Categories
Aesthetics Emotional Work

Day 1237 and Having

“Having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true”

Spock “Time AmokStar Trek The Original Series. 1967

Longing, yearning, pining, wishing…such is the romance of wanting . A simple verb “to want” has many beautiful words associated with its fantasies.

Perhaps this is why it’s helpful to remember that self improvement doesn’t work. We get something tangible from the fantasy of wanting. Our pop culture science fiction avatar alien humanity Mr Spock sees the illogic in wanting being more pleasing than having.

I recall being introduced by Sascha Chapin to Existential Kink as adjacent of this truism. We get pleasure out of resisting. The romance of wanting can give us too much joy to let go.

I enjoy the many spaces in my life where wanting has to is power. It gives me more space to enjoy having. I have so much right now. I feel it’s wealth every day in my life. The love of my husband. The safety in my family. The freedom of the position I occupy. The opportunities in front of me. I can yearn but it’s up against the power of having.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1236 and Artists All Around

I was listening to Joe Hudson’s Art of Accomplishment Master Class preparation series today.

I’d previously remarked how I found the name “Art of Accomplishment” to be a bit off putting even as I was very impressed with the results of the work.

I’ve perhaps found essence of truth on the name that wasn’t available to me earlier. In listening to this particular conversation I heard the personal meaning instead of the cultural projection. The meaning is literally finding the artistry of doing things with meaning in your own life.


“When you’re self-aware, it means there is a full expression of you happening. It’s why with the great artists, you see their full expression. And they can only get to that self-expression, they can only get to that level of ease, by having more and more self-awareness.”

Art of Accomplishment

To have an art of an accomplishment you believe there is an art inherent. An artist makes. Accomplishing things is a byproduct of the flow of doing things. To make and to build m, or otherwise enable the process of accomplishing, is itself its own art. “To do” is an art.

I’ve come to love the work of startups and building companies as they are for me a team sport of accomplishing together. Artisans of all kinds are coming together to build a thing or a tool that serves someone else. It is a beautiful process for me

I feel my own flow in the competencies in which I have my own most clear artisanal pride. I do these things for the love of the work and the outcomes of them are simply a byproduct of doing them. I have several areas where the love of the craft is its own motive.

There are artists everywhere. You may well have many areas where you apply an artist’s mindset. Your self awareness gives you a vision of what you want to accomplish. You can be a mechanic or a publicist and still practice an art. Making a salad, fixing the hydraulics, or orchestrating a magazine cover are all accomplishments.

Categories
Culture Emotional Work Uncategorized

Day 1232 and Crab Bucket

As I age from maiden into crone (many millennials missed mother) I find myself uncovering emotions I missed during the forced march through corporate feminism & Girlbossism. The meritocracy takes its pound of flesh.

I climbed the chaos ladder & am grateful for my perch but I did not understand what I sacrificed to participate in this climb. I doubt your average person does.

American Millennials intuited that we had an opportunity to class jump through the meritocracy of institutional human capital games & were encouraged to do so if we showed capacity. Largely that meant raw intelligence & affinity for playing by unwritten social rules. If you could get out you were told to do so. Social mobility is one of America’s great strengths.

It is not without costs. I sacrificed family & place. To climb above the station of my origin & “achieve” the American dream of education & assets you leave behind a lot. To go from the lower rungs to prosperity and security we leave behind parts of ourselves.

I do not regret this. Many millennials come from dysfunctional families. Boomer can read as slur to some because future shock & greed hurt so many of that generation. The narcissism of the new age experimentation with new cultures and expectations gave us divorce & rootlessness. Those insecure circumstances bred flexible performative children who adapted to incentives.

If I had not leapt onto the ladder of meritocracy I’d be struggling like many in my cohort and I’d still be without a people. The Millennial wealth gap is tearing social fabric because the divergence between our outcomes is so clear. Atomizing is part of assimilating.

I am now in a position in which I inhabit the lower rungs of the very top of the ladder. I have access & assets & a reputation for work in the infinite game of playing for leverage. There is security here to be had. But a Damocles blade hangs over us all.

