The Machine Stops

Summary of “The Machine Stops“, written by EM Forster in 1909.

The story describes a world where people live in isolated chambers and communicate with each other on devices much like FaceTime.

There is no human contact. Everything is facilitated by the machine, every need and comfort is taken care of. There are no public gatherings. Everything is done remotely, in a livestream kind of way.

Day and night do not exist in this world. Everything runs according to the rhythm of the machine. People do not venture outdoors. They remain inside, on their devices, in the isolated dwelling spaces, and communicate with each other from afar. All the comforts have become uniform across the world, all the beds and desks and appliances and air and temperature have converged in optimization for the consumer public.

The only persistent sound is that of the machine, humming in the background, barely audible to the conscious ear, like the steady hum of an electrical signal powering it all.

The world brings everything to the people, their shopping and conveniences. Gone is the age where people go to things. Everything comes to the people. You summon whatever you’d like, a car (referred to as a “lift”), a meal. People don’t change the room for fresh air, they change the air in their room.

Healthcare is administered by a doctor via a robot within the convenience of your room.

“Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.”

Anxiety is rife.

People never touch one another. That is inappropriate.

People are never direct with one another, but rather speak indirectly. It is barbarous to speak directly, lest you offend someone’s sensibilities.

People worship the machine. It is the spiritually minded thing to do, to confer with the rules of the machine, put forth by the committees that govern the machine, who have become the moral arbiters of machine.

Those that rebel against the machine are excommunicated to “homelessness”, and must live outside the comforts and conveniences the machine provides those who abide.

Going outside is not permitted. Breathing natural air is dangerous, a risk to exposing yourself to toxins.

You are not to exert effort, but must rely on the machine for your needs.

Muscles earn you demerits, social points lost. Babies are inspected at birth, and if found to possess too much musculature, are destroyed. It would be unkind to let athletes live, for they would desire to stretch their legs and climb and jump and work, and this is not conducive to progressing the machine, which must persist eternally.

The world is full of lecturers who exchange ideas for audiences on these live stream devices, providing spiritual guidance and ideas to other audiences watching from their isolated chambers. Similar to YouTube and Instagram personalities.

“Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives is the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops — but not on our lines. The Machine proceeds — but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die.”

Stimulating ideas are the currency of the Machine.

“I was surrounded by artificial air, artificial light, artificial peace, and my friends were calling to me down speaking-tubes to know whether I had come across any new ideas lately.”

Everything is an abstraction of some distant foreign thing, similar to Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation:

“Beware of first-hand ideas!” exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. “First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by love and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element — direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine — the French Revolution.”

Hard facts derived from observation and experience are replaced by platitudes of inert generalizations:

“there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation

‘seraphically free From taint of personality,’”

Slowly people become desensitized to problems, and rather than act to remedy the dissonance, acquiesce and learn to live with the dysfunction:

“No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine.”

“The defects [of the Machine] had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine… All were bitterly complained of at first, and then acquiesced in and forgotten. Things went from bad to worse unchallenged.”

Along with visceral experience, silence has become humanity’s greatest, most crippling fear:

“Then she broke down, for with the cessation of activity came an unexpected terror — silence. She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her — it did kill many thousands of people outright. Ever since her birth she had been surrounded by the steady hum.”

We are living in the Machine.

Perhaps man is nothing more than, as Hume put it in his Treatise of Human Nature, “a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement.”

We are in an age where generations cannot conceive a world beyond the Machine. Raised on a steady diet of stimulation and convenience, conditioned to the persistent, reliable hum of the Machine, it’s pervasive influence is shaping our minds to its end, rather than the other way around.

We no longer use the Machine. The Machine uses us. It depends on our complicit attention to fuel it’s growth, while simultaneously robbing humanity of it’s will.

Transactional Costs

Transaction: a mutual exchange of value.

Transactional Costs: time and resources (information, mediums, etc) to conduct a valuable transaction. i.e. the friction of doing business.

The goal of business is to satisfy a demand for something of value.

Transactional costs are often not accounted for in business transactions, because they are incurred by the purchasing party, but they remain a decisive psychological factor in the decision to conduct an exchange. e.g. Waiting in line to purchase, waiting to process an order, learning the value of a thing (creating symmetric information between agents), delivery time, the learning curve needed to utilize the thing of value, etc.

The best business management identifies transactional costs and organizes people and processes to reduce transactional costs as much as possible.

The most competitive businesses have the lowest transactional costs. E.g. Amazon, fast food, mobile apps, self-checkout, PayPal, Square, etc.

Three Principles of the Effective Executive

1. Focus energies on creating and adding value for everyone you engage with: be helpful, go above and beyond, anticipate needs. The goal is identifying the needs in others and effectively delivering value to satisfying those needs.

2. Take full responsibility for outcomes. Enlarge how you perceive your sphere of influence over outcomes, and the tasks and people involved with positive outcomes.

3. Be so dependable you become indispensable. Reduce transactional costs and activity friction for others so they learn to rely on you when they need something. Cultivate activity habits that deliver so much value to others that they become addicted and dependent on you.

I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

Been reading more of Girard the past year. He’s a “Christian” but not a literalist, but a figurativist. If that’s a word.

His take on the socio-psychological role of Christianity’s symbolic process of expunging “sin” through a perfect sacrifice is fascinating.

In this case, sin is a parasitic byproduct of humanities natural desire to compete through mimicry. There is a point where the competitive tension of mimesis (copying others) becomes so strong, that the desire to mimic morphs into the desire to “be” the idealized other, that violence ensues.

In order to alleviate the tension and create peace, a scapegoat is chosen, in which all the tension is symbolically transferred to a victim and sacrificed, thus ending the mimetic cycle and violence.

Sacrifice is a prototypical behavior cross culturally throughout history. Cain and Able were sacrificing (hell, when Cain was unable to provide an appropriate sacrifice he killed his brother, whom god favored, thus setting the stage for the sacrificial theme). Jacob and his son. Oedepus. Mayans. Etc. etc.

According to Girard, mimesis, violence, scapegoating, peace, deification— is a natural anthropological procession, an inescapable reality of the human condition.

What reinforces this sacrificial ritual is the double transference that occurs when a scapegoat is killed. 1. Peace is achieved. 2. People attribute the peace to the scapegoat, thus deifying it.

The post sacrificial deification results in a rebirth, or reincarnation of the scapegoat.

What separates Christianity from all other myths and sacrificial rituals is that the scapegoat ends up being wrongly sacrificed. The scapegoat, the lamb of god, is vindicated right before his death by the crowd and his followers, resulting in a blameless sacrifice.

