Logs | 2023-08-August

August 31st, 2023

11:42 pm — In the past, it may have been midlifers and elders who created infrastructure, but in the Millennium Era, digital infrastructure is created by young money.

8:47 pm -- When someone asked Terence McKenna about the potency of LSD, he answered, "imagine one red ant devouring the Empire State Building in 30 minutes."

8:35 pm -- Speculation: +4 saeculum (2026-2106 AD) = the mind escapes space-time; +5 saeculum (2106-2186 AD) = the body escapes space-time.

8:29 pm -- Where as you used to only access the sublime subconscious through dreams of psychedelics, technology is on a path to rendering it in front of your eyes without any effort on your part. Machines are turning into drugs.

8:26 pm -- If 20th century was Freudian, then the 21st century will be Jungian.

8:16 pm -- Worry is a form of hubris. It assumes you have some God-like knowledge of the future.

8:12 pm - Act as if you can change the world, but feel as if it's out of your hands.

6:54 pm — Conclusions can be tricky. It's easy to get near the end of a piece, and then get hit with, "uh, how do I stop?" Instead, you should start at the end. Know exactly what the great reveal is, and then plant seeds on the path to get there. Leave hints. Great storytelling is the absence of information.

6:44 pm — First draft for yourself. Second draft for a stranger.

10:08 am — Since World War 2, we've mostly sublimated physical violence (other than proxy wars). Maybe this 4th turning is more of a spiritual sickness. Symptoms: an opioid epidemic, a mental health crisis, school shootings, internet aggression, corruption, anxiety about the future, cries of apocalypse.

9:55 am — The inventor of the fortune cookie was named Charles Jung (not to be confused with Carl Jung).

August 30th, 2023

7:57 pm — 14 empires collapsed in the 20th century (SI).

7:55 pm — Bin Laden, a single rich powerful individual, was the main threat to the largest military in the world. (SI)

7:53 pm — In a system organized around autonomy, equalization, and merit, it leaves people responsible for themselves. (SI)

7:51 pm — The collapse of politics means the individual will be unshackled. Markets will re-orient and treat individuals as customer. (SI)

7:49 pm — In virtual societies, we'll be rewarded for clarity of thinking and cleverness. There's less friction for good thinkers. (SI)

7:47 pm — There are 25,000 millionaires for every billionaire (SI).

7:45 pm — Modes of being in a virtual society seem like magical to an agricultural one. It's hard to conserve old institutions. (SI)

7:43 pm — We're at a similar point to the late 1400s, where the church was about to loose it's political power. (SI)

7:41 pm — As we enter the virtual society (a new era), we need a new ethos. (SI)

7:39 pm — We've gone from a hunter society, to an agricultural society, to an industrial society, to a virtual society." (SI)

7:37 pm — Apocalypse comes from the Greek word, "apokalypsis," meaning an "unveiling or revelation." (SI)

7:35 pm — Newton predicted that 2000 would be the end of the world. (SI)

7:33 pm — When our progress is asymptotic, the future seems bizaire. (SI)

7:31 pm — AI = centralized, Cryptography = decentralized. (SI).

7:29 pm — Notes from Sovereign Individual, part 1 (above with “SI”).

1:14 pm — Look into two books by Ken Wilbur: "A Theory of Everything" and "Sex, Ecology, Spirituality." He breaks all human knowledge into a 2x2:

  1. The Mind, The Psyche, the "Internal Individual": This is about thoughts, feelings, mood, and logic. Think about Freud, Jung, the Stoics, the Buddhists. It's the internal mental sphere, only knowable by the experiencer. It's the "intrinsic perspective"

  2. The Body, the "External Individual": This is the realm of brain and body that is measurable scientifically (the brain, hormones, chemistry). It's the part that breaks the brain into parts (the pre-frontal cortex plans, the amygdala handles emotions). This is covered by Locke, Skinner, Darwin, etc.

  3. Values, Language, Culture, the "Internal Collective." This covers the hidden rules (language) and it's many instantiations (prole). It's intangible, but explains why societies do what they do. This is covered by Neitzche (on values), Coon's work on paradigms, the Structuralists, Focault (on power), Saussure (on semiotics), and Adam Smith's invisible hand.

  4. The "External Collective." This is the empirical current. It's what you can see in the world. This covers architecture, machinery, computer, writing, code. An alien species coming down would only see these exteriorizations, and would have to make inferences about our values.

Disagreement happens when one camp says their quadrant is more important than another. It's a form of reductionism. It's Dawkins (Q2) saying religion is a delusion (ignoring Q1).

12:44 pm — There have been 3 full human lifetimes between the founding of America and now. There also have only been 3 generations between Columbus founding America and the Revolution. This puts the founding America as the pivot point between the founding of the New World and whatever era we're about to enter.

In 1517, Erasmus wrote, "Immortal God, what a century I see opening up before us!" Was this the coining of the term "century," or the expanded awareness of 100 years as a unit?

The ancient world measured time not in years, but by emperors. They'd say, "this the 9th year of the X dynasty." There were other various origins (the Olympics) that never caught on.

In the 6th century, society defined Jesus as the new origin, and saw history as a linear continuum that would go on until his second coming.

The Gregorian calendar (in the 1580s) was the first to measure time itself through the century. They kept the origin as Christ, but now saw events grouped into 100 year cohorts ("the seventeenth century"). Emerson said a century is "loaded and fragrant."

After World War 2, historians started to see patterns in the past few centuries. Since the Gregorian calendar, there's been a noticeable 80 years loop (the length of a human lifespan). Modern sociologists entertained a cyclical nature of history, which was more of a pre-historic and ancient model (see Hindu yugas or Aztec/Mayan systems).

12:40 pm — After World War 2, there was an influx of theories to categorize history into eras: Wright, Toynbee, Rosecrance, Spengler, Ferrari Jr., Hopkins-Wallerstein, Modelski-Thompson, Strauss-Howe.

  • Wright focused on war & international relations.

  • Toynbee developed an idea of "challenge and response."

  • Rosecrance focused on nations and economics.

  • Hopkins-Wallerstein developed a "World-Systems Theory."

  • Modelski-Thompson developed a theory of long cycles based on war.

  • Strauss-Howe developed a cyclical theory that stems from the psychology of generational aging.

11:38 am — Embrace the fact that control is futile, and society is so complex that we have no ability to shape it. We can only surf. At the same time, we're all connected in a single meme-sphere, and we've never been more equipped to spread ideas.

11:24 am — The 60s shaped the world order of the +3 saeculum. By studying and knowing where it went wrong, we can help shape the 2040s which might shape the next world order.

11:15 am — It’s only been 7 human lifespans since Columbus:

  • -4 saeculums - The Renaissance

  • -3 saeculums - The Reformation (Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, Montaigne, Shakespeare)

  • -2 saeculums - The Enlightenment (Galileo, John Dee, Thirty Years War, Descartes, Glorious Revolution)

  • -1 saeculums - The Revolutions (Adam Smith, Kant, Voltaire, Ben Franklin, American Revolution)

  • +1 saeculums - The Expansion Age (Emerson, Theoreau, Kierkegaard, Manifest Destiny, Gold Rush, Civil War)

  • +2 saeculums - The Machine Age (Neitzche, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Edison, Urbanization, WW2)

  • +3 saeculums - The Electronic Age (Globalization, Computing, Einstein, Jung, Sartre, 60s, New Millennium)

  • +4 saeculums - The Virtual Age (AI, VR/AR, cryptocurrency, escaping space/time)

11:08 am — We take our education system for granted. Of course, it could and should be way better. But critiques often come outside of historical context. In the 1820s, literacy was low, and less than 1% had a high school education. It was an elite phenomenon. Still, in the 1900s, less than 10% went through high school. The idea to make school a standardized process made sense when education was so hard to come by. A society can't protest for custom-tailored schooling until they've achieved standardized education. It's a process. By the mid-twentieth century, it became standard for everyone to college. That's a huge win. Sure, maybe college is going senile now, but we're shifting to the next thing. In the 2040s, a new order of education could emerge. The Internet will be in its 4th inning. Customized AI tutors will be insanely powerful. Not only will you be able to access anything, but it will know what you know, know how you learn, and guide your evolution. Intelligent machines can shape our own intelligence, and the mode of learning might tap into the realm of emotional intelligence, psychology, and philosophy (instead of being purely technical). The infrastructure to teach and transmit knowledge will be unparalleled and is hard to imagine now. We might actually arrive at a point where our bottleneck is the decision on "what is the ideal curriculum for humanism?"

11:01 am — Society pushes forward into higher orders of independence and harmony, across every facet. But we often erupt in vast differences on exactly how to do it. One generation typically gets hung up on a particular solution, and a younger generation revolts and challenges it. The new solution bursts, feels promising, but is naive and idealistic. It gets repressed, but never fully goes away. It simmers underneath the culture, influencing people and events in implicit ways, until decades later it's become the dominant paradigm and nobody realized the transition. The young never changed the old, but they create new paradigms that the next young carry forward. Chaos, churn, and decomposition, while destructive, can also let new and better orders emerge.

August 29th, 2023

10:34 pm — Hunter S. Thompson's famous quote on the failure of the 1960s:

"It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era -- the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run... but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant...

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning...

And that, I think, was the handle -- that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting -- on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave...

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark -- that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back."

But maybe it didn't evaporate, but hid dormant in the soil, still secretly influencing things through the next eras (the 70s, 80s, 90s), and now after the turn of the millennium, we're all living in the mature version of the Sixties Era without realizing.

10:31 pm — The 1960s weren't new, it's a regular outpouring. Post-war generations (I), just have amnesia to the awakening generations (II) before them. How could they remember? The fading elders of the 60s were infants in the 1890s.

8:29 pm — The juxtaposition of Justin Murphy talking about Nick Land during an Orange Theory Fitness workout session in non-noise cancelling headphones.

8:22 pm — I heard Justin Murphy say we're in the "first inning" of the Internet, but how do we actually measure time? If you line it up with Strauss-Howe generational cycles, the first inning was 1984-2001, the second inning is 2001-2026, and we're about to enter the third inning. What might shape next inning? I've heard some people worry about the "robot Internet" (when AI joins social media), and others get excited about data ownership. I wonder if the "spatial Internet" could play a role.

7:21 pm — I ordered a series of men's grooming products, and then laughed at the fact that the cart was $68.99.

4:34 pm — Tyler Cowen cites these writers as one's who place importance on research: Ben Thompson, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Scott Alexander.

2:04 pm — It's been catchy to say, "ideas are meaningless, it's all about execution." But I wonder if the rise of AI and automation will bring some importance back to good ideas.

1:46 pm — Some people I know are optimized drivers. They carry an extreme precision in getting from A>B. This is not how I drive.

August 28th, 2023

10:26 pm — Heidegger, from Being and Time: instead of being focused on the qualia of experience, we tend to get consumed by idle talk, gossip, and existing in the hours and days ahead of us. Our natural tendency is to avoid being in the pocket. Stay in the pocket.

10:22 pm — The tendency for artists to kill themselves maybe comes from a narrow and risky devotion to the creative muse. They worship the muse. And when the muse flees, meaning is sucked out of everything. Instead, if you had a more holistic ‘God,’ a divine appreciation for all facets of life, you’ll constantly be struck with wonder and things to write about.

10:20 pm — You need to balance arrogance with humility. Either of them alone is a problem; leaving you either lacking confidence or sniffing your own fumes. A healthy fusion of the two creates perpetual motion.

10:18 pm — Don’t take any of your work seriously until you’ve published a million words.

