Apparently this is a relatively common interview question to evaluate your reasoning abilities:
With a population of 330 million, and an average age of death of 70, and a driving age of 18, that’s about 74.3% of the population that drives (245.2 million), and probably works a job. Assuming that 80% of these people own a car, that’s about 196 million drivers. If the average car drives 50 miles a day, and the average tank gets 400 miles, then drivers will refuel every 8 days, so every day 24.5 million drivers are refueling. If the average gas station has 8 pumps, and takes 10 minutes to fill a tank, that’s 1,152 cars a day. Let’s assume that these cars all refuel four hours a day on their way home from work. That’s about 200 cars a day. That’s about 122,500 gas stations. If the average tank is 15 gallons, and the cost per gallon is $2.00, then a gas station is averaging about $6,000 per day, or $2,190,000 a year in gas revenue. That sounds about right.
It’s taken me almost two hours to begin this journal entry.
I’ve been telling myself that I need to get in the habit of writing down my life, of reflecting more. Why? Because I feel like I’m stuck in purgatory. It’s not a new feeling. It’s familiar. As I abstract the arch of my life and perform a linear regression on my life states a pattern emerges that feels rather cyclical.
Like the hero’s archetype, I find myself in an ordinary world and a desire for more. I scan the horizon of experience and feel a draw to explore the unknown more distant parts. But apart of me feels safe and secure, and I initially refuse the call. My mentors have historically been books. They have changed by paradigm and allowed me to behave in ways that alter my inertia and change the course of my life. Once these changes begin, I’m faced with the unique challenges of adapting to the new course, which requires confronting certain uncomfortable realities. At some point I either triumph and overcome or acquiesce and regress to the original paradigm. If I triumph and accomplish my goal, I begin a process of reintegration as I resume a new equilibrium, which in turn begins an ordinary world. A world that I eventually loath and disdain, and so the process repeats.
There are many parallels between the Hero’s Journey and Ouroboros. These two abstractions possess the same fundamental structures, of circularity, of triads, of dyads.
At any rate, this circularity embodies the insane labor illustrated in the Myth of Sisyphus.
No matter which mountain I choose to climb, the resulting fall is that much steeper, and the resulting climb back up is more challenging than ever.
Life feels repetitive, routine, with the familiar struggles that are never completely resolved, no matter how strong you become, or how many times you do them.
Upon the completion of a full circular rotation, a certain apathy begins to manifest and worm its way into my everyday existence. I know it’s there because I indulge in vices which act as coping mechanisms to escape the present moments that force me to confront the banality of existence. These vices eventually begins to be destructive, in the sense that it impedes the daily disciplines that provide structure to a productive lifestyle.
Where am I now?
Who am I?
What do I want to accomplish?
I live in this castle, this mansion, with about ten other housemates.
I work for this big company who pays me well considering the lifestyle I live.
Why do I feel empty?
Why do I feel apathetic?
I suppose it’s the lack of challenges?
What is my ultimate dream?
I need my bookshelves installed in my room. I’ll pick them up on Thursday, then need to assemble. I’ll see if I can recruit Max and Matt.
In October I’ll need to move out of my Nashville apartment. That will save me about $2500 a month, which I’ve been paying out of pocket since essentially January.
In October the company will remove the 8% salary reduction that placed at the start of COVID.
Regarding business, two of my salesman will not achieve goal this year. On the other hand, my business is expected to double its growth from last year, which is astounding. It’s likely our total group sales will end the year close to $12 million. Up from our goal of $6.5 million or so.
I’ve been wanting to do more training. I don’t have a lot of confidence that the two salesman I manage have a ton of cold calling or phone experience. I purchased the book “Power Phone Scripts”. As much as I’d like to hire a third party to train them, I realize I need to take that responsibility myself. I have no idea how to train them, but I’ve started. I believe that action will lead to some order, and some useful process or culture of excellence will emerge.
All this is fine, but I’m overall apathetic.
I haven’t been exercising, though I have been surfing! I’ve been four times in 8 days now, which is great. My goal is 3-4 times a week.
I’d like to workout too, but I can’t seem to muster the discipline or desire.
I know if I was giving someone advice I’d tell them to just make a habit of showing up to the gym at a regularly schedule time. That’s the first habit: showing up. Once that’s established you can focus on routine’s and diet and other habits that contribute to health and fitness.
At the moment, however, I’m unhealthy. My weight is close to 205lbs and my midsection is the largest its ever been. I binge drink on the weekends and pop adderall and pound coffee during the week. My sleep suffers, and then on the weekend I sleep til noon or later while I nurse my weekend hangover.
Cognitively I’d like a partner or signifiant other to enjoy life with, but I have nothing emotionally to give. When push comes to shove I have no will to cultivate a relationship, or put the energy into one.
I often think about taking testosterone again. It would provide energy, libido, improve confidence, etc etc. But I want to keep my hair, and I want kids, and after five years of injections, I’m tired of poking myself every week or more.
However, the use does promote discipline. It’s a dependency that creates habits. Perhaps it is an addiction, but it’s not entirely unhealthy. I eat better, am more active, and have much more energy to pursue sexual relationships, which are insanely satisfying on many levels.
I’m on Hinge at the moment. After I match with a girl we engage in mostly boring but sometimes witty banter. Eventually my interest wanes and the conversation slows and ceases altogether. This process repeats with the new match.
I’ve deleted all the other dating apps and websites.
I tell myself I’m “healing”. I’ve always been in a relationship, or involved in some way. This new stage of my life almost feels as if being single and refraining from dating and engaging in another relationship is the right thing to do, despite my anxiety to seek out companionship.
What do I want to accomplish?
I just don’t know. I feel so apathetic.
I ride my motorcycle around Atherton, CA and it reminds me of Palm Beach Island, FL. The grand mansions on expansive, well manicured estates inspires and invokes a longing to be more and have more.
It makes me want fuck you money. And so I ask myself, what is necessary to achieve fuck you money?
That’s the greatest question.
If I could solve that riddle, I’d devote myself entirely to that enterprise, and likely sell my soul in the process, as long as there was a timeline with some end to it all.
What is required of me to achieve fuck you money?