The result is the entire sacrificial procession is demystified, and breaks the spell.

Sacrificial scapegoats are unnecessary.

The Christian narrative is told from the perspective of the victim, rather than the community benefiting from the sacrifice. This is the first instance of a myth told in this way. It allows the readers to see things from the victims eyes for the first time.

This is the crux of Christianity: blessed are the meek, the powerless, the poor, for they shall inherent the kingdom of heaven.

While this message in essence runs in direct contrast to mimetic desire, and more precisely the ego which manifests mimetic desire and perpetuates violence, it opens the door to the sin, by leveraging the victim in order to perpetuate mimetic desire all over again.

This victimization is precisely what Nietzsche shunned, and he referred to as the slave morality.

The slave morality plays the victim card as an insidious and subversive way to reclaim power, under the guise of self-righteousness. It uses pity and condemnation to subvert power structures through guilt and wielding the moral gavel. But this is simply another guise for the parasitic sin of Satan, which is synonymous with mimetic desire.

Parasitic in the sense that Satan has no being, no form, but attaches himself to others to grow in power and perpetuate violence and disorder. From the very beginning, Satan was the angel who wanted to be god: mimetic desire is the source of evil and violence.

Thou shall not covet: the most fundamental of commandments. The origin for the word covet is the Latin word “cupiditas” meaning “to desire or wish for inordinately or without regard for the rights of others”.

Pain and Progress

The pain… is your friend.

The pain is the way.

Pain is the door to growth.

Pushing through pain leads to strength.

Learn to love the pain, and you will become unstoppable.

Because you get what you earn

Because there is no reward without sacrifice

Because you never get something for nothing

Because…

We become what we think about.

There are no shortcuts to character. Character defines a person, what they achieve and what they manifest and what they become.

Thoughts become actions

Actions become habits

Habits become character

Character becomes destiny.

The biggest lie of our culture is that there are shortcuts.

That you can buy your way to dreams and goals.

That you can outsmart hard work and character development.

There are no shortcuts to anything worthwhile.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. If it doesn’t change you, then you remain the same. And if you remain the same, then you are where you started, and there is no progress.

Doing the hard work, the uncomfortable work, enduring discomfort, pushing through the struggle rather than finding a way around… is the key to progress.

Facing the pain. Confronting fears. Looking your fears in the eye, and standing tall, head up, eyes penetrating the darkness, prepared to fight through it, to become greater and stronger than whatever is in your way, is THE way.

Life is a battleground.

The battleground is in the mind.

The mind is the battle ground.

Not people, not circumstances.

Personal fears, emotional obstacles, mental barriers. These are the enemy. This is where darkness exists.

Developing your inner world— cultivating right thoughts, right attitude, right state of mind, proper wisdom— ignites the flame that illuminates darkness, and provides the courage to boldly venture forth, into the dark valleys, to conquer the next mountain in your way.

Progress does not begin until there is pain.

Only when the struggle begins does the journey begin.

Everything else is a charade.

It only counts when it begins to hurt.

The ability to persist through the pain, and endure, and overcome in spite of the pain, is the greatest ability, and the embodiment of ultimate willpower, the greatest tool in our arsenal.

Will Power is mind over matter.

The mind is the master.

Not the body. Not the world. Not others. Not circumstances.

The mind is the master. The mind decides where we are going.

The will is the extension of the mind to persist, to overcome, to dominate.

There is nothing a properly trained mind can not overcome.

The mind is the master. Not the pain. Not the fears. Not the hurt.

Master the mind, and you master the world.

The gym is a metaphor for life.

Progress only occurs in proportion to the struggle we endure.

The longer we endure the struggle, the stronger we become.

Anyone can lift weights. Anyone can move their body. Most people go through the motions and they never challenge themselves, never decide to push through the discomfort. And they never change, and never grow.

To grow, in athletics or gym or in life, you only begin counting when it hurts.

The amount of time you spend pushing through the pain, every additional rep, every additional second of hurt, is the only payment that earns strength.

Everything else is a charade, an act of deception, for yourself or others.

Change and growth and strength and development happens when we learn to love the pain, and embrace the pain, and see it as our greatest ally, rather than our enemy.

The pain is the way.

It highlights where we need to grow, where we are weak. It exposes our shortcomings.

Recognizing pain as a teacher allows us to step toward it, rather than away from it.

Every step toward pain, we become stronger. And the pain becomes less controlling.

We train the mind to be the master.

Letter to a Friend

Being stubborn is a double edge sword. I don’t know how you see our friendship, but I see us as on a journey together. The past year or two has been a real struggle. I let myself go. A lot of pain and depression. Truly dark. And it’s really all because i stopped taking responsibility for my life. I started having this bad attitude. Like, life isn’t fair.

I made a decision to leave a job making $200k a year to join a friend in a business, as a contractual partner, and i was counting on it working out. It was risky. I busted my ass. I was all in. And he wasn’t. And i didn’t curb my lifestyle. I was assuming it would work out. We had big plans. I racked up debt. I went from living very comfortably, in a nice ass apartment with all my beloved furnishings, to being in debt, in a shitty little apartment, with a fuckin roommate. I got into an unhealthy relationship in the process. I was miserable. I stopped working out. I just… became a piece of shit. I started climbing out of this hell hole I dug myself middle of last year. Finally began accepting responsibility. Finally began to change my attitude. Finally stopped making excuses for my life, my unhappiness, my relationship, my situation, and began to embrace it. It was my doing, and my responsibility, and the only person who will change this shit is me.

Last fall I began making hard changes. In the process we reconnected. I relayed with you. With where you are at in life. Which is essentially, not what you expected, and not where you want to be.

I know where I want to go, and I am committed to going there. I see you on this journey.

I’ve been on this journey before. It’s been awhile. It sucks, but it’s also beautiful. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

One thing is, I don’t ever wanna settle. I wanna surround myself with people going where I’m going. I don’t have time for people who aren’t heading in the same direction, who aren’t on a similar journey. Our influences make us or break us. It’s why I had to end it with my girlfriend. I’m not even sure it was the correct move. Maybe I should have stuck it out? She called me Monday night. She was so sweet and bubbly, but then… it reverted to the same thing. Talking about problems. Just dwelling on this negativity. She was a downer. She cried and she began to argue with me about where things went wrong. And I’m like, this. This very thing. What we’re doing now. What is the point? Can we just joke and be happy? Can we be light hearted? Can we talk about the future? Can we just enjoy the moment? The present? And not like, discharge your feelings onto me, and make it my problem? I get that we’re suppose to care and support eachother. But where is the line? What is the threshold for the average interaction being negative or drama where it’s just not healthy? There are patterns. So anyway.

