This ties in closely with Presentism, which I've been referring to constantly as the subject of a future Not Enlightened Yet video, but haven't actually gotten around to yet. Ummm can we pretend that I'm approaching this backwards to be clever? Yeah? Awesome!
When you're a kid — or even just "young" in any contextually-relevant way — new activities and discoveries not only seem bright, clear, and amazing; but you're convinced, subconsciously if nowhere else, that it'll be that way forever. I remember reading philosophy in the early days and being baffled at the very possibility that it might not always be so mind-bogglingly spectacular to learn new ways of thinking; similarly, to someone newly in love, it can seem impossible to comprehend that "being in love" might one day not be such a gobsmackingly supernovaeic* experience. Even things like playing games, walking in the sun, swimming at the beach, or getting physically into art or music — on a level, when you're first into them, you can't imagine them not being so amazing, engrossing, and powerful.
Yet every thoroughly-grown adult gives you That Look, and makes Those Comments, about how time and experience and repetition and disappointment will eventually take the shine off of everything.
And though some of us refuse to believe them, even well into grownhood ourselves, I think especially once we experience it once or twice, that loss of freshness, we secretly "know" they're right. And this makes adulthood look like a long slow slide into the worst sort of boredom of the soul.
For some — maybe many — people, I'm sure it is. You can see it on them. But not on everybody: And today I realized why. It's because they are wrong — at least, wrong about the rightness, naturalness or inevitability of that decline of "childlike" freshness of experience. It happens alright, but it happens as a result of an accumulation of the wrong kind of thinking. And that makes it preventable.
Everyone can think of that old person, whether you knew them in real life or only in stories, who still had that childlike glee, who still experienced the world as fresh and new and amazing and intense — who had all the benefits of spiritual youth without the detriments of lack of knowledge or experience. Well, that's because it's totally possible, and today while reading Borges on the toilet (what? ;) I realized why. The dimming is a result of the accumulation of what Tolle calls "psychological time", and which in my terminology could be described as an "embedding" or getting-sunk-into 2D thinking.
It's specifically 3D thinking that makes things bright and fresh and awesome, and yes, it's easy to experience 3D when you're doing something way way new. As you get older, less things are way way new, and so you have to know how to focus on that third dimension — the Window-programs, the now-things — because otherwise you'll default to the 2D, psychology-based programs, which you've got a metric megaton of running by that point. And yes, if that happens, they'll absolutely suck all the newness, coolness and joy out of everything.
So don't listen to those grownups, who think, act, or talk like simply being alive long enough will leech the fist-punch-air glee out of both the things you love now and the new things you might love later. They've let their tendency to think wrongly spin out and build up and take over everything: they've let, to be cheeky, their Windows get thoroughly grimy, and so yeah nothing looks sunny.
That doesn't have to be you (or me!). We know the secret. We know how to shift our focus, and instead of getting more and more entrenched in 2D as we get older, we're going to be using those years to get better and better at 3D.
3D focus reminds us what's actually cool about learning, about being in love, about walking in the sun or swimming in the water: THE RIGHT NOW OF IT. Not what you think about it, what you judge it to be (telling yourself it's good, instead of feeling that it's good), or how you remember it: DOING it. BEING there. PAYING MOTHERFUCKING ATTENTION.
Hmm. Now there's a phrase I bet Buddha didn't expect to exist. ;) But you know what I mean, and also you know that I'm leaving that there because it's fun, right? Right.
We could condense this thought down to "3D keeps you young", but I don't think that's as helpful. It's not youth per se that we're talking about here; it's specifically that freshness and brilliance of experience that makes being young awesome. Because there's a lot that sucks about being young (think about it! when you were young, you couldn't wait to get older, and for some pretty good reasons!) — and 3D thinking has nothing to do with those things. It will, however, keep you ecstatically happy to play in the sand, to read new ideas, to fall in love every day, and all that; even if you've done it a zillion times before.