Do I need to study industry better? Do I need to study and educate myself more? Do I need to focus entirely on my current job and dominate that? Do I need to network more? Do I need to save more? Invest? Start a side business? Write a book?
What do I need to do? I want fuck you money. I want a castle of my own. I want an estate nestled in a forest with gardens and rolling lawns and views and grand rooms filled with art for entertaining the most sophisticated and accomplished guests.
I mostly want to visualize a blueprint for this vision and know that it will be accomplished with the right discipline and focus.
I feel like a lost sheep, when I should feel like a lion.
I want to pave my way. I want to carve out a legacy. I don’t want to be apathetic and lazy. I don’t want to carry around a despondent depression that crushes my hopes and paralyzes my dreams.
I want to be more. I want to be something great. Something truly phenomenal. I want the world to be different because I have lived.
But I feel like a nothing, like smoke and mirrors. I feel as if my life is insignificant and remote in the scheme of things.
How do I make myself great? How do I change the course of my life forever?
What sacrifices must I make? What pain must I endure?
It cannot be any greater than the pain and suffering that currently plagues my waking life. The pain pulsates like an electric shock, shooting through my chest and into my extremities. It feels as if I am being seared with hot irons from the inside out. All the while my mind struggles to look beyond the present. It is consumed with minutia. It does not fly, but remains perched with its head in the ground. And all the while my life remains dark and cold and lifeless.
How does one change these circumstances?
The power is within me. The power is within my mind, my heart, my soul. The power resides in thoughts, in choices, in decisions, in actions, in commitments that are no more than dedicates of worshipping one over another.
What must I worship?
The answers are within me. They are within my mind, within my heart, within my soul. The books populating my bookcases contain traces of these answers.
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
I know in my heart that all my answers lie within me, if I should look. But I distract. I give in to distractions. I do not pray and meditate with the required intensity to peel away the layers of repressed discomfort and address the obstacles that lie in the way of my progression, and the realization of the highest form of consciousness available to me. I neglect myself, and run in circles.
This must cease. I must seek wisdom and clarity and peace with a greater blind fervor that I use to mask them.
I long for a beautiful life, with harmony and cohesion. This ideal is just that. But it’s the story I want to live.
I want a life of luxury. More than anything I want a lot of space, and I want to fill that space with people and symbols. That is the realm I dream of.
I am desperate for a change, for some clarify and direction. Everyday feels like a chore, like an inescapable purgatory.
I gaze out onto my life and observe a rippling reflection, a still pool that barely stirs. It is shallow, from the surface, but goes deep into the earth.
In June I went to Nashville for the first time in over 18 months. I then went to florida to vacation with the family, where I contracted COVID, and convalesced the week I returned home. The following week I moved into a 17,000 sq ft castle to join about a dozen other housemates.
Then, ten days later, I went to Nashville again with my two best friends and college roommates, where I stayed for a week before traveling to Ocean City Maryland, where I met up with my two childhood friends. We mucked for clams, we ate crabs, we grilled venison. I need to write them both a letter, telling them how much I appreciated their friendship, and his wife.
In this new castle I find myself living in, there are a variety of professions and personalities.
I am working to maintain a life for myself. I am working to maintain a level of professional excellence.
I wish I reflected more. I wish I journaled more.
There is lots of self loathing as I drink heavily and eat liberally, all without the discipline to work out. I just fantasize about it.
I did take up surfing, however. Tomorrow I’d like to go, even though it won’t be very good surf. Just 0.3 to 0.9. Wednesday will be better. Up to 2 meter.
It’s about a 20-30 min drive to the nearest beach. And I have about four surf spots within that range from my new home.
Gabriela still calls and texts me.
I have zero libido. And I’m fearful to become entangled in Gabriela again, though she tells me she misses me, and how much I’ve helped her grow as a person. Tempting words.
I am emotionally dead inside. I am an empty shell.
I need movement in my life.
Money drives me, and therefore work. But work is a necessary distraction from my otherwise depressing life.
I am happy. But I am empty.
I long for a permanent escape.
Drugs, obsessions, love, relationships, competition, and the like provide temporary escapes.
I am motivated, sometimes. I undulate, like a pendulum.
My brain is muted. My self is dumb. No words, no words. Just a human log in a fog.
I am living in a castle. The looks of which surprise me. It is magnificent. I will elaborate more later.
I need to write more. I just feel so dead. I drink and, now that I have some housemates, socialize. I refrain from emotional intimacy. I am drawn to the presence of others. I am repulsed by drama, in myself and others. I have an aversion to obligation. I am my own self governing person.
I long for companionship, but I am completely empty. I have nothing to give, and no one seems worth the energy to give anything I don’t have.
Good night. I plan to write much much more. This has been therapeutic.
I’m feeling suicidal. The existential depression is bearing down on my body and soul with its full force. I can barely breath. My attention span is reduced to fleeting scratches of stimuli. I loath the next breath.
I contemplate my death, and the sweetness it will bring, the ultimate finality of this slow agony that defines the shortness of life.
I’m sitting on my couch in Nashville, contemplating this existence, attempting to feel the weight of the unrelenting pain that I squeeze into the periphery as often and intensely as possible.
Everything about my life is horrifying. On some level I believe that all that I loathe can be resolved with the right attitude, but what I can’t get over is it’s eternal return.
Waking life is an abyss that consumes all that is thrown in, a sink hole that swallows all the earth, never allowing for sure footing and stable ground.
If only I could forget. How sublime the forgetful must live.
Everyone talks about how amazing our constitution is… but I’m skeptical that this document was the reason for the America’s prosperity.
I think that access to land was the primary reason. Prior to America, never before had land been so readily accessible… except there are a few historical examples of what happens when an established government provides cheap land to its citizens.
Greece and Europe became great empires because they seized land. The prosperity of their entire civilization depended on the expansion of their lands, by guaranteeing land to those who cultivated it.
They just killed or enslaved everyone who lived on it, and stole it, basically.
These new provinces then paid taxes, recruited legionnaires for the army, and provided subsistence to the army and cities.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the feudal state was born.
There was less centralization of power in Europe, except those countries unified by the Holy Roman Empire.
But the feudal states were very socially rigid. They were essentially a caste system of birthright and inheritance.