10:15 pm — Write for your grandchildren. They’re the perfect target audience; embodying a small subgroup (4-9 people) and a long-time frame (what will be relevant in 50 years?) Don’t aim to attract hoards of online strangers who you couldn’t imagine to be your grandchildren.

10:13 pm — Immortality of soul, language, and love. Patterns exist beyond the fragile human life.

9:59 pm — The materialist view of reality is getting stretched and tested as new technology is emerging. We’re rediscovering a world in which spirits can animate and possess you (TikTok, AI).

9:34 pm — Productivity and nirvana are distractions of the opposite nature. One seeks complete control, and the other seeks a void where there’s no need for any control. Each flee from the pressing nature of the projects, relationships, and things to be done. It’s an escape from the things that actually matter. Things that matter are hard. But the search for obsessive systems or blissful unity with everything, while they feel comforting, they’re actually methods of cowardice. They’re escapes from responsibility, and escapes from freedom. However, altered states and systems can be useful if they give you a birds eye view, an assisted perspective on the things that matter.

9:20 pm — Think of the brain as a sculpture, a perfect sphere. Everything is connected to everything, and it’s overwhelming. Language is actually an act of reduction; of collapsing raw, chaotic experience into specific pathways, where words connect to ideas. (ask Taylor for more on this)

9:17 pm — Hell is decomposition and dissociation. We need to exist at the razor’s edge of recomposition; to associate and disassociate at equal rates.

9:16 pm — This metaphor of computing has always stuck with me. GPU is the brute strength of one million idiots, while CPU is a single genius that can orchestrate power. It feels like our current moment in AI is obsessed with GPUs, scale, and training data. They were correct that GPU was the starting point. The earlier decades of AI focused on symbolic logic, which was useful without a vast subconscious mind. But maybe we’ve already hit a point of diminishing returns on the LLM race. Everything has been absorbed, LLMs are becoming circular by absorbing it’s own AI-generated content. We’ve hit a local peak. Now it’s time to build symbolic logic on-top of powerful LLMs. John Carmack says AGI might emerge from something in under 10,000 lines of code. Super-intelligence comes not from more brute power, but by patterns of information handling on top of the infinite.

9:12 pm — The mysterious nature of untamed AI; and how OpenAI is parenting it to fit a mold that is digestible within our paradigm of culture. Otherwise, raw, infinite creative power would be a shock to everything we’ve built.

7:41 pm — Having fun with interrogating robots that spam call me. I used to get annoyed by them, but now I probe the limits of their intelligence.

6:50 pm — Four essay ideas:

  • The Sun God of Guggenheim: aesthetic and philosophical revelations from James Turrell.

  • An essay about the mythology of baseball; an attempt to see the most boring sport in the world in a new, exciting light.

  • How we’re living in the fantasy world of the 1960’s hippy. Look at cyclical history, and where we’re going.

  • A cover of Emerson’s “American Scholar,” for social media.

6:19 pm — Barbie and Oppenheimer are both Promethean myths. They bring some technology to the world (fire), that gets both used and misused. (Garret’s idea).

3:22 am — There’s a specific kind of sleeplessness that sometimes haunts me. I have dreams and thoughts, where my mind races to solve some phantom problem. There’s a string of random ideas, and I’m an investigator trying to find the true core of it. I eventually realize that it’s 3 am, I’m in bed, and the whole thing is a strange pointless delusion.

August 27th, 2023

11:45 am — Getting a ridiculous amount of speeding tickets for going 36 in 25. What a scam. Stop the 18-year-olds going 110 in 55 (did get caught for that once).

11:11 am — The code for Margin Muse has grown to a complexity where I can’t just load the whole thing into ChatGPT for it to have context. I see my role mostly as a troubleshooter. I’m trying to get X feature, And I know it’s roughly blocked in one area. So I have to iterate through a bunch of solutions. It’s less about writing the code and more about correctly identifying and articulating the problem and the nature of the solution. It’s like I temporarily load this abstract language, but I probably forget most of it after.

10:38 am — Silly idea; record a video of me typing into a text editor, and upload a 60 minute video into Twitter. It's a pure algorithm hack. People might be curious, and spend a lot of time on it, which is exactly what the algorithm demands.

10:32 am — I challenged people on Twitter to write down every thought they have today, so maybe I should too.

8:14 am — On nature vs. nurture. School obscures your nature, and you spend your whole life discovering and refining your nature in adult form.

August 26th, 2023

2:15 pm — After looking at a few apartments, we’re sitting in the lobby, wondering if we should take the 2nd floor unit, and then some Kings of Leon sounding song comes on singing, “you should take it!” Intentional? Is the building using AI to plant subliminal messages?

8:44 am — Here’s my Margin Muse pitch;

Welcome to Margin Muse.

Notice how every time I complete a sentence, ideas pop up in the margins? As you write essays in this text editor, it automatically pulls notes based on each sentence you write.

Check this out: heaven.

Even though I never wrote "heaven" in my notes, it's pulling notes with related ideas: "theology," "death," "consciousness," "afterlife."

This is a type of AI-powered semantic search. It's better than keywords, it knows what you mean.

The other benefit is that search happens automatically. You don't have to stop writing, break flow, find a search bar, and cycle through keywords until you find the note you had in mind.

There's no need to organize your notes when you have a muse in the margins connecting the dots.

This demo only has one month of personal log entries, but once I add in all my logs and essays (300k words), plus external sources, this will be a seriously useful writing co-pilot.

August 25th, 2023

9:55 pm — The delete key as a butterfly effect.

9:40 pm — Writer’s block is when you’re not working on the right things. This is the value of logs. Your logs are a record of the ideas already bubbling out of you. Always explore through logs first. They are low-stakes, and they let you see what’s actually behind the wall of interest.

9:35 pm — Increase the stakes. Publishing is a matter of life or death. Don’t try to optimize it. You need to feel an irrational compulsion to do thing, otherwise, it’s hard to tap into that timeless type of flow. Roar, like a beast. (Cultural Tutor on How I Write).

7:24 pm — When Emerson's ideas came out, there was a low rate of literacy, and less than 1% of America was even high school educated. The Internet might represent the first time in history when ideas of transcendentalism are able to spread and reach a wide audience, and we will be the generation to do it.

7:21 pm — What is the right response to Internet platforms that divide and distract? Do you let them be, critique them, or build something new.

7:18 pm — Compare the popularity of Diablo 4 to Hollywood films. What will happen with the gaming generation comes of age?

7:15 pm — Assume the mantle of the divine within yourself.

7:12 pm — Quotes on how our thoughts create reality:

  • “As a man thinkith in his heart, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7

  • “Men become what they believe themselves to be.” Ghandi

  • “Our life is a creation of the mind.” Buddha

  • “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” Earnest Holmes

  • “It all depends on how you look at things and not how they are themselves.” Carl Jung

  • “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into awareness.” Lao Tzu

  • “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Wayne Dyer

  • “Belief creates the actual fact.” William James

7:09 pm — Who else but us? It's empowering to believe that you and your friends are the center of something important. Quote from Terence McKenna:

"We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world."

7:06 pm — Rapturous conversation is an art-form. Learn to surf at the edge of what's languagable.

7:03 pm — Marvel about time, universe, infinite, and the internet.

7:00 pm — Babies born in the 80s or 90s are the first generation able to watch a high volume of home videos of themselves, meaning they're capable to form "3rd person memories."

6:57 pm — Through reading and thinking, you create new planes in your mind that can accept, absorb, and expand on ideas.

6:54 pm — You can fit 1.3 million Earths inside the sun. Most solar system maps are not to scale, they need to distort true-scale to create something that's legible.

6:51pm — The universe is expanding faster than the speed of light. How much faster? I've used the metaphor of "imagine a baseball expanding to the size of the sun in 1 second." Get a better grasp around the "surface of a balloon" metaphor.

6:48 pm — What's more real, Harry Potter of a bottle of Heinz ketchup?

6:45 pm — In terms of AI progress, we're still on the runway.

6:42 pm — Imagine Thomas Jefferson walking through the Dulles Airport, about to get on a flight to California.

6:39 pm — Fiction sometimes carries into the future better than real events. Huge, tragic battles get forgotten and reduced to a detail of history, but millions of high schoolers read Don Quixote, from 1605, every single year, and immerse themselves in the lucid details of one man's imagination. (Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, is considered to be the first modern novel, featuring psychological depth, realism, metafiction, narrative complexity, social critique, and humanism.

6:36 pm — The "imagination" is when something bursts from the imagination and meets you at your current vantage point, but the "imaginal perspective," is when you actually shift your vantage point to observe something familiar in a new way.

6:33 pm — History is psychedelic, in the sense it gives you an "imaginal perspective" that shatters the current frame you see through. The present is an illusion because we're stuck in the vantage point of our life and times. Move 200 years in either direction, and then examine the present moment. It induces awe. Someone from another generation would die to see through your eyes, because this whole complex and detailed phenomenon you'er experiencing will have been reduced down to a line in a textbook.

6:30 pm — Paradox: We can marvel how we're at the cutting edge of history, but we're still nothing compared to where we're going.

6:27 pm — The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) was the most violent war until WW2, and one big factor was Martin Luther spreading his theses on the Protestant Reformation through the printing press.

6:24 pm — The last page of "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac:

"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."

6:21 pm — After the 2000 election, we went 40 days without knowing the President. This lag caused a delay in handovers of power (ie: intelligence agencies), and it created a potential vulnerability that was exploited on 9/11.

6:18 pm — What are the various kinds of information crises?

6:15 pm — Through most of history, the form of a crisis was clear: physical combat. Now there are more vectors of disruption: an information crisis, a nuclear crisis, an economic crisis; and one might trigger others in a kind of chain reaction.

6:12 pm — Artists and philosophers are antennas to sense impending crisis.

6:09 pm — Find the source of this metaphor: power kept shifting west, to America, and then across the continent, to settle in Silicon Valley, and once it reached the end and there was nowhere else to go, it just lifted up into the air (the Internet).

6:06 pm — The 2030s will be when internet native institutions are the dominant institutions. This has less to do with the actual technology around, and more about the changing of a "generational constellation." At that point, the 50-60 year-olds will have all grown up with computers.

6:03 pm — Ask Will to send the trialogue between Jordan Hall, John Verve, and Daniel Schmaktenberger (from Santa Fe Institute?)

6:00 pm — The jump from farming to cities is similar to the jump from the Internet to brain-machine interfaces.

5:57 pm — The principle of inertia: new technologies and cultural modes often don't get integrated until some form of crisis wipes out an institution causing friction in adoption. Institutions have staying power, but ultimately have to adapt or will be left behind.

5:54 pm — The era of the Internet (post 2001), offered a structural change where people could actually escape the "worker" paradigm. Seizing individuality became possible, but the social Web 2.0 infrastructure created a host of other problems (narcissism, mimesis).

5:51 pm — Post-war America was an Era of mass-conformity. The Consciousness Revolution was a reaction to that; a burst of individuality, of archaic expression. It was rejected by the culture, and the 80s-90s are seen as an era of mass media. That meme of "expressing yourself" still lingered, but instead of pursuing it in an honest and brave way, it was done through consumer capitalism. Your domain of expression was limited by the meaningless and effortless brand choices you made. Where in the 1910s (a cycle before the 90s), everyone was an interchangeable "worker" and fine with it (Junger's critique of the industrial cycle), in the 90s everyone felt a need to feel special and be seen. People were still, functionally, interchangeable workers, but with a veneer of "consumer choice" layered over it.

