Cicero's final work is a masterpiece --
If you're used to reading books that spoon-read you rapidly without thinking, this might not do it for you. You need to read a paragraph slowly and analyze what lessons can be taken out of it, thinking about people you know that follow the precepts and those who don't, and getting takeaways from it.
But if you do that, I almost guarantee it'd give you new mental models and help identify some character flaws or operating errors you've got.
It's excellent, and a fast read. Knowledge of the history of end of the Roman Republic / start of the Empire helps give it context, but isn't necessary to get something out of the work.
We've all heard the expression "fat and happy" -- it's hard to imagine someone described as "fat and happy" getting a lot of things done.
But what is that, what do people mean by the phrase? Certainly there's some portly jovial people who achieve things, no?
"Fat and happy" seems to relate to being satisfied more than anything else.
We all need a measure of satisfaction. When you can't get no satisfaction, you're driven to fix, change, improve things.
There is a a path of neutral equanimity, an egoless path which transcends the needs for self-gratification.
Not a usual blog post, but I'm enjoying this drink so much that I have to recommend it.
Raw cocoa powder actually has no sugar in it -- surprising. It's pretty bitter.
It also has a chemical composition quite similar, but slightly different from caffeine. I read on other sites that the come-down from it is easier than caffeine -- I don't know, because I do both in a day.
But it is a stimulant, definitely, and it's delicious.
Stevia is a non-carbohydrate sweetener.
Lights Spreadsheet, Week 5
So, I keep this Lights Spreadsheet to keep track of the actions I most want to be doing each day.
It works as a control — it gets me to do more of these actions.
It also works as a warning sign — if I see I’ve had mediocre sleep or no exercise for 4 days in a row, it prompts me to fix that before things start getting out of hand.
An underrated skill --
Seeing an opportunity you know you can execute, you'd like execute, that you have a high confidence of executing, that'd be pleasurable to execute, and would pay off --
-- and still saying, "That would work, and yet, I'm not doing it."
It's rarely terrible ideas and drudgery that distract us from the big things we have to do. It's shiny stuff. Yeah, avoid pointless no-payoff shiny stuff. But the meaningful high-payoff shiny stuff might be even more dangerous.
The desert began to recede, giving way to harder ground. Hot sand transmuted into baked clay, and once again into rocky terrain.
It was nighttime now. The rolling waves of heat seemed to roll back; all the heat seemed to depart back to wherever it came, and it was surprisingly cold.
The boy kept walking, the terrain started to incline — he was going upwards.
Abruptly, he found himself on the edge of a cliff.
It seemed like the edge of the very universe — with no pollution from the lights of the city, no torchlights or electricity or campfires, the stars stretched for miles and miles, perhaps stretching as far as for-ever.
Good question from Guy Montag yesterday --
I don't disagree with Pascal's Wager because there's a negative opportunity cost(years of religious servitude) involved. I disagree with it because it's doing a dishonesty to myself to pretend like I know something when I just don't have the knowledge to make a judgement call.
So I have a question for you. "Do you think it's better to base your beliefs on what brings you opportunity, or truth? "
I think I'm pretty demonstrably in the very-much-likes-truth camp. We could say that, and that's the end of the story.
I'm very much in the yes we have free will camp. Judgment and decisionmaking happen. Descartes said "Cogito ergo sum" -- "I think, therefore I am" -- I've taken a similar approach to free will.
Besides, on the off chance we don't have free will and the universe is purely deterministic, you haven't lost anything. Why argue against free will? Making that argument only does something significant if we live in a universe with free will. If it's all deterministic, your judgments are already settled and automatic. You gain nothing in the no-free-will universe because you have no choice in that universe. Asserting your free will -- heck, just call it "will" -- this can only be helpful.
It's like Pascal's Wager without the opportunity cost. Declaring free will costs nothing. If you're right, it's useful to acknowledge and assert your will. If you're wrong, well, you were going to be wrong anyways, eh?
So, ok. Me on free will -- "Does it exist? Yes."
But I do muse over the mechanics of it. Clearly physics and causality reign in the universe; indeed, the universe seems to simply be physics and causality.
I suppose this isn’t news to anyone, but as soon as I started ensuring I hit my fitness targets each day, the quality of thought, action, sleep quality, and achievement across the board improved.
It was just a short swim three days ago, and then very simple bodyweight exercises — jumping jacks, air squats, pushups, bicycle situps — but apparently it’s enough to trigger that totality-of-whatever-it-is that makes fitness give its huge boosts.
The Lights Spreadsheet is nice in that, when things are starting to get shaky, it’s possible to precisely nail where, and look for correlations and causation. No fitness = a big problem.
One observation I’ve made recently is just how big the fall-off is from peak morning performance to the last evening-time thinking of the day.
The odds of me badly mis-estimating my chances of working and then screwing off procrastinating, eating junk food, or rationalizing some bad decisions is almost zero in the first 4-6 hours awake, and still very low the next 4-6 hours.
It’s that last run of hours in the day, when fatigue has kicked in and the mind isn’t fresh — that’s where bad decisions come in.
The thing is, when your cognition is compromised, it’s often hard to be aware of that very fact. At least, that’s how it happens for me.
Here, this is a common situation lately — it’ll be somewhere from 7PM to 10PM and I’ll have one or two more “medium-sized” chunks of work I wanted to do for the day that aren’t done.