American success isn’t cheap. And you may not always understand the costs at the outset.

If you’d like to read more about the millennial wealth gap I’d encourage you to look. I am lucky to be one of the “self made” in my cohort in that I picked work that ended up being well remunerated. I started from a decent place but we were poor for portions of my childhood. Startup life isn’t a smooth ride and Silicon Valley produces very uneven outcomes.

I will not however be a millennial heir. I’ll inherit debt. The great wealth transfer will not be coming my way. I’m grateful to have helped my family but equally grateful when they manage to take care of themselves. I am so sad so many of our elders spent so much that their heirs felt the best option was a race to climb out of the crab bucket of the meritocracy. I am glad I made it. But it hurt.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1225 and Better Out Than In

I may have bitten off a bit more than I could chew. In post 1215 I discussed a personal development course I’d committed myself to doing. And, to put it delicately, quite a bit of stuff has been coming up. Let’s call emotional acid reflux.

Over the last few days in particular I felt as if I was drowning in somatic bile as years of grief and anguish have surfaced. And I’ve let wash over me.

Turbulent waves of realizations come up and crashed over me. I pray the tides give me enough time to recover before anything washes back. I’d rather it be out than in but the pain has been acute.

I belief it to be appropriate to credit some of this outflow to The Art Accomplishment Connections Course. It is a highly recommended personal development experience.

It’s clear that the methods are almost intensely effective. I can’t say if it’s right for anyone else but I’ve made a commitment to emotional growth over the last several years. I found the name to be off putting (somewhere between scam & Ted Talk in terms of branding aesthetics) but many people I respect and trust recommend it to me. If you’d like to get some things out of your system perhaps it cooks well for you too.

Categories
Travel

Day 1224 and Sliced Bread

I am going to enjoy myself a little and complain. I hope this kvetching provides you with some amusement. I hate the following idiom.

It’s the best thing since sliced bread.

According to linked Perplexity search above this phrase has come to represent good & useful innovation.

This is wrong. Sliced bread is not a good innovation. It’s barely a useful one

Sliced bread is bad. Increasing the surface increases the pace at which bread goes stale. Any convenience brought about by having a slice on hand and saving a minute or two of time is undermined quickly by having an entire life of bread go bad more quickly.

When bread is baked, the starch molecules in the dough undergo a process called gelatinization where they absorb water and swell up. As the bread cools, these starch molecules start to recrystallize and firm up again, causing the bread to become stale and hard. Exposure to air speeds up this recrystallization of the starch. An unsliced loaf has just the two end surfaces exposed to air, acting as a protective barrier. But when you slice the loaf, you create many more exposed interior surfaces that allow air to penetrate and cause faster staling.

Does slicing bread make it go stale faster?

Maybe Americans are so accustomed to dough softeners and preservatives in our store bought packaged loaves that we’ve come to expect our slices to remain as soft and pliable as within the hour of its baking. If you are baking fresh bread without any of these miracles of foos science you can expect those slices to be stale by the end of the day.

I’ll grant you can expect a fresh loaf to go stale within a day or so. But if let the loaf remain intact you rather than committing to slicing at the bakery you could get another meal or two of slicing.

Slicing reveals the soft crumb within that has been protected somewhat from the light and oxygen of the outside word. I’d like to put off the time for French Toast and croutons personally. I can’t eat an entire loaf in a day.

If bread is sliced at the bakery you’ve committed yourself to eating the entire loaf more quickly than it goes stale. At the end of the day you’ve got bread for for nothing but toasting or soaking.

So please stop using this stupid idiom. We have so many useful innovations at this glorious moment in our species history. Why compare the advent of artificial intelligence or the rapid advancements in medicine, materials science and engineering with an objectively innovation. Sliced bread is a good thing on one or two axis of improvevent at most (time and mess) and a distinctly bad development in all other crucial aspects.