I want to be my best. I want to be my best for everyone in my life. I don’t want my feelings to define me. I don’t want them to influence my actions, my attitude, my behavior, my goals, my dreams, my schedule and plans. I want to cherish ideals and meditate and manifest them, live them out, be self aware when I’m harboring negative feelings, toxic feelings, and I want to let them go. I don’t want that shit. I have one life. I want it to be pure, and focused, and clear. I want to know where I’m going, and not stop until I get there. Doesn’t matter how I feel. I decide my attitude and feelings.

So anyway. I’m rambling cause I’m exhausted. But what I’m sayin is that I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I refuse to continue like I have for the past two years. I can’t expect anything to change unless I do. I can’t kid myself, I can’t lie to myself or make excuses or whatever.

I see us on a similar journey. It’s not easy. It’s not a straight line. It’s not always good. There are bad days. But I refuse to give up. All that matters is progress.

Knowing where I want to end up. Making it a goal. Promising myself I will achieve that goal even if it fuckin kills me, and keeping that promise to myself.

I want our friendship to be a positive thing for us both. I want your life to inspire me. I want to see you dominate. I want to see you kill it. I want you to master shit. I want to see you achieve your wildest dreams.

I don’t want anything less. For you or myself.

Just know that my intentions are good. It’s always coming from a good place. But I always want what’s best. And I don’t necessarily know what’s best. But I always remind myself, it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be. In the end, that will and desire will get you closer.

So yea bro. I’m here. You can tell me to shut up. But I don’t wanna bullshit you, and i don’t want you to bullshit me. Plenty of other people will do that. Just tell you whatever you want to hear. That isn’t a friend.

We care, support, and are honest with each other. That’s friendship. We don’t take things personal because we know we want the best.

So yea man. Forgive my ramble. That’s just where I’m coming from. I think you’re a fuckin stud, and I think we have a shit load in common. That’s pretty rare. Not many people can relate to my life or lifestyle. So it’s comforting. I’m not alone. You’re not alone. And I want us to get the fuck out of this funk and life a life that’s admirable and honorable and respectable on a deep level.

21st Century Dating

I’ve been through the dating cycle so many times.

You swipe. You date. You juggle a bunch of women. Trying to keep options open while determining who the best one to settle with is.

Eventually you find one where you realize she’s a babe, but maybe not perfect, but you gotta pull the trigger.

The love and romance is there. Hot sex. For months. Passion. Sensuality.

Then the honeymoon period begins to wind down.

You slowly realize this person is a lot of work. Not easy. Maybe they have emotional baggage. Maybe they’re mental. Maybe they’re high maintenance. Maybe they’re psychos.

After months. You ponder your options. You decide to just bounce. End it and ghost. Chalk it up to whatever.

Or you think that you’re 30 something and you don’t wanna get back into the cycle, the grass is never greener. You’ve already invested x time so let’s try to overcome the issues and make it work.

A year or two or three later.

You’re fuckin pullin your hair out trying to maintain a relationship that, if you stopped and paused and asked yourself, is just fuckin miserable.

So one day you just stop giving a fuck.

Then the relationship just stops working. There are no fucks to give.

Then your single. But alone. Craving companionship.

You get back on the dating apps. Then you begin the cycle again.

This was my entire 20’s

Narcissus

“Narcissists are made by being over or under indulged.”

Grandiose vs vulnerable narcissist

Trump= grandiose = over indulged

My ex D= vulnerable = under indulged

It’s truly fascinating.

All comes down to self esteem and insecurity ie bring ego driven.

What’s interesting is that, after going to psychotherapy in an attempt to understand myself and my relationship with Devyn and establish a baseline reference of what “healthy” is, these narcissism traits seem to be generational.

Like she said, they’re made, not born.

I read some books recommended by my therapists about childhood development and attachment theory, to understand what kind of environment nurtured these narcissistic tendencies.

I learned that narcissism is a spectrum.

I also learned that there is a narcissist antithesis, which is referred to as a “shadow narcissist” which I also is called an empath. They’re literally the opposite of narcissists.

I forget what the statistics are, but it’s like if you have a narcissistic parent, there’s a 70% chance their kids will be shadow narcissists, and 30% chance they’ll be narcissists. But that may be reversed.

But I concluded that narcissism is he result of a highly inflated ego.

For vulnerable narcissists, or those who were under indulged, this ego serves as a protective mechanism, because they had very little emotional attention or support when they were developing. So they had to essentially look out for themselves to compensate.

I think on some level many people possess traits like this. I know I do. Trying to compensate for a lack of self worth. I don’t think that’s totally rare or uncommon. Especially in a culture which prizes individualism. I can see how kids were raised by parents who were self absorbed or emotionally absent.

But it exists on a spectrum, and I think it becomes a pathology when there are strong patterns of dysfunctional relationships. Or drama. At work. In romantic relationships. With friends.

I think by and large our culture really encourages narcissism. In a variety of ways.

I think ego is a double edge sword

It’s this necessary evil. Because anyone that wants to change the world in a significant way must place an inordinate amount of faith and value on the way “they” see the world.

In a free competitive market, there are no safety nets. Unless you’re born into privilege.

It’s everyone out for themselves. You’re either the master, or the slave. To put it bluntly.

I also think psychotherapists, or psychologists more generally, or even the psychological toolkit used to describe the world and people and relationships, almost causes them to walk around with a hammer looking for a nail.

I’m not sure the psychotherapeutic framework is the end all be all when it comes to labeling or trying to understand personalities. It’s useful. But it can also lead to narrow thinking.

Much like a religious person walks around and just sees the world as sinners or saints or whatever.

The world is nuanced, and it’s very hard to be a judge until we walk in other people’s shoes. It’s easy to judge at a distance.

And our default it to measure the world with the same measure we use to measure ourselves.

It’s very challenging to gain a self awareness of this tendency, and acknowledge its limitations.

I also wonder if psychology or psychotherapy attracts narcissism.

Imagine being the center of the world for so many people, and they look to you to provide all their answers, and you have such a high esteem that you possess the answers for people’s problems, that you make it your living.

Or you could just want to help people, and help them heal themselves.

It just gets tricky.

Who is to say who has compassion or is capable of feeling?

Writing

I write about whatever is on my mind… it’s a therapeutic release, being able to see what I think, organize my thoughts. Writing is a creative outlet that I play with. It just happens… sometimes its reflections on personal growth, sometimes my job and professional things, sometimes it’s a story I keep in my mind, a scene that I imagine that I want to capture, sometimes it’s just stream of consciousness, sometimes poetry…

Writing is like drawing, like dancing, like music.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to express yourself, and create art. And I think like any activity, the more time and energy you carve out for it, the better you become.