…Yup. Still thinking the ability to focus in 3D is the greatest superpower I've found in this life (no diss to Chen taiji ;).
(And all that leads to an ironic corollary: The presence of a good strong ability to go 3D would make you more childlike, sure; but, I think, less childish. Childishness is characterized by an automatic, knee-jerk reaction to emotions, and by an inability to think and act deliberately; and the more psychology you've got built up, the more susceptible to that you'll be.)
*no? I really like it!
May 24, 2013 No Comments
In short? Forced pregnancy. To wit, infographic:
May 22, 2013 No Comments
I love this gentleman's blog for a zillion reasons, but the core of them is SO well summed up in this latest post, I just had to re-offer it:
May 19, 2013 1 Comment
To remind you who you're dealing with:
the allusive is my everything
(oh lovely self-slogan, all I need and a t-shirt too)
the illusive makes me sick
(show 'em or go home, gods; this ain't dice)
and the elusive lifts me up
(mind is the first floor, no buttons needed)
So remember: They're not puns,
They're pulled punches.
May 17, 2013 No Comments
I'm moving this week, so pardon my invisibility (I'm actually getting a TON done — like the final edits for the Second Edition; finished! …which means that if you'd like to preorder and get the discount, now is a great time, ahem…but most of it isn't visible, unless you happen to be peeking in my windows looking for an accumulation of boxes).
However, the moving has raised an issue, an opportunity for improvement, that I might not have noticed otherwise: I have too many clothes.
Not because I love clothes, mind you — I like comfortable, well-fitting clothes that meet the needs of my activities, but beyond that I'm all about the simple, cheap and easy. However, I did learn to shop the way I think a lot of modern people do: When you, say, realize you need a pair of pants, you go get one — or two or three — that meet the need you've discovered, and add them to your collection. Which then means that eventually, even with some regular culling (which I try to do), after years of doing this, you wind up with a huge collection. Mine filled four garbage bags! I know I don't wear 75% of them hardly ever, but don't want to throw them out because they're perfectly functional, and I'm used to keeping them.
Well, that's enough of that — I've decided that I like an alternate clothing-system much better: One decides of an acceptable amount of clothing, and then as things need replacing or one's needs change, clothing is replaced with better items. Prefer black pants now? Great, buy 1x black pants and let go of 1x other pair. The wardrobe may change — and if you're lucky, the quality keeps increasing, as you let go of the least item while obtaining the best you can — but it doesn't grow. You have a set amount that you need / want, and you stick with that.
So that's my plan — once I'm done with the basic unpacking, I'll decide how much clothing I need, and pare down to that; then, as I upgrade, I'll ditch the least/lowest item to keep the numbers constant.
(Think I can do it? Could you?)
Here's my preliminary stab at a list of what I think I'd like to keep around. I'm in no way suggesting that everyone should have the same size list here – this is just what I think (initially) might work for me. And it's not all practical — note the high allowance of knee-socks! — the point is that it's finite. If this list doubles but I can keep to it, I'll be happy. (And still have less clothes than I do now…oy.)
PANTS: 5 pair jeans, 2 utility/not-jeans-with-pockets, 2 dress pants, 3 yoga / workout pants, 2 sleep/sweatpants, 1 fleece layer, 2 waterproof/camping pair, 3 technical/underlayers, 1 running shorts
SHIRTS: 7 t-shirts, 3 button-downs, 3 long-sleeves, 2 fleecy/hoodies, 3 workout tops, 2 technical/underlayer, 1 bulky sweater, 2 tank tops/sleepwear
FANCY: 3 dresses, 2 skirts, 2 business jackets, my silk taiji uniform, 1 pair nice pyjamas
UNDERTHINGS: 14 pants, 5 reg bras, 3 workout bras, 2 swimsuits (this category is already in line, I think; this is basically a listing of what I have)
SOCKS: 7 wool, 7 fun knee-highs, 3 cotton, 1 dressy, 2 pair tights
May 15, 2013 No Comments
Count me among the authors who feel that DRM did nothing to benefit us, and who're frankly relieved that it's on the way out.