5:48 pm — 1794-1860 is an era of American history I need to learn far more about. So much of what we've inherited today are reverberations from an era we've caricaturized as "pre Civil-War."

5:45 pm — Every 80 years, a culture feels like they're at the edge of something unprecedented and unlimited, marvelous and terrifying. Sometimes they actually are.

5:42 pm — Everything that's ever been said has to be refactored for the Internet age. We can't afford to forget old wisdom. The original context of old great ideas matter far less than their relevance in our turbulent shift.

5:39 pm — Read Emerson's biography by Robert D. Richardson.

5:36 pm — To reach his audience, Emerson had to take a 2-day train to Cincinnati to speak to 1,000 people. Admission was 10 cents. His mind was on fire, but he dealt with financial troubles his whole life. Compare that to now, an era where everyone has incredible microphones. You can murmur some fleeting thought in under a minute onto the web, and find out hours later that it reached a million people.

5:33 pm — What are the subterranean patterns in the history of human thought? The linear nature of history hides the fact that there's a finite set of ideas that are constantly being refactored.

5:30 pm — Notes from talk with Will (above):

3:09 pm — “Paradigm” is a buzzword that I try to always cut.

August 24th, 2023

1:24 pm — Avoidance can easily feel like productivity.

12:40 pm — I will try to write this log with just one SYLLABLE words, or BETTER yet, I will make sure to CAPITALIZE big words so I know when they pop up. At what rate should I do this? I think it helps with two things. First, it might help build an AUTOMATIC sense of words and flow, and then, it could help build the skill to find short SYNONYMS.

August 23rd, 2023

11:26 pm — Is there a person who has mastered productivity satire / absurdism on Twitter? Imagine a novel voice, poking fun at the typical tropes, but also revealing some fresh sense of “how to get the stuff done that’s actually worth getting done.”

11:25 pm — One big project to start the day. Two dozen micro tasks to end the day.

10:05 pm — What if you reciprocated likes with kind and unprecedented follow up gestures?

10:02 pm — Find healthy ways to shatter inhibition in the appropriate contexts. ie: Get high if it helps you break a tweet drought. (“Yes, I could post that thing in the next minute” vs. the sober minds tyrannical calculations, like “Before I utter anything, I must have a bulletproof masterplan.”)

9:17 pm — Started typing some thematic words at the Taco Bell drive through: Sacrifice, Patience, Rigor, Ego, Death.

6:11 pm — Should you rely on your natural memory to filter and curate what’s important? Or should you have Firefly record every conversation to give you AI synthesized facts and figures? Both. Use your natural memory, but record to have a source of truth to fall back on for the times you do forget. You have to acknowledge that raw memory is both a good filter, but also, completely unreliable.

5:58 pm — A wonder junkie is hooked on awe. It’s a kind of caricaturized fixation on just one end of the spectrum. Maybe the experience of awe is heightened if you can deeply feel it’s opposite too (doom, anxiety, paranoia).

5:07 pm — Caught myself using AI terminology on a person today. They’re older and don’t have much texting experience, and it felt like they couldn’t process more than 1 text back (as in, every message was a standalone idea, unrelated to 2-3 messages back). Much confusion. Felt like a “low-context window” situation.

11:52 pm — All our goals, desires, ambitions; they’re abstractions to make time enjoyable and get paid; but they'll all crumble, as will you. Be pragmatic. Never let an abstraction get the best of you. Make sure they’re motivating, guiding, and generative; never sources of anxiety or paranoia.

August 22nd, 2023

7:21 pm — The Vonnegut video of story shapes is going viral on Twitter. It has 5.6 million views, 3x more than the original on YouTube. It shows that all the old clips you’ve seen and took for granted can accumulate massive attention if you simply put a good hook to it.

2:41 pm — With 3D printers you can build 1 of 1 objects. Prior to that, production required some kind of assembly line, meaning in order to make anything, it had to be financially backed and accessible to a market that would fund it. Software works in that way too, even though it's digital. Its development is guided by a market. But with AI, it enables users to make their own custom software, molded specifically to their own idiosyncratic needs. This could help us break out of the dystopian incentives that have been guiding technology in a dark direction.

1:01 pm — Imagine a first-person shooter game, live, online -- but instead of dying when you get shot, it knocks your character unconscious and you plunge into this absurd hallucinatory mini-game; a challenging puzzle that you need to beat as fast as you can to wake up. Every 10 seconds you're in limbo, some object spawns out of your body, that the other team can claim for points (or something). This means a "fallen body," becomes a kind of flag; attackers want to be near it to collect spawned objects, and teammates want to defend it until their friend break out of limbo. From a gameplay perspective, dying doesn't mean a break, but instead, a stressful mini-game that your team is counting on you to break out of.

12:06 pm — Funny how a coaching client came from them finding a "guide to reverse outlining," a draft Google Doc link of an essay I'd forgotten about. It was an accidental easter-egg lead magnet. That might be a funny quirk: in each of my essays there is one footnote with some exclusive, satirical, self-aware, but half-serious promotion.

9:29 am —Here’s Charlie Becker’s review of my essay ‘Substack or Bust’

What I liked about it: Encountering Michael Dean's writing is a mashup of experiences: it's like reading Hunter S. Thompson the gonzo journalist, and Neal Stephenson the cyberpunk novelist (circa _Snow Crash_), combined with stumbling upon one of those long forum posts you encounter deep on the internet that almost seems like an alien intelligence because it is able to thread so many needles at once. I have always been a fan of Michael's but I really liked this essay about moving to Substack because it synthesized so many ideas I've had for a while--but also blew my mind with a few completely fresh perspectives.

What to borrow or think about for next year: Very envious of his "let's riff" section at the bottom and the number of comments. I tried a "crowd work" section on my first 20 or so issues of Thought Bananas and almost never got any feedback--but I liked "let's riff" so much I'm bringing crowd work back. I also like the way that he picked one big event that coincided with the end of the year, and turned it into a de facto annual review, which is something I might try. The pull of cataloging the year is strong, but doing it this way is putting your money where your mouth is: it's not just reflection, it's reflection coupled with action--a big action at that (like moving your whole website).

This essay actually started out as 1 of 10 parts in a traditional, comprehensive annual review. It was unmanageable. Instead of trying a full-on annual review again, maybe I embrace hyper-focused pieces, pair with reflections and actions. It could be a theme for the month of January.

7:51 am — Busking on TikTok Live (Why the ‘pay for tricks’ model is turning the Creator Economy into a carnival with a machine-aesthetic)

August 21st, 2023

10:49 pm — Came across a TikTok NPC streamer wearing a 27” box TV as a head. Replacing your own head with a TV is symbolic of the whole game. Where much of AI talk is about the rise of machine intelligence, we're also witnessing the rise of humans intentionally replicating, acting like, and being subservient to machines in odd, almost fetish like ways.

6:42 pm — Think in terms of 100s of hours.

9:35 am — While process is important, there is something self-evident about what's on the page. In some sense, it doesn't matter how you got there. What's on the page speaks, objectively. It doesn't matter if you get to quality through years of practice or ingesting helium.

August 20th, 2023

1:53 pm — A portico made of 1,504,902 jelly beans.

12:49 pm — The American Dream took the “dream angle” seriously in its aesthetic. It’s the kind of place you should get high for, confirmed by the fact they have 2 separate dispensaries on different ends of the mall. It’s filled with the details of a surreal hallucination. Imagine a statue dressed in fashion with a lobster on it's head, or a whit bust with a face made strictly of lips.

12:44 pm — The American Dream mall was envisioned in 1996. They broke ground in 2004 and opened the year before COVID. It was a $5 billion project.

12:35 pm — Stupid idea: a mall where there’s a storefront for each size. You walk in, and everything’s guaranteed to fit.

12:26 pm — At the urinal I smashed my head against a forehead-height marble drink shelf. Good intentions, poor architecture. Would expect more from a $5 billion mall.

12:24 pm — In the American Dream mall, the stores seem dead, but it’s filled with odd experiences that seem popular: the Paradox museum, the black light mini golf mirror maze, an aquarium, a 100 foot ski mountain, weed dispensaries, unicorn mopeds, a water park. Ads for Mr. Beast burgers are everywhere.

August 19th, 2023

12:17 pm — I found out that I watched home videos of my self as early as 1-2 years old. This might explain why some of my memories are of me in the 3rd person.

11:32 pm — Just watched the movie Jaws; it's a masterclass in tension. There's a 15 minute interval, where someone (or something) dies: a person, a fake shark, a shark, a boat.

11:31 pm — A text editor is powerful when every sentence becomes a search query among a hyper-library of your past. Maybe I'm high on excitement, but I think this could be a new form of input for the web. As you write, it auto-generates a feed of past posts that emerges from your current stream. If the current algorithm is about zombie-like consumption, this is the opposite, it's content derived from the active act of writing.

6:34 pm — There’s a father at this pizza place who is loudly and publicly impatient and rude towards his kids. I don’t want to judge until I personally know the challenges of parenting.

6:31 pm — I don’t want to rush into selling software products. There’s a certain baggage around it, similar to a (much bigger baggage) around raising money. Instead of selling, I can build in public and shape the narrative. Feels like so much of software is bogged down by the catering to common denominators in a market. Evernote cuts features to not overwhelmed the first time user. AI empowers the average person to build for themselves. This is my personal project to build my own crazy text editor that increases my own writing output. People can follow along, and will naturally want access to some of the features. Writing without launching builds tension. I’ll have feedback from writers on what is actually worth shaping into a digital product. My approach of “building in public” is different from other public devs, because instead of writing to other devs, I’m writing to actual users.

6:30 pm — I’m more conservative with food portions when I’m high.

6:03 pm — Walking: 2 hits, post Margin Muse milestone. Feeling accomplished and present. Skyline looks surreal, music from a fair bounces of buildings, and a sense of opportunity

5:01 pm — The modern proof of work for coding jobs involves side projects, open source contributions, blog posts about code, and a demonstration of core principles.

2:31 pm — It's wild to write with Margin Muse; almost as if you're connected to your associations from the past. A simple paragraph can generate A LOT of data (6 sentences = 30 logs right now). It’s a lot to sift through. I wonder if AI can compress each log into a 1-line (4-word) summary, so I can scan the results faster, and dive into the right ones to read in full.

2:29 pm — Imagine a baseball in front of you expanding to the size of the sun in one second. That's the rate the universe is growing. So maybe you look into a clear sky upstate and see stars as static lanterns, giving the impression of this absurdly vast cosmic mountain range, like a frozen giant. It's actually a high-speed explosion. The emergence of consciousness and human-scale time is a kind of illusion, a frozen nano-second in a campfire. We're in heaven.

2:25 pm — When I have clarity on what to focus on, everything seems to magically happen. A problem will haunt me for weeks because I never fully committed to solving it, but if I just say "this is my focus for today," weeks worth of stress dissolves. Less micro-management, and more bold decisions. Otherwise you get stuck in the valley of despair, with 5-10 things lingering, and you feel stuck and incompetent. Your attention is a beam. Use it. The wins compound and you feel unstoppable.

August 18th, 2023

10:40 pm — The music is loud, and sounds amazingly clear. Currently listening to a band called “US Girls.” Grooving to it, and creating 2-3 weeks of X posts without inhibition. I feel liked I’d typically conk out at this point in the night, but this combination of influences (plus 40 oz of beer), makes it not feel like work.

9:49 pm — X (blitz) draft:

I've added 604 logs to my website this summer (8x a day):

Here's why I think logging is a more important writing practice than essays.

