Todd: You know, sometimes I feel like my whole life is just a series of loosely-related wacky misadventures.
Diane: I think that's just what being in your 20s is.
(from the TV show Bojack Horseman)
Most of my life comprises of unconscious habits.
As much as I detest routine, the days pass steadily and calmly, like the sand flowing through an hourglass.
I have been interrogating my patterns. What am I proud of? What can I change?
If I remove my ties to structure, I can carefully piece together the life I want.
After I wake up, I bike or run. This regular exercise boosts my mood and gives me a feeling of agency.
I don't plan the rest of my day until I have returned home.
It is a privilege to live in Berkeley -- a sunny place, in springtime, on the water, with generous bike lanes.
Sometimes I ride on the nearby bridges (Bay, Golden Gate, San Rafael). It is breathtaking to see so much water underneath me.
Can I feel the pulsing of life differently by changing how I measure time?
I habitually optimize each day and moment. This makes me anxious and distracts me from long periods of uninterrupted focus (Cal Newport calls this focus "deep work").
I've blocked all clocks in my house and on my computer. I don't need to know what time it is to the second, or minute; if I can't be precise with time, I can't optimize it.
I built and now use a clock measuring days in 10-minute increments. The unfamiliar, large numbers again reduce the precision of my mental clock. Now, I think more in "nighttime", "morning", "afternoon", and "evening".
I often forget what day it is. I'm ok with this. There is only the moment, and the activity at hand.
Do you have a monologue in your head? Do you think in words?
When you close your eyes, think of a horse. Can you tell me what it's doing?
For me, the answer to these questions is "No". I see and hear very little in my own head.I always thought "mind's eye" was flowery language, not a metaphor. Some describe this condition as aphantasia, as popularized by a researcher from the UK.
This realization helps me understand how I may process the world differently than others. I am still exploring this. Send me a reply -- what does it feel like when you think?
"To negotiate meaning with someone, you have to become aware of and respect both the differences in your backgrounds and when these differences are important. You need enough diversity of cultural and personal experience to be aware that divergent world views exist and what they might be like. You also need patience, a certain flexibility in world view, and a generous tolerance for mistakes, as well as a talent for finding the right metaphor to communicate the relevant parts of unshared experiences or to highlight the shared experiences while de-emphasizing the others." - George Lakoff, Metaphors We Live By
I found this book extremely powerful, from start to finish.
I wonder if the brain can take any metaphor you give it and form a whole world around it.
I enjoy expressing myself clearly; I use words primarily to be understood. But so much of life is experiential: Every linguistic representation is metaphorical and lossy.Metaphors make sense as foundations for mental concepts.
We understand all concepts in relationship to other concepts and experiences. (There is no "bottom" of a dictionary; all words depend on other words.)
Our core values are embedded within the metaphors of our culture. Even scientific theories appeal to us because their metaphors relate to our experiences.
Communication is much more than a series of "true" statements. Meaning is not fixed to the words we use. When we adjust our metaphors, we can create new and different meaning. One example in the book: Imagine "love as a collaborative art project" vs "love as madness" vs "love as a journey".
If this inspires you, please send me a note -- I'd love to talk further.
I have trouble being alone. I compulsively check messages, read internet forums, or help others to avoid being at rest.
This state of being is productive, although unreflective and anxious. I feel like I have purpose.
* My uncle is working on a healthcare startup. I helped him create videos explaining how the product works.
* My mom had an idea to improve clinician-to-clinician hotlines for COVID-19 advice. We worked together for a month, eventually obsoleting the call lines across Kaiser Permanente.
* Ryan and I teach data analysis skills regularly to Native American environmental professionals, both in groups and one-on-one.
I always feel like I can do more. I'm afraid of prioritizing, so I perpetually fall short of my ambitions.
Lately, I have stopped volunteering so I can take care of myself and reflect on my own desires (instead of others').
I don't typically celebrate my birthday.
If you have the resources, please donate to one of these charities: https://kunalmarwaha.com/charity
Or if there's a charity you like, send me the name, and I can donate to it.
I am collecting stories. If there's a story you want to tell or share, send it to me. It can be about anyone or anything!
My roommate said recently: Adulthood is when you give up on trying new things, when you stop being so open-minded, when you become more defensive with the decisions you've made in life.
I want to develop better tools, metaphors, and mental models for thinking about the world.
I enjoy analyzing divergent beliefs, values, and opinions. I don't think there is a right way to live.
What principles and viewpoints guide you through life?
Some things I've liked recently:
* Short sci-fi story "The Cookie Monster" https://www.ida.liu.se/~tompe44/lsff-book/Vernor%20Vinge%20-%20The%20Cookie%20Monster.htm
* meaning of life is wonder, play, creation https://meaningness.com/complete-textures
* What is my true purpose? https://meaningness.com/misunderstanding-meaningness-makes-many-miserable
* Sapiens, in blog post format https://neilkakkar.com/sapiens.html
* deaths in WW2, interactive http://www.fallen.io/ww2/
* music, mathematics, and existentialism, by Vi Hart - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4niz8TfY794
* the physics of opera singing, with my choir conductor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKengo7y28U
* how do gears work? an interactive explanation https://ciechanow.ski/gears/
* Poincare on "Intuition" http://mathshistory.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Poincare_Intuition.html
* exploring Antarctica with a robot! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuSMfdeIuh8
* what are the odds people are like you? https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~kmarwaha/powerball-problem.pdf
* exploring math with grapes https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~kmarwaha/grape-codes.pdf
* matrices and me https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~kmarwaha/algebra-fun.pdf
* try using DuckDuckGo instead of Google search! https://www.bitlog.com/2020/03/06/duckduckgo-is-good-enough-for-regular-use/
* dancing baby screensaver https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlG9yYW6Bi8
* find freely licensed music http://dig.ccmixter.org/
* try using something besides Zoom https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/better-than-zoom-try-these-free-software-tools-for-staying-in-touch
* twin studies in a kid's TV show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxeYPPJm4kc
* where things (don't) come from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_effect
* on creativity (one of my favorite videos) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb5oIIPO62g
* when do we finally wake up? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7LDk4D3Q3U
* who is a radical? http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/radical
* in life, anything is permitted https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/anything-2
* how do you enjoy life? https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2014-06-24
* grasping at beauty https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/clouds-2
* new ways to communicate https://webcomicname.com/post/615924242679316480
* harpejis are beautiful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pj7xtLLfx0
* theremins can sound amazing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l9YcewEumw
* looped theremin - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWHrMkdHXes
* an old friend's new album - https://ericbeing.bandcamp.com/album/good-question-demo-tape
* beach rock - https://no4h.bandcamp.com/releases
* past-me's favorite album - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOzGHqs9bRM&list=OLAK5uy_msG_sDNUPZ6cWCdRc2-tILfYn0m5WfubE&index=1
* choral voices can make such rich sounds! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qZ4u_2ZAlc
* video game music! think "temple run on acid" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwc1YNVjjT8