0052 – deep thinking, 20s, conditional self-esteem

My feedly isn’t loading and social media has diminishing returns so I souls just start writing. My mind isn’t particularly clear. I notice that there’s something that happens to my mind when I’m on social media for too long: I start thinking in a very short-term short-wavelength manner and it becomes harder to do the kind of ‘deep thinking’ you need to do to catch insights and say something meaningful… I’m taking out of my ass here trying to make sense of my subjective experience.

I notice that when I read books, I often have to stop halfway to stay writing because the thoughts get pushed to the front of my mind and I can’t enjoy the book without getting the thoughts out of my mind first. It’s a funny problem to have.  I suppose I could experiment with ignoring the thoughts so I can fully immerse myself in the joy of reading, as I did as a child. Reading for me these days is highly interactive: I take notes, I write down the thoughts that arise in my mind and make connections to other books and ideas. It’s almost like I can’t read without getting involved. I can enjoy comedy or a play or an art exhibition and take notes afterwards, but somehow I don’t have that patience with books. Books are for snorting hurriedly, at least that’s how it is at this stage in my life when there’s so much to ingest.

Funny how that analogy plays out. I’m wiring this on the way to work and I wonder if I can complete and publish it before I get started. That’s rather ambitious but maybe it’s worth a shot, maybe it’s a routine worth trying out.

Random but I believe strongly in the value of re-reading things, re-watching things. You’re never the same person twice, so approaching the same text twice is a remarkably good way to figure out where you’ve been and how you’ve changed and grown. I was rewatching Melinda Gates’ Ted talk about Coca-Cola and how they’ve found remarkable solutions to problems that  governments and NGOs hadn’t. So full of awe at the entire process and how it saves lives, and how simple some solutions are.

I also watched a talk by a counsellor explaining how people in their 20s have been encouraged to be complacent when it’s the most defining decade of your life. I like that because I feel like it glorifies my personal narrative. I was complacent for the first 20 years of my life, so I’m determined to work hard now.

Which brings me to the idea of social comparison as a motivator. Should you use it? Is it ultimately unhealthy and self-destructive? I know a lot of wise guru type folks say that you should only be competing against yesterday-you, and let other people be other people. Yet we do use scoreboards and leaderboards in games and reality,  because clearly we’re motivated by social cues (being social animals).

I’ll admit it- a part of me wants to ‘get back’ at people who’ve looked down on me in the past. I like the idea of overtaking the superachiever kids add they begin to struggle with questions of purpose and meaning. When you’re done with your expensive degree and have spent a few years working your high-paying job and realize you’re not that happy, Ha Ha Fuck You!

But then I pause to check myself. Is that really who I want to be? It’s a little petty and small-minded isn’t it? First of all it’s unfair of me to hate on people without knowing their full circumstances. Everybody has a hard battle to fight. Second, hate is like drinking poison and hoping they die. Sure it might be entertaining to some but what do I really want? In a way, peer approval can be like a drug that keeps you where you are, for better or worse.

(Solution: write about anger and envy and vengeance to communicate that it’s on your mind, then demonstrate through action that you reject the low road- win-win! There’s surely a flaw in that somewhere that hasn’t revealed itself to me.)

When a dust has been kicked up I think clarity is achieved by deciding what you want to focus on. Rather than going “Everything’s a mess, what should I do?” I should go, “Well, what do I want then?”

Then it gets easier. I want to play a role in diminishing human suffering and increasing human wellness- achieving this by creating and promoting anything that broadens human consciousness. The grand goal is to accelerate the advent of accessible commercial space travel. That’s the prize.

(I just got to work. That was 777 words written from Bishan MRT to one-north MRT. Not too bad I suppose.)

So actually, the whole “should I compare myself to other people as motivation” idea is a little pointless, and weak, because that comparison involves feeling good about “being better” than other people. I intellectually know that this leads to conditional self-esteem, which is unhealthy because either you’re not good enough, or you have to be stressed all the time trying to maintain your lead, and that’s frustrating and tiresome. Also, there’s an indirect implication that other people screwing up will make you feel better about yourself, which is not cool- that doesn’t serve the mission. The mission here is to commercial, accessible space travel, and we need everybody on board for such a vast mission. So I have to help people, even the rich kids. If I believe strongly enough in my mission, then it is irrelevant how other people are “relative to me”- instead, it’s in my interest to enrich as many people as possible. Then we can party on the future international space stations. Then I can have this conversation with myself (and you, if you’re so inclined) again… or maybe not. Who knows. Life is unpredictable.

Alright, I’m hitting my word vomit target for today in a matter of words. Now to have a kickass productive day at work. Cheerio.

 

0051 – happiness project and be yo self

I saw my wife reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and it was something I had stumbled upon on some book review site or summat at some point a while ago, and so when she wasn’t reading it I decided to skim through it as fast as I could. About halfway through I started getting bogged down with thoughts and decided I ought to write them down.

There are all kinds of simple ideas about happiness that hold true- I’m also reading Flow by Mihaly C at the same time and he writes about how nothing is new, everything has already been said, yet we’ve never really gotten around (until lately, maybe) to applying it systematically, to incorporating it into our broader systems… anyway the point is- as a species we don’t talk about happiness very much, we don’t do happiness very much as a collective- there have always been a few gurus and philosophers and wise folk who figure it out better than others (typically through experimentation and deliberate practice) and they tend to reach the same insights over and over again.

When you look at it that way, it’s almost ridiculous how primitive our (layperson) ideas are about happiness, and how we take it for granted- as though some people are just nicer and happier than others (and yeah, there’s some truth to that) and if you’re unhappy you’re more or less stuck that way… blah blah blah once you start this conversation you know how it goes (and it goes on for a long time, with questions and questioning-the-question and with observations and a-has and sighs).

This has been a long roundabout way for me to get to what I want to talk about- which is an insight I had lately as well as something that I’ve been noticing everywhere since I started looking for it: The importance of paying attention to your own mind, to seeing what you’re curious about, and pursuing that. I’ve written several things about self and identity and those are things that you can write entire books about- you could say that all of life and all of humanity is about the exploration of identity, and there’s no such thing a static self- a self is dynamic and constructed and complex and influenced by broader structures and other people, etc.