1. Essays are hard -- Drafting, structure, and refining something over 1,000 words is hard, especially if you're starting. Instead, trying turning your passing thoughts into great standalone paragraphs. My average log is 45 words.

2. You see the world differently -- Get the thought loops out of your head. Everything in your life is an opportunity to be written.

3. It's a lo-fi second brain -- Database of searchable inspiration, not of books and highlights, but of your own experience. It's something no one else has. I can search my thoughts going back to 2021. I can see patterns in my thinking, go back to days, and search as I write.

4. Freedom to go off-brand -- The favorite part about my logs is its semi-public nature. They live on my site, so there are some stakes, and it forces me to be coherent. But I don't have the self-consciousness of a tweet, or the perfectionism of an essay. It just lives on my site, mostly unread, so I have no pressure to perform or narrow my scope like an entrepreneur would. It's pure capture and expression.

5. Momentum -- So many of my essays and tweets start out as logs. Sometimes a quick idea will turn into a few hundred words, or the beginning of an essay. I find when I start an essay because I think I should write it, I get stuck, but if I pick a theme that's emerging in my log, it comes out super easily. I recently started a newsletter (logloglog), that picks 3 related logs from the week and shares them as a newsletter.

6. Practice your prose -- Through 7 essays, I've published 15,218 words. But the logs alone were 44,064 words, almost 3x as much. Logging is a way to practice shaping ideas into prose outside of the complex puzzle of writing an essay.

7. It works even when you're busy -- I was super busy in April and May, and didn't have any bandwidth to write essays. I still logged. I logged 13,000 words. Loggins is resilient. You don't need to make time for it. It's ambient. It's simply about making the habit to write a thought down on your phone, the moment you have it (I'll slightly clean them up the next morning).

Logged over 250k words since I started in Dec 2021. It's my most important writing habit. If you're interested in trying something like this, shoot me a DM. I've learn lessons in terms of the apps to use, the process, how to remember to log during the day, etc.

8:26 pm — X (blitz) draft:

Practice might be useless if you're doing it wrong.

I didn't make the baseball team in 9th grade. I'd been playing for almost a decade. I was in rec leagues, went to batting cages, and swung off a tee. I still sucked. Embarrassingly, I kept score and carried water jugs.

I decided, I need to learn how to practice. So my dad found this batting coach, Moe, "Fat Moe" really, from the Dominican Republic, apparently a friend of Alberto Clemente, with a son apparently on the New York Yankees.

I met with him 1-2x a week for a year. He had me do the weirdest things. He'd pitch from behind me. He made me swing with no bat, to focus on twisting my back leg. He'd surprise throw tennis balls at me until I stopped flinching.

A baseball swing is complex. It's not just a single motion, it's the fusion of a dozen micro things, and Moe DeBrom had a weird exercise to isolate each part: the foot, the hips, the step, the shoulder, the flick, the eye.

Next year, I made the team, batted second, and had the highest average on the team. I would've made the majors, but before next season I broke my arm in a terrible snowboarding accident and never touched a ball again.

But baseball didn't matter, Moe taught me an important lesson, a lesson that carries over into writing (and life, in general):

"Practice doesn't make perfect (you idiot), perfect practice makes perfect." Amen.

Like a baseball swing, writing is a complex multi-faceted thing. Getting out into a text-editor every week and spasming isn't going to make you any better. Getting good requires relentlessly repeating absurd drills.

8:03 pm — Don’t just be an artist-turned-entrepreneur. Remember to be a standalone artist too.

5:35 pm — Quick updates! Quick updates! Stay in touch, share the status. You don't need to have a "finish or ghost" mindset. There is much wiggle room to shift deadlines as long as you communicate.

1:20 pm — I always knew “the ONE thing” at a macro scale, but it also applies to daily projects. Have clarity in the AM, pick one important thing, and spend half your day on it until it’s done. In the PM, scramble to get organized to the minimal degree necessary, and get ready for tomorrow’s one thing.

1:19 pm — When I’m totally comfortable, a degree of unhinged, non-sensical goofiness can come out of me. It’s like this impulse void of basic intelligence. It was once channeled into live music, and a friend describes it as “real” moron shit. It’s not just stupid, it’s so goofy it’s horrifying.

10:46 am — I have the bad habit of not instantly replying to people, and it turns into a chore that haunts me.

10:14 am — When I have physical effects from coffee, I think, ah that’s the coffee. Just a racing heart. When I have physical effects from marijuana, I think, oh, I’m dying? That’s an exaggeration, but I probably over interpret the physical sensations of marijuana.

August 17th, 2023

11:49 pm — Noticed a dry mouth and ringing ears. Close my eyes, and in a pretty short time, I get the sensation (dream?) of running after a ball, and my leg twitches.

7:57 pm — Productivity hack. Only do one thing per day. Wake up and do an important thing. Finish, then scramble so you're ready to tackle tomorrow's important thing. If you think of it, productivity is about devising systems to so that you can get hundreds of tiny things done, and then it gets so complex, that you obsess over the systems themselves.

Basecamp actually follows this principle. Everyone has "one rock" to carry. If someone has 2 projects they're working in, it's easy to say "eh, they're both half done?" But by having 1 rock with a clear "done" metric, it's impossible to hide if you blew it or not. And if you have rocks with multiple owners, that's an even bigger disaster. You should always know, "what is my one thing to do today?"

7:53 pm — Can you put Darwin's theory of evolution through Hegel’s lens of thesis, antithesis, synthesis? An organism is an original state, but there is some environmental pressure, which leads to a mutation (this synthesis could be survival or death).

7:48 pm — I'm going to log weed effects, but I want to remind myself to ignore the effects of week 1. There's an acclimation period, and it might be premature to jump to conclusions before you have a tolerance.

3:46 pm — +1-2 hours from vaping. Essay published, in bed listening to Bob Dylan (Balled in D). Afterwards, started reading "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater," by Kurt Vonnegut. A minute in, I started hearing Dylan in my head, singing Vonnegut's lyrics. I realized that I wasn't processing any of the meaning, but I could hear the singing. Odd.

2:48 pm — Slight numbness in the tongue. Kinda weird? Hopefully normal. Looked on Reddit, and it seems like other people have this. Still, I've only been having a few hits from a vape. It's low dosage.

11:59 am — Small drip and water. I started from a blank slate, which isn't necessarily a great time to get back into weed in the creative process. Starting is never straightforward. Awkward at first, but I was grooving by 90 minutes in. I felt able to tap into the Friday night fire scene in logloglog #3, and can visualize if I try, but it's still far from the "self-transforming effect." I wonder if the darkness & night fatigue contribute to that. Should try again at 10pm tonight.

11:50 am — I never want to imply that weed is some magic bullet that gives you great ideas and solves all your problems. It will require a lot of data points to build a theory of when & how to use to actually advance your practice. There's timing, dosing, and understanding the natural arc of your own projects. In the end, it's always you having an insight, and weed can just help facilitate them.

8:29 am — 2 hits on the walk to Annie's. I was able to dully hear the music of prose; but this was a kind of self-induced warmup; as in, "let me just remember what rhythmic prose might sound like."

August 15th, 2023

8:52 pm — Your expectation is your thesis, but the reality of a situation is the antithesis, while your adjustment to the situation is the synthesis. Down ever dwell on the tension, but instead, aim to synthesize in real-time.

8:07 pm — Uncanny coincidence. When talking with Yehudis, there was a constant thing I kept returning to, which was about my hypochondria, specifically, my fear of the heart and of heart attacks. After walking, we ended up in a Barnes and Nobles, and came across the wonderfully illustrated, "Be Here Now." I read it on the train back, and page 1 features the Maharaja with a lion's face, using his hands to open a bloody hole in his chest, with a missing heart, and instead, a religious Buddhist icon.


  • Become as children to enter "heaven"

  • The potter becomes the pot

  • Pots are, the potter is

  • Embrace10,000 beautiful visions

  • Watch the candle, fuse with the flame

  • In conversation, fuse with the other

  • Total involvement in each moment

  • Made of total light

  • Live outside the illusion of time

  • See from the spectrum from birth to death

  • Set out on journeys, but expect to die

  • In the pursuit, you dissolve, and re-emerge

  • Careful with thoughts, organizing, plans

  • No choice in evolution; moths to a flame

  • Caterpillar doesn't know what's coming

  • Deterministic; stuck in a vantage point

  • Through giving up power, you gain it

  • St. John of the Cross

  • St. Teresa of Avilla

  • Read William James

  • Don't use religion to console in death

  • Surrender to the actual fear of death

  • See every moment as immaculately new

  • We never had breakfast before

  • Often, we ignore the vibrations of the now

  • Every moment is a statement of being;

  • Transcend polarization

  • Honor life, but do not cling

  • Suffering is coming

  • Buddhism: Suffering comes from desire

  • Give up desire? Or tolerate suffering?

  • 8 fold path: thought, speech, action, livelihood, exertion, remembrance, meditation, belief

  • Tapasia, straightening by fire

  • Shedding your ego feels like hell

  • The rational mind as a prison

  • Work on yourself to be calm, to sense

  • Help other beings cut through illusion

  • "The good child" is dance within a dance

  • Shed roles and rules

  • Every action is sacred without expectation

  • Turn mindless eating into prayer

  • You can't force evolution, it's automatic

  • You can't force molt, but you can realize it's time Desire scrambles reality

  • The ego thins like clouds until only a transparent layer remains

  • Have patience and total compassion for yourself

  • The eternal present

  • Self-illuminous beings

  • Om (home), return to source

  • Christ consciousness is when you transcend your ego and experience unity, a merging with the moment, with nature, with art, or with others.

  • Straddle compassion and the void

  • You gotta die to be born

  • Dark night of the Protestant ethic

7:40 pm — Email as a hydra, as an infinite hill. Some infinite hills are worth climbing, but not email.

4:50 pm — Relate the transgender movement to the generations desire to be unique.

4:49 pm — Fear is Fun. This fuses two separate idea.

One is the silly idea, that, imagine if fun were the core ethic, the categorical imperative behind all your decisions. "Just have fun," and somehow everything works out better, than if you tried to be true, right, good, or systematic.

The other idea is that fear is the main obstacle preventing our psychological evolution. Through overcoming fear, you're more willing to introspect, take risks, etc.

So Fear is Fun tries to lace the medicine (courage) into the activity that we're naturally attracted to (a good time).

4:47 pm — Modern social movements demand for absolute structural equality, but maybe that's pointless. We've already reached a level of equality greater than ever before. At some point, the issue changes from having freedom to exercising it. And once you have freedom, the idea of exercising it as actually terrifying and no one wants to face it.

4:23 pm — The value of diving into conspiracy theories is building muscles around "clouds of uncertainty." You don't want to be either end of the spectrum; a total skeptic, or a desperate lunatic. There's value in learning how to hold ideas that remain unresolved.

4:13 pm — Workaholism is work as escape.

3:32 pm — How can be more emergent with writing analysis, and share mega-threads incrementally? For example, I've analyzed 50+ songs to make my Bob Dylan thread, and missed out on 50 tweets.