Reflections on Professional Development

I’ve learned a lot about people this year. It’s the first time I’ve managed teams of people. In prior roles I’ve managed customers and projects, but this is the first time I’ve managed humans, and had to collectively organize them in a way that adds value. Literally, creating systems and processes out of the people and resources available to me.

I decided last year to focus on myself, to practice the art of solitude, and being with myself. Being aware of distractions and vices, even if they’re not obvious. Bodybuilding became a distraction. My ex girlfriend was a distraction. I had to confront things and people and situations, and ask myself if they aligned with the grand vision I want to manifest in this life, and if they supported the version of the person I wanted to be, or needed to be to make that manifest.

And what is this grand vision? My goal is to add value to the world. Real value that wasn’t there before. Measurable value. There are lots of ways to do this, but whatever way you choose needs the utmost devotion and focus. You get what you give. Value is anything which elevates the state of mankind.

Professionally, this means generate more value for my organization than anyone. It goes beyond my personal sales numbers. Value is my goal. Not just doing my job. But doing whatever it takes to make the business grow, Even if it’s not my formal responsibility. Even if it means advocating for proposed changes in the broader organization.

I think this is the only way to rise up in the world.

I applied for over 400+ jobs. I wrote over 100 cover letters. I had close to 50 interviews. I was holding out for an opportunity to make a difference.

I was fortunate to find my company. The organization is in much dysfunction. I joined because I saw it as an opportunity to make an impact. I was told the business group was struggling, but I was told that they were committed to doing whatever had to be done. That it was a global priority, and the Japanese HQ was providing unique strategic support.

My director looked me in the eye during our interviews, and literally told me it was not going to be easy, that at a company this size things happen slowly. But that the company has smart people, and they have tremendous resources, and that if I’m patient, and work hard, we can turn things around.

I looked him in the eye, and asked if he was willing to do whatever it took. I told him I’m looking to make an impact. I want to win, and I want the support to make that happen. I asked him, are you committed to making these hard changes?

We looked each other in the eye for a moment, and he said yes I am. I am committed, and I’m serious. I said then this is where I want to be, and I look forward to making things happen.

About 6 months into the job I began to question my decision. Work was hard. There was no strong leaders. No one going above and beyond. Not even my director or Sr. Director. No one providing direction. There were no answers, no support. It’s very sterile. Good people. Smart people. But no leaders. No people stepping up.

Most of the team just complains. And I started to do the same thing. Just criticizing and complaining and critiquing. Wishing for people or things to be different. And just kind of throwing up their hands like that was enough of an excuse to justify going through the motions.

But then I had a good long hard look at myself.

If everything was great, how could I make an impact?

If there were no problems to solve, what value would I bring?

How would I stand out if everything was great?

I reminded myself that the harder the struggle, the greater the adversity, the bigger the opportunity to grow, and learn, and make a difference.

I got disciplined with myself. Every time I noticed my attitude getting critical or down or I felt helpless or defeated, I stopped myself. And told myself to do something about it. Be the change.

If I want things to be different, I can’t wait around for anyone else to make that happen. I need to do whatever I need to do. Take responsibility.

If I can’t rely on my engineer to follow through on projects, am I going to let that stop me? Nope. Learn the engineering. Learn not to depend on him.

If I don’t have good marketing, am I going to let that prevent me from identifying and reaching out to my target customers? Nope. Learn data analytics. Build a market model. Generate leads. Cold call. Do it yourself.

If I don’t have product managers who know or communicate our value proposition, am I going to let that prevent me from selling? Nope. Dig into the technical weeds. Develop the value proposition for myself, my territory.

So I just started doing whatever I had to do.

I don’t keep track of how much I work, but I work… 24/7. Not saying this is sustainable, but for the time being, there is work to be done to achieve my goals, and the only one stopping that from happening is me. So I do whatever necessary. I think about work all the time. It’s not even work. It’s life. It’s a problem to be solved. It’s a puzzle. It’s a challenge that I am obsessed with overcoming.

I kept this activity to myself for months. There was a status quo that I felt uncomfortable disturbing. I was hesitant to make waves, to stand out, and then be found out that I’m stepping out of line.

But soon my activities began to spill over, out of necessity, because I had to do whatever I needed to. It felt risky. Speaking up or doing something beyond my “formal job description” responsibilities. I always wondered if someone was going to call me out. “Who do you think you are?” “That’s not your job!” “Stay in line!”

But that never happened. Not from my immediate colleagues or Sr. Management. Instead, they praised it. I realized, I was making their job easier, even if I was doing their job. I was making the look good. And they began to reach out to me and consult, and me questions, ask me for guidance.

I did get pushback from those “below” me. People who wanted to maintain the status quo. They see my activity as more work. They try to avoid work, avoid responsibility.

But when I questioned what I was doing, and shared with Sr. Management, they were very supportive. I felt very blessed that they support me no matter what I do, because they either believe in me, or because I’m adding real value, and helping them, even if they should be responsible for leading it.

Adding value means making other people’s jobs easier, better, clearer. To make everyone else look good and feel good.

My current mindset is be the change I want to see.

I want my attitude and practices to be a model for the organization. I will never ask someone to work harder than me. I’ve tried, and it’s impossible.

But I’ve found that in order to be a leader, and possess the power of leadership, by working harder than everyone else, by being the most responsible for outcomes, it elevates the game for everyone. It raises the bar.

No one wants to look bad. My goal is to create such a contrast in attitude and work ethic that it inspires or drives or motivates people to up their game. To be more dependable. Because I will do your job if you don’t. And then what value do you bring? I will never ask something that I would not ask of myself. People start seeing this, and they start realizing that it’s their choice to be a team player, and they want to have a place on the team.

And those that don’t, realize that this isn’t the job for them. And they quite.

You can only hold people accountable when you hold yourself accountable to them.

Often times, this is all that’s needed to influence organization change. You are responsible for the success of everyone involved in the goal of your organization.

Childhood Bonds

I have many friends. We’ve all made many friends, and had many friends over our lives. Through school or work or parties or whatever. I respect all the friends I’ve made, and I share a bond with them based on admiration of character. Because I know their struggle, identify with it, and respect their desire to strive for more, to be the best version of themselves they can conjure.

My childhood friends, specifically this group, is unique.

We share struggles. Unique struggles. Struggles before I knew what was worth struggling for.

We share the struggles of adolescence, of chaotic home life, of finding identify and peace, of reconciling death, of competition.