Despite all of that I think there is still some merit to the idea that there’s some sort of “Self” to be- the ideals that resonate with us, that we hold ourselves accountable to. Sure, it might be constructed and temporary and ultimately an illusion of some sort, but it’s still something we live with, still something we use day to day. One of the things about illusions is- even when you’re aware that it’s an illusion, you can still see it. Maybe that’s just me, but I believe that the magic is still magical when you find out how the illusion works- that adds to the effect, rather than subtracts. I saw a comment by somebody who said “Don’t study love, that just takes the mystery out of it”, and I found that incredibly ignorant (it literally is that- an appeal to ignorance). Scientists don’t appreciate the beauty of flowers any less because they’re aware of processes like pollination and fertilization, it only adds. How does it subtract? (Richard Feynman spoke beautifully about this).

Similarly, a careful exploration of what makes us human does NOT take away any of the magic or mystery or beauty of it all. Studying ourselves does not make us less human. (Maybe this is an idea perpetuated by the trope of mad/evil/crazy sociopathic scientists who approach people as meaningless digits to be played with. But this is often divorced from the reality of things, isn’t it? I can’t talk precise stats here, but from personal experience, anybody who’s exploring their curiosity in a subject matter typically gains more love for their subject, not less. Learning music theory doesn’t make you less capable of emoting. Learning science doesn’t make you any less able to appreciate art. This is an ugly, ugly misconception that needs to be killed. Knowledge is empowering and it allows us to have greater empathy… blah blah.

So I started writing this because I really liked Gretchen’s idea of “Be Gretchen”. For me, that would be “Be Visa”. In your case, that would be “Be Yourself”. Of course, by itself in a vaccuum that can be the most useless piece of advice anybody can ever give you. What does that even mean? They tell you to be yourself and then they judge you for not being who they want you to be. “Be yourself” is really just shorthand for “be sociable, comfortable, smooth, likeable, artful, skillful”. That’s what people really want. If “yourself” is narcissistic, needy, selfish, cruel, awkward, then nobody wants you to be that.

But if you dig past that- aren’t there certain ideas that just resonate with you, almost beyond explanation? The explanation seems to be after-the-fact. I often think about Calvin and Hobbes, and how I related immensely to Calvin, and how in a lot of ways I mirror a lot of his thoughts and behaviour. Now the question is- did I end up becoming more like Calvin because I read so much of him a a child? Or did I read so much of him as a child because something about him resonated with something within me, even back then? The causality probably runs both ways.

This is taking a little too long… (I’m planning to summarize all 1,000 word vomits into TL;DRs, if you’re wondering). I got around to thinking- so if there’s some idea of who Visa is, whether it’s emergent from what people have told me I ought to be, the books I’ve read, or something from within (or, most likely, all of the above), what is that idea? Sure, when you hold it up to intense scrutiny it all falls apart, but it does serve some utility…

TL;DR: I’m still not getting to the point, sorry. The point is that are certain things that I like the idea of doing, certain things that I feel compelled to do, certain things that I enjoy doing, certain ideas that I like exploring, and these things are closer to my “heart” than other things, and happiness is to be found in exploring these ideas and spending time in these activities.

One of these things is writing, so even if this entire post makes zero sense and makes zero contribution to the world, I’d feel happy for having written it because it is a part of a process that I identify with and relate to, that makes me happy. Sure, I’d still be me even if I never wrote a single thing ever again, but I like writing, and I think it’s important to know what I like. I like writing. I like singing, even though I’m not very good at it. I like music. I like playing guitar. I like having good, long conversations about life and meaning and art and communication and complex systems and management and decision-making and the organization and distribution of information and poker. I like narratives and storytelling and video games and words and characters and people. I like reading books and I’d definitely love to write books in the future. Yes. Yes. I definitely want to have a shelf of books that I’ve written. I want to build a tribe of people who care about big-picture things like space exploration and literacy and sanitation for all. I want to interview and have conversations with people doing awesome things. I want to inspire the people in my life to achieve their own greatness. I want to be smart and witty and funny and I like sex and dirty jokes and hearing about people’s lives. I talk too much and can get annoying and difficult and troublesome but I want to learn to be tactful and responsible. Routines and discipline were previously “not a part of me”, but now I realize they are a part of how I am to achieve the greater freedom and creativity and insight that I yearn to fill my life with. I want to leave a legacy of meaning and thoughtfulness and also fun and joy and kinky and sexy and beautiful.

None of this is new. None of this has been previously unsaid. I’m just meditating and focusing on what has always been within me, what I’ve always known, but maybe have been distracted from. If I like guitar and learning to play songs on the guitar makes me happy, then I should totally do that. I’m going to clean up my place a little, sort out my finances, do a little coding and take steps towards being the me that I want to be.

Imagination and conversation leads to a vision of what ought to be, grit and determination to commit to a struggle to make it happen, thoughtful contemplation and reflection to observe what works and what doesn’t, constant mindfulness and awareness to pay attention to see what works and what doesn’t, the scientific method we inherited (thanks, Francis and friends and predecessors) allows us to systematically accelerate evolution to create, in the world, from our minds, what we believe ought to be.

It’s exhilarating stuff. This word vomit has crossed 1500 words. Adieu. (Yeah the TL;DR wasn’t a real TL;DR but whatever man)

 

0050 – flow, purpose, meaning, work

My last blogpost got significantly more attention than any of my other word vomits. (I was going to say “a surprising amount of attention”, which would then follow with “but actually I’m not surprised”, and “obviously all my work deserves everybody’s attention”, and “ha ha I am so narcissistic” and “ha ha I am aware of the self-reflexive loop of recursion going on”…)

Anyway. It’s cool that it received and continues to receive the attention it did, and I think it’s because I was luckily able to communicate something that resonated with people. What was particularly interesting was how little effort I put into figuring out what exactly I was going to say. It was one of the most ramble-without-editing posts I’ve written, even for a word vomit. But I had been thinking about it for a long, long time. At some point earlier in the day I was on the way to work and I found myself thinking, “How do you teach people to be responsible?” A whole bunch of stuff going on in my mind, something clicked. The moment I got to work, I was itching to write, to explore via writing (which is my favourite kind of writing, which is the kind of writing I’m doing right now). And I realize that it makes me happy, that it feels good, and that it’s incredibly powerful stuff. I should write in this state as much as possible, and I should seek this state as much as possible. Easier said than done maybe, but it’s something to meditate on.

