity inevitably diminishes. We come to see the world through a screen of words and opinions; our prior experiences, layered over the present, color what we see. We no longer look at things as they are, noticing their details, or wonder why they exist. Our minds gradually tighten up. We become defensive about the world we now take for granted, and we become upset if our beliefs or assumptions are attacked.
    • Masters manage to blend the two—discipline and a childlike spirit—together into what we shall call the Dimensional Mind. Such a mind is not constricted by limited experience or habits. It can branch out into all directions and make deep contact with reality.
    • The Dimensional Mind is active, transforming everything it digests into something new and original, creating instead of consuming.
    • To awaken the Dimensional Mind and move through the creative process requires three essential steps: first, choosing the proper Creative Task, the kind of activity that will maximize our skills and knowledge; second, loosening and opening up the mind through certain Creative Strategies; and third, creating the optimal mental conditions for a Breakthrough or Insight.
    • You could have the most brilliant mind, teeming with knowledge and ideas, but if you choose the wrong subject or problem to attack, you can run out of energy and interest. In such a case all of your intellectual brilliance will lead to nothing.
    • The brain is constantly searching for similarities, differences, and relationships between what it processes. Your task is to feed this natural inclination, to create the optimal conditions for it to make new and original associations between ideas and experiences. And one of the best ways to accomplish this is by letting go of conscious control and allowing chance to enter into the process.
    • Random external stimuli lead us to associations we cannot come by on our own. Like seeds floating in space, they require the soil of a highly prepared and open mind to take root in and sprout a meaningful idea. #connections
    • You must adopt a more analogical way of thinking, taking greater advantage of the associative powers of the mind. Thinking in terms of analogies and metaphors can be extremely helpful to the creative process.
    • #skepticism Sometimes this fear of speculation masquerades as skepticism. We see this in people who delight in shooting down any theory or explanation before it gets anywhere. They are trying to pass off skepticism as a sign of high intelligence, but in fact they are taking the easy route—it is quite simple to find arguments against any idea and knock it down from the sidelines. Instead, you must follow the route of all creative thinkers and go in the opposite direction. You then not only speculate, but are bold and audacious with your ideas, all of which forces you to work hard to confirm or disconfirm your theories, piercing into reality in the process.
    • Consider thinking as an extended form of vision that allows us to see more of the world, and creativity as the ability to expand that vision beyond conventional boundaries.
    • Our eyes are not paying deep attention to all of the details, but noticing patterns. Our thought processes, modeled after visual perception, use a similar shorthand.
    • If there are no words for certain concepts, we tend to not think of them. And so #language is a tool that is often too tight and constricting, compared to the multilayered powers of intelligence we naturally possess.
    • “The words of the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be voluntarily reproduced and combined.”
    • [[The Self]]: It seemed as well that our sense of self is far more subjective and fluid than we had thought. If our experience of our own body is something constructed in the brain and can go haywire, then perhaps our sense of self is also something of a construction or illusion, one that we create to suit our purposes, and one that can malfunction. The implications here go beyond neuroscience, and into the realm of philosophy.
    • Understand: mechanical intelligence is not a degraded form of thinking, as compared to abstract reasoning. It is in fact the source of many of our reasoning skills and creative powers. Our brain developed to its present size because of the complex operations of our hands.
    • In working with resistant materials to create tools, our ancestors developed a pattern of thinking that transcends manual labor itself. The principles behind mechanical intelligence can be summarized as follows: whatever you are creating or designing, you must test and use it yourself. Separating out the work will make you lose touch with its functionality. Through intense labor on your part, you gain a feel for what you are creating.
    • By pushing for perfection and holding on to this constant feeling of uncertainty, the project never froze into something rigid and lifeless.
    • You must cultivate profound dissatisfaction with your work and the need to constantly improve your ideas, along with a sense of uncertainty—you are not exactly sure where to go next, and this uncertainty drives the creative urge and keeps it fresh. Any kind of resistance or obstacle that crosses your path should be seen as yet another chance to improve your work.