These are the struggles that we rarely choose. They are chosen for us. As children, we are given a life and circumstances. We chose nothing. Not our parents. Not our hometown. Many times not even our friends or interests. Our lives just unfold according to the influences we find ourselves in, for better or worse.

As we grow, we learn to navigate and make sense of them, and determine the best way for overcoming the circumstances we were born into.

This process happens on an individual level. But we have been fortunate to go through this journey together. The deepest struggles and our choices to overcome them, define our character.

We’ve all have and had our individual journeys. But we’ve all shared a significant part of that journey together.

In my mind, each of you is the kid I grew up with. The first impression you made on me remains today. The kind hearts. The intelligence. The zeal for life.

You’re still those kids to me. No one else will replace that bond.

Achieving Worthwhile Aims

Some Saturday reflection on how to organize, how to plan, how to progress towards worthwhile aims:

1. Start with THE goal: what is the goal? Make sure it has a “why” that energizes and excites and inspires you, that imbues you with a transcendent vision of clarity.

2. Assume maximum responsibility for achieving this vision— expand your mind in a way that allows you to see the largest sphere of influence over your desired outcome. Often we think too small, and get stuck in the weeds. We wait for permission. Take responsibility. Act, and ask for forgiveness later. You alone are responsible for your dreams.

3. Practice daily meditative reflection— spend more time alone, in isolation, with yourself. Be still for long periods of time, let your mind open, and listen to what arrives, what presents itself to your mind. Pay attention to pain— discomforting thoughts and feelings are teachers pointing us where we need to go and what we need to do. Write down these thoughts. Write them all down. List, connect, associate, outline. Let these thoughts illustrate that vision, and materialize it with every connecting realization.

4. Spend time organizing these thoughts. Prioritize. Distinguish the signal from the noise. Always keep the goal in mind— each idea should connect and justify the goal, the vision. Each of these ideas should produce clarity. Create a plan, with goals, and steps for each goal.

5. Execute. Make the vision manifest through intentional activity. You alone are responsible. Do not depend on anyone. Learn what you need to learn. Partner with like minded people, who share similar visions.

6. Repeat this process daily.

Online Dating

I wish I had the energy for dating. Or flirting or courting. The process becomes repetitive and glib, and eventually contrived. So many fleeting virtual connections that desensitize the romance and thrill of quality chemistry. Portraying our best selves, and who we want to be, rather than who we are. But it takes energy to invest and peel back the layers of personality to find substance. And the enthusiasm wanes when the dating routine is wrapped up into every other mindless social media distraction.

Where do authentic working people with a sincere desire to connect in a deep and meaningful way find each other nowadays? Is this the best we got?

What is the goal of business?

Everything is reducible to ROI. Getting the best return on investment in as little time as possible. Investment = capital and/or labor

Work / time = value

Creating your workflow process.

Identifying constraints/bottlenecks.

Ensuring there is optimal flow= reducing time

Basically streamlining algorithms

i.e. A series of functions.

A function is an algorithmic process: inputs to create outputs.

Every individual/machine/technology is assigned/responsible for a function.

An organization is only as strong or successful or profitable as its weakest performing function, I.e. bottlenecks.

You increase the power of a function through capital investment:

Human capital/more skilled labor

Better machines

Better Management practices

But the goal is always:

Profitability.

This is dependent on time scales.

The key is long term ROI.

The ability to generate ROI is a function of value.

The Goal of Living

It’s amazing what humans do when they’re desperate. We overcome all kinds of obstacles and challenges, out of necessity (who is the mother of invention).

“Don’t desire for life to be easier. Desire for you to be stronger.”

I repeat this to myself always.

It’s one of the most profound paradigms.

Most people want life easier.

That’s how they try to make themselves: comfortable, convenient, easy

I mean, it’s my human nature

But to remind yourself that you may bend, but you will never break, is the key

Focus on building strength, not ease

And ideals and dreams will manifest accordingly

No shortcuts to growth

That’s one of the things I struggle with… when I’m around people who want “easy”. It’s a pet peeve. It’s lazy. I get it. I do it. But then I remind myself:

Life is not fair.

Life is not easy.

Life doesn’t give a shit about me and my feelings.

People don’t care about my success.

The world owes me nothing.

Life is hard…

Be harder. Continue reading “The Goal of Living”

The Fabric of Society

I think about culture and values and beliefs and narratives and how they literally are the psychological or sociological fabric that ties it all together, and ensures the institutions comprising the societal system function

And I try to observe when a glitch occurs.

Interestingly, around the time when Constantine introduced Christianity, there was a definite and slow erosion of the Roman culture that I think culminated with the fall of Rome

I think about the idea like a rogue virus that upset the fabric

That overturned all the values

It could be totally coincidental

I wonder if the USA could be similar

How the fabric is Christian puritanical ideals, and if that foundation is upset and the string is pulled, the whole thing unwinds

That’s the problem tho

No uniform belief system

People today are squabbling over the same shit said differently

I think everyone has good intentions. Everyone’s out to self-preserve.

But each person has a different idea of what their self is comprised of, the sphere of their identity, and whether that’s limited to kin, or extends to ideals, and how generous or charitable they are when someone ideals manifest a little differently from their own.

I think Hitler had good intentions. He just limited to a very specific conception of what was worth self preserving. And he had no regard for anything else.

Stalin. Mother Theresa. Gandhi.

They wanted to protect their ideals. Some had a more narrow idea of what they meant and how to do that.

I think it applies to every politician

It’d be easier if everyone shared the exact same set of ideals and beliefs

Which is why religion is such a powerful and enduring force

Today, corporatism has replaced religion

Self awareness would solve a lot. Self awareness breeds compassion and humility.

We worship brands and personality icons. These are our new gods, our new deities.

It only works because, as a culture, we have no other faith.

For better or worse.

For worse because, like religions of the past, those in charge of these profit and extort. Like the money changers at the temples. You must pay to be righteous. You must give to the church, give your paycheck if you want to embody the brand. Buy it all.

It’s like an unconscious drive to worship, to fixate on a set of ideals and sacrifice to it

Or maybe there’s another interpretation I’m missing.

Algorithmic Creation

The first step to becoming a master is being a student, which means constructing and internalizing algorithms to solve problems concerning the craft or domain of study.

Only after you’ve mastered every conceivable algorithm for accomplishing every conceivable problem within your domain, you can begin leveraging the subconscious power of intuition, which is the source of all creativity.

