I'm both surprised and flattered to get a number of concerned emails wondering where I'm at. I guess that's not-too-crazy: I used to post basically daily here, and now there hasn't been a post in almost a week.
So, where am I?
The answer is, I'm looking to do an order-of-magnitude quality improvement in my writing. Putting concepts on more solid ground, making them more actionable, writing in a more service-oriented fashion, covering things from first principles and background knowledge (so someone seeing something for the first time could put it into action right away), etc.
A problem with a lot of my writing in the past was that I wrote strictly about what interested me. This turned out some good pieces, but erratically and with no scope.
This resulted in an amazing regular readership of just absolutely marvelous people here who like to put together patterns and extract general principles from history, science, business, philosophy, etc. Which has been terrific and has greatly enriched my life, and I think a lot of readers and people in the dialog here have made some amazing gains too.
What have your favorite posts been on here? Why? What's been most useful to you?
I got a really nice mix of opinions yesterday (though there seems to a strong undercurrent on history, practical interventions, and maybe some more "narratives" instead of abstract pieces) -- now I'd really like to hear about your favorite pieces from the past, either series or specifically.
I'm going to go back and select a number of pieces that were pretty good and edit them to be something coherent and better. I really want to step my quality level up and do really great by you. This blog has long been a source of inspiration and a great way to connect with people, but I want to take it to the next level and really deliver stuff that's outstanding on all fronts.
All feedback super appreciated. Especially doubly true if you're on email and don't normally comment; the opinions of people who regularly obviously matter a lot to me, but if you're normally quiet -- your opinion matters to me too and I'd love to hear it.
So... What have your favorite posts been on here? Why? What's been most useful to you?
Any feedback on what you'd like to see going forwards?
Major changes are coming.
Thanks for reading here. I appreciate it. You'll be excited to see what comes next. Any feedback on what you'd like?
There is a memorable scene in The Terminator where the machine has taken damage, shuts down, and then boots back up.
Napping works somewhat like that for humans.
In the course of being alive, you're always doing little subtle damage to your brain and body and organs. Sleeping can help alleviate this damage and let your body repair itself.
What's miraculous about napping, though, is just how much can be repaired in such a short time.
I'd eventually like to spend time researching the exact mechanics, but I suspect that a lot of hormones and chemicals that have pooled in various places in the brain are -- for lack of a better word -- "flushed away" when you nap.
Thomas Carlyle; useful points on happiness from a more old-school perspective --
The only happiness a brave man ever troubled himself with asking much about, was happiness enough to get his work done. Not "I can't eat!" but, "I can't work!"--that was the burden of all wise complaining among men. It is, after all, the one unhappiness of a man--that he cannot work,--that he cannot get his destiny as a man fulfilled. Behold, the day is passing swiftly over, our life is passing swiftly away, and the night cometh, wherein no man can work. The night once come, our happiness, our unhappiness,--it is all abolished, vanished, clean gone; a thing that has been: "not of the slightest consequence" whether we were happy as eupeptic Curtis, as the fattest pig of Epicurus, or unhappy as Job with potsherds, as musical Byron with Giaours and sensibilities of the heart; as the unmusical meat-jack with hard labour and rust. But our work!--behold, that is not abolished, that has not vanished: our work, behold, it remains, or the want of it remains--for endless times and eternities, remains; and that is now the sole question with us for evermore! Brief brawling Day, with its noisy phantasms, its poor paper-crowns tinsel-light, is gone, and divine everlasting Night, with her star diadems, with her silence and her veracities, is come!
Working on a lot of things behind the scenes. Not much time to write, but here's the "Do It" video again, my absolute favorite and a must-watch:
I mentioned it in passing before, but would like to make it explicit:
Closing every browser tab at the end of the day has had an inordinate positive impact on performance.
Likewise, I often have 4 or 5 books open, and strive to close those, and project plans, which I also look to close.
Leaving stuff open and sitting around means you don't start the day with a blank canvas to work with. It's easy to get pulled into whatever was left lying around.
It also makes it easier to leave things that are almost complete "...to finish tomorrow." But at what rate are things finished tomorrow? ...not high enough, for many of us. Much better to finish and wrap up today, even if a little fatigued.
I was looking up Grossman's On Killing for the statistics on how many soldiers in the U.S. Civil War actually fired at the opposing side (around 90% didn't fire at the enemy at all; it's a complex and interesting book).
One of the explanations for why is that there were two "filters" a person had to go through before able to do violence --
It is as though there were two filters that we have to go through to kill. The first filter is the forebrain. A hundred things can convince your forebrain to put a gun in your hand and go to a certain point: poverty, drugs, gangs, leaders, politics, and the social learning of violence in the media — which is magnified when you are from a broken home and searching for a role model.
But traditionally all these things have slammed into the resistance that a frightened, angry human being confronts in the midbrain. And except with sociopaths (who, by definition, do not have this resistance), the vast, vast majority of circumstances are not sufficient to overcome this midbrain safety net. But if you are conditioned to overcome these midbrain inhibitions, then you are a walking time bomb, a pseudosociopath, just waiting for the random factors of social interaction and forebrain rationalization to put you in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'm going to work to ensure that doesn't happen again. No good. Things might be shaky for the next week or two with the software, so your patience is appreciated and my apologies for technical errors.
(If you're just checking in on the blog, people who subscribed by email got very many "Test" emails come to them. Will work to rectify it. Thanks.)
I added a little tiny box to my start-of-day routine. It's been miraculous.
I pick, at the start of the day, what's acceptable to procrastinate on.