This page is out of date as of late 2011. We'll get a new version up at some point, but don't hold your breath. There's some good crazy posts lately though, look at November and December 2011 as a jumping off point.
New around town? Good. Howdy. Welcome.
I'm Sebastian Marshall. You can read more about me on my About Page if you want the details. Long story really short, I'm a strategist, entrepreneur, technologist, avid reader and writer, casual historian, cowboy scientist, and I like doing some adventure and travel type stuff.
I make myself way more accessible than most people do. You can email me at sebastian -at- sebastianmarshall.com (brief emails get faster replies than long emails).
More contact info - please feel very welcome to reach out through any channel. I'm @sebastmarsh on Twitter - if you follow, I encourage you to send an @message to say hi. "@sebastmarsh hi how's it going?" will do. Here's Sebastian Marshall's Facebook - I spend traveling through countries where it's blocked (Vietnam, China, etc) so don't panic if I don't accept a friend request immediately. Next time I'm on a proxy or outside those places I'll approve. You can also find me at LessWrong and Hacker News. I comment extensively on HN, my profile there is lionhearted.
I started reading "Hagakure," which was written by the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716. I don't agree with everything in the book - some of the things Yamamoto-sama says sound crazy to my modern sensibilities, but there's some powerful quotes in here about bushido. Here's some I liked, with some thoughts of my own -
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaming one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
The first book of philosophy on bushido I read was the Budoshoshinshu. It had a significant impact on my thinking. One of the largest tenets of bushido is keeping awareness of your death in mind when you live. I try to do this, because it gives you a sense of urgency and importance.
A lot of times the principle is misunderstood - the principle is actually make preparations as if you'll live forever, but live this day that you'd be proud if it was your last. Bushido is not about being reckless. It's about keeping awareness of the end with you, and in doing so, living much more.
It's almost paradoxical - the man who is aware of his death, who relinquishes his claim on life, he lives much more fully. The man who is ignorant of his death does not live as much. Death is not something to be afraid of - it's something to be aware of. Being aware of it makes you more alive, and more effective, and more purposeful.