November 16th – November 30th, 2018
We should be wary of certainty. It’s a big messy, complex world we live in, and we barely understand our own simple minds, can barely get ourselves to eat right and exercise regularly. We can never be 100% sure of anything, because there’s always more to learn, always alternative explanations and different perspectives to consider.
A one-hour massage costs €8 and leaves me floating. It’s an interesting thing, massage. You pay a stranger to touch your body, sometimes intimately, for pleasure and relaxation. But if that stranger crosses an imaginary line and touches your genitals, well then, that’s something other than massage, isn’t it?
Down the rabbit hole this morning, looking up examples of straw-manning and steel-manning. There’s a video of Jordan Peterson being interviewed by Cathy Newman where she straw-mans the shit out of him, twisting and misrepresenting pretty much everything he says. Peterson, in return, delivers a masterclass on how to handle that kind of thing.
Close to feeling like my best self again, after the last few weeks of back pain and other ailments and no schedule and trying to get settled here in Chiang Mai. Today was like a fresh start, with a set schedule, solid deep work sessions, fasting since breakfast, an hour of reading, a stint on the elliptical, bed before ten. Damn it feels good to be a youngster.
Met up with a student of my course today in Chiang Mai. Quite the story he has. Home-schooled in the US by super-religious parents – we’re talking Westboro level – kicked out of the house when he was 19 for losing his faith, now 25 and a self-taught web developer enjoying life in Thailand.
Fascinating stuff in this book. I’ve long believed there’s a thin line between good and evil, and that we’d all most likely make the “bad” decisions we see others make if we had their same biology, their same history. And it’s easy for one bad decision to become ten. So yeah, this book is affirming all that. Which either makes me smart, or simply susceptible to the same biases the authors describe.
Found a quieter spot here, amidst all the madness. They’ve had to cancel a bunch of flights at the airport. Look up and it’s easy see why. A thousand soft lights floating in the sky. More are constantly being released by people all around. And I’m standing here enjoying the spectacle. The full white moon with all its yellow disciples. And a million smiles down below.
Enjoying the group coaching more than I thought I would. Essentially it’s like having a big deep chat with some cool people every two weeks, trying to help them level up or get unstuck. Each session brings new insights, or reminds me of some useful tool or concept I’d forgotten about. Going to try do more of this in 2019, less freelancing.
Not happy with my video this week. The topic didn’t test well on Facebook Live but I ran with it anyway, and then I tried to pack way too much in there, resulting in me up until 3am last night trying to get it finished on schedule. Weekend is now shook. Might be worth it if I was happy with how the video itself turned out, but I’m not.
The problem with the world today is that people think there’s only one problem with the world today. And usually that problem is “out there.” We think to ourselves, “If only those people knew what I know, believed what I believe, understood what I understand, then we’d all be better off.” This is, of course, completely delusional.
Recognized myself running into the upper limit problem again today. Been feeling out of sorts lately and I know what I should do to get back on track: a bit of meditation, some free writing, a touch of gratitude, a little planning. Easy stuff. And yet I resist doing those things. Almost like there’s a part of me that enjoys the suffering, the uncertainty, the sadness.
Been sitting here trying to write this for several minutes, nothing coming to mind. Well, that’s not true. Plenty of ideas have come to mind, but they all seem shit. They’re not, of course. They just seem that way. Been going through a phase of negativity lately. Hard to shake. Recognizing the negative thoughts as irrational doesn’t always help.
A pattern I’ve noticed when feeling a bit sluggish, going through a downswing: I’m more drawn to things that give me a sense of control, or a sense of comfort. For example, the YouTube channel Rationality Rules. Full of great, thoughtful content, but stuff I’m already predisposed to agree with. Watching those videos makes me feel better, more certain.
Regular working folks take vacation. I burn out and spend a week or two feeling lazy and unmotivated. Nah, not really. Just feeling sorry for myself this week, been my least productive for a long while. Definitely needed the rest, and I can take some. The trick is to know which plates to keep spinning, and which to let drop.
Closing my course tonight. Not many people have signed up before the deadline, and that’s fine. If anything it confirms that I’m doing the right thing, that it’s time to move on. Been thinking how I spent 3.5 years doing my no-fly RTW trip, and I’ve spent the 3.5 years since that ended building and running this course. Now, on to the next adventure.
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?
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These are my Momentos, vignettes I write daily and publish twice a month. They're incredibly self-indulgent and I'm surprised anyone reads them.
There's one for every day since February 27, 2013.