I started reading Flow by Mihaly C. a few minutes ago. The concept is not new to me, I’ve seen it described before, I kind of understand what it’s about- I believe it’s been alluded to in popular culture quite a bit, and I’ve heard artists and writers talk about it. Still, I started reading it and before I even got to the first chapter I found myself overwhelmed with thoughts that I had to pour out- so I made the executive decision to pause reading and commence writing, and here I am. This might not be particularly meaningful or insightful in of itself since I’m just describing what’s going on, but I think it’s a habit that I want to cultivate. When the muse comes, you have to act on it. I believe Rework from 37 Signals describes how inspiration is perishable- if you don’t act on it when you feel it, it’s unlikely to set you on fire the way it typically does.

Amused to realize that some of the greatest flow I’ve experienced has been when I’m arguing with people on the internet. I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced flow as musician. Maybe in bits and pieces, occasionally. The greatest flow I’ve s had would probably be reading books as a child, sometimes when playing video games, sometimes when writing. Well- fairly often when writing. Sometimes I’ve felt flow while doing pushups or even while cleaning the dishes. (I know that this isn’t v tery helpful or illuminating writing, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to achieve my goal. You’re really not obliged to read this.)

What’s the goal? The goal as a writer is to write 1,000,000 words. Why? Why not? I just plain like the idea. Sure, I could just write “boobs boobs I love boobs oh man boobs are awesome” or something similar, but I don’t want to. That doesn’t gratify me. It’s also unlikely that something of immense value is going to emerge if you’re just shooting for raw numbers. I’m not really just shooting for raw numbers, though. I’m trying to build a habit. That’s what I’m trying to do with my trivial 20 (now 30) pushups-and-squats-twice-a-day habit. It’s small, but I want it to be persistent. I want it to be something I do until I die. I want to write until I die. I want to read until I die. I do think I’d also like to keep improving as a musician until I die, even if I never becoming an established artist. Music makes me happy. Writing makes me happy. Reading makes me happy. Contemplation makes me happy. Reflection makes me happy. Heartfelt conversations make me happy. I believe that effective routines and discipline will make me happy, too.

At the end of this particular word vomit I would ht ave written over 50,000 words in the service of this seemingly pointless indulgence. How do I feel about that? That’s pretty cool. When I was a teenager, me and a friend challenged each other to write novels. We couldn’t do it. I never went past about 2,000 words. And here I am with 50,000. How does it feel? I’m just getting started, man. 50,000 is nothing. It’s unimpressive. I’ve probably written more words just arguing on the internet. I’ve got several hundred pages of Tumblr reblogs.  I’ve tweeted 12,000 tweets, and if there are just 4 words per tweet, I’d have tweeted more than I’d have written. 50,000 is not impressive, Visa. And it doesn’t mean anything. I could discard everything and start over. What matters is the flow of doing it. The number is ultimately inconsequential when you look back. It’s just something to work towards.

I suppose 100,000 will be a nice milestone. 250,000 will feel satisfying. 500,000 will be exciting. I can’t imagine anything after that. Who will I be, what will I be talking about, what sort of impact will I be having in the world, what will I be accelerating?

When Elon Musk was talking to Salman Khan at Khan Academy (YouTube “elon musk khan”), he talks about how he wants Tesla to accelerate the phenomenon of electric vehicles. He knows that it’s going to happen anyway. Nobody is indispensable in the world- not even Led Zeppelin and U2 and Jesus and Leonardo da Vinci. The world is a vast and beautiful complex system and it is not so fragile as to be dependent on a single person. But individuals have the ability to help accelerate things. That’s the difference you can make in the world. You might not be able to single-handedly change the world overnight, but you’re able to make good things happen faster, or slow bad things down.

I want to accelerate humanity’s ascent to space. We’ve sent a few token people up there, for mostly political purposes. We need to get more people up there. To achieve this, I need to develop skills, gather resources, build connections, an audience. I want to be a writer, a popularizer, a diplomat of sorts. I want to help save people time and energy as they figure out what they should be doing with their time and lives.

Of course, I’m still figuring out myself. I need to become a responsible person, first of all. I have a lot of work to do on myself, so that I can contribute more. This is just me defining the mission that I need to serve. A line that my boss used on me that I loved was- you’ve never struggled very much, have you? What is the struggle you need to undertake? Something like that. Struggle. The idea of struggling towards something that you want. Isn’t that beautiful? So much of struggle so far has been about avoiding pain and difficulty and frustration. Struggle to keep some space to yourself, struggle to be comfortable. Now the challenge is shifting, the struggle for meaning, for purpose, to contribute.

It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s challenging, it’s beautiful. To grow. To be gritty. To achieve flow. This came out of me like water. Back to reading, now.

Oh yeah, 50/1,000. Fyeah.

 

0049 – “I didn’t do well because I didn’t study”

This is something I’ve said to many people over the years, in many situations. I say it to myself all the time and it’s a part of my identity. It’s part of the narrative I tell people. I was a smart kid who did well early on, and then I didn’t do well later on because I didn’t study. I didn’t study maybe because the curriculum was boring, or maybe I have a subtle form of ADHD or something. I didn’t do well because I didn’t study.

That’s true. And it’s true that school’s boring. But the statement “I didn’t do well because I didn’t study” is dangerous, because it lends itself to some suggestive implications. And here’s the biggest implication that naturally emerges in my own mind. If I didn’t do well because I didn’t study, then I would have done well if I had just studied.

Seems obvious and intuitive, right? But it’s not technically true. It’s a logical fallacy, a round-trip. Not A therefore Not B doesn’t mean A therefore B. There could be a whole bunch of other reasons why I didn’t do well, or maybe I could’ve studied hard and still done badly. This is actually scary to contemplate and accept, because it would directly contradict my self-worth and that would be very damaging to my self-esteem. There’s a huge amount of cognitive dissonance there, and it’s an incredibly painful thing to explore. It’s far easier to do badly and think highly of yourself despite of it, than to actually work hard and maybe realize you’re not as good as you think you are. (Which is far more likely to be true.)

Here’s what I’m really getting- I didn’t do well because I was, and am, an irresponsible person. Why didn’t I study? I didn’t know how to, and I didn’t want to, and I didn’t know how to want to. (I often wanted to know how to, and wanted to want to, but those were not good enough to sustain the daily work that I needed to do in order to make a difference to my own life. I often experienced moments where I felt strongly that I was fucking up my own life and ought to turn things around, but these moments were fleeting and could never translate into action, into behaviour.)