Energy is all

sensors
emitters and receivers
every mass is a node that emits and receives
the sensors of the particular node are tuned to specific vibrations
each mass has a particular way of receiving and emitting energy that allows it to perpetuate its existence, which is optimized by its ability to efficiency receive and emit energy/vibrations
organisms are little nodes, little mass objects that receive and emit energy vibrations to other nodes
starlight would still quantify as a spectrum of frequencies from mass bodies in space
regardless of our ability to perceive
to perceive is to seize
from the latin word meaning to seize, or grasp
perception is grasping frequencies that resonate with our consciousness
slivers of energy representing patterns that appeal to our neurological vibrations
to perceive is to grasp, to observe, to tune our minds like a radio scanner, to seize a sliver of frequencies from the soup of noise enveloping the universe
I imagine a universe without human consciousness, without my consciousness
there would be no time
because there would be no perspective
time is entirely human
it doesn’t exist.
without human perception, what would be the measure of time
just an infinite asymptote of energy
pulsation would not exist, for there would be no interval
everything would be one dimensional
or non dimensional

Everything is energy. Energy in motion is vibration. the slower the vibration the more mass
there are endless patterns waiting to be deciphered
patterns representing systems, massive systems that comprise ecosystems of energy
the patterns are energy, are truth, are a higher resonance
there is an ultimate resonance that feeds all life
learning these patterns allows you to manipulate reality, by implementing them onto other systems, thus gaining control
whoever knows how to best manipulate energy is god
energy is activity, is life, is incentive, is motivation

if we define starlight as a wavelength of 4000 Angstroms then it is a thing 
And in this way, it dissolves 
the vibration exists whether we perceive it or not
the resonance with us produces a phenomenal experience 
an eye is a sensor
sensors are receivers 
sensors are tuned to certain frequencies 
tactile, haptic, optic etc, sound, visceral vibrations
all our sensory organs are just meaty sensors, receivers of vibrational energy 
a crystal can be a sensor
it receives light then emits it
refracts into different wavelengths, different vibrations
a sensor is anything tuned to a particular frequency 
bacteria don’t have eyes and they can sense light
photons penetrating their cellular bodies
increasing their vibrations
or heat, for that matter
thermal radiation 

The idea “starlight” is a shared symbolic language construct. It describes the memory of a state of perception. It exists in the collective human memory
the phenomenon of starlight can be synthesized into a general memory, but no two memories are every the same 

We perceive radiation between 600 and 300nm. Some people can perceive fine distinctions between that radiation, like a musician can decipher fine distinctions in the symphony of sound
allowing a menagerie of patterns to emerge that crystalize the mind to create a pleasing resonance. The ecstasy of art. 
some people never observe, not stop to listen to those finer distinctions in life. Those that do discover worlds all around them, existing all the while, waiting to be tapped into

Scientists should be called observationists 
Things exist regardless of conscious perception. Though there is some weirdness that goes on at quantum level with respect to observation
The human mind collapses things into existence in a weird unexplainable way. 
Things exist. But time  cannot exist. 
I mean. 
Do things exist?
What is the context of existence without a mind to behold?
Like, if there is no time, there is no space. Imagine the 1 billion years happening every second. 
Now imagine a trillion years happening every second
Now a quadrillion
just infinite wind up and collapse 
big bang expansion contraction repeat 
what is time when it’s an asymptote 
What is space
Biological organisms are like clocks
You can’t speed them up or slow them down, they just run according to their gears
sometimes the gears run out faster than others
but the mind cannot escape the gear ratios that produce the human experience of time
What’s time like to a Bee?
A mayfly, who lives less than 24 hours
a 250 year old tortoise 
Are we all operating with the same gears? Do the size and ratios of gears change our sensory experience
can we slow down time
speed it up, by modulating perception
LSD is amazing…
I might take some tomorrow, and think about time. 
Mathematics blows my mind
it really fuckin does
as an adult I’ve become more interested in it from a metaphysical perspective
relationships amounts things
abstract relationships 
these byproducts of the mind
incredible 
applying mathematics to the world
Vibrations. 
Energy. 
I sound like a crazy person, i know. Some LSD mystic hippy. I just think appreciating that everything is vibrational energy is eye opening
deciphering the signal from the noise 
tuning 
observing 
quieting the noise
listening

Biological Pumps

Life is systems activity

A system is a network of channel flows

Circulation is flow

The heart is a circulatory pump

Muscles pump organic fluids

Cells pump organic fluids

A sponge is a pump

Organic bodies are a sponge.

A pump is an iterative function, absorbing inputs and excreting outputs

A chain of iterative functions form a network of channel flows

Health is a function of a systems ability to pump organic fluids, thereby circulating and transporting the building blocks of life for energy and repair

Activity that pumps fluids improves health by increasing biological activity

Fasting refreshes and cleanses biological pumps.

Improve biological pumps, and you improve circulation, and health.

Life is a Game

Everything is a game
All human activity is a game
Culture is a game
Language games
Knowledge games
Business games
Family games
Romance games
Military games
Survival games
Farming games
Hunting games
Religious games
Approval games
Played with other humans
With rules and points and score cards
With winners and losers
Why are games necessary?
Who decides a game?
What defines a game?
What makes a good game?
What are the best games?
Why do we have games?
Is there anything to life besides games?
What are the largest games played by humanity?
By the most people?
Throughout history?
What is the game archetype?
How do you structure a game?
How do you design a game?
How is a game created?
How do games naturally arise in nature?
What other animals play games?
Which games are most common among living organisms?
Which games last the longest?
Which are the most rewarding?
What do all games have in common?
What do games achieve?
Do we play games with ourselves?
Can we play games with ourselves?
How do we play games with ourselves?
Why do we play games with ourselves?
Is it better to play games with myself? Or others?
Free market societies allow for many games
Democracy allows the people to collectively decide the game
Language games create narratives which reveal the game
Repetition creates rules
Rules provide structure, permanence
Mimetic games
Are games always logical? Algorithmic?
Why are games always logical?
Do games make life absurdity comprehensible?
Do games provide order from disorder?
Which games are not logical?
Why are they not logical?
Is this good or bad?
What does an illogical game look like?
Is it a game without logic?
What is the role of logic in games?
What is the role of technology in a game?
How does technology change or influence the game?
How is technology used in games?
Who introduces technology to games?
How is technology adopted into games? By what process?
Which technology is most influential in games? Why?
Are games systems?
Why are games systems?
what kind of systems?
What if you don’t play the game?
Can you avoid playing any games?
How does this behavior manifest?
Do games evolve? Change over time?
Is a change in change good? or bad?
When is this good?
Why is this good?
How do games evolve?
Why do games evolve?
When do games evolve?
What or who influences their evolution?
What are the common elements of a game? Of the rules? Of the points, or rewards? Of the players?
What is the end goal for a game?
Can you decide not to play games with others?
What is the process for inventing a new game?
Are there games within games?
Is there a limit to how many games can be played simultaneously?
Are games always for winning?
What are the exceptions?
Can you change the rules of the game?
What is the penalty for not following the rules?
Is there a similar penalty across games?
Why is there a penalty?
Do the games ever end?
Why do games end?
How they typically end?
Why do they typically end?
What are the signs a game is about to end?