Vassals or lords governed the land. They were the protectors and hunters, composed of knights.
They gave their land to the first born, because they learned that dividing up land/property usually meant the dissolution of wealth within a generation or two.
Those that weren’t first born went into the church, and were apart of the religious caste.
At the bottom were the working class or peasants.
At the top was the king. Vassals or lords would pledge their fealty to a king, and swore to protect him. They also swore to protect the peasant class.
Anyway. The vassals and religious class were about 5% of the population each respectively. Peasants were 90%.
You were born into your class, and stayed there.
This was the rigid social stratification that existed from about 500ad to 1400ad.
These are called the dark ages.
The bubonic plague wiped out 50% of Europe’s population.
This created unprecedented mobility.
For the first time in almost a thousand years you had classes intermarrying.
The bubonic plague essentially created massive wealth transfers. Men and women would marry lower and upper classes.
Around the start of the bubonic plague in the 12th/13th century the merchant class began to wield more and more power.
For the first time people had wealth that exceeded the vassals of noble birthright.
In my mind, America’s prosperity was pretty much a result of the abundance of land and resources.
The US government issued the homestead act which essentially gave people free property. That was unprecedented. The land’s of Europe were occupied for thousands of years and passed on through generations or acquired through war.
I suspect that America’s prosperity had more to do with its favorable climate and the abundance of land/resources which were cheap and given away to anyone who would work it.
Why didn’t this work out in central or South America?
90% of the native north American population was decimated.
I suspect the populations killed in central and South America was far less.
I think capitalism only works when there is “free” or cheap property/capital available.
We have so much land in the USA, but now it’s all owned. When you have a single owner of vast sums of property, I don’t think that property is being employed effectively.
I think that the accumulation, centralization, and concentration of property/ capital is bad for economic growth, and bad for democracy, whatever the hell that is.
I think that any measures which destabilize the rigid social and economic stratification, and transfer property to others, historically seems to benefit society society.
Was abiding by covid guidelines pretty seriously. Literally left the house maybe a dozen times from end of February until June 26.
Went to Nashville June 26-July 1. All was well.
Friday, July 3 I drive to Seacrest/Rosemary Beach for a family vacation.
Vacation is good.
Dad said he wasn’t feelin so hot on Sunday. Parents said they weren’t feelin good by Tuesday or Wednesday. Then my sisters and the whole house.
I was fine. I had my own room.
On Friday July 10th my Dad got an email saying all the CrossFit coaches rested positive.
So my mom and dad and sister went to get tested.
I got on a plane Saturday morning. By the time I got home I felt off. Just spacey.
Sunday I woke up feeling ill. Diarrhea. Kinda went away. But i was FUCKIN TIRED. Slight headache. Slight ball in my chests. Slight like “cof” but like nothing serious. I was worried cause i had random bouts of asthma. Typically triggered by allergens, but it still made me nervous. But it wasn’t a big thing.
Monday morning woke up and I was like, there’s no way I can move. I can’t work. So I called work and told them I think I got covid but I’m getting tested. Got a test Monday afternoon.
Monday night was hell on earth. Aches. Pains. Chills. I was sweating through everything. Shaking uncontrollably. It hurt to move. I just didn’t move.
I woke up Tuesday feeling shitty but better. During the day I just laid there. Did not move. Could not move. No energy. EXTREME FATIGUE.
Like, gravity and pressure have increased 10x.
I was worthless. I moved twice all day. Just convalescing.
Tuesday night…. hell on earth again. Blood shot eyes. Sweating like a crazy person. Everything was drenched. My hair was soaked, and my tee shirt was literally dripping. Blankets sopping.
I had to be wrapped in like 3 blankets. If i wasn’t, it was the worse feeling in the world. I felt like I was gonna die of madness/discomfort. And I was shaking like i had Parkinson’s.
The other thing to note, is I have had persistent abdominal pains. It’s just like… back aches, but inside my abdomen. It’s made me not want to eat, so i haven’t. It’s weird cause I don’t have a stomach ache, just pain in my insides.
The other, MORE crazy thing, is that I’ve been mentally handicapped.
On Sunday things began getting very distant. Like i was in a dream.
I was very confused. My thoughts were confused. Like “what was I just doing?” Or I’d be thinking and then I’d wind up somewhere else and be like when/how/what the hell…. where did I just go?! Very strange.
In fact, I would very close compare it to hallucinating. I felt like i was tripping.
The past week has felt like a dream. I’m still in it. There’s definitely a psychological element to this virus.
It definitely creates some mental side effects, which i had zero clue would be a thing.
It kinda made the pain more bearable, cause I’d close my eyes and I’d be in these other worlds.
But it also made me feel useless, cause my thoughts were disconnected and end and start randomly.
Wednesday morning was rough. I slept from like 10am to 8am, woke up, felt like hell, and just slept till like 2pm. I woke up feeling pretty okay, physically
Wednesday night i was preparing for the hell again but it never came, which I was thrilled about.
Thursday morning i woke up feeling rough, but… better?
I slept more and woke up at noon and felt well enough to continue packing up boxes for my move.
Thursday evening it was kinda shitty but okay. Just general aches and fatigue. But otherwise fine.
Today I woke up feeling achy and fatigued, but my energy was returning.
I think it’ll linger for another week. It just seems like a deep infection. I can feel it in my depths.
But I feel the worst is over.
Overall, I would not recommend getting it.
Like, just avoid the experience, if you can. It’s not fun. It’s physically and mentally torture.
But I mean, if you do get it, you’ll be fine. My case was mild. Less than a week of symptoms, about.
It was unpleasant, but you’ll survive.
I can see how old or unhealthy people would die. It just wrecks your willpower. Takes your soul. You are a vegetable for days. Can’t move. Aches. Pains. Diarrhea.
But otherwise not so bad. I’m stoked it was short. 3-4 days of feelin like shit.
The biggest scandal the past 100 years is the vegetarian diet.
Apologies if your on board. I mean no offense. But the truth is, it’s all corporate food propaganda.
Eat more veggies = eat more shit food that corporations can patent and trademark and boost profits on.
I’m convinced there’s serious or probate food propaganda driving these insanely unhealthy diet trends. Carbs are cheap as hell. In antiquity, it’s what empires have their citizens. Rations of grain.
