A new blog of interest

I found it via Gwern and it has lots of quotable stuff – some examples from the site:

i. “I awake in bed. I’m warm and safe, like every morning. Outside it is twenty below zero, but from inside my home winter seems far away.

As I rise and stretch, I notice I’m sore. Not from tending the fields though. I have no fields. Some unseen person does all the field-tending for me. Sometimes I forget that there’s any field-tending going on at all.

I buy all my food — I wouldn’t know how to grow it or hunt it. Three or four hours’ pay gets me a week’s worth. It’s a pretty good arrangement. […]

My soreness is actually from my leisure time, not work. I spent yesterday sliding down a snow-covered slope with a board attached to my feet. After that I was pretty worn out, so I went to a friend’s house, drank beer that was wheeled in from Mexico by another person I never met, and watched a sporting event as it unfolded in Philadelphia.

I don’t live in Philadelphia, but my friend has a machine that lets us see what’s happening there. I have one too. Almost everyone does.

The sun won’t rise for another hour, but I don’t need to light a fire or candles. I have artificial ones, mounted on the ceiling. Hit a tiny switch and I can see everything, any time of day.

I bathe while standing. The water comes out whatever temperature I like.” (from the post A Day in the Future)

ii. “The body is wonderful. It moves you around, keeps you sharp, manipulates the world for you. It does your job. It gives affection to your loved ones. It carries your life for you. We tend to notice its generosity only once it begins to withdraw it.

It’s also forgiving, maybe a little too much. It will take a lot of shit before it gets mad. […]

It’s easy to put the body last, because it’s so forgiving and dependable. Normally, it feels like the mind is the boss. But the mind really takes orders from the body. When the body gets run down, thoughts drift into self-defense mode: resentment, victim mentality, self-absorption. The body is suppressing your higher mental qualities, to turn your attention to what is urgent.

The mind then loses its insight and wisdom, and starts grasping at creature comforts. A lot of these — more coffee, another movie on Netflix, a cigarette, a beer, a donut — don’t do the body any favors. So it ramps up the pressure until it has your attention and can deliver its unmistakable message: you are preventing me from doing my job.

The body is the absolute bottom of Maslow’s pyramid. If you don’t take care of it, it will undermine everything until you address the crisis. You won’t be able to focus on your work, you won’t be very sensitive in your relationships, dreams go on hold, and self-confidence shrinks accordingly. […]

Whoever you are, your body is doing a lot for you, and if you don’t pay its dues, you will be notified.” (from The body is in charge, and won’t let you forget it for long. As a diabetic this was not new stuff – it might be, to some extent, for some of you guys – and in fact it’s stuff I try to always have in mind. In a way I have to always have it in mind – if a type 1 diabetic is not in control of his disease, the disease will control him. That’s just the way it works.)

iii. “There are others. More than you can comprehend. They’re everywhere you go and you’ll meet some of them.

Some of these other people will naturally establish themselves as an apparent fixture in your life, and change how life looks to you. This is called a relationship. If the person stays around for months or years, your relationship with them might begin to feel permanent.

It’s not. Relationships are conditions, not things. They all have to end at some point. But they will leave something behind for you to keep.

There are different kinds, different styles of rapport between you and The Other: polite, uneasy, romantic, platonic, confusing. We tend to slot them into distinct types — friendships, courtships, marriages, business partnerships — but they’re all fundamentally the same thing. Two people overlap, experience each other’s thoughts and ideas, absorb each other’s values, and learn from each other’s stories. Personalities leak into other people when those people get close enough.

This happens all the time, and it is always temporary. The overlap comes to an end and the parties diverge and drift away. It could be after 72 hours of traveling together, or after a summer internship working together, or after 55 years of marriage. If nothing else ends it, death will.

This means that life is essentially a solo trip. You’ll have this endless parade of visitors, though, which is nice. Characters you couldn’t have imagined will appear, stay for a minute or maybe a few months or maybe many years, and then leave you to your trip. […]

Most people will enter and exit your life without your noticing much. Some of them will make a big splash though. Some visitors will be decidedly special. You’ll know.

The most valuable experience a person can have is an overlap with this kind of person. The defining characteristic of one of these people is that they make it impossible for you to remain the same person by the time they make their exit. […]

At any given moment, any time, any day of your existence, you can look at your whole life as a vast collection of experiences, and recognize that all of it adds up exactly to who you’ve become today. Who you became depended — to a degree you may never appreciate — on who you happened to run into while you were out in the world doing your thing. You could have been so many different people.” (from What others leave for you to keep. For what it’s worth, I don’t really agree with the author that relationships always leave you “better than you were” – that idea I consider to just be ‘current me”s attempt to convince current me that current me is a better me than all other ‘potential me’s that could have existed at this precise moment in time. If you want ‘future you’ to be a ‘better you’ than current you, I’m not sure such an approach as the one the author implicitly argues in favour of is all that useful. The approach might trick current you into thinking/feeling that current you is better than past you were, but current you is often a liar who just tells current you what current you would like to hear.)

iv. “I had life backwards. I figured who I am determined what I was going to do, what I could do. Because of who I was, I couldn’t do X, so I always had to do Y. That’s who I was. Turns out that what I do can change at any time, and that has a direct effect in changing who I am. I never danced because I was never a “person who danced.” Now it’s obvious to me that as soon as I dance in spite of the person I think I am, I quickly become someone who dances. That’s how people who dance become people who dance. They dance.

In other words, it’s behavior that makes the personality, not the personality that makes the behavior, and that revelation is priceless to me.

This means the personality is extraordinarily malleable as long as you don’t forget than not only can you do what’s out of character, doing what’s out-of-character is the only way to grow.

Still, all of us gravitate towards that which is comfortable, which is tantamount to gravitating towards that which does not help you grow.

Anyway, things are blown wide open for me now. Long-neglected goals look fresh again. They’re going to happen. My personality can’t limit me any more, because I’m going to ignore it. I will do what’s out of character, I will surprise those who know me best. I will surprise myself.” (It’s not who you are, it’s what you do)

If you liked the quotes, you’ll probably like the blog.

October 10, 2012 - Posted by | blogs, Random stuff

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