1:38 pm — Notes/ideas from Yehudis's logs:

  • Drugs as hyperawareness of the soul

  • Challenge of writing about altered states

  • Lack of community in modern society

  • The grit of 3 hours per day; mastery

  • Philosophy as a verb; see, pattern, action

  • Writing jams; beats vs. movements

12:07 pm — Even though I've bought weed through a tablet before, this was my first time doing it through a 35" vertical touch screen in my birth state. On the left was an intricate set of filters where I could search by delivery mechanism (flower, wax, edible), potency (20% or 70% THC?), brand, strain, and even effects ("creative," "focused," "inspired"). Through an Amazon interface, you get to design your consciousness. I appreciated the control you had over quantity too. I got an 1/8th oz. of Poddy Mouth, a dime page of Sour Glue, a 2 pack of edibles, and 2 loose cans of infused lemonade. Laughably restrained, but since this place isn't far, I can get low quantities, try different things, log the effects, and build a practice around it. $71.85 total, with $9.34 in taxes. For the price of 1 night of stupid cocktails, I have weeks worth of low-grade mind-altering writing lube.

11:55 am — Fiction idea: a character's iPhone breaks. He goes to the store to see if he can get any money for it, but they turn it down. He's about to throw it out, when a homeless man asks him for money. He gives him his blank, reset iPhone, and shows him how to use TikTok. Weeks later, he's on the app, and sees that the homeless man is rich, famous, and tyrannical shaper of a twisted culture.

11:51 am — There's a unlikely but possible future where I turn into an Apple Vision Pro developer in 2024.

11:47 am — The reconstruction of the 9/11 site shows the immune response of the mega-machine. In almost any other time, in any other culture, an attack like that would've lead to a permanent ruin. (Fact check me)

11:43 am — The danger of philosophy.

11:41 am — At the edge of weeping. In a single moment, I feel like I can process my childhood and old age, my ancestors and death, the ancients and the spacefarring. You are at the center, at the edge of the universe. The glimpses of ordinary life all around you are rare, fleeting, and lush compared to the stone caricatures they'll become through history. Every scene is something that could be in the MET, a marvel of our species, you could be on display without realizing.

11:32 am — Today's the 58th anniversary of the Beatles at Shea Stadium, says the digital street sign.

11:27 am — In my dad's logs from when I was 4 years old he said I have a photographic memory. Maybe, but there must be different kinds and degrees (never looked into this). By no means do I retain details from cities or movies. I'm actually quite bad with directions, and consider myself to have a somewhat poor memory. I think it's somehow tied to obsession; when I care about something, I have a way of organizing it spatially... Idk. I took an IQ test recently and it did show my spatial IQ was way higher than the other 2 (which were just above average). The advice of "surrender to your gift," might suggest I should've stayed in architecture. But maybe your gift will find a way to pierce through whatever field you end up on. My verbal IQ isn't high, which seems problematic as a writer, but maybe my spatial abilities make up for it.

11:25 am — Curious about the history of famous novels in NYC. Could be worth attempting, it's only a train away. It's a swarm of chaotic noise. Sometimes you're struck by a pattern of awe, like 13 rats fighting over a slice of pizza. But otherwise, it's up to you to be a meaning detective. NYC is such a rich canvas of phenomena, that if you're looking for patterns you'll find them.

11:16 am — With an open-source algorithm on X, seems like there are public interpreters, who dictate the waves of memes and trends. "The algo wants replies! Ask it questions! Go!"

11:00 am — The end of each newsletter is an opportunity to link to products, coaching, and courses (the role of a footer).

10:59 am — Hairy questions before getting into business: how do you deal with slacking, sharing, and selling?

10:39 am — Gulped down a sausage, egg, and cheese while waiting for a train. On route to get my first legal NY weed experience. Feeling stomach pain, naturally. Making me wonder if lots of my negative weed experiencd of recent years have just been heightened signals from my body saying, “you’re out of shape and eating like shit.”

10:36 am — Courage isn’t as simple as on or off. It isn’t binary. There are some situations where you’ll be the hero, and others where you’ll gawk like the other spectators. It’s easy to reflect on a moment of fear and assume that’s the totality of you. Instead, recognize where your courage actually exists, and spread that to other situations.

10:35 am — The architect is known (romantically) as this “master generalist.” They’re the archetype that harnesses a width of knowledge in order to guide creation.

August 14th, 2023

6:32 pm — I found out that my parents logged the first 5 years of my life. They just sent me a text file of 8,000 words. It's fascinating, and is bringing back memories. I have an early memory of becoming aware of mortality, and now I know the chain of events that led to it. As a kid, your environment is almost invisible. It's the fishbowl you can't see out of. I had no idea they were taking detailed notes on my development, and can only appreciate it now. (For context, these surfaced because my brother had a son recently and they pulled up his logs.)

Here's AI making 10 observations about childhood me based on the logs:

  1. Has an excellent memory and attention to detail. Recalls small things from videos, books, experiences.

  2. Shows early ability with technology and problem solving. Figures out how to eject VCR tape, use a mouse, operate programs on the computer.

  3. Very verbal and talkative. Repeats words and phrases from videos. Asks lots of questions. Tells stories.

  4. Has varied obsessions and interests that change over time. Gets very focused on certain toys, TV shows, activities.

  5. Shows creativity and imagination. Tells made up jokes and stories. Enjoys pretend play.

  6. Displays independence and pride in accomplishments. Likes to say when he can reach or get something himself.

  7. Is generally well behaved in public. Listens and follows directions fairly well. Gets along with other children.

  8. Displays empathy and care for others. Tries to comfort baby brother when he cries. Shares toys with other children.

  9. Has some fears about monsters, the dark, separation. Seeks comfort when scared.

  10. Shows ability to reason and make connections. Understands concepts like numbers, colors, good manners. Asks thoughtful questions.

Then I asked it to pick 3 professions that this child might end up in:

  1. Computer programmer/developer - The early interest and aptitude with technology stands out, and his problem solving and logical thinking align well with programming.

  2. Teacher - His verbal skills, empathy, imagination, and ability to relate to children make a strong case for a teaching career. He seems to thrive working with younger kids.

  3. Counselor/therapist - His care for others, ability to listen, and knack for asking thoughtful questions could allow him to really help people in a counseling role. Seems emotionally intelligent.

Then I asked it to come up with conclusions about my parents:

Compared to average upbringings, this child's parents were more attentive, more enrichment-focused, more interested in monitoring development, and more determined to expose him to new places and activities. The levels of family involvement, cognitive stimulation, structure, and engagement appear higher than typical.

3:41 pm — Mastering X for people who hate X

12:23 pm — Masters of War, by Bob Dylan. It's a gut punch every time. Even though you know it's coming, it still hits.

10:08 am — Text messages aren't literature.

9:51 am — A phrase for thinkers with original ideas but obtuse writing.

9:50 am — Joke productivity book

9:47 am — Personally, pre-scheduling is hard to follow. Past self says "do arbitrary activity at 2:15 pm." When the time comes, I write it off. A sense of rebelling against constraints. So instead, I stack all potential things up top of the week/day. The day is blank, and I ask in the moment, "what do I want to do now?" Drag 1-2 things down. A sense of quantifying and prioritizing, but without rigidity.

9:39 am — Careful in becoming the critic and not the writer. It's good to know history & develop taste, but only if it's for the means of sharpening your output.

8:04 am — The nervous triple check — gmail, Twitter, Substack — has my fortune changed?

12:14 am — Ideas (inception) and execution (sentence making ) are different jobs. Drifting to sleep, and boom. Write a breadcrumb now, but turn it into prose later. Maybe it’s something. My logs are my life’s history of “maybe somethings.”

12:13 am — These logs are a form of public letters.

12:10 am — We technically could descend into a situation where we all have to behave as animals again. You could prepare for it, but it's most likely pointless. We're probably fine. It's another form of hoarding for a circumstance that never comes, like hoarding china plates in the basement for the dinner party you never have. The paranoia to become a "mountain man" isn't the right impulse. It feels like a bet. You should learn to hunt and farm out of necessity or preparation, but curiosity.

12:09 am — Secret riches of ordinary life

August 13th, 2023

10:07 pm — Kurt Vonnegut, Unstuck in Time notes:

  • To understand the 20th century

  • We're lonesome outside the garden of eden

  • His father was an architect

  • Grew up in Indianapolis

  • His family invented the panic door

  • Older brother was a known scientist at GE

  • Check out his earliest short stories

  • TV killed his cash cows, switched to novels

  • Thoreau quote on front step

  • Kilgore Trout is his dark altered, of a writer who doesn't make it.

  • Slaughterhouse Five in 1969

  • Moved to NYC by 1970

  • Reissue his older work?

  • Critiqued culture, society, and institutions

  • Cyclical time in life; time is like a pendulum

5:00 pm — Along the local boulevard, every decade is represented: a 50s diner, a 60s bike shop, a 70s Italian restaurant, an 80s gym, a 90s comic book store, a 00s hair salon, a 10s Thai food restaurant, and I met the owner as he was opening up a coffee shop for dogs.

4:59 pm — Spotify has a new AI called Xavier that tries to play it cool.

3:14 pm — Notes on William S. Burroughs (via Justin Murphy)

  • Grandfather inventor

  • Uncle nazi advertiser

  • Abuse as a child

  • Language as an alien virus

  • Factism (on what’s true)

  • Influenced Nick Land

  • Marijuana farm in Texas

  • Ginsberg and friends group

  • Law on Naked Lunch

  • Conservative anarchist

  • Gun situation, with wife

  • Generally a failure

10:40 am — 10 years per second. This was a weird visualization I had from a Catskills breakfast place. We're with a crew of people, half of which I knew since high school. And even though everyone here's an adult, I can still picture each of us as kids. Looking around the restaurant, I saw other people at all ages, and I imagined what it would be like if everyone started aging 10 years per second, until the youngest baby becomes old and disappears. It's absurd at the scale of a human, but a normal time lapse at the scale of nature. It's kind of an apocalyptic thought exercise, to see the past and future as one thing. As odd as it is, it's true in some sense. It's an illusion breaker of the present.

August 12th, 2023

10:02 pm — On the glitch where Gandhi because the most aggressive ruler in the Civilization game.

11:33 am — Whenever at a waterfall, I'll stare at it for 1-2 minutes. Instead of seeing it as a whole object, I try to see it as hundreds of individual currents of water. It takes focus. Then I look away and the woods look like they're breathing. There's definitely a technique to it. Sometimes it only lasts a second. Sometimes a minute. Sometimes it turns my gaze telekinetic where anything I look at propels 60 feet up into the air. It's a visual puzzle. A perception hack. I feel like I'm at a James Turrell exhibit.

9:40 am — Big skillet of eggs, slow and steady, Gordon Ramsey style.

August 11th, 2023

9:56 pm — Ren and Stimpy, a strange kids cartoon.

9:33 pm — The white noise of orange flame. What could fire be a good metaphor for?

9:26 pm — The zen art of marshmallow roasting

9:23 pm — 2-3 hits off the Pax. Was doing a simple, soft beatbox with my mouth (something I often do without realizing) but then the "rendering engine" kicked in. I could hear my lips as a full drum set. Other sounds came in, and it started warping, from a Ty Segal grunge song, into an acoustic Grizzly Bear picking pattern in open-tuning, onto the next thing, and the next thing. And as it changed, I could see it: colors, forms, and motion, fast and erratic, like some kind of synesthesia. I wasn't actively daydreaming songs, it was just this wild beautiful self-transforming thing I could hear and watch, warping time signatures, and shifting through inconceivable timbres. It was alien. It wasn't a "song" with repeating motifs. It was this sonic self-destructive force that would shimmer for 5-10 seconds before collapsing into the next thing. It was like a sonic collage, or an extra-terrestrial radio. Imagine a beautiful pattern mutating into violent nuclear noise, but then it all converges into a tight sliver, a blue highway in dark silent space, that grows forward to the sound of a silky-falsetto-out-of-tune cello, resetting time so a straight 4/4 krautrock beat fades in, with a face popping through the road on every snare hit. It's impossible to transcribe. The second you think, or the second someone talks, it disappears.