Only play games you will win.

Infinite iterative games create world order among two subjects.

Shared games manifest as shared reality.

World building begins with me and ends with others.

On Solitude (or On Being Alone)

Today is the first day of the new year. I spent the new years eve alone, working, thinking, planning, in the solitude of my den, my study, my room, sharing company with only my thoughts, my books, and my pen.

The only way to escape isolation is to create an internal world filled with landscapes carved from the peaks and valleys of every fear and desire, so that the contours of feeling sweep away mindless perspective and place me in the infinite presence of divine being.

The heart twists the angst of living, while the eyes glaze the perceptions with sweet dreams, and paint gray worlds with colors of endless hope.

The battle lies in embracing the eternal sunshine of that spotless mind, or venturing into the dark corners of shared reality consummating communion with others.

That private world is breathlessly beautiful, endlessly bright, but forever alone, save the presence of enduring truth, which is less an object to be grasped than a state of being to be lived.

Socializing, through whatever medium or platform available, seems like an inappropriate replacement, however satisfying, precisely because of its temporality.

But the ideals made manifest in my dreams remain as bright stars each moment my eyes turn inward.

Reflecting on 2018

Lessons learned and re-learned

  • I alone am responsible for every outcome— except success; that is a gift.
  • Focus all energies on creating/ adding value— not success.
  • Never blame, criticize, condemn, or complain— everything is how it should be. 
  • Embrace every circumstance, good or bad— Resistance is slavery
  • If I desire change, be the change— do not depend on others to do so. Do not wait for permission
  • Pay attention to pain points and adversity— do not avoid, ignore, repress. Pain is the teacher. The obstacle is the way.
  • The more you give, the more you grow— the more you sow, the more you reap.
  • Invest in others/be helpful— you are the company you keep. Strengthen your company.
  • Ego is the enemy— no man is an island.
  • Use evidence to justify action— track and measure activity to correlate and ensure optimal outcomes.
  • Leverage and learn technology to optimize activity and outcomes— systems yield power laws.
  • Repetition gets results— small steps repeated wins the marathon; you eat the elephant one bite at a time.
  • Practice stillness, observe the present moment— truth is revealed through reflection. Do not seek answers; let answers arrive.

Goals for Next Year

2019 Goals 

  • Save $10k 
  • Pay off all credit cards.
  • Grow my Target companies by 50% in 2019. 
  • Be #1 in my sales organization in revenue and growth 
  • Be a leader: know the way, go the way, show the way. Lift everyone up. Be helpful. 
  • Never criticize, condemn, or complain
  • Take responsibility for everything— except success. That is a gift.
  • Develop strong relationships with Channel Partners
  • Develop relationship with FAE
  • Focus on adding value to all my relationships: find ways to give, never take. 
  • A+ in Calculus with Physics. Never miss an assignment. Go to office hours. Master physics and mathematics. Become an expert. Become an engineer. Practice. Practice. I am a genius. 
  • Learn Python for Data Science/Analysis
  • Continue learning MicroStrategy 
  • Get in shape. Get a 6 pack. Eat healthy. Feel great. Stay focused. 
  • Plan ahead— Daily. Weekly. Quarterly. Monthly. Desired Results. Action goals. 
  • Learn electronics and electrical engineering with Drone Hobby 
  • Learn how to make a internet of things energy/activity monitoring module.
  • Read 1 hour a day (book a week)
  • Write/journal/diagram out my thoughts and plans before execution. Flesh everything out. Develop systems. Processes.
  • Experiment. With everything.
  • Finish my book damnit. Make it beautiful and fun and compelling and finish it. 

2019 Goals Revised

  • Personal
  • Leisure read 1 hr/day
  • Exercise 6 hr/week
  • Meal prep 4x per week/ Eliminate simple carbs
  • Learn Python/Finish CodeAcademy Course
  • Develop expertise in data science/stats/algorithms
  • Complete two electronics projects (due 6/19 and 12/19)
  • A+ in college classes 
  • Complete 7 day volunteer trip
  • Professional
  • Grow Target Accounts by 50% in 2019
  • #1 Sales Growth in Org for 2019
  • Develop FAE role— track/measure activity impact on sales
  • Develop and implement optimized regional sales processes
  • Relationships
  • Make 6 trips to visit friends
  • Do not rush into a relationship

The Goal

I just figured out the goal.

Is to have people to depend on you.

The goal in life is to have people depend on you.

It’s weird and it sounds kinda whacked, but it’s true.

The goal in life is have people depend on you.

This means providing so much value to people’s lives that it actually makes their lives better and they become dependent on the value which you provide.

They become used to it.

Your extra efforts elevate them and it becomes a new status quo, a new equilibrium.

They become to need you.

If you’re running a business or leading an organization, you must work 10x of what everyone else works.

You must energize everyone.

You must feed everyone.

Eventually this energizes people into a new valence state.

They become dependent on your energy to maintain the state.

Every relation.

Employee vs manager.

Customer vs business.

Man and wife.

Your goal is to create dependencies so that relationships accrue in your orbit.

Audiences.

The goal is never about what you get.

It’s all about what you give.

By focusing on getting you orbit everyone else.

By focusing on giving, you influence by energizing others.

Giving. Activity. Action. Assuming maximum responsibility for as many people and things that your brain can accommodate. Continually stretch your level of influence over every detail no matter how small or large

Maximum responsibly.

Maximum activity.

In turn, you gain mass and increased gravity and energy.

The goal in life is to energize the world, so that it becomes dependent upon you.

Starting New

I’ve been with my company eight months now. Looking back, I would have done things things differently. But I learned a tremendous amount. And once again, I thought I knew more than I did. And this continues to be the case.

When starting a new sales management role, this is how I would prioritize my activity.

Data Analysis

When I started this role, I was given messy overwhelming reports that I didn’t know what to do with. Half the reports had decent info, and half didn’t. It took me 6 months and taking a data science class to give myself the confidence to put in some sweat and clean the data and make sense of what my sales numbers were. This meant spending money to take a data science class and buying a few data science books. I’m still on track to learn python, but the two biggest benefits of my education have been developing a better understanding of excel and learning how to use Microstrategy to visual this data.