My real problem is incompetence at the art or science of responsibility. I am incompetent at being responsible. What makes this doubly scary is, I’ve developed a coping mechanism where I’m really good at pretending. I’m good at talking. Rationalizing. I’m good at pretending to be responsible, at making lofty promises, at sounding like I really care about this or that- and I do, I really do feel like I care about this or that. But how do you measure whether somebody cares? Do you measure the emotional intensity inside their heads? You can’t really do that. (Well, I suppose you could put them in an MRI of sorts. If you asked me how much I wanted to be awesome, and responsible, or how much I love my wife, I expect you would see real increase in blood flow to the brain- the emotions are real, not fake).

But we get to this additional bit here where- what’s the point of feeling like you care, and saying that you care, if your actions don’t communicate to the world that you care? What’s the point of saying and feeling that you love your wife if you go home late to her because you procrastinated at work? What’s the point of saying and feeling that you ought to quit smoking, or work out, if you don’t?

It’s a horrible place to be, and there is very little sympathy for people in this position. You’re just a lousy person if you’re like that. And I have been that supposedly lousy person for a long time- for all my life, really.

I needed to become a responsible person- I need to become a responsible person- and I have almost no real experience in this regard (although I could perhaps find ways to translate these ideas from other spheres… but I get ahead of myself here). I was irresponsible at home, and my parents let me get away with it. Actually, I think my parents are fairly irresponsible people too. Bless them, they’re human, and they put a roof over my head and food on my table and air-conditioning in my room and provided everything I could possibly need… except they never taught me how to be responsible.

They did punish me for being irresponsible, and my teachers did the same thing. But here’s an important question I’m not sure people are asking enough: How do you teach someone to be responsible? Do you do it by punishing them for being irresponsible? Will punishing an irresponsible person teach them to be responsible? Does it help? Do we have evidence of this working anywhere?

My boss has been an amazing figure in my life in just a few short months and he’s taught me that being responsible begins with little things. Keeping track of little things and executing on little promises. I’m good at making grand promises and giving nice long explanations when things go bad- (essentially a variation of I didn’t do well because I didn’t study, but couched in emotive, flowery language that seems to make sense, and communicates passion- a real passion that is there, that exists).

The challenge is to be responsible. And to focus. I think they’re the same thing. If you’re a person who knows how to focus, being responsible isn’t very difficult. If you’re a person who’s responsible, naturally, focus is not an issue.

I’ve received multiple emails from multiple students who are struggling in school and they tell me that they want to work hard and do well but they’re lazy. This sounds almost a little silly to some people, but it sets off alarm bells in my head. Because I believe them. I believe that they want to do well. I mean, who doesn’t? Who can honestly say that they don’t want to be a responsible person, a trustworthy person, someone who is good and effective and reliable that everybody can turn to and count on? Everybody wants to be responsible. Everybody also wants to be emotionally savvy and financially savvy and know how to solve problems.

So these kids have the same problem I did, and continue to have, and am currently working on. This is the answer to Xavier’s question that has been in my head all this while- how do you overcome what’s stopping you from doing what you’re doing? Here’s what’s stopping me, it’s a fucking neurosis. It’s a life of self-worth built on half-truths and maybe-truths, self-esteem that is dependent on flimsy logic. That’s where the fear comes in. The fear isn’t success or failure, the fear is the very real pain and discomfort that happens when you come to terms with the fact that you aren’t who you claim to be, you aren’t who you say you are, you are far, far smaller than you think you are.

But there is power in acknowledging that. When you face the fear you realise it’s not that scary. When you allow yourself to feel the pain you realize it’s not that painful. Once you acknowledge there’s a problem and you start exploring it, with real conviction, you start realizing that you can fix it.

So how do you fix the problem of being irresponsible? Punishing irresponsible kids for being irresponsible is a losing game. My parents tried it on me, it didn’t work. My teachers tried it on me, it didn’t work. My girlfriend tried it on me, it didn’t work. My friends tried it on me too (in a subtle denial-of-social-acceptance way), and it didn’t work.

Let me be clear- I respond to it. I respond emotionally, viscerally. I acknowledge the truth in their sentiments, I acknowledge that there’s a problem. But like a smoker who says he wants to quit, and means it, I quickly lapse into my previous habits and routines because I don’t know how else to live. I don’t know how else to be.

It’s such a sad situation!

Er, how do you fix the problem of being irresponsible, sorry. You fix the problem of being irresponsible by being responsible for something small. Just one little thing, be responsible for it. One really, really, REALLY little thing. The thing has to be far, far littler than you think it is. As little as “write one sentence a day”, or “do 10 pushups a day”, something really, really simple. And you have to tie it to something that you already do. I did squats in the shower. It works, I now cannot shower without feeling awkward if I don’t also do squats.

Okay, honestly, I don’t know how to solve this problem completely, because I’m working on it as we speak. But I acknowledge that I have a problem, a problem beyond the mere acknowledgement of problems- the challenge is to learn how to be responsible. And I suppose there are many ways to do that. The main thing I’m trying to say is that I don’t think we can teach responsibility by punishing irresponsibility. Maybe I’m wrong. I just had to write this.

 

0048 – brain reality and starting from scratch

Here’s a simple idea worth exploring- what goes on inside your brain affects what happens in reality. What you do. How you effect the world. Not sure how predetermined things are but my experience suggest some degree of randomness in mental activity. Yet these random thoughts and ideas and activity tend to be funneled through familiar structures and lead to non-random habits and routines.

The analogy I liked was that of a cunning jailbreak. There is no escaping our heads (or is there? One can,  within the brain, experience a sense of transcendence). We really need to learn more about these things.

Jailbreak- if you want to leave your existing brain-jail, you’ll have to plot it. This can seem silly. Why should anybody have to play tricks on themselves? But we do, and these tricks WORK, and believing ourselves to be above them is the quickest way to fall into the trap. (Perhaps this doesn’t apply for people who already have coded discipline into their subconscious. I have little inkling of what that feels like.)

(Whoops, I published that prematurely.)

The best thing in my life right now, apart from my awesome job and the fact that I have a home of my own, is the daily fitness routine I have developed. I do squats in the shower and I keep track of them on my kitchen wall:

This is working out very well for me. I have been progressively polishing off one of my oldest limiting beliefs- that I will always be skinny and have weak chicken legs. I could do pull ups and pushups but I was never fit enough to comfortably run 2.4km, so I kinda grew to assume I’d always hate those runs. I ran around the block at my place several times but I never developed flow at it; it was never pleasure.