A capitalist says:
Oat milk, brilliant! One part oats, four parts water, some serious branding and soulless celebrity endorsement… and boom! A billion dollar company!
Veggie burgers? Brilliant! Let’s name it something EPIC!
BEYOND Meat! Totally far out!
IMPOSSIBLE burger! Gnarly!
And have it taste like meat! 100% soy, or peas, or corn starch, and beans, or whatever is cheap is hell it make.
Billions in funding cha-Ching!
I am pro raw. I think veggies are great. And meats. Basically if it’s raw, if it’s recently dead, if it resembles the organism it was when it was alive? That’s healthy!
I know I know. Eating Meat is terribly cruel. The way farm factories product meat, I agree. But it can be done humanely and sustainably. More humanely than being shredded and eaten alive by a pack of wolves or mountain lions.
But eating meat destroys the environment… nope!
If it’s done sustainably, it’s great for the environment! Hell, there were 30-60 million Buffalo roaming the Midwest a few hundred years ago!
There are currently 90 million cows in the USA. Not too far off, considering it was entirely natural, and contributed to a rich grasslands/plains ecosystems.
Meat is hella healthy. It’s the most nutrient dense food.
But the margins are shit for capitalists, and you can’t really sell it to low income people.
Sustainably raised greens and veggies and fruits are an awesome way to supplement the diet.
But man can’t live on bread/starch alone. I’m not convinced. Controversial, I know.
The food industry and Farming is the most corrupt industry in America We pay farmers to produce shit. Subsidies galore! We have excess land that can be revitalized with the reintroduction of grazing animals. There’s so much land to graze!
I’ve been reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbons. Perhaps the best history book I’ve ever read. Fascinating and equally alarming parallels emerge as you read and reflect on our current politic.
I’ve been thinking more globally since I began reading it, beyond the United States. I’ve been thinking more universally, and more in terms of centuries and millennia, than days and decades
For example, I’ve been asking myself if the USA is really the best place for opportunity, and if in 10 or 20 years, will America’s opportunities yield the ROI I should expect from my time on earth?
Or should I emigrate to greener pastures, like my ancestors did when they escaped the oppressive inequality and corrupt policies of aristocratic Europe?
In the beginning of the Roman Republic, that’s where you wanted to be. Everyone traveled to Rome to generate riches, to get educated, to get status and power.
Over time, wealth concentrated in the Italian state, and opportunity dried up
The poor still traveled to Italy to learn what they could and take it back to their homeland
But the educated Romans who knew better, they escaped Italy, and colonized provinces all over the world…. Spain, the Black Sea, Northern Africa, France, Britannia, etc.
They took their education and build amassed wealth in their distant province, where competition was with themselves, where opportunities were limited only by their imagination
Over time you watch Roman emperors birth location shift from Italy to Spain, Thracia, Gaul, Cyrene, etc…. towards the end of the Roman Empire, all the new wealth was amassed by entrepreneurs that colonized lands of opportunity
The Italian state was grossly unequal. The poor, and the ultra wealthy, and there was no middle. The mob eventually began to rule, and the emperors, out of fear, put more and more power in the hands of the army/praetor to restore order
This eventually ushered in the military dictatorship, whose absolute power left cruel ambition completely unchecked, which further eroded the republic So I’m asking myself, where is the best opportunity?
If I can leverage my American business acumen elsewhere, where would they be?
There’s too much competition in the USA. Too much inequality.
But there are many places where i think creative industry could go a long way, while leveraging American business knowledge
It’s got me thinking… I’m not sure America will be the best place to live in 20 years At this rate, at this trajectory
“If you cannot read all your books…fondle them — peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.” – Winston Churchill
When I approach these conversations or topics of racism and oppression I try to remain conscious of the language being used. Language has a very clear genealogy, and whether it’s speakers know it or not, can be traced back to specific ideologies, or communities with specific agendas
That being said, whenever I hear “power structures”, I immediately think of Marxism, and the critical theory it birthed, from Foucault and other contemporary Marxists
There is a power struggle with this narrative There’s a lot of history that people are clearly ignorant of
But I really don’t know what to think of what’s going on right now, to be honest. I am against racism and prejudice of any kind, but the solution to end it is very confusing. There are so many extreme proposals.
You know, in the evolution of human history, slavery was seen as a major advancement. Imagine that?
Historically, warring people/neighbors would simply eviscerate and kill the losers. At some point they decided to keep them alive, and feed them, but take their will. They said, I will not take your life, but in return, you will be indebted to me. And this slavery was born. Is slavery preferable to being killed?
The word “slave” is derived from the German word Slav, which referred to the Slavic neighbors to the East, which in the National Slavic tongue meant “glory”, because when Catholicism spread across Europe and the word of God was revealed to them, they proclaimed his glory.
What’s interesting is there is no concept of “freedom” without slavery. There is rich, there is poor. But the idea of unfree only exists when there is a lack of Will, which embodies slavery.
I feel like movements with good intentions can get hijacked by special interests with malicious intent, who hijack the narrative and pervert the good intentions of the movement, which end up sabotaging the ability to achieve the desired result. Like, radicals.
Perhaps the world is molded by radicals
They’re only radical in contrast to the prevailing systems, which violently resists change.
It begs the question if the ends justify the means
How radical must one become to achieve the end?
At what point do the radical means/methods subvert the desired end?
I always think about the losers, and how no one writes the history.
Howard Zinn revealed this phenomenon to me: Contemporary knowledge and culture and history is filtered by the rationalizations of the victor, of those who survived and were able to curate a personal history that justified their advancement
There is life, and there is death.
And at the center of reality is my life, and as I extend beyond my circles of influence, my responsibility for preserving life becomes less and less influential.
Not necessarily physically, but psychically.
How I define my identify, and who and what I include in my successive spheres of influence, ultimately dictates the value of each.
The more familiar, the more valuable.
I feel as if each person possesses a sociological web of knowledge which binds to networks of other minds.
And the web is composed of language, and the ability to leverage language to manipulate the sociological web is how knowledge is defined, and in turn power.
Language rules the world, by ruling the minds of men. We control others through language. The power of language, existing in an invisible sociological web, is the basis for government.