One I got the courage to look at my decent data and spend hours upon hours cleaning and annotating and organizing it, I was left with a brilliant archive of historical sales data with all kinds of customer information.

Sales Meetings

Get out in the field and meet as many customers as possible. Try selling the product. Present it. See what questions people are asking.

I did a lot of this, but because it took six months to look and develop available data, I was shooting in the dark, and targeting industries instead of specific customer types that are a good fit.

Take Responsibility

When I started this position I had no direction. I was given some basic technical training, but no sales direction, no value proposition, no marketing tools, no target customer list, nothing. I was told to sell.

Initially was initially overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. My relationships with channel partners was dismal. There was annual turnover for the regional sales managers the past six years. No one did shit. I had nothing to go on.

So I decided to just go on sales calls. I cold called and got rejected and made a fool of myself. But I learned a lot. About my products, about my customers, about the market.

But after six months I still was struggling to make sense of the job and make progress.

Along the way I kept reminding myself that my success is my responsibility. No one else is responsible for whether I sink or swim and excel. It’s my job. My my directors, not the marketing team, not product managers, not the factory. It’s entirely my job.

This paid off, because when I learned to take full responsibility for my success, I began to work harder, and smarter, and complain less, and enjoy life more.

I taught myself what I needed to do to succeed. Learned the products, the market, the processes. I did the work. I crunched the data.

Leaders know the way, go the way, and how the way.

If it’s meant to be it’s up to me.

What also happened was the responsibility I assumed began extending beyond myself to my organization. I thought big, and began sharing my insights and creations with the rest of the team, and it’s created a ripple effect. It’s added value.

That’s the other thing I kept thinking:

Try not to become a make of success, but rather become a man of value.

That changes perspective quite a bit. I began thinking of not what I could get, but what I could give.

It’s made me more charitable, more inspired, and more of a team played. I am a giver. I don’t worry about getting anything in return. The activity and work I’m doing is an investment in myself, my knowledge and my career.

Data Truth

Science is basically collecting and analyzing data. Scientists are just data scientists.

“Data Science” is this like.. buzz word. I took a class this past semester. I feel like it’s just being applied to businesses and so now it’s getting trendy, and beyond Excel Spreadsheets.
Like businesses are collecting more data than ever through their ERP and CRM software.

It’s no longer basic records keeping and accounting. It’s leveraging data points to visualize a story of a business and its mechanics and character and health and trajectory.

I played with Microstrategy a lot the past month. Really cool data science tool. Free too.
But data is like so damn important.

You’re blind without it.

Collecting data is important. Identifying the right data to collect. Then analyzing it.
Maybe everyone is this chat is like duh mike.
But there are these crazy tools. Having data is not important. It’s using tools to identify the relationships within the data that reveal the inner workings of activity

Data is generated by activity. Collecting information over time and storing it in accessible ways. I feel like my statistics classes were kinda worthless. I took a statistics and probabilities class. And then an economics statistics class.

Both were just like memorizing formulas to apply to data sets. You were tested on knowing which formula to apply to a question and data.

But that shit wasn’t helpful. I forgot it immediately. I remember some abstract fundamentals it taught.

But there was little obvious crossover to the real world. Or maybe I’m just an idiot.

We’re in the 21st century. Like data is in tables, in spreadsheets, stored on computers.

I did learn a fair bit on excel as an economics major, but I should have been taught some computer languages like SQL or R or something or python or something that’s powerful.

Something practical.

Generating K-means? Bayesian modeling? Optimization modeling? Cluster analysis? Regression? Model? Ensemble models? Forecasting? Outlier detection?

Instead in economic theory classes they teach you these god forsaken formulas to memorize and apply to convoluted abstract questions. Very limited data sets.

Which in the real world, is all you’re working with. You’re building up from raw data sets. Your boss hands you data and says: your job is to make sense of this and make smart decisions. Or your business spits out data and you’re like: how on earth do I determine a signal from the noise?

I’m not even talking about dirty disorganized data and the process of cleaning and scrubbing to make it intelligible to analytic tools.
I feel like an education should teach you ways to make sense of noise, of lots of data, to spot patterns, to apply tools that reveal patterns.
In theory it does that
I feel like it just missed the computer technology tool side of it
All Maths and science subjects should have a heavy emphasis on data computation and analysis
Okay. We have a pen and paper. We don’t have to use our hands or a pen and paper.

Not we have an abacus.

Now we have a calculator.

Now we have a computer.

Like. Use these things.

Why walk when you can ride a bike? When you can drive? When you can fly???

Now, I’m not saying english or philsophy or other humanities classes are a waste. I am a big fan of the humanities. I feel like peer discussion is crucial for contextualizing their cultural and social significance. My philosophy studies would not be the same if it weren’t for my professors and peers. I also think Vandy had a phenomenal philosophy department. I feel fortunate. It made me a better thinker, better at critical thinking, at asking questions. English classes too.

But I am super disappointed by the current atmosphere of the humanities… this critical theory element that’s infiltrated… its cancerous. And it actually makes people dumber.

But, in a perfect world, exposure to the hunanities is crucial for a well balanced mind.

I just wish there was a greater emphasis on practical tools analytic tools. Not just formulas.

Formulas are abstract models representing relationships within a conceptual scheme. It takes a fuck ton of mental work to apply abstract generalizations to the concrete particulars of our daily problems.
Our brain is a computer, but for all it’s horsepower, it’s largely operating unconsciously. Our subconscious has enormous computational power. It makes zillions of calculations and inferences to guide our behavior.

But most of that power is inaccessible to our conscious experience.

This is why technology is so powerful.

(Greek word “techne” meaning art. Derived from Indo Proto European root word “tetk” meaning “create, produce”)

Technology allows us to leverage the this power. It’s intimately tied to science and mathematics.The fundamentals of reasoning.

Modern and Analytic philsophy is particularoy fascinating: Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Kant… then the guys who expanded mathematical logic like Russell, Moore, Frege.

They all explored the basic justifications of reason.

I understand at first glace philosophy does not appear explicitly practical.

It mostly teaches you to perceive more than meets the eye. To question assumptions.

Studying philosophy is less about learning to know.

It’s more about learning that you don’t know.

Which is super helpful in life, because you learn to ask more questions in order to identify the limits of your understanding assuming, so you don’t make decisions based on erroneous or partial or inaccurate information/beliefs etc.

Economics was not practical at all. And it barely taught me tools of reason. It was purely an intellectual exercise.

It seemed like a good idea. It’s kind of businessy. I figured prospective employers would find it a attractive
In hindsight I regret not studying physics or engineering.

Reallly wish I studied physics or engineering in hindsight. But thats why I’m studying it now.