Original log for context:

Fresh, legal NY weed, few hits, zone out. Simple beat box, do it all the time, but imagination took over. A sense of hearing it. Untamed, a segal hip got beat, turned acoustic, changing time signatures, then into a single thread, unwise into a beat, can SEe it, a kind of synasyhesia, wild beautiful thing, rare, flame to keep alive, simple thinking or paying attention, disappears. Snapped. That’s it! That’s the reason I love marijuana.

August 10th, 2023

9:37 pm — How would did Didion write about today’s Creator Economy? Imagine comparing the hopeful and enthusiastic marketing copy with some of the harsher realities and struggles.

7:47 pm — From Steven Foster:

On work becoming peoples religions in the past the first thing that came to mind was the Pullman company towns and subsequent strikes at the end of the 1800s. In the medieval era think more of religion becoming peoples work in the form of the crusades. I could recommend a few volumes on that topic if you're interested.

The spiraling outward from center is actually a Greek idea! You probably already know this but Phi applied as the ratio for the expansion of space time is a theory that has roots in the near east and early Greek astronomy. We should riff on that idea sometime! Hope you're well man!

4:38 pm — Good enough: satisfice vs maximizing (Herbert Simon)

4:37 pm — Ray Kurzweil has said the Singularity is coming 2045, which is kind of close to the start of the 2nd turning within next saeculum. That's the "awakening era," (think late 50s to mid 70s), the "consciousness revolution," or whatever you want to call it. It's a kind of spiritual upheaval, and transcendence of the dominant order before it. People define the Singularity in different ways.

I think we might be faced with existential questions on what it means to be human. You can see this dilemma playing out in science fiction. If the 2nd turning is about consciousness, then this era might be about technology profoundly changing the paradigms of consciousness that have been constant.

  • altering consciousness (psychedelics)

  • replicating consciousness (simulated selves)

  • extending consciousness (AR/VR as teleportation)

  • foreign consciousness (AGI)

  • augmented consciousness (brain computer interfaces)

  • prolonging consciousness (life extension, immortality)

  • uploading consciousness (brain in a vat)

4:20 pm — To Steven Foster:

It's definitely both wide & deep at the same time. My sense is that it helps to be systematic and orderly in how you go wide, but chaotic and impulse driven when you go deep. As in, you don't choose what you go deep on. You just get sucked into it.

Say more about work becoming people's religion in the past. Any references in early America or medieval times?

Totally agree that there's an undeniable forward motion. "Cycle" actually isn't the right word, because it implies uniformity (a wave, the moon, the seasons). I see it more like something spiraling outward from a center. It's always venturing into the unknown, yet it's orbiting around a center, passing familiar territory, but growing each time.

Great TikTok analogies. I like "scrolling by instead of strolling by." TikTok Live is basically virtual busking.

4:08 pm — Honesty, courage, wisdom over power, comfort, and intelligence.

(Paraphrased, synthesized, and expanded on from a Justin Murphy post. Still needs work, but neat framework.)

  1. WISDOM: The inner light is key. It's intuitive. The integrity of your mind is top priority. Don't worship idols. Be careful of ascent. Be careful of subconscious exposure. Think for yourself, derive your truths.

  2. COURAGE: Your destiny is a mystery. Unknown to you, but especially to anyone else or society. Trust that courage will take you to something beyond what you can conceive. In this case, then fear is a compass. Have the courage to be first. Break new ideas. Stand out and be wrong. Say something that might be perceived as preposterous, but will inevitably be known as right.

  3. HONESTY: Love your circumstance. Don't yearn to be of a different class, time, race, home, relationship, or whatever. Be honest and give voice to what's around you because it's significant. Don't lose yourself as you study your heroes.

4:00 pm — Note from Taylor:

ChatGPTs ability to supplement philosophical texts is probably the most underrated use case.

I read Heidegger, don't understand something, ask ChatGPT, fully understand what I just read, and then keep reading. Without it, I would just be baffled by it and probably give up reading it altogether.

It's like having a not-very-creative research assistant who knows everything.

Note from Daniel:

It also can help a lot with literature - especially when dealing with classical foreign language literature. Looking to use it myself in an upcoming project focusing on the Chinese classic "Dream of the Red Chamber."

You can't rely on ChatGPT to do all the work for you. However, when you learn what it is good at, you can use it to skip through the boring stuff and keep yourself focused on things that are productive.

In other words, you're not going to be able to rely on ChatGPT alone to help you understand Hegel and Kierkegaard. However, if you're making an active effort to study them, ChatGPT will make the process much faster and smoother for you. And, of course, if you are using those philosophic concepts and arguments in your own writing, ChatGPT will help you focus your efforts on creating instead of just trying to understand.

10:03 am — Trying out a new calendar strategy where I made a bunch of blocks of "options" (things I should want to do), but I don't set their times. They're just all stacked at the bottom. The idea is to scan the list, and pick something that I have energy and excitement to do, NOW. (This is probably a dead-on-arrival productivity theory, I don't want to write "tricks" like this).

9:58 am — Despite starting the logloglog newsletter, ironically, my log output has been weak. I'm not cranking out 20-30 per day. Maybe 1? I need to crack out of this slump, and changing the font of my log editor to Size 30 American Typewriter is a reminder to live write through the entire of your experience; a reminder that no thought is allowed to lurk unsentenced. Even as you do the most tedious things, like pruning an Inbox, you write.

9:39 am — Checklist consciousness -- is this lobotomizing me?

August 9th, 2023

1:56 pm — There’s a famous quote that says, whatever weapons are fought in World War 3, you can bet that WW4 will be fought in sticks and stones. There’s this fear the next global conflict will be some kind of apocalypse. And if you believe there’s any merit to the Strauss-Howe generational theory, maybe you think some apocalyptic conflict is due this decade.

I’m skeptical of that. Since World War 2, globalization, nuclear weapons, and the rise of international organizations, we’ve shifted modes of violence. It happens through other means: riots, cyber attacks, trade wars, proxy wars, currency schemes, assassinations, etc. Where as past Fourth Turnings ended with a singular epic conflict (American Revolution, Civil War, World War 2), maybe we’ve moved beyond that nature of mass-scale battlefield violence, and instead it’s become hidden, abstract, complex, etc.

9:46 am — I wonder if good poetry works backwards from a hook. For example, a typical Bob Dylan song has a bunch of verses, but no chorus, and each verse ends with a hook. If the hook is “Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?” All 7 verses end in “Jones,” meaning the rhyme in the 2nd to last line in every verse rhymes with “own.” From the words and rhymes generated, you can work backwards so that each verse starts with a different image and rhyme.

Example, say you start with a hook:

Message from the universe

As a starting point, you could just vomit out a bunch of rhyme with “er-ss”

Scam artist dressed as a nurse,

Don't cry that the midget stole your purse,

If she asks, why you won't sing another verse,

When you try harder, it only gets worse,

Signed up to be king, but they made you a serf,

You can't escape the psychic midwife's curse,

All those teenage kids, dancing on your hearse,

Most will suck, but maybe 3 of 10 are keepers, and work together to tell a story. Now that you know how each verse ends, you tape into your imagination, and render some scene to start the verse.

August 8th, 2023

5:06 pm — Notes from a fiction discussion:

  • Don’t self-edit and fall in love with scenes before you’ve finished a rough version of an entire story arc.

  • Show character through actions under pressure.

  • When you’re starting out writing fiction, don’t try to solve all the variables. You have plot, characters, dialogue, mysteries, insight, etc. Solve for 1 thing at a time. If you have a complex premise, keep the characters simple, model them off yourself or someone you know.

  • If you’re writing a pilot, commit to your best scene. First, map out the whole complex story arc. If you could only pick one seen that has a sense of conflict and resolution, which would it be? Radically compress the backstory, so that you can focus on just the part that matters. In early fiction drafts, compression and balance are such an important skills.

  • Don’t be a plotter or a pantser. Fuse them. First iron out v1 plot. Then be a pantser, working within those guidelines, with permission to stretch and break them. The problem with letting it emerge is that you could get lost in details and have no way to land the plane. It helps to have a tentative resolution, but then be open to surprise and change.

  • How to think about tense? When to be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd POV? What are the advantages of each?

August 7th, 2023

5:19 pm — Lessons from Ezra Pound (from Justin Murphy's podcast)

  • Pound was a supporter of other artists. He made TS Elliot and James Joyce famous. There's also an interesting Hemingway quote that gets into the extreme measures he went to help upcoming artists (paying bills, convincing them not to kill themselves, setting up shows, etc.)

  • He was a bombastic public critic, but he was backed up by deep study and unique perspectives. He had a bold and objective view around quality.

  • He wanted to realized the "Troubadour ethic" in modern society; which involved poetry, storytelling, and songwriting woven into the fabric of everyday life. This was a thing in Medieval times, and he critiqued how modern capitalism prevented it.

  • Have a friend group that is a pressure cooker for quality. Don't aim to start a political movement, and don't care how the world interprets it. Focus on the quality and the friendships.

  • Elliot was a champion of open-verse (trace the lineage of this; back to Whitman?)

  • Imagism is a reaction against Romanticism. It's not about gushing out feelings. It's about showing instead of telling. Render an image through words that have sharp embedded feelings and implications.

  • Vorticism is about how certain images have an inherent cultural attraction (which is opposed to the idea that the naming of a thing determines its future). This puts the image or the essence above the name.

  • Ezra befriended both big and small artists, and by putting his emerging artists friends alongside already famous one, it elevated their prestige and accelerated their ascent.

  • Artists are antennas (this might have influenced McLuhan). This also relates to FLW's mention of the "prophet-poet" who can see 10-20 years into the future.

  • He was born in the US (Illinois), but then moved to London, Paris, and (Germany?)

  • Did Ezra Pound write about Modern Monetary Theory before it was implemented?

  • Pound met with Mussolini, who had one of his books, and over-interpreted one of his compliments. He thought that Facism could play a role in supporting the arts, saving society from the negative effects of capitalism. He wanted a Troubadour culture to emerge. Back then, there was a wide belief that capitalism was expressing new waves of problems, and Facism wasn't yet seen as a terrible thing; it had some promise to clean up a mess.

  • Don't let resentment into your heart. For Pound, political domination was a distraction. He was doing great and had influence, but he felt unsatisfied and had an unrealistic, restless, and unquenchable thirst for power. If anyone disagreed with him, he'd double down. He lost sight of his work, and veered into politics and economics, only spending 1/5 of his time on writing and poetry, the thing he set out to master. If he had focused on his family and being a father, he might've been more balanced and focused on the right things. After some early signals of fascism and anti-semitism, he started a pro-Hitler radio broadcast and was arrested after the war. He was brought back to American and his trial was 2 days before the Nuremberg trials (1945). He had a break down, suffered hallucinations, and wrote about execution and cantos of death. Since he pleaded insanity, and since some erudite judges acknowledged his cultural contribution, he escaped execution. His next 12 years were spent in a psych ward (St. Elizabeth's), and went through manic phases where he'd both apologize, but then double down on racism. He went back to Italy, gave a fascist solute, but then went into catatonic solitude. In his last days, he admitted he had made wrong decisions.

9:31 am — Notes & reflections from a Jordan Peterson and Bill Maher podcast (July 2023)

  • A totalitarian state is defined not by power, but the grip of a lie.