Doing pushups and squats is kinda pleasurable now. Pushups have always been kinda pleasurable for me if I’m moderately fit. Squats and runs never. I always had chicken legs.

Coupling squats and showers for me has been what I call a “jug of water solution”. The jug of water story is trivial-sounding but significant. I once cleaned out a jug from a cupboard at my parents’ place and filled it up with water before putting it in the fridge. I never had to tell anybody that I did it, or why it ought to be done- but once it was implemented, it stuck. Everybody used the jug of water, and refilled it whenever it was empty. It became the new norm without any argument. Its value was self-evident, and the means to sustain it were self-evident too.

Since then I’ve always kept an eye out for similar jug-of-water solutions. Squats in the shower is one. Another seems to be to keep a book by the bed. My wife and I were talking about our childhood reading habits and she described how she would read books before going to bed, and she would fall asleep while reading (why is my pillow so hard?) and then go right back to reading the moment she woke up. I completely related to that. Somehow that habit fell along the wayside over the years as new and more compelling distractions become available. I’m interested and curious to rediscover and re-establish that habit to see where it leads.

===

Sometimes a word vomit needs to be done from scratch. 2 things on my mind. How do I convey to people the importance of doing things for yourself? I can preach it at length or I can just put it out there and demonstrate it. Trivial issue.

2nd- how do I resolve the recurring problems- lack of focus, inevitable distraction? It seems to me that the solution necessitates meditation. Breaking from a pattern requires nothing short of a cunning jailbreak. I need the sort of clarity I can only get from emptying my mind and allowing the solutions to rise gently to the top of my mind.

I’m thoroughly convinced that we needed to go to space. I now think I’m also convinced that mediation is equally important, if not more important- for the same reasons. Expansion of human consciousness for the purpose of diminishing human suffering and improving human wellness. We can talk about the futility of life once we’ve solved poverty and every major problem faced by earthlings. (The entire question is a bit of a trap. We have not yet devised a method to transcend our brain chemistry, so we are limited to working within it. We all seek chemical highs one way or another. Consistently, the best ways include exercise, meaningful relationships, growth, mastery, all that good stuff. A lot of times, what feels like despair can be traced to low blood sugar, dehydration, sleep deprivation, a lack of mental clarity. This isn’t to imply that depression isn’t a real and horrible sickness that afflicts the best of us- it is. I’m just saying that we have to remember that we are animals with chemicals in our heads, and it’s worth experimenting with multiple things to see if anything works. It’s possible that nothing might; but you owe it to yourself to at least try.)

Space, and meditation, expanding human consciousness to diminish human suffering.

The challenge is to do it in a sustainable way. There are many things that give you a real moment of illumination- like an intense attraction to a  beautiful stranger with whom you hit it off perfectly. But such romances are often fleeting, ending up as a positive memory and little more. The challenge is to build something analogous to a lasting, happy marriage. Something that’s a commitment rather than an experience, something that’s built and nurtured.

Here’s how education should begin- What’s interesting and exciting about the world? What’s worth being curious about? Do you know why you’re in this building? Real reason and fake reason. Real reason is to train you to be compliant factory workers, interchangeable, dispensable. Prepare you for life? What is life? What do you want to know? What do you want to do? For the working world?

What is the working world? People work to earn money to pay for things that other people work to produce. And people are paid to make you think and feel that you need more than you actually do- to exploit your weaknesses and impulses and subconscious desires to make you buy the shit they’re working so hard to produce. And the funniest (or saddest) thing is that they are not immune to their own effects. People working in marketing and advertising are susceptible to their own wiles and keep doing what they doing to earn money so they can buy shit too. What is happiness, what is pleasure, what is joy, and why do we believe that climbing the social ladder will yield it?

What is interesting, fun, exciting,  beautiful? Who are the best teachers you’ve had?

Why do I keep thinking about education? I think it’s because the process of thinking about it makes me feel like I might be figuring out how to educate myself. Maybe I should skip the middle step and just go straight to sorting myself out. I’m going to start scheduling and deleting drafts to tidy up my blog a little.

 

0047 – Businesses and corporations, schools and social life

Humans build businesses and corporations that exploit human frailties and weaknesses. They exploit the human need for chemical hits, they exploit the illusions that humans are victims to. Corporations have made humans their collective bitch. Businesses fail and adapt and evolve quicker than animals do, so you could say that from an “enlightened” or “higher” perspective, humans exist to serve businesses. (If businesses could talk, that’s what they would say, just as humans say the same about animals and the earth.) The corporation is a superior living entity to the human being (so was the kingdom and so is the nation-state) in the sense that it is more robust to failure, and for the time being seems more capable of exploiting humans than vice versa. Some humans create corporations hoping to empower themselves by enslaving others, but few manage to escape unscathed- they are unwittingly enslaved themselves, by ambition and the trappings of wealth.

This isn’t to say that businesses are inherently bad, no, not at all. Businesses are way more cunning than that. They know that they have to empower their victims to some degree so that they’ll be kept alive. Unenlightened businesses are parasites that kill their victims (this is totally fine for narcotics, for arms-dealing, for alcohol, for fast food), while enlightened businesses are symbiots that empower their hosts. (This requires an entirely different rhetoric from what I’m using, but I’m sticking with the current style for dramatic effect.)

Businesses and corporations have helped to boost standards of living, they have helped to combat disease, sickness and famine. They have brought abundance, healthcare, knowledge and information to the masses. They have enabled us to better understand ourselves and the processes that we are governed by (which subsequently allows us the luxury of criticizing the manner in which we receive these luxuries. A Few Good Men.)

Hopefully, as people get more enlightened and more aware of how people use businesses (and businesses use people) to exploit people, we’ll demand that the exploitation is replaced by empowerment. Business should be about the creation of real value for people, not the exploitation of human frailty and weakness. Hopefully we can build an immune system to protect ourselves against this so that we can get the good while keeping out the bad.

Businesses are animals, bags of human beings chasing profits and growth. The question arises whether we can rewire the neurochemistry of businesses, and if so, can we use these large superstructures to rewire the neurochemistry of individuals? It seems plausible, given evidence that people are influenced by their surroundings and social circumstances. (It would be so easy to become prescriptivist and use such rhetoric to do horrible things to people, though. It’s important to earn legitimacy through honest discourse.)