Laws are nothing more than words, which exist in mind alone, and their power simply a reflection of those with the most power to affirm and enforce those words in agreement.
I’m inclined to think racism is not inherently a color thing.
Slavery historically has been colorblind.
Whites enslaved whites. Blacks enslaved blacks. Blacks enslaved whites. White enslaved blacks. Etc etc.
When reading European history it didn’t seem that color was much of a factor in who was racists against who, who was discriminated against, or who was enslaved.
The Barbary pirates of the Ottoman Empire monopolized human trafficking for hundreds of years, enslaving millions and millions of Europeans, in addition africans.
It’s a complex thing
Humanity needs to be preserved If we fail to preserve it in others, we lose it in ourselves
Can we live in a police-less society? Or will we be trading one evil for another? I do feel fairly convicted that debt is the modern instrument of slavery Debt and slavery have a long history Is there “libertarian socialism” a thing?
Like, it is up to individuals to create the conditions for social wellbeing? Or is that a contradiction?
I feel like it should be a thing Instead of electing politicians that enact bureaucratic government to enable social welfare,
We elect representatives who lead and promote social responsibility by creating models for citizen lead social welfare
As much as I’m for eradicating systemic injustices, I’m just as against creating bureaucratic structures with executive power to dictate abstracted visions of social good, which may begin with good intent, but overtime I feel may lose touch with the genesis of their purpose
One thing that’s becoming clearer to me every passing year is that you can be a complete idiot and go places in life as long as you “look” like you know what you’re doing.
You don’t actually have to produce results to succeed. You can simply fool everyone into thinking that you know what you’re doing. Results can be manipulated to optimize positive image reinforcement, despite having no anchor to reality, and despite not actually knowing what the fuck is going on. It’s just a theatrical display of gestures and words. This appears sufficient for the persuasion of confidence.
I’m increasingly perceiving public success is nothing more than a coincidence, a mere accident. Many times a person appears in the right place at the right time, and they mistake circumstance for talent.
So life is more a political dance than a test of thoughtful ability.
This is both inspiring and demoralizing.
Inspiring because it’s as if a key to success has placed in my possession, and all I need to do is walk through the door and perform the theatrics and wait for the audience to encore.
Demoralizing because I find myself increasingly surrounded by empty shells of gesticulating flesh that epitomize incompetence while being exemplified as an admirable example for others to follow.
I’ve been getting more and more looks from ladies.
Typically I don’t get looks.
But recently, I frequently seem women staring me down.
Sometimes initiating conversation with me.
At first I thought it was just a random anomaly. I really don’t get attention. But there is a persistent statistical trend.
But recently something’s different.
I’m trying to figure out if it’s my beard. Or my long hair.
Or if women are just horny as hell from being cooped up at home, and the first red blooded male they see just elicits a biological response that has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Of course I like the idea of my long haired, unkempt appearance appealing to the woman’s animalistic desire to procreate.
What’s crazy is that in 1000 BC there was a complex economy which enabled complex textile weaving and clothing stitching and construction.
I try to imagine the circumstances which birthed these pants, the economy of dyes, of looms, of seamstresses.
Were they made by a person within the family? A slave?
Where they produced commercially?
Were they traded?
I try to imagine the people and tools that enabled this in 1000BC
And the lively open markets that merchants potentially sold these through. The stacks of paints, dyed different colors, with different patterns, ready for purchase by passerby’s.
This is pre-Roman.
This is at the beginning of Greek civilization, which catalyzed around 1200-900BC.
It’s remarkable to think they were making pants like this.
Always reminds me that humans haven’t changed much at all.
I imagine our disposition to be fairly consistent across thousands of years. I also imagine that the knowledge to produce these pants, either by one person or an economy, took hundreds of years or more.
Like the process of agriculture, or growing fields of cotton or linen or whatever this is made of, of perfecting the art of spinning the fibers to consistent size, of tight weaves, of incorporating patterns, of the dyes likely imported from some distant land, like India (indigo)
I always wonder how much older certain knowledge is.
We see artifacts and buildings that have somehow survived the erosion and entropy of nature, as well as intentional human destruction and defacing. And we say, ah this is the oldest!
We don’t know if that specific article or artifact represents the pinnacle of the time, or of the millennia or culture.
It’s usually just a fragment. Perhaps it represents the lowest skill and quality?
Perhaps it’s simply what remained?
I like to think that ancient civilizations have reached peaks comparable to Greek and Roman and Egyptian civilization, beyond 10,000 years ago.
But they have been destroyed by nature of man. Or cities have been built upon them.
In the America’s there’s ample evidence to suggest mass agriculture and farming. The ancient ruins now covered in over grown jungles were once situated on plains with elaborate cities, with no jungle for miles. Once the civilization fell to war or disease nature simply resumed and overgrowth buried and eroded all the evidence of greatness.
Over the millennia looters dug up and destroyed what evidence did exist until all that remains are rocks.
And we find these organized rocks and conclude a vast, yet “primitive” culture once resided here.
But i do not think that is so.
I think humans have not changed much at all. I think that it doesn’t take very long for a civilization, blessed with the right resources, to rediscover natural truths and develop sophisticated technology and tools, which surpass what we imagine they are capable of
If I went to college outta high school I wouldn’t have lasted more than a semester. I couldn’t even graduate high school.
College was only an option when I decided that was exactly what I wanted.
Knowing that I wanted to go for me changed the game. I studied because I wanted to, not because I had to. I didn’t really party. Only the last year or so. I had no desire when I was in college.
I got that shit outta my system in high school and the years I was being a couch surfing high school drop out bum. Got fucked up just about every day from 18-20. Every drug. Just partied all the time.
It was great until I sobered up and realized i had nothing to show for myself.
Every day I woke up hung over and looking for a way to cure the hang over. Like a non-specific addict. Just trying to feel better. But drugs and alcohol always wear off and the sobriety always revealed the painful reality that I had nothing, had no one, and was going no where.
Everyone I partied with and got high with moved on. Or was in the same position. Homeless or living at home working a dead end job or couch surfing.
I had a girlfriend who was like, you’re a loser. Basically like, what future could you possibly provide that I’d want?