    • [[creative process]] What you are doing is creating some space in a cluttered culture, claiming for yourself an open field in which you can finally plant something new. People are dying for the new, for what expresses the spirit of the time in an original way. By creating something new you will create your own audience, and attain the ultimate position of power in culture.
    • Instead of a straight-line development from idea to fruition, the [[creative process]] is more like the crooked branching of a tree.
    • The lesson is simple—what constitutes true creativity is the openness and adaptability of our spirit. When we see or experience something we must be able to look at it from several angles, to see other possibilities beyond the obvious ones.
    • The difference then is not in some initial creative power of the brain, but in how we look at the world and the fluidity with which we can reframe what we see. Creativity and adaptability are inseparable.
    • Your task as a creative thinker is to actively explore the unconscious and contradictory parts of your personality, and to examine similar contradictions and tensions in the world at large.
    • Understand: to create a meaningful work of art or to make a discovery or invention requires great discipline, self-control, and emotional stability. It requires mastering the forms of your field. Drugs and madness only destroy such powers. Do not fall for the romantic myths and clichés that abound in culture about creativity—offering us the excuse or panacea that such powers can come cheaply.
    • [[Intention vs. Intuition]]
      • The problem we are facing here is that high-level intuition, the ultimate sign of mastery, involves a process that is qualitatively different from rationality, but is even more accurate and perceptive. It accesses deeper parts of reality. It is a highly legitimate type of intelligence, but one that has to be understood in its own right. And in understanding it, we can begin to see that such power is not miraculous, but intrinsically human and accessible to us all.
      • This is hard for us to imagine, because we find intuition and rationality mutually exclusive, but in fact at this high level they operate together in a seamless fashion. The reasoning of Masters is guided by intuition; their intuition springs from intense rational focus. The two are fused.
      • The key, then, to attaining this higher level of intelligence is to make our years of study qualitatively rich. We don’t simply absorb information—we internalize it and make it our own by finding some way to put this knowledge to practical use. The high-level intuitive powers we are talking about have roots in our development as the thinking animal; they have an evolutionary purpose that is extremely helpful to understand, and one that is highly relevant to the times in which we live.
      • Through continual experience and practice, our ancestors recovered some of the immediacy and speed they had lost. They could respond intuitively instead of instinctually. On this level, intuition was more powerful than instinct in that it was not tied to very specific circumstances or stimuli, but could be applied to a much wider arena of action.
      • Understand: this intuitive form of intelligence was developed to help us process complex layers of information and gain a sense of the whole. And in the world today, the need to attain such a level of thinking is more critical than ever before.
    • The problem that technology presents us is that it increases the amount of information at our disposal, but slowly degrades the power of our memory to retain it.
    • In our apprenticeships, we naturally begin by learning the parts and making various distinctions—the right and wrong way to proceed, the individual skills to master and their particular techniques, the various rules and conventions that govern the group. In the Creative-Active we begin to melt these distinctions as we experiment with, shape, and alter these conventions to suit our purposes. And in mastery we come full circle, returning to a sense of the whole. We intuit and see the [[connections]]. We embrace the natural complexity of life, making the brain expand to the dimensions of reality instead of shrinking it to the narrowest of specializations. This is the inevitable outcome of deep immersion in a field. We can define intelligence as moving toward thinking that is more contextual, more sensitive to the relationships between things.
    • We begin to merge our knowledge of these various components into an overall feel for the environment itself. Instead of exerting and overtaxing ourselves to keep up with a complex, changing environment, we know it from the inside and can sense the changes before they happen.
    • “The human organs, by means of practice, training, reflection, success or failure, furtherance or resistance … learn to make the necessary #connections unconsciously, the acquired and the intuitive working hand-in-hand, so that a unison results which is the world’s wonder … The world is ruled by bewildered theories of bewildering operations; and nothing is to me more important than, so far as is possible, to turn to the best account what is in me and persists in me, and keep a firm hand upon my idiosyncrasies.”