We seem to have drifted from the central focus- what the fuck does it mean to be a human being? Quick recap- it involves being a bag of chemicals chasing chemical hits. There are certain trends and patterns in the way we seek our chemical hits. Natural selection has selected (randomly) for social animals, so many (most) of us are wired to get pleasure from meaningfully contributing beyond ourselves. (Or the illusion of doing so.) Self-expression. Pleasure. All of us seek pleasure and it’s fucking ridiculous how little we talk about it in polite conversation. (Deja vu- I mentioned this the last time, didn’t I. Oops.)

What is school for? To prepare kids for life? Well, adults, what are the most important lessons you’ve learnt? I should ask people. I shall.

A random thought/insight/expression: Social life is an elaborate dance of conquest and desire in subtle forms. I want to write about this, to write about the “problem” of lust, or the human condition that is lust, a desire for conquest, endless desire, to conquer others, to conquer land, to conquer people- psychologically, emotionally, physically- sexual conquest… what it is to live with that and to make sense of it and to realize that we treat people very differently depending on how they manifest those desires. And nobody teaches you how to do it right. But we disproportionately reward people for getting it “right” and we punish people for getting it “wrong”. Right and wrong are of course arbitrary concepts decided by whoever is in power. This should probably be a separate article altogether and I think I’ll write one about my personal experiences and perspectives.

What are the lessons? All greatness begins with baby steps. It’s important to solicit negative feedback from friends (says Elon Musk). It’s important to persist and to work hard and to fight for something that you’re psychotically obsessed with (making the huge assumption of course that there’s anything in your brain that allows for psychotic obsession, and that your obsession is something healthy and positive and desired by the masses.)

Clearly we need to understand people’s brains better, and how we behave as people, and study is so, so important. Hail thee, scientific method. If only you were applied more rigorously across all fields, at all times, that we might learn at a breakneck speed and realize our potential as a species. Man, imagine if we could bring plants to Mars and grow them there. It would be the furthest that Earth-plants have ever been, and we, that is, human kind, would function as Earth’s sort of “gardener.” What if that’s what we are? What if we’re supposed to spread plants from Earth to beyond, and that other planets aren’t actually meant to be bare and barren? Of course all of this is hogwash and a liberal application of the human need for causes and meaning. There’s no such thing as “meant” or “should”. That’s just us imposing our will upon reality. But we can, so why shouldn’t we, as long as we’re not really hurting anyone? We have to be critical and turn inwards on ourselves- in a healthy way- so that we can grow and learn. Natural selection has selected for us to be this way.

We’re all animals, after all, chasing our chemical hits. The question is, how do we align ourselves and our environments and our societies such that we create optimal conditions for the maximal realization of these chemical hits in a way that is positive, sustainable, healthy and non-damaging to humans and to nature?

Meow.

 

0046 – being a fucking human being

Fiction is about what it’s like to be a fucking human being, said David Foster Wallace. The poor bastard was cursed with an intellect with more firepower than he could handle. You’d have to feel the flames to know of a terror worse than death he said, before he crushed his windpipe with a rope.

I don’t know if I can write fiction but I think I have a vague sense of what it’s like to be a fucking human being. (Source: I am human, as far as anybody can tell.)

The first thing you need to know about being human is that we are all animals. I don’t mean that in a necessarily negative sense, and I don’t know if I mean that in the “red in tooth and claw” sense. All I mean is that we’re all little bags of chemicals running around a larger blob of chemicals that’s orbiting a nuclear reactor (called the sun) at about 100,000 km/h.

At the time of this writing (shaky hand, ballpoint pen, foolscap paper, Tampines Bus Interchange, Singapore, 2013 AD, 10pm) there is no way of escaping this reality. Perhaps there will be, some day, but not in the foreseeable future.

We are made up of atoms that were birthed in the explosions of unstable stars that then scattered their enriched guts across the universe. (Neil Tyson’s words, not mine.) These atoms obey rules to a high degree. I’m not saying that your life is predetermined or anything so dramatic; that would be pretense of knowledge. All I can say is that you’re a fucking bag of chemicals (Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen). If you were doused in kerosene and set alight, you would combust and decompose into your constituent molecules.

Of course, we’re also more than our atoms. Atoms don’t sing and dance and cry and write and read articles on the internet. People do. The atoms play a role in those processes, but there are important emergent properties that cannot be explained at the atomic level alone.

I could have decomposed by the time you read this, maybe 500 years later- yet there is something remarkable happening, isn’t there You hear my “voice”. You interpret my thoughts. Long after the bag of chemicals that put these symbols together ceases to exist, these symbols (on paper, or pixels, or perhaps some more advanced means of transmitting information), can be meaningfully interpreted by other bags of chemicals. That’s pretty magical. Some things may be lost in translation, since languages evolve over time, but you should be able to empathize to some degree, just as we are able to empathize with Shakespeare hundreds of years after he passed away. A story (a pattern) from 2000 BC can still evoke emotional responses in the brains of humans reading or hearing it 4,000 years later, bridging us across space and time.

More than atoms we are patterns, part of a vast cosmic dance that endures, persisting despite the death of individual dancers.

That wondrous, magical reality aside, we’re still animals. A sexually attractive member of our species can still command our rapt attention. We enjoy praise and flattery- we are social creatures after all, evolved within social circumstances, an we respond to social cues. We are victims to all sorts of illusions, even when we’re entirely aware of the existence of such illusions. We can study science and explain the behaviour of celestial bodies, yet we’re unable to escape the recursive loop of social dynamics (even though we have a pretty decent understanding of those, too.) We are animals. I say this with honesty and respect for your intellect, and I want you to like me, and I want you to be true, and we are still animals.

Did you know that sea otters hold hands when sleeping so that they don’t drift apart? So cute. They also rape baby seals to death. Isn’t that adorable? Temple Grandin described how animals kill each other far more brutally than humans kill animals. (Humans are more, uh, humane. Sometimes.) It’s the captivity part of animal-rearing that’s messed up. That said, if animals could farm their prey, wouldn’t they? (How human of me to assert that.)

The point is that animals aren’t any better or worse than us, not really. We don’t really have any meaningful way of comparing. “The more I know of men, the more I love dogs,” someone famously said. But you can’t divorce dogs from humans! Dogs are domesticated wolves, bred to be subservient, dependent and loyal to their pack leaders- humans. They’ve essentially been brainwashed as a species to be sweet and loving to us! Sure we love them more than we love each other- because they’re harmless, they don’t demand independence, they don’t seek dominion over us because we’ve won. I’m not saying that it’s good or bad to domesticate animals- it is what it is. Just that a lot of our rhetoric about humans and animals seems frightfully naive and oversimplistic, and that doesn’t help us understand ourselves and our place in this vast uncaring universe (or at least, our place among one another) any better.