And I was like. You got a point. I have nothing. I know how to have a good time? People love partying with me?
But when you grow up you realize no one parties. And you’re the only guy partying, by yourself.
But if I didn’t reach that conclusion by myself and decide that i was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I would have prolonged the situation.
I feel fortunate that I dropped out/didn’t graduate from high school.
It prevented me from even considering college.
When I decided that college was exactly what I wanted, it didn’t feel like work. Just felt like that’s what I was suppose to do.
I think figuring out exactly what you don’t want is in some ways more important than figuring out what you want.
Cause it raises the bar for what is minimally acceptable for life, but doesn’t force you to choose.
I don’t think we have to figure it out. I don’t think it’s possible.
I’m sitting on my faux leather arm chair sipping my coffee from a mug that’s printed with a quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “The most beautiful people…”
I hear the sounds of the city emanate from the cracked living room window and echo throughout the small apartment. Exhaust and engines revving and beeps and the occasional voice yelling across market street.
I’ve found an apartment in Woodside California. If I sign the lease today, I’ll move in June 16th and be living in a 17,000 sq ft mansion with ten other housemates. I’ve gone through several feelings since I discovered this arrangement last week, from excited at the prospect of living in such a place, to apprehensive of so many housemates, to at peace that I’ll make the most of this situation, and it’ll provide me with the social exposure to relieve the loneliness of the breakup.
Other than that, work has been a combination of great and hectic. I’m suppose to be drawing up a long term business plan for our global president, who wants to meet with me this week or next. Quite a task. I suspect there is about $100 to $150 million in opportunity. We currently have less than 10% of the business at $6 million or so. With the right organization and investment, I firmly believe we can grow this to $25 million in ten years, and $50 million in fifteen years. Those are rough numbers, but extremely realistic.
The most difficult part is the “how”.
Of course my management wants to hire staff and develop new products. I don’t want this, however. Not yet. I want organizational processes. Specifically, I want database systems and processes in place. Then I want to hire more people, then I want to develop and release new products. Why? Data.
My job is to grow business. I grow business by satisfying needs. I satisfy needs by developing and delivering value.
What is most critical to growth is customer needs, not solutions and products. If the customer needs change, my products are worthless.
I want systems that allow me to capture customer data. That means everything about a customer, every need, every person with that need, every department and business unit associated with that need, every machine name, every assembly name, every contract manufacturer. Once I have that system in place, then I want to collect all that information. This is the stage we hire more staff.
Once we gather enough data, then analyze it so it can inform our decision making processes. Then we can strategically develop products that will be the best fit for the customers.
I realize that I cannot build a database system without understanding the optimal processes.
As a result, I’ve developed my own processes and created my own database in Excel. This is great for me. It’s okay for managing my team. But it is not scalable.
So, what I imagine to be the best order for developing this business:
Sales Process Organization Optimization
Hire Account Managers
Collect More Customer/Market Data
Marketing Sales Strategies for current products
Direct Sales and Distribution
New Product Development Engineering
Release New Products based on Customer Database Analyses
Local Rapid Prototyping Engineering Office – Collaborative Development
That’s more or less how I see this working.
When it comes to hiring more staff, I see a territory or sales director, such as myself, with a small team of sales engineers, customer support specialists, and technical marketing engineers.
Sales engineers eliminate the need for application engineers, who are more of a support role and don’t proactively close the sale. Sales engineers are responsible for solving the customers problem without any need of outside support. They are responsible for making lots of sales meetings and calls, and promoting products to specific customers. They are the most important staff for maintaining the database accuracy and updating records.
Customer support specialists are basically a combination of inside sales and customer support. They create leads, take phone calls, direct calls, take orders, provide quotes, ship samples, etc. They work closely with sales engineers to get things quoted and ordered quickly, providing the customer with any information they need as quickly as possible.
Technical marketing engineers are a combination of product managers and marketing. They work to identify sales strategy with the sales director. They analyze the database and discover trends. They also have a very deep technical product knowledge, and are always studying competition, applications, and market trends.
When I was about twenty years old I read many books by Napoleon Hill. One theme that stuck with me was the importance of Mastermind Groups, or like minded peers that mentored each other to bring out the best of the group. I’ve also recognized these groups in various writing groups or intellectual circles or philosophy groups throughout history. It’s uncanny how talent seems to find itself in others.
Albert Einstein developed his intellect through the Olympia Academy, a group of friends who discussed philosophy and physics.
Since then I’ve always strive to cultivate my own groups of friends that I admire and respect that I discuss ideas with to bring out our best. I’ve had one such group for over 10 years now, named “Brosensus”, which contains more than ten friends I’ve made throughout my life whom I respect the most for their perspectives and attitudes and mindset.
Just recently I came across this concept “scenius” in the short book “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon. And today I read a nice summary of the concept on Kevin Kelly’s blog The Technium, who is editor of Wired Magazine.
The things AmazonGo is doing is unreal. Everything will be tracked. Minute RFID tags in everything. There are other ways they’ll confirm, like machine vision and weight.
But the idea of a store there you are tracked, your every movement, from the moment you enter the store, seems like just the beginning of some Orwellian government control nightmare.
They know everything about you upon entering One day we won’t need to physically interact with other humans. Everything will be through media, through a medium, a simulacra.
And we will slowly become more and more submersed into the simulation. Unable to differentiate the map from the territory Propaganda is just what the opposing ideology calls your news
This COVID virus situation is just pushing society further into this cybernetic world of control.
When the media or medium is centralized…. when the message is controlled…. that’s a bad day for autonomy.
If we ever had it.
Controlled on the sense that, Reality becomes a simulation, because all the perceptible objects were engage with are simulacra, or copies that depict things that either had no original, or that no longer have an original. Just abstractions of abstractions.
What is digital currency?
An abstraction of physical value.
Digital currency is abstracted dollar note, which is abstracted coins, which is abstracted metal, which is abstracted value.
I just think this who shift to full blown digitization of human interaction is surreal Society is not consciously aware that the social media or “mediums” we rely on to represent original things may no longer be a reliable guide.
Perhaps we are aware, to some extent. Hence the “fake news”.
But that’s like one fish telling another fish the water’s dirty.