  • Storyworthy –– Matthew Dicks
    • At the end of everyday, take a moment and sit down to reflect on your day. Find your most storyworthy moment and write it down, even if it's not in much detail.
    • Homework for Life requires two things that are often lacking in the world today: faith and commitment. Faith that it
    • "As I reflected on each day of my life and identified the most story worthy moments, I began to develop a story telling lens –– one that is now sharp and clear. With this lens, I began to see that my life is filled with stories."
      • There are meaningful, life-changing moments happening in your life all the time.
    • Just from reflecting, absorbing and recording moments, they will never be lost to us.
    • As that storytelling lens becomes more refined, we start to see stories in our everyday lives, they begin welling up from our childhood that we'd long since forgotten.
    • #comment What is the connection between stories and memory? How do they change with each retelling? How do they reveal perspective or reality when they are not entirely true?
      • The more we tell a story, the more we seem to change it to fit our memory - and the more we retrieve a particular memory, the more it changes, too.
      • Memory is a slippery thing and as storytellers, we must remember this. Research suggests that every time you tell a story, it becomes less true. Each time you retrieve a memory, it becomes permanently altered. We tell stories as we can all remember them, but we must acknowledge that they are probably inaccurate in many ways.

    • You start to see how the meaningful moments that we experience everyday continue to the lives of others and to the world. You start to sense the critical nature of your very existence. There are no more throwaway days - everyday can change the world in some small way. #meaning
    • The more you do Homework for Life, the more time will slow down for you, the pace of your life will relax.
    • If you want to be a storyteller, this is your first step. Find your stories, collect them and save them forever.
  • Storyworthy –– Matthew Dicks
  • Storyworthy –– Matthew Dicks
  • Storyworthy –– Matthew Dicks
    • #comment What about videos? They're "oral stories" that also behave like a written story - continuity can be broken by jumping back and forth, but they also function in a linear, "stored" manner, similar to a book.
  • Storyworthy –– Matthew Dicks
    • We contextualize events, find satisfying endings to periods of our lives and struggle to explain how our lives make sense and fit into a larger story.
    • #comment Both the means and the end of storytelling is finding meaning.
  • Storyworthy –– Matthew Dicks
    • #comment I seem to be doing this naturally while telling a story. I think I learnt that people don't like hearing about your successes a long time ago - but I also realized that many so-called-successes don't come without the dip first.
  • What Does It All Mean –– Thomas Nagel
    • #comment I unknowingly performed this thought experiment on multiple occasions while growing up. I even remember asking my mum about it, about diaries and how I could be sure I wrote something from a few days ago and whether it (and my memory of it) was fabricated instead.
  • What Does It All Mean –– Thomas Nagel
  • Highlights from Homo Deus
    • To the best of our scientific understanding, determinism and randomness have divided the entire cake between them, leaving not even a crumb for "freedom". The sacred word freedom turns out to be just like "soul"; an empty term that carries no discernible meaning. Free will exists only in the imaginary stories humans have invented.
      • The last nail in freedom's coffin is provided by the theory of evolution. Just as evolution cannot be squared with eternal souls, neither can it swallow the idea of [[free will]]. For if humans are free, how could natural selection have shaped them?
    • If you look really deep within yourself, the seeming unity that we take for granted dissolves into a cacophony of conflicting voices, none if which is a 'true self'. Humans aren't individuals, they're 'dividuals'.
    • [[confabulation]], the left hemisphere of our brain is not only the seat of our verbal abilities, but also of an internal interpreter that constantly tries to make sense of our life, using partial clues in order to concoct plausible stories. There is no single self making any of these decisions, rather, they result from a tug of war between different often conflicting entities.
    • Reference to [[Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman]]
    • We are about to face a flood of extremely useful devices, tools and structures that make no allowance for the free will of an individual humans. Can democracy, the free market and human rights survive this flood?