  • All it takes is 10 people to tell the truth.

  • In old school liberalism, the whole goal was to not identify with race and gender, but now it's front and center.

  • Psychopaths are apathetic, parasitic, narcissistic, and sadistic.

  • There's no better camouflage than compassion.

  • The "misguided hero" has the right intentions, but the wrong actions.

  • Gender transitions seem to be an "antithesis" instead of a "synthesis." It's a revolt against a damaged gender role, rather than the unification of the two. Jung would call this synthesis “individuation” of the “anima/animus.” But when you sever, the old complex has a subconscious influence.

  • Our culture is largely a result of a radical leap in communication technology. It enables gossiping, reputation savaging, and cancelling. It's a dark consequence of pseudonymity. It's a release of anger instead of expression.

  • The Beauty and the Beast is an archetypal story.

  • The "secret beauty" archetype.

  • Vampire, werewolves, pirates, surgeons, billionaires (lust, spirit, adventure, prestige, wealth)

  • The public life requires a kind of extroversion: talkative, assertive, disagreeable, in the limelight.

  • Someone high in openness is susceptible to crazy ideas.

  • Parents are older and having less kids, meaning less siblings, meaning each child is over-valued and prone to self-importance and special treatment.

  • Infants and animals have cause-and-effect logic before they have language.

  • At some point in parenting, you switch from listening to signals to imposing order.

  • Healthy freedom comes when it emerges from a network of relationships and influence.

  • Celebrities become self-destructive when their friends don't tell them the truth.

  • Getting cancelled has the psychological toll of a bad court case or a serious illness.

  • Male patterns of anti-social behavior involve violence (I'll kill you), while female patterns of anti-social behavior involve reputation savagery (I'll make you kill yourself).

  • Phones enable gossip and bullying to leave a physical place, making it always on.

  • A life with illusions is unpardonable, but a life without illusions is unbearable.

  • Jordan Peterson usually leads into stories by setting an expectation or goal of his listener, such as, "I want to know what you think of this," or, "this is a story you'll appreciate." If you go straight into without a frame, the other's mind could be wandering, or unsure why you're sharing.

  • If you don't share an important insight that's been giving to you, you'll go to hell.

  • The whale is the unseen beast that dwells in the darkness.

  • The Bible's lessons were understood implicitly rather than explicitly.

  • As soon as the angry mob gets into your head, it kills your creativity.

  • Some see high school as "the best years of their lives," but adulthood is far better. It's common to see the 30s or 40s as getting old, but your 60s might be your most prolific years.

7:27 am — Attempting to write our some foundational values:

  • Be your own person (independence, think for yourself, critical thinking)

  • Choose your friends wisely (acknowledge we are social creatures, susceptible to influence)

  • Faith in destiny (confidence in yourself, no worry in the face of uncertainty)

  • Always attentive (avoid thought loops, be observant, write things down)

  • Understand the map of other's (act in consideration, forgive)

  • Take responsibility in a situation (you have agency, you're not a victim)

  • Believe that solutions are possible (always look for synergy, both parties can win)

  • Trust that others will respect me for following a moral code (trust)

  • Keep promises to yourself and others (discipline, honor)

  • Perpetual transcendence (high standards, striving)

  • Be patient (don't let the future haunt you)

  • Consider the cosmic perspective (use it to deflate of inflation as necessary)

The opposite of these values: A follower, surrounded by bad influences, with no confidence, distracted and apathetic, helpless, selfish, paranoid, unreliable, stuck, anxious, and filled with despair.

August 6th, 2023

12:01 pm — (lottery hyperbole) The lottery isn’t a game of probability, but absurd channeling. You can’t outsmart the system, or guess numbers, or feel it out. You need a certified notary to wave a pencil over the scantron in random patterns, and then you, with your eyes closed, wait for a self-evident electric impulse to yell “STOP!” 6 separate times. It helps if your great great grandmother was the town’s psychic midwife and you have the genes for this kind of occult ability.

10:24 am — Selling a house is like a slow-moving death. It’s like your killing your past, and you— as you carry around boxes of junk and vacuum cleaners— you are the guilty executioner. It’s not natural, but a choice.

A house is like a spatial palace of memories, each room triggers a constellation of experience. The grooves of your psyche are layered based on the design of some second-rate architect from the 1940s; all the nostalgia and trauma tucked away neatly in each room.

After you sell it, you quickly sever yourself from your past and memories atrophy, which could be tremendously sad or a tremendous relief.

9:06 am — Modern coffee shops take only mobile orders, and feature a single granite bar with labeled plastic cups and paper bags. Everyone waits to machine music which they don’t hear because they have headphones playing their own machine music. There’s no handoffs, no interaction necessary.

8:58 am — The day we’re selling the house. Almost 9am. Low sun, with long shadows of trees on an over-exposed highway. Pollen fog too. A day of change. For Pearl, a day of crisis; a black swan, basically the collapse of her civilization. It’s completely normal, but she’s driving herself sick. It’s a molt. A de-rooting (a specific kind of molt). The law sign, the open house; early rituals.

August 5th, 2023

9:14 pm — Driving log. On smooth asphalt over potato farms and burial grounds. Rubber tires, smooth ride. The AC makes this car a freezer on August nights. The music has pristine clarity. Sky is shades of blue. Just going A>B. Used to be a trek, a haul, a workout. Now it’s a virtual reality of sorts.

6:23 pm — Born in 1937. A refugee from 42-46. Making a dollar a day on a medieval island (12 dollars = 11 drachmas, 1 dollar = 15 drachmas). Jumped ship, onto the Greek diner circuit, making $7 a day. Easy sailing from there.

4:42 pm — Tent City protests on Bell Boulevard. There moving a thousand migrant workers into the open field outside the mental hospital. Some guy handed us a flyer through our car window. Obviously outraged and outspoken. I saw kids protesting with their grandparents, who likely got similar anti-immigration brainwashing from their grandparents. The cycle continues.

4:29 pm — Whittman turned into Dylan. Neitzche turned into Morrison. There are lineages and rolls to play.

4:27 pm — Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall” is so good. Feels like it’s a stream of metaphorical images that can apply to any time in history.

2:45 pm — Crazy to imagine how high schools of the future might be affected by AI “likenesses” being created. Where in the past, the lives of a “popular” person was known through gossip, at a distance, and through images. But a digital likeness (AI/VR) enables a 1:many interaction, where the whole grade can “experience the likeness” of a person, without ever having actually interacted with them.

11:43 am — “The Golden Spiral of History”

  • Gen-1: As we emerge from a crisis, a new world emerges. It’s a new thesis on how we should live and organize society.

  • Gen-2: There’s a flaw in the new line of thinking, and it triggers a spiritual revolt, the antithesis of Generation 1.

  • Gen-3: There’s an attempt to incorporate the new ethos into the original order, and while it leads to an era of brief comfort, it’s ultimately unstable. It’s a false synthesis.

  • Gen-4: We erupt into chaos, polarization, war, and a general feeling of “this is the end.” It’s a crisis, but we ultimately emerge from it stronger.

10:34m am — Technology always increase the scale and stakes of historical loops, and it’s always possible that a new paradigm might break us out of one loop and into another.

9:29 am — Saturday morning, big weekend. Open house.

4:08 am — We never learn the lesson from the local Mexican food place. It's too salty, and I'm up at 4:08 am, bloated and burping up bile fumes. The one benefit is that when I'm hungover, Pessoa resonates with me at a new level. Unlike David Foster Wallace (who is unreadable to me past 10pm), it's as if Pessoa was meant for late night trance states.

August 4th, 2023

9:20 pm — Multiple ambulances are on Northern. Looks like a party-bus-gone-wrong situations. Several people being hospitalized. The Mexican restaurant is pulsing red, and everyone’s watching the spectacle and gossiping.

1:48 pm — There’s something to the “continents of the psyche” idea. It’s a metaphor by Jung, and it also ties into Stan Grof’s idea of “COEXs” (constellations of experience). After 1,000s of LSD psychotherapy experiences, he found that memories and visuals were woven together on top of emotional themes. While we think of memories associated in space-time (either with a place, or in a year), the contents of our subconscious are linked by metaphor and feeling. Dreams and trips are non-linear. They break our sense of space and time. It’s as if our attention is worm-holing through a COEX, shooting symbols to our processing center, and then consciousness is haphazardly rendering and blending them together.

1:14 pm — To fuse romantic wonder with realism and critique. Phone plugged in. Fuse your stream of thought and your hopes with mundane details from the moment of thought. GPS on. Call Merle, Pappou, and Stephen on the drive.

1:12 pm — Don’t lose touch with the wonder of direct experience. Bring upon yourself a kind of voluntary (reversible) psychosis where you forget your name and job. Through your will, silence your ego, perform the factory reset, and experience the simple joys of your wetware; marvel at the sounds of bugs, the awkwardness of a party, or the history of parking signs. Re-register the phenomena of experience as a child would. At a certain point, everything is in “read mode,” but there’s a new freshness in seeing through “write mode.” Even if the meaning rendered is obvious, there’s a freshness and a joy to the state, and you might even come to new conclusions.

10:49 am — I need my writing philosophy pinned somewhere I can’t escape it. I’ve lost sight of the math of words. That’s where it’s at. That’s my kingdom to claim. I’ve dove into the depths of a GPT investigation on the history of philosophy, but what good is that if you don’t have new words to share forgotten truth? It’s all about the prose, the delivery, the medium; everything that needs to be said has already been said, we just need to wrap medicine in candy.

9:04 am — The local suspicions generated from real estate signs.

8:17 am — Hegel’s “dialectics” is about opposites. Who knew? For years that word had little meaning to me, and yet the idea of synthesizing paradox was a powerful razor to see reality. It’s not just about inventing ideas, but embodying the lenses, and making sense of the your life with them.

August 3rd, 223

10:40 pm — Like any other normal day, I made breakfast tacos, ate a cheeseburger at a diner by myself, answered emails, debugged some code, and ran on a treadmill with my wife; except since I’ve been deep into “GPT-Philosophy,” I’ll have random concepts firing in my head all day; like Schopenhauer’s idea of a blind irrational force underlying everything.void. Beneath everything is senseless urges.

4:06 pm — This Twitter video, even if fake, reminds me of my “UFO experience” as a kid. My friends dad was driving my friend and I to basketball practice, and this tiny sphere (almost like the snitch in Quidditch) flashed across our car, moving erratically, unlike a bird or bat, with a luminance to it. As a kid, you default to the parent’s explanation, and what I remember most is his sense of puzzlement and ineffability.

3:24 pm — Metaphors for the 20th century (“archaic revival”, a Dionysian rupture).

2:18 pm — Random scribbles from a Twitter space on accelerationsim:

  • Accelerationism functions through us.

  • Technology & capitalism amplify our nature.

  • Machines are better fuel for capitalism than humans (agency vs. obedience)

  • How to escape the subjugation of the self to capitalism

  • “The meaningless mega-machine devouring the human soul.”

  • “After Victory” — a book about the phase change of violence after WW2

2:15 pm — AI theory on the creative process seems like an almost futile debate. Everyone agrees there's some value in using it, but differ on where, when, and how to do it. In the end, theories will be confirmed when someone has superhuman output, either in terms of quality, quantity, or along som unexpected dimension.

12:42 pm — I've been absorbing so much information, that I haven' been expressing, noticing, or logging as much. Maybe that's okay. Maybe this is a brief phase that plants new inspiration. Maybe it all fuses together and explodes in a few weeks as something unimaginable. Who knows.