Has the book been torrented? Yup. Does this upset me? HELL no.
Think of it this way: The Internet is the biggest communications medium in the world. If you were an author and you went to the biggest public library in existence, where everyone was talking about and handing around books 24/7, and you found that yours hadn't been mentioned or shared at all, what would you think? That it must suck, right?
As an author, or really any kind of artist, you get attention and money and rewards for your work when people like it and tell other people about it. Being that they're talking to each other in the real world, they have a much better idea how much of your work should be shared, and what should be said about it, to interest the person in front of them, than you and a zillion marketers could ever have. If they think loaning a copy to their friend is the best way to make you a new fan — or that thumbing through it themselves is the best way to determine if they want to be your fan — then who the heck are you to argue?
It's a sort of Taoist truth of sales: Let people do their thing, and only intervene when needed. I intervene, usually by being nice about it, when I run into someone who's borrowed by not bought my book, and almost always they turn into a buyer. If I intervened by being a jerk, or prevented them from getting ahold of my work in the first place, guess what they'd be? Yeah, not a fan, for sure.
Fortunately we're not alone, we authors-who-pay-attention; as this article demonstrates, publishers like Tor and distributors like Lulu are catching on that penalizing readers – especially penalizing all readers for something a tiny percentage of them do — is just plain stupid, and a world without DRM is hopefully right around the corner.
May 14, 2013 No Comments
Here's a great find recommended to me (and all polyphasic sleepers) by one of my co-presenters at Penguicon, the very well-mannered and well-researched Neil Funk.
I've used it for several weeks now and WOW, what a difference. F.lux runs in the background, and on my machine uses next to no resources and has never caused any conflict or problems.
What it does is adjust the "temperature" of the colors on your screen — making them look less blue and more orange. You tell it a "daytime" and a "night-time" setting, and it switches them at sunset and sunrise automatically.
Two things: Bluer light makes your eyes more tired. And temperature is something that you adjust to remarkably quickly — within a day, I had to try to see the difference; and after a week I turned f.lux off and found the resulting color blinding and unbearable.
My eyes have been less tired by a good measure overall since I got this software, and I'm calling it a great find for polyphasers everywhere!
May 9, 2013 5 Comments
I spent a lot of time today pondering what belief in the primacy of the present moment really obligates one to, and what kinds of actions 3D thinking is likely to lead to, especially as one applies it more and more consistently.
In lieu of my actually getting around to the next youtube video, though, I give you this: David Foster Wallace on what thinking and questioning your defaults (sort of the basic prereq to 3-D) obligates and leads you to.
Plus it has a great title: This Is Water.
May 8, 2013 2 Comments
Everything happens in cycles — ebb and flow, wax and wane. Whatever's good for you now, enjoy it, because it'll change…and whatever's bad for you now, endure it, because it too will change.
Enjoy and endure.
Advice that boils down to those two things being the major attitudes in one's life is, I think, guaranteed to be good.
I have trouble anymore, saying what's good and bad for me, in my "life situation". Something feels wrong about making that call, and as is always the case lately*, when I get stuck I turn to flipping focus to 3D; and there's never any room there to judge something "good" or "bad". I know that sounds weird, but there isn't; just like there isn't room in say, mountain-climbing to write a novel. They're just…not compatible pursuits, 3D and normative judging. Maybe one day I'll be able to explain why.