    • As time goes on, it becomes easier to replace humans with machines and algorithms, not simply because algorithms are getting smarter, but also because humans are specializing. People specialize in a much narrower niche than a hunter gatherer, which makes it much easier to replace them with AI
    • According to the life sciences, art is not the product of some enchanted spirit or metaphysical soul, but rather of organic [[Algorithms]] recognizing mathematical patterns. If so, there is no reason why non-organic algorithms couldn't master it.
      • The crucial problem isn't creating jobs, but creating jobs that humans can perform better than algorithms.
    • [[The Quantified Self]] argues that [[The Self]] is nothing but mathematical patterns. These patterns are so complex that the human mind has no change of understanding them. So if you wish to obey the old adage and know thyself, you should not waste your time on philosophy, meditation or psychoanalysis. But rather, collect systematic data, and allow algorithms to analyze them for you and tell you who you are and what you should do. 'Self knowledge through numbers.'
      • Thanks to our growing understanding of human biology, medicine keeps us alive long enough for our minds and our 'authentic selves' to disintegrate and dissolve. All too often, what's left is a collection of dysfunctional biological systems kept going by a collection of monitors, computers and pumps.
    • Soon, books will read you while you are reading them.
    • _Despite all the talk of radical Islam and Christian fundamentalism, the most interesting place in the world from a religious perspective is the Silicon Valley. That's where the high-tech gurus are brewing for us new [[religion]]s that have little to do with God, and everything to do with technology. They promise all the old prizes - happiness, peace, prosperity and even eternal life - but here on earth with the help of tech, rather than after death with the help of celestial beings. _
    • However, most scientific research about the human mind and the human experience has been conducted by/on people from Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic societies, who do not constitute a representative sample of humanity.
    • Reference to: [[What Is It Like to Be a Bat? - Thomas Nagel]]
    • With the rise of cities, kingdoms and empires, the system cultivated capacities required for large-scale cooperation while disregarding other skills and talent. [[Darwin's Dangerous Idea - Daniel Dennett]]
    • Apps that decide for us like Uber and Diet apps. Letting machines monitor health parameters and suggesting habits. If we rely too much on others to make decisions for us, we lose that "muscle".
      • In the short run, it's very valuable. But the dark side is the data side. If the data is being used to manipulate people, or do anything malicious, then it's a problem. The darker side is that the "attention helmet" makes people less patient to confusion, doubts or contradictions. [[The Attention Deficit Trait]]
      • "The system may push us in that direction, because it usually rewards us for the decisions we make rather than for our doubts. Yet a life of resolute decisions and quick fixes may be poorer and shallower than one of doubts and contradictions."
        • Once people can design and redesign their will, we can no longer see it as an ultimate source of #meaning and authority. For no matter what our will sats, we can always make it say something else.
    • [[Dataism]] says that the universe consists of data flows, and the value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing.
    • Decisions made by web designers far from the public limelight mean that today the Internet is a free and lawless zone that erodes state sovereignty, ignores borders, abolishes privacy and poses perhaps the most formidable global security risk.
    • The NSA may be spying on your every word, but to judge by the repeated failures of American foreign policy, nobody in Washington knows that to do with all the data. Never in history did a government know so much about what's going on in the world, yet few empires have botched things up as clumsily as the contemporary US. It's like a poker player who knows his opponent's cards, and still manages to lose the round.
    • Love? And not even some platonic cosmic love, but the carnal attraction between two mammals? Do you really think that an all-knowing supercomputer of aliens who managed to conquer the entire galaxy would be dumbfounded by a hormonal rush?
    • Scholars in the life sciences should ask themselves if we miss anything by equating everything to data-processing and decision making. Is there perhaps something in the universe that cannot be reduced to data? Suppose non-conscious algorithms could eventually outperform conscious intelligence in all known data processing tasks? What, if anything, would be lost by replacing conscious intelligence with superior non-conscious [[Algorithms]]?
    • #comment The book really reminds me of some concepts described in [[Sum]]