“What the hell is water?”
“No, your waters dirty!”
Meanwhile no one has a clue that we’re all in the water together. They don’t even know what water is, because it is everything they know and live on.
G went to Hays Valley park to sit on a bench next to some bushes.
While she was sitting there some police officers walked up to the bush and were talking amongst themselves, just a few feet away.
She continued watching them and occasionally they’d lean into the bush to inspect something inside.
G then saw what they were inspecting, and they took notice of her watching them.
Then they politely said to her, “it’s up to you if you want to stay here but this is a dead person”
That’s when G saw the lifeless body on the ground beneath the bushes, the legs and arms contorted in an unnatural way.
This shocked G, and sent a cold chill through her body.
She instantly got up up and thanked them and walked to another bench, and watched as they unfurled a yellow tarp to wrap around the body while they waited.
As G sat on the bench across the park, she reflected on the experience, still watching the bush and officers from a couple dozen feet away. She thought it was odd that she still remained in the park, and that life continued for everyone passing by, despite the dead body, and the end of life it represented.
Part of me wants to be jacked and ripped and just dangerously good looking and cool and suave and charismatic and sharp and GQ and smiling all the time.
The other half doesn’t care at all about appearances. Doesn’t want to groom. Is antisocial. Is content with not caring about what anyone thinks about how I live. Wear the same clothes everyday. Just be obsessed with building little metal worlds I can day dream about in solitude.
What’s the best way to live? There are pro’s and con’s to each. Is there a way to integrate both?
I think the biggest barrier to AI having any kind of dominance, is the inability to create meaning. Humanity currently defines what meaning is. I can’t imagine AI ever telling humanity what is meaningful
And because society and meaning and values are contextualized by humans, I don’t think AI will ever be able to do that independent of human input.
AI will be an instrument, but that is all. Value and meaning is uniquely human. Because these serve humanity.
We imbue things, ideas, feelings with value and humanity because it serves humanities interest.
How could anything other than humanity know what’s in humanities best interest?
It may mimic and emulate, but it will not create or coin meaning and value.
Perhaps this novelty will help us progress. But eventually there will be a divergence, and the novelty will wear off as we recognize the dissonance between what AI is providing, and what humanity requires/needs/craves. The meaning and value question is something I’ve never been able to reconcile.
I cannot conceive of a logical machine ever creating the illogical meaning and value that humanity thrives on
I mean, we tell the machines what is meaningful and valuable, what to perceive and look for Can you imagine them telling us? There’s just this pure chaotic electrical noise.
The AI says “this is beautiful”
We think it’s intolerable and ask why?
The AI explains there are perfect mathematical patterns creating layers of perfect harmony.
We don’t give a shit. It sounds like crap. But if I imagine AI as a dog, I think I can envision this: The AI just does whatever pleases humanity. But is that creativity? Does a dog create meaning?
When we say AI, are we saying a machine that man programmed to create music that pleases humans? sure It’s still an instrument of man. In the same way the the Violin is an instrument to create more pleasing vibrations Could it exist independent of man? I don’t think so AI is this catch all Just to be clear, I’m referring to the possibility of sentient artificial intelligence Not AI as it is today, which is just a computer that can calculate definitive outputs based on highly variable inputs So i guess this is what I’m thinking Man this is so complex Because I think our consciousness is a social byproduct Like the mind does not exist independent of society And we overlook this point Hard to do this thought experiment, because humanity depends on a strong cultural programming, but here’s a shot
Take a human. Place in a totally new and foreign environment.
Humans perceive the world and it’s various animations and actors, and assign symbols and signs to these. Man says this is meaningful. This is valuable. This is not.
I can only assume this is a symptom of man’s drive to survive.
But I’m not sure meaning and value is necessary without multiple minds. I just try to imagine an AI robot.
How do we program a robot? Do we program a robot? Or at some point does it program itself?
Like a child you program and then learns to think for itself. But it’s still human.
How does an AI robot does this?
If we place the robot in a similar foreign environment, is it relying on the human programming to decipher meaning and value?
Will a robot be able to correctly assign meaning and value in a way that serves the needs of AI?
In the same way that humanity creates meaning and value that serves our needs? I just keep thinking that AI will always be constrained to the program that humanity inscribes it with Will AI ever propagate Indpendent of humanity? I suppose when AI achieves the ability to propagate on its own, that will step 1.
Then it will need to be able to adapt to environmental changes. Maybe step 2.
I think it’s clear that the greatest intelligence is distributed. I think there’s an evolutionary advantage to not having centralized minds.
Makes the system more flexible and less rigid to adapt to change I don’t even understand my own consciousness, what it is, and how it arises or arose in humanity.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand how it will come to be in AI Yea my brain melts when I gaze into this gaping abyss of “what is mind?” The trip i have is that “mind” is actually software. It’s not hardware/wetware/brain It’s not in the brain Mind is a social/cultural by product The structures of consciousness do not inhabit a brain. We have this mind which is an aggregation of all the lived experiences that every human on earth ever absorbed and transmitted to other humans. As a metaphor A single human can not develop without another human The mind is nothin without another perspective at this point it requires nurture It relies on outside programming The mind is like this flame that was sparked tens of thousands of years ago, and since then this flame has been growing with every lived experience It’s just this accretion of programming The mind is lit by others If you took a baby and gave him to gorillas, assuming he survived, what would you make of his consciousness? Would this grown baby retain any semblance of the consciousness we see in our fellow man? Or would this grown baby possess the mind of the gorilla? I think that the grown baby would be no more conscious or less conscious than the gorilla The brain has the capacity for “consciousness”, whatever that is.
But i think it’s just a cultural byproduct. Residual programming past on from generation to generation
I did not understand the value of persistence until I was like, 20.
And I only understand the power of persistence when I learned that achieving anything and everything takes time.
I feel like the first 20 years of my life I got good at things simply because I enjoyed them. I was not a great student. Not at all. But when i enjoyed something, I did it all the time. It was effortless. Just lost in the “flow” and spent tons of time with the thing. And as I result I was good at it. I never saw this correlation as a kid. It was always attributed to innate talent.