Dogs are animals and humans are animals and we all seek chemical rewards in the brain. Rats that have been given an opportunity to press a switch that triggers such a chemical reward have been shown to press that switch until they die of starvation. This is pretty similar to drug addiction and all other forms of human obsession and addiction. We’re animals chasing chemical hits, that is what we are, and being dishonest about it is not very helpful. (We don’t talk much about pleasure and pain in schools, do we? It’s so damn important, yet we don’t talk about it, we build entire industries dedicated to it but we hardly talk about it… that’s part of what it is to be a fucking human being, to have to reconcile that bullshit.)

Different people have different brain chemistry, and it’s ridiculous and absurd how drastically different people’s brains can be. If you’re reading this in the future, you might be smiling and shaking your head at my primitive understanding of the human brain. I am writing this partially in pursuit of a chemical high myself, and to claim otherwise would be intellectually dishonest. There is something in my brain that gets activated when I do this, and that is part of why I do this, and it frustrates me that we don’t talk about this more openly.

(To be continued)

 

 

0045 – pick the smallest problem and annihilate it

Hey let’s try doing a word vomit like this! I’m using an app (it’s not write or die, but it’s built into Chrome… okay this is just me filling up words- see how incentives warp and twist our behaviour whether we realize it or not? but anyway that will still be helping me achieve what I intended to achieve and that was my goal all along anyway…)

pause. My wife has been going through a bit of an identity/quarter-life crisis. She feels like she hasn’t done very much in her life, that she’s not particularly good at anything, and that she’s some sort of failure. On this I disagree vehemently. She read a crazy amount of books as a kid. She’s travelled all over the world despite being middle-class or lower-middle class in Singapore, entirely on her own merit, with her own savings. She’s a wonderfully patient teacher. She’s very articulate and she spots errors and problems and bullshit with incredible precision. Unfortunately for her, she hasn’t learnt to sell herself, to put herself out there, how to be cheery, friendly, sociable. She’s bad with appointments, she’s bad with meeting people…

Anyway, yesterday we sat together and we analyzed her life. I remain convinced that she has massive, massive potential, and fantastic amounts of insight. She has a beautiful, beautiful mind that nobody gets to see. I’m not doing this to be romantic (I’m a thoroughly unromantic person), or to be “nice” (I don’t believe in being “nice”, and I often tend to mess up my relationships with close friends because I save my exceptionally harsh criticism for them.) She has an amazing ability to choose the most visceral, beautiful points.

Example: (“My father understood the importance of having neatly ironed pleats on a pinafore. I was angry when he returned from overseas. He’d sent me cat stickers while he was there. He was delighted when I failed to make the soccer team. I learnt a lot of my behaviours from him.”) Those are just some of the thoughts on her mind. Aren’t those beautiful thoughts? Don’t you think she should be a writer? Or a songwriter? Or an artist? Or anybody doing anything at all? She has all these beautiful thoughts.

“My mother has amazing reserves of strength. She also has an amazing capacity for denial, and she’s great at juggling money.” Isn’t that a fucking beautiful description? Wouldn’t you want to read an entire book written by this fucking beautiful mind?! Fuck, her brain is goddamn beautiful. She cries telling me how she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere, and my challenge is to help her see that this feeling is a burden and a privilege, it’s the sort of thing that becomes your ultimate glory when you build a tribe of people who also don’t belong, and then you all belong, together.

Anyway, I don’t believe in being miserable and sad just because it seems like a beautiful romantic idea. Fuck that shit- being unhappy is lame, and we’re going to fix this. So I did what I could: I set out to draw a map of her brain, the best way I know how- with questions and words. We talked in bed, and her heart was heavy- she’s got this amazing recursive burden that’s built up from thinking that she’s not good enough, never going to amount to anything… she’s simultaneously got a huge ego and zero self-esteem. (This is the curse of conditional self-esteem- when you’ve been taught to believe that you are what you accomplish/achieve. You’re not.)

Anyway I tried what I could and I incorporated the principles and ideas I’ve picked up recently (mostly from my boss, who is a sick specimen of a human brain) and I tried to reduce things down to the simplest problem we’ve got to solve. She asks questions like “what do people think of me”, and “am I a failure”, and “i’m horrible at things” and “i’m sorry” (those are not questions, dear, and they’re irrelevant)

here’s what I got to, and it’s the most beautiful heuristic I’ve seen yet: you’ve got to figure out what is the simplest and most immediate change you need to make, and what needs to be done to make that change. And then you make it. She asked things like how can I be amazing, how can I be successful, how can I be a good person, how can I be a better person… all of those are terrible questions. How do I find out what’s meaningful? How do I find out what’s good? How do I find out what I really care about in life? Those are terrible questions too, when you’re not doing anything and you’re stuck in a rut, in a limbo, in a pit.

The first question I got to was: how do we become more hardworking? I say we because we’re a team, we’re connected, we’re tied together by choice and we threw away the key to the padlock so hell or high water we’re going to have to learn to work together. There is no outcome where one of us becomes hardworking and successful and the other doesn’t, it doesn’t work that way. We influence each other in powerful ways and there is no equilibrium where we don’t drag the other with us… to glory or to the gutter.

Then I thought hardworking is still a loaded term, it implies that it’s something innate, something you don’t have that you need to become, need to be, and it’s almost self-defeating from the get-go because you start by thinking “i’m not hardworking, how do I become hardworking?” and it goes to “fuck it, I’m just not hardworking, I can’t do this”

So the question, the sole challenge, the only challenge is- how do we get stuff done? She interrupts me and asks, there’s this company that our investor was talking about, and they were doing this or that, do we help kids of rich parents, or do we seek out the kids of poor parents because they need the help the most… and I go STOP RIGHT THERE CRIMINAL SCUM (jk)- because the best thing you can do to help kids, whether rich kids or poor kids, is to get shit done. You start by getting shit done in your room. In your house. You work out. You get fit. You save money. You get shit done. You then inspire other people to get shit done, too. Then you work together with other shit-doers (who will naturally gravitate towards the shit you have done) and you can all do a whole lot of shit.