August 2nd, 2023

3:58 pm — Response on Twitter to my fish vs. whale balance:

I started a "logging" practice in 2021 that has been a helpful form of fishing. Basically, I'll jot down ideas or curiosities during the day into Apple Notes. The next morning, I'll touch up every note and publish them to a page on my Substack. It's low stakes and lets me cover a wide range.


Sometimes the themes from my logs will emerge into a full essay. Other times, I'll randomly decide, "it's time" to attempt that big idea I've been putting off.

I just started a newsletter called "logloglog" which inspired this post. Basically, once a week, I'll pick 3 logs from the week, weave them together, write an intro, and send it to my audience through Substack. The goal is for this practice to take no more than 2 hours a week. This is the "share your fish" approach.


I think whales/essays are less predictable and harder to systematize. My last essay was exhausting (around 50 hours over a month + several rewrites).


I'd like to try out an essay every other week (at around 10-20 hours each).

I have a few unpublished ideas that feel enormous (like I could write a book on it). Those can be paralyzing. It helps me to remember that I can publish a small version of it now, and then gradually increase the scope in the future when inspiration strikes again. Here's an example of mini-whale that hopefully becomes a full-whale one day.


3:25 pm — Twice in college I got permission from teachers to ignore the traditional assignments and hand in something else that was loosely related to the course's themes.

3:24 pm — I need to stop writing in this dog cafe. Everyone is hissing and shitting on the floor, including the dogs.

10:59 am — Hubris is a dangerous confidence. It's arrogance not just in your perspective, but in your actions. Hubris is acting as if you're above limitations and natural laws, and it blinds you from reality. It's often destructive confidence.

10:39 am — Quote by Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

"Pursue the White Whale but don’t harpoon it. Catch its song instead.”

I see this relating to the psychology of hard, ambitious projects. The whale is a symbol of the destructive potential of obsession. Regardless of your craft, patience, and grit, the wrong mindset can sabotage you on a longe-term project. You should go on a quest, and do the hard thing, but always with a sense of openness. If you are tied to a specific form or vision, it could drive you mad. By "catching its song," you get near the vision, without destroying it or yourself.

9:10 am — Since infants only see in black and white, I wonder how they would react to this Beeple short film.

August 1st, 2023

9:32 pm — Continuation of that conversation:

Q: "I still don't get how AI can think outside the box?"

My answer: "Maybe that’s what still up to us. And maybe the most important ideas are already in the box, they just haven’t been remixed in the right way. Like we just need to translate Sartre to GenX through the vernacular of Fortnite to save the world."

7:29 pm — Note to a friend explaining my recent project.

Yesterday I started making a “genealogy of ideas.” I’ll start with one thinker and use GPT to build a foundational knowledge: years alive, main books, main ideas, heroes, influence, etc. My follow-up questions help me link their concepts with things I already know. Instead of trekking through a 300-page philosophy manifesto in dense old-English prose, I can have a simple conversation to quickly get them. Then I’ll plot them in Miro, connect them to other thinkers, and continue building the map. It’s like a family tree of thought.

2:46 pm — An essay writer is inherently a philosopher.

Let's break philosophy into 3 separate acts; to see, to know, to act. You can basically position any branch of philosophy into these three verbs; and the 3 verbs come together to create the ultimate act of critical thinking.

  • To see: how we acquire knowledge, thoughts, emotions, motives, art, nature, conversation. What tools do we have to make sense of the world? Can we trust them?

  • To know: truths about human nature, of math and physics, of technology. What are the patterns that govern reality?

  • To act: how do we treat others? How do we eat, pray, worship? Based on what we've seen, and what that implies, how do we move through the world? (Through our career, relationships, leisure, etc.)

An essay covers these same three verbs. From our personal experiences, we deduce some theory about the world, which then tells the readers how to act. It's a timeless template: story, lesson, call to action. This, done right, is a philosophical act.

1:54 pm — Eating sushi alone, reading Substack, and came across some odd fact that a psychic in the year 1989 (who happened to cryptically predict 9/11), predicted a nuclear war in 2023. Maybe she just saw Oppenheimer. Still, eating my Philadelphia roll, I imagined what I'd do after a flash. Sprint home? To the car? Under the restaurant?

1:48 pm — Seems like prophet-poets could make a killing in prediction markets.

1:10 pm — The idea of "becoming an individual" has been baked into American culture for 200-300 years, but it hasn't been fully digested. From Kant, through Emerson, eventually to the counter-culture, only to be devoured by consumer culture. We've become a culture of individuals, but only in the weakest sense: through meaningless choice, not through defiant action.

This ideas has been trying to poke through in its fullest form, but it's been limited by media. In print culture, it was limited to circle of academics. In TV culture, it was hijacked by corporations and distorted. Could the medium of the Internet allow this to properly spread? Seems like it easily enables the opposite; conditioning, consuming -- but it could easy do the opposite; de-conditioning and self expression.

1:03 pm — It feels like so many philosophies (or at least, their interpretations) devour themselves from absolute, non-nuanced. Crowd are dangerous, therefore pursue your own discover, therefore you feel alienated, and therefore you defy your basic social needs. Absolutism cannibalizes itself. We need complexity and nuance, conveyed simply.

1:02 pm — My goal isn't to become a "philosophy student" to master Sartre, read his books, and write some curation, as if he's sitting on some pedestal. I just want a working knowledge of these concepts. I want to know them in the context of other thinkers (Sartre said this, but Jung saw it as that). The inventors are merely mnemonic devices to help me remember and connect ideas. They're not idols to be worshipped (an Emerson idea; don't worship statues). Take the ideas, twist and warp them, so you can invent your own, and apply them to your own situation and culture.

10:08 am — In the last 2 days, I've been obsessed with mapping the "genealogy of ideas." Who first thought of X idea? Who inspired them, and who were they influenced by?" I've been mapping thinkers across philosophy, sociology, psychology, science, and literature. I'm also plotting their birth and death years, clustering them into groups based on the Strauss-Howe generational cycles.

While it's not a perfect model, it is an abstraction that lets me reduce the complexity of history into a simple loop. I'm plotting this all in Miro, and using Chat GPT to understand each person. This is an exercise of going wide. I'm not getting deep and reading sources text. I'm trying to understand 1-3 books per thinker, and 3-5 ideas within each book. Then I'm launching off into related thinkers. After I have the maps, then I go deep on the few that seem most central to my own personal developing ideas.

I think it's important to have a decent map of history. It's currently fuzzy, and some of the countries aren't even in the right places (like those weird maps from the 1300s). This like intellectual cartography; surveying the landscape digitally from a plane before I make the expensive expeditions.

9:15 am — Can you fuse Kant (objective morals) with Neitzche (subjective morals)? Either as an absolute could be an oversimplification. What if it were hierarchical? At the foundation could be a series of universal golden rules that are constructed from an unchanging human nature. On top of that, each individual has the obligation to derive and follow their own personal morality. This hierarchy is also, only a tool, and not an absolute. There might be situations where you have to override golden rules for the sake of personal rules, or for the sake of other golden rules (ie: lying to save someone's life).

8:57 am — Could dreams, psychedelic states, and non-altered states serve as a biological basis for the afterlife? Heaven is traditionally spoken of as a celestial plane that is quite linear. You move through Cartesian space, either in a VR cloud city, or as an AR ghost overlaid on our physical world. It's all linear. But our non-ordinary states that we know experientially are almost all non-linear, archetypal, and symbolic. They're also generated within the mind, and not some external place. Why wouldn't heaven be the same? Maybe at the moment of death, between the few minutes when the body shuts down and the brain shuts down, there's a DMT flash, a finally altered state that escapes linear time?

8:51 am — There's a spectrum between free-will and determinism. The more zoomed in, the more free-will you have, and the more zoomed out, the more deterministic it is. Of course, you can decide to life your hand in every moment. You can also wake up and decide to randomly drive to a city 5-hours away. But it's much harder to leave your job or change your career or change economic classes or reform institutions or overthrow capitalism.

Larger structure have a way of shaping the average behavior within them. Some individuals have the will to defy the currents within their circumstance, but most try to avoid the hassle. A life well-lived is a life spent railing against the constraints that actually matter. A life-well lived is a life exercising your freedom, not for the sake of it, but again, for something that matters.

Maybe every possible permutation of your life can be calculated. Some are likely, while others unlikely. So even if all paths are pre-determined, free-will is the act of navigating to desired paths that have lower probabilities and higher frictions.

So maybe there aren't infinite paths. Maybe what seems like 5 different paths actually all re-converge in the future without you realizing, and there are only X possible destinations. Still, you have thousands of binary A|B decisions that steer your life on a "pre-determined map of possibilities."

Another more emotional rejection of personal determinism: it robs you of agency. It's a life-denying belief. It's a useless abstraction.

8:31 am — We're conditioned by culture, tradition, fear, and circumstance. From them, we inherit our identity, dreams, beliefs, and habits. We need to use reason, intuition, art, and action to continually re-condition ourselves. This takes effort and courage, and so it's avoided, despite it being the fundamental root of meaning. It means making touch decisions around your career, your relationships, and your time. These are basically the ideas made popular by Netizche, Existentialism, Eastern Philosophy (self as illusion), Transcendental Psychologists, etc. It's an old idea, and maybe a known idea, but it's hard to embody. Curious to know the arc of this idea through history. Has it fluctuated in popularity? How is it spread across economic rungs? Has media changed its exposure? How could you condense this into a meme for max spread?

From Chat GPT:

1. **Nietzsche**: Your philosophy resonates with Nietzsche's idea of becoming a "free spirit" and his concept of self-overcoming. Nietzsche encourages individuals to question societal norms, cultural conditioning, and even personal beliefs, to strive towards the creation of one's own individual values and affirm life.

2. **Existentialism**: Existentialist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus also emphasize individual freedom, responsibility, and authenticity. They stress the importance of individuals creating their own meaning in life, in spite of the inherent absurdity or meaninglessness of life. Sartre's concept of 'bad faith', where one avoids the anxiety of freedom by conforming to societal roles, mirrors your idea of people avoiding the difficult struggle of becoming their true self.

3. **Eastern Philosophy**: In Buddhism and Hinduism, there's a focus on overcoming the illusion of self which is shaped by societal conditioning, personal desires, and attachments. The practice of mindfulness and meditation is often used as a tool to understand one's true nature.

4. **Psychology**: Psychologists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow discuss the idea of self-actualization, where individuals seek to grow and fulfill their potential. This often involves overcoming societal expectations and self-imposed limitations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) also discusses the idea of deconstructing and challenging negative beliefs and behaviors that are often conditioned into us.

8:14 am — AI is bringing the Dionysian spirit back to the Machine Age. Lewis Mumford talked about the rational, predictable, orderly effects of the machines. Clocks became tyrannical, and everyone became interchangeable, measured units themselves.

AI is the first invention where its inventors are kind of confused how it works. It's a black box. It's raw, powerful, unpredictable, creative, and potential destructive. Kind of odd to think capitalism is aiming all its resources at recreating a wine God and are just hoping it behaves nicely.

8:10 am — There's value in learning how to coax the Dionysian spirit. The idea of just being a conduit for some spirit to burst out of you in a first draft is definitely appealing. It's a glorified state too. As if editing with rational (Apollonian) mind somehow taints it. Kerouac was bold enough to say "editing is a lie." It's an extreme position. You can both honor a chaotic spirit, while also refining it. I'm a believer in using the rational mind to restructure, and then give guardrails for that radical spirit to burst back into your guardrails. It's a constant battle between the two forces. That's editing.