Things are nicely crazy though (you know I like them that way), and the end-result-of-the-moment is me sitting at my desk, exhausted after a long hard couple days without much room for naps, sipping scotch and watching Footy** and looking forward to retiring my brain into a silly book until a faceplant sleepcoma takes me for as long as it needs to — I'll happily crash tonight because gods, I need to heal up. The underwater hockey tournament I planned on, but then I extended it by one game that was even more intense than the tournament and one massive taiji workout and one very tiring seven-hour work meeting that didn't let me nap to recover from any of the above and then I tumbled off my skateboard pretty well and added some scrapes to my already-pretty-banged-up body, and right about then I felt my soul go, "NOPE. WE DONE, YO."
Which is really quite a nice place to get to, as long as you can indulge it — it's miserable if you have to keep pushing through, but a downcycle in itself isn't bad, and just like an upcycle, it feels good to go with it, to do what needs to be done; to flow like water. "Flowing like water" (as the Chinese put it) is extra-important when times are turbulent, and I think it's safe to say they are now — I'm moving in two weeks, just for starters — because pushing or pulling in the wrong direction and at the wrong times can do you so much damage. Stress kills — not a joke. Tensing up when you're hit makes you break bones, rip tendons; knowing how to relax and control your movements without unnecessary tension keeps you from breaking in a strong wind. And other hilariously mixed metaphors. Sh'up, I'm tired. ;)
Other recent wisdom, which I don't necessarily have the energy to explain in detail right now, but which could be handy to other students of reality so here you go:
When you think you can't, take deep breaths and allow yourself to have the experience of being at your limit.
Always be as nice as possible about saying things that may make someone angry. It'll make you more comfortable saying them — because sometimes they need to be said — and also minimize the odds that you'll regret the encounter later.
When in doubt, if you feel like laughing, do it.
Especially at your brain. Laugh at your brain at every opportunity.
(is a verb ;)
*yes, I know I need to say more about this…I've been stewing on another NYE YouTube video too long. Will fix soon, promise!
**I'm not much for spectating, but holy shit footy. Think "extreeeeeeme soccer that's maximally fun to watch". Damn Australia is awesome.
May 7, 2013 No Comments
It's six a.m. on day two of Penguicon, and all I can say is "My, my, my." I'll confess to not being much of a con-goer thus far in my life; I've been to a few, but never really grokked why they were worth so much time and effort to some people.
Well, this one has changed ALL that. This I can see giving up a chunk of your life to do and throw and be part of. This place is nigh Shangri-La.
It's also been, so far, one of the biggest successes I've had in traveling while polyphasic. The day before I got here was nuts, and I barely managed my 3 hours before catching my plane yesterday morning (and had had hockey instead of a nap the evening before, yikes); but I caught up on naps in the various airports (Nashville: crappy coffee but really comfy seats!), and then proceeded to run all over the place yesterday, culminating – thanks to the most amazing selection of scotch that I'm pretty sure has ever graced a hotel-party (these blokes named Nathan and Seth…I cannot even begin to fangirl about their scotch collections, and how amazing they were to share like they did!) – in a half-drunken face-plant into my bed at 2am. I woke up at 5 feeling great, had a long conversation with Inverse Phase (I know right?!), and then wandered around talking to the various groups of hardcorers still awake (there are quite a few!) until the hotel agreed to give me coffee (which was a full hour before breakfast actually starts – they're awesome here, and extra generous to the convention folks on top of it).
So now I get to sit and enjoy some quiet-time, consume much-needed calories (did quite a bit of swimming yesterday evening), and grab a nap somewhere before the first panel at ten. LOVELY.
Perhaps figuring out Road Uberman (that magical four-hour cycle of drive + (gas+urine+refreshments+nap) that lets me road-trip pretty much endlessly) was a bigger traveling win in terms of sleep-hacking, but polyphasing at a con is pretty darn magical. Add to its various pleasant effects the fact that I'm actually here to talk about polyphasic sleep, and voila, it's six a.m. on Saturday and I've already pretty much won this weekend! (And I haven't even done any of the sleep-panels yet! — Though I have already had several awesome conversation about it with quite a few people.)
Onward! More winning awaits.
April 27, 2013 5 Comments