The returns on pondering philosophical questions is next to zero once you’ve been at it for a significant period of time, and you’ve explored a significant number of problems. You’re not going to get any amazing insight that’s going to change your life, a clearer map is not going to move you closer to the destination past a certain threshold- and you know what, I bet that if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need a clearer map, either. You need to take a single solitary step forward. Just that. That one step. Take it. And then take another. And another.

We woke up this morning and we cleaned the fuck out of the house. I cleaned the cat litter. I cleaned our windows, washed the dishes. She cleaned the bar. I’m writing a word vomit now while she does our finances. I’m going to do my daily pushups and squats (which I have been doing religiouly, and they’re making a wonderful difference).

More to say, but this word vomit has crossed 1290 words and there are diminishing returns. I’m going to clean the mirror next to me, pushups, then something non-wordy, then do some stuff for Poached Mag and/or my blog or something. Will figure that out in the shower, or meditate. Kthx.

 

0044 – just winging it

Well when I’m done with this I would have written 44,000 words. I was hoping to be moving at a much faster rate, but I kind of let myself down a little bit or something along the way, who knows. Screw it, let’s do it. Time spent trying to figure out how that works is time spent not working on something more interesting, more beautiful. I don’t look back, darling, it distracts from the now. Of course, that’s an utter, utter lie and I look back all the time and I plan to look back many, many times in the future- but right now, there is only this moment, and so I write what comes to my mind without filter, without hesitation. (Okay, a little hesitation, but this takes time, okay? Let it be. Jeez. Jeez again, I’m arguing with myself now.)

Anyway, life has been alright. I keep making big plans and commitments and screwing them up. I realize I really just ought to commit to doing really little things. I’ve been doing something that I’m really proud of- I’ve been doing pushups and squats every morning and every night, 20 each. (so that’s 20, 20, then 20, 20). I haven’t done them today and yesterday because I’ve been feeling a little ill, but I think I’m going to do them right after I finish this vomit, and then I’m going to bed. The problem with word vomits is the difficulty in starting- this feels like deja vu, did I already talk about it? I repeat myself a lot. But yeah, earlier I was talking about how my main problem is the ability to focus. I think the more I focus on the problem of my inability to focus, the more I realize that it’s part structural- I don’t break down my tasks into things small enough that allow me to focus on them. How do you focus on massive quests? You can’t. The only moment there is is this moment. So you need to focus on this moment. This. This. This.

So the trick is to break down the big quests into the little tasks. That’s how you eat an elephant. A bite at a time. And the only bite is this bite. That’s how you end up becoming a cigarette smoking addict, too. A cigarette at a time. Somehow it’s not so romantic to say “getting fit, one pushup at a time”, or “becoming a writer, one sentence at a time”. No, no, you’re not a writer just because you’ve written one word. You’re not a “runner” just because you went for a five minute jog.

(Oddly enough, this doesn’t apply with cigarettes. Smoke a couple of sticks, or a pack, and instantly, you’re a smoker now. Smoke a cigarette every now and then? You’re still a smoker. But write something every few months or so, and you’re just a person who writes every so often, maybe because you’re narcissistic, self-obsessed, deluded, idealistic, something, I don’t know. There’s something very wrong about the way we frame these things. The joy of exploration is an end in itself. Yes, it’s part of something bigger, but it’s also very much an end in itself. There are chemical hits to be gotten.

Heh, I just stopped to do a little bit of paragraphing because I was writing the entire thing in a single stretch of unreadable prose and I realized that I didn’t close that parenthesis. Screw it, if it’s left open, it’s left open. I’m not going to die. You can complain if you want, I don’t really care. Why should I care anyway, I have the luxury of doing whatever the hell I like with this space. Okay maybe there are repercussions and sub-optimal outcomes but I don’t care, the words are flowing and they need to flow somewhere so I’ll be damned. Let em go where they wanna go.

I just caught Iron Man 3 today and I quite enjoyed it, despite receiving warnings from a couple of my friends that it disappointed them. Well I enjoyed it anyway. I enjoyed the way they handled the villainy, and I also liked what seemed to me to be an effort to combat sexism. (Some might say it’s a little transparent or forced, but screw it man, you have to give them points for trying.)

Decided to sneak a peek at the word count (it was hidden from the screen before). 730. Wow, not bad for a semi-single burst of energy. I’ve still got more in me, I can keep going. Who knew it were in there? I’m going to go to bed feeling even better than I did if I hadn’t written this. See, I need to remember this feeling. I need to shift from thinking of this project as a burden and see it as a way of being, a way of exploration, a way of playing, of having fun. That’s the only real way to win.

I can’t wait to do more at work. I’ve been working on a blogpost that aggregates a list of all the companies in my block. It’s not perfect but I think it’s going to be pretty cool. Though I feel like I might have taken a little too long with it. But screw it, I’m going to get it out. Done is better than perfect. Move fast and break things. Simple principles to live by. I should never sit in front of a computer screen for more than 20, 30, 40 minutes at a go. I should take breaks and clear my mind, refocus. Now is the time. We need to build an army and we need to go to space. It’ll be interesting, it’ll be fun.

Wow, I’m really feeling so much better just from writing even without any clear purpose. And I would be at 44,000 at the end of it. 44,000 out of 1,000,000. And I swear I will get there. I have done that in video games before, I have seen that experience bar go up, and in those cases it was predictable, I knew what would happen, and I kept at it anyway. Well this time it’s going to be a lot more exciting.

I’ve crossed the 1,000 limit but I want to quickly just talk about something me and my boss were talking about, which is the danger of local optimal points. What’s that? It’s when you settle for good instead of great. The good is the enemy of the great. There are all these caches and niches that are easy to fall into if you’re not paying attention and you get all this positive energy and validation and it’s easy to just stagnate there. I think this happens to the best of people, to some pretty fantastic minds.

It’s very important to me that I don’t fall into this trap (although I suspect I have drifted into its grasp many, many times and perhaps you could even say that I spent most of my life there.)

But the goal is commercial space travel and potentially Mars. I cannot rest until we get our collective asses there. That’s a goal worth living for, that would live up to the sort of glory of say, what the founding fathers did. How cool would that be. Oh man. Okay I’m going to do pushups and squats, wash the dishes, take a shower and then maybe read a chapter of Thinking Fast And Slow, and then meditate and then go to bed. 1225 words. Goodnight