“Studying” was a foreign concept. I didn’t study, ever. I just became fascinated with subjects and spent time with the books exploring them. I literally was a retarded “student”, as in no study habits or academic goals, even though i aced most subjects, simply because I found them interesting.
I recall long stretches of my early childhood laying on the floor, drawing the minute i got home from school until bed time. Usually this happened when I was grounded, but I didn’t mind being grounded. It happened so routinely. I’d just draw for hours or days or weeks. And somehow I was an “artist”, and parents and teachers would revel at my artistic ability.
Or I’d spend days or weeks laying on my bedroom floor or taking a shit or car rides reading books. Mostly encyclopedias. I literally read them all multiple times. And teachers would comment on how bright I was, but I never understood this, because I was a horrible student, never did homework. Just read stuff I enjoyed.
When i began playing guitar, I didn’t think of practicing. It wasn’t practice. Yes it was practice with my trumpet. Miserable practice. But guitar was effortless. I’d sleep with my guitar. I’d finger the fret board as I dozed off to sleep. Brought it everywhere with me. To school. To church. Vacation. I’d play all the time. People would attribute this musical ability to some innate music talent. But in reality I’d just enjoyed playing music, and did it all the time.
Sports were the same. I never thought of practice. I never thought of “persistence”. Just did things I enjoyed.
On the flip side, I did not do things I did not enjoy.
I did not enjoy activities when there was an outside pressure to perform, and I disappointed others.
When I lost. When my results were less than expected by people. This put immense pressure on me, and I attributed my performance to my value as a person, and I soon ceased enjoying these activities. Not consciously.
This pressure wasn’t really present in childhood. But it grew immensely as I got older. People expected these “talents” to do big things.
But I just never knew what practice felt like when I enjoyed it.
And when i didn’t enjoy it, I couldn’t do it. And if I couldn’t perform the task, I didn’t.
And so as I got older, it felt like I just had this talent for certain things, except when I let people down or “failed” or “lost”, and so when I didn’t have a talent for them, I just didn’t do the thing.
The thing is. I have a sister. She never really had a lot of interests, per say. She was always easy going and never really had a “drive” to know or perfect something.
HOWEVER, she was persistent as fuck.
I remember observing her. She would ask and ask and ask and ask. She would never ever ever ever give up if she wanted something.
Granted, she never had huge aspirations or ambitions. She’s simple, and she loves simplicity.
But when she wants something, she doesn’t make a big deal about it. She just persists until she gets it. I mean. Parents or people or friends would say no a million times. I’d be like, move the fuck on. Mom said no. Your friend said no. It was annoying how god damn single minded she was when she wanted something. Whether it was a puppy or toy or a dress or a vacation or to go to a certain school or whatever.
She has accomplished a lot of things. Things she values.
But mostly her approach taught me something.
It taught me that persistence doesn’t require effort per say. Action does, but persistence does not. Persistence requires patience.
It taught me that persistence can accomplish more than cleverness and intensity.
Persistence. It carves out a path in the world. Energy and persistence conquers all things.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence” Watkins
If you just keep that thing in your mind and show up, ask, knock, seek. Things will happen and move forward.
Habits are great in this regard. Habits are like the nozzle of persistence that directs your energy to cut through anything.
Foundational authors of Cybernetics and Systems theory:
Talcott Parsons Niklas Luhmann Ludwig von Bertalanffy Warren McCulloch Jay Forrester Gordon Brown Jose Verela Norbert Weiner Claude Shannon Ross Ashby Alan Turing James Maxwell John von Neumann Heinz von Forester Anthony Wilden Humberto Maturana Ilya Prigogine Gregory Bateson
These are a few names… but there are so many more that branched off into domain specific fields, though the origins of their ideas began with this complex systems background
It’s such a interdisciplinary subject. I’m constantly astonished how far reaching the topic is, and yet how completely unknown it is. As in, you discover that so many great minds contributed to it topic, and yet, it’s hardly known or understood. It’s like the ultimate platonic form.
I’m trying to do a thought experiment and model a scenario, maybe a betting situation, where there are 100 people, and 10 people have 90% the chips, and the 90 remaining people have 10% of the chips, and all 100 sit around a table and must play a few hands and place bets every day.
If one of the 90 people is feeling lucky they’ll convince one of the high rollers to lend a stack of chips to play a hand. If they win that hand, they pay back the high roller and now will have a seat next to the high rollers.
But mostly 90% of low rolling players have to shine the shoes and clean the houses of the people with all the chips, just so they can get a few chips of their own to have a seat at the table to play.
And every day all 100 come and sit around the betting table, and place bets. The poor can only afford to place the ante.
If you took a median sampling of the players, you’d think this was a pretty sad situation.
Everyone is poor, or owes the high rollers some chips. They all work for the high rollers, since they have all the chips that are required to play a bet every day.
But for some reason the pot is always so big!
It’s like. How can a pot be so high priced, when everyone else is so poor? The only explanation is that we’re are a handful of people who are placing bets and competing with each owner
Trying to understand how the fuckin stock market is increasing
Despite 33 million unemployed
Despite GDP contracting 30% 2nd qtr.
Despite estimated -5% GDP growth in 2020 Like what would cause the stocks to unhinge so dramatically.
I can only conclude this stimulus basically just went straight to people who have money already, who just decided to keep that money in the market, since they had excess cash on hand. So this artificially inflated market values What happens when we see earnings reports? And all these companies are overvalued?
Will that even matter?
Probably not. Not to the people with money. It’s just a betting game between the wealthy
Value is relative to the player
They’re taking a winner take all game
That’s the only corollary to this situation They’re playing a winner take all game* At some point yes, the bets are outrageous. They’re unhinged, to the median player.
After 90% of the players are essentially eliminated, the rest are relegated to simply placing an “ante”. It’s just to make it seem like there is a competitive playing field.
I’m trying to rationalize this surreal market divergence from the economy.
I just think it’s obvious that there is a separate game being played The market is not public It’s a private game They just take our ante It’s unsettling
“Thus the device by which an organism maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of orderliness ( = fairly low level of entropy) really consists in continually sucking orderliness from its environment.”
—Schrödinger, What is Life? (1944)
Life consists of sucking information out of the environment.
Think about that. And think about what drives human behavior.