Things on my Mind #9

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

This week on things on my mind, we feature life lessons and dangerous thoughts.

  • One of the many things people in my age group fail to realize, I am by no means innocent, is this truism: What you do is what you live by. This is an extension of the point made in this post. I said:

When you hype (or berate) the person you see in the mirror, you believe you exist. In other words, you act as if there is a "you" worth hyping up or berating. To act in this way is to be conscious of two things. One is the "you" being hyped up or criticized, and two is the "you" doing the hyping (or berating). You are a composite of both people. In more fancy speak, you exist in the intersection of both "you's."

Meaning, we all are quick to identify with the best parts of ourselves and shun the lazy and sloppy parts of ourselves. This instinct is not wrong and can be helpful if we actually did the things that the best parts of ourselves inspire us to do. This insight is implementable at the margins; choose to go on the run instead of watching another episode of your favorite show, for example.

  • They say that failure is sometimes better than success in informational terms. Thus, one of my resolutions for the new year is to take up an endeavor to fail at. The criteria for failure, in this case, is simple, I have to be alive and in good health after the failure to actually implement the lessons from the failure. This might be a bad idea but I am interested to see how I react to the incentives when failure, in some sense, is the goal, and thus, achieving failure defines success in that domain. The most obvious but tricky problem is finding that activity.

  • There are a couple of dangerous and annoying thought processes that have recently been rent-seeking in my mind.

  1. You are not special.

  2. Counterfactual history is intriguing but largely a waste of time.

  3. The situations that produced tyrants in the past would almost inevitably have produced many of the tyrants we know if those tyrants did not exist. In other words, if the exogenous variables are in place, we don’t need an exact replica of the tyrant’s unique upbringing. We only need the closest approximation. For example, if the society in which you live is deeply unequal, you don’t need a specific person with a specific life experience to come along and take advantage of that to start a revolt. You only need a type of person with similar experiences.

  • On empathic pathways: without delving into much detail, there have been recent events in my life that have produced the sensation of an opening of empathic pathways. These events have not been rosy but they have been essential in molding who I am going to become. Your life is an amalgamation of all the past experiences and experiences to come. One cannot underrate the effect that these experiences have on your being human. Thus, maximize this within reason.

Certainty Rating: 78%


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