Get a coffee and some popcorn ready before you read this one. Love it or hate it, either way you'll be wildly entertained. Names and details changed, for obvious reasons.
Subject: Very important email from Sebastian. Please read ASAP.
This is a very important email. Please read it, wait 10-20 minutes before replying and just think about it (don't surf the web, just think), and then reply with your thoughts.
First, the tactical things -
1. Anyone one of you can use the following credit card to sign up for anything.
I saw the article "Memoirs of a Bullied Kid" on the site Single Dad Laughing. It's written by a guy named Dan Pearce, and he seems like a hell of a guy. He's talking about raising his son, about accepting yourself, dealing with conflict, things like that. Pretty inspirational and good stuff.
The Memoirs of a Bullied Kid article must've taken a lot of guts to write, and I massively respect that. That said, I disagree with his conclusion on how to deal with violent bullies. So I want to send some praise and respect in his direction, but also some significant disagreement.
I originally wrote this as a comment for Hacker News, but it came out to about a normal post's length. Tone is more discussion site level than blog post level, but you'll get the gist of it -
"Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you..."
This comment will be controversial, especially for North Americans and Western Europeans. I ask you to read it and think about it a moment before reacting, and comment if you disagree. I believe what I'm about to say is true, and I'm not trying to get a rise out of people - I want to fix some problems with society.
August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.
A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.
I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.
Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.
Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.
Modafinil isn't the biggest gain I've made towards peak experiences -- that'd be just basic exercise. It's not the largest gain towards general well-being, which is just a cleaner diet and very good hydration. It's not even the biggest no-brainer of a nootropic, the honor of which probably goes to Piracetam.
But with that said -- wow. It's some pretty amazing stuff.
In this post, we'll cover: 1. The effects and subjective experience, negative and postive, of Modafinil. 2. The routine I built around taking it, through trial and error, for best performance. 3. Some jumping-off points for further research.
Sit down before you read this.
We've got to talk.
Look. This is going to piss you off. This is going to look like I'm causing problems.
I'm not causing problems. I'm just pointing out where problems already exist.
I once heard a quote along the lines of, "All advice is autobiography."
The natural type of advice for people to give, in any given situation, is whatever worked for them.
While this is all quite natural and proper, it occurs to me that a lot of mis-advice comes from this. After all, we've got all got slightly different personalities, lifestyles, goals... we all have have minds that operate slightly differently, bodies that respond differently to different stimuli... what works for you might not necessarily work for me, and vice-versa.
A few of my friends - three friends, to be exact - mentioned to me that I write a heck of a lot on here and they're impressed. I have convinced the ultra-smart Sami Baqai to start blogging, and he just got the holy-shit-this-is-hard-I'm-overwhelmed feeling. Ah, yes, I have been there Sami. Perhaps I can share some thoughts.
First and foremost, I am a huge devotee of the Equal-Odds Rule. As far as I know, I'm the only person talking about it outside of academia. This Amazon review covers it pretty well:
The equal-odds rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist's average publication. In other words, those scientists who create publications with the most impact, also create publications with the least impact, and when great publications that make a huge impact are created, it is just a result of "trying" enough times. This is an indication that chance plays a larger role in scientific creativity than previously theorized.
So I read that, and I'm like - whoa. You know Neo in the Matrix? Whoa.
If you want to make excellent stuff, you need to make a lot of stuff.
I'd like your feedback, especially if you don't usually comment. (Veteran commentors' opinions are obviously very important to me too! But I'd especially like to hear from a few of the thousand+ people who read here daily and don't comment, if you can spare me a couple minutes.)
Some rough questions (though reply however you like) --
Why do you read here?
What do you try to get out of the site?
What does it mean to you personally?
Very good question. Here we go -
I saw your post offering advice help, so I thought I'd take you up on that. I'm young, pre college, so time is on my side. I'd like to create a web startup at some point in the future, at least that's the dream. Should I focus on homing in on my technical skills, or business skills? Right now, I know much less of the latter, but I recognize its importance in entrepreneurship.
Also, do you think college credentials are as important as real world opportunities? And any reading recommendations would be much obliged. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks so much,
What's cyclothymia? It's a mild form of the docs used to call "manic-depression," but which they re-name periodically. Cyclothymics can actually function decently well, and as such often don't know they've got it. If you cycle through highs and lows, are particularly artistic, or that describes someone you love, then read this post in full and please comment with your own experience. I'm still learning, myself.
AN INTRODUCTION TO CYCLOTHYMIA
Knowing the term "Cyclothymia" would have been very helpful to me a few years ago. This essay is plain English and, if I've done a good job, might help people who associate with a cyclothymic relate better to them, and might help a cyclothymic manage themselves better and produce better.
I'm against the "medical-ization" of life. We need medical terms, but we need to be able to explain things in plain English without labeling. Labeling, by definition, drastically simplifies.
Cyclothymia is simple at its roots, simple enough for a plain discussion without medicalization. Here's how it works for me -