If you must know this rant was prompted by me ordering a loaf of bread from a bakery which sliced it without asking. Neither photo nor written description indicated they would do this to my bread. It was not preference. I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew they’d mangle its future use. Also what kind of bakery slices a ciabatta? Civilization is lost on the continent.

Categories
Emotional Work Internet Culture

Day 1222 and No Exit

Even the most niche corner of the Internet can deliver fame instantly and irrevocably. I don’t think your average person is aware of just how much fame can be delivered by algorithm and how impossible it can be to shed it once you’ve gotten it.

If Andy Warhol could revise his “15 minutes of fame” conceit for the Internet age he’d probably have to grapple with how extended the event horizon of Internet fame can be.

The best you can hope for with algorithmic fame is that it fully dissipates into the background radiation of other people’s more concerted efforts to acquire fame for themselves. There is alas no exit.

Internet fame is mostly about being legible to other people and if you project something that makes sense into the wide abyss you will be known by someone.

If this doesn’t make any sense to you I’d recommend picking up some Satre. The ending isn’t very satisfying but it does repeat. So don’t worry too much about getting it right away

Eh bien, continuons…” 

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1216 and If It Is Really Important

My husband was unreachable for the last 72 hours. So no one gets worried while I tell the story, I’ll note this was planned, nothing bad happened and he is back on the grid.

This is the first time I’ve had had no way of getting word to Alex if I wanted to do so in over decade of marriage.

This probably tells you a lot about how accessible we are to each other even when we are apart. We’ve had entire continents between us but I’ve always been able to reach him and he can always reach me. We’ve basically been in non-stop contact since our first date.

Until this weekend. For the last three days Alex was unreachable because he was on a camping (ok hunting) trip.

Many parts of Montana have so few people it’s pretty simple to go completely off grid. And he did.

If you have a decent truck, a Bureau of Land Management map and the ambition to bag a wild turkey you too can get off grid and become unreachable.

When Alex got back onto the grid he texted me.

He asked me what had happened while he had been offline. My first instinct was try to fill him in on everything. But so much had happened I found myself unable to even start.

I went back through hundreds of news stories, group chats, Twitter timelines, and emails in an attempt to sum up everything I’d seen while he’d been off grid. It was my turn to disappear. It was now me who was unreachable

Thankfully Alex stopped be before I got too far into the wild.

“If it’s really important it will get filtered up to me”

Alex Miller 4/30/24

As is often the case my husband was right. So I stopped. Please take this as a sign to not worry about getting caught up. We will filter things up to each outer.

Categories
Community Emotional Work

Day 1214 and Hectic

Things are hectic. For all my boosterism about leaning into acceleration I don’t personally live that fast. So I feel it when things are hectic.

I was raised in some of the pushback from various future shock worriers so I’m a fan of living at a human pace. Because as I said (and I’ll continue to repeat it), things are hectic.

A friend of mine and I were comparing notes on what kept her busy. I had hectic things about abstractions. A family friend had paused away this week. My friend had similarly weighty concerns. We both saw a tragedy occur on the periphery of our social circles.

We didn’t have the luxury to feel all the things in our lives. Things are hectic. It is a Sunday so I did some shopping for coming week. I had errands to be done so I could be focused for the week. Mountains must be moved but the things under your control are mostly simple.

Categories
Culture

Day 1213 and Acedia

Seat me not anywise upon a chair, O thou fostered of Zeus, so long as Hector lieth uncared-for amid the huts


Homer, Iliad, Book 14, line 427

I’d check the citations on this translation of the Iliad but the old internet is dying so several clicks later I’m still unsure what florid Englishman gave us this version of the Illiad.

While Wikipedia is load bearing for civilization our middle tier universities who host classics departments are….not? I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of you. So how about those Trojans for Israel. Sheesh what an awkward thing to be named right now. Rough time for universities all around.

Anyways, I was going down a translation hole to learn about the seven deadly sins and got stuck on Acedia. Which is how I’ve bumped this quote into our shared history. I hope it aids your journey.

It would seem being depressed is an insult to the gods because you don’t have any right to question their creation of you. I myself find this to be weird mix of Christian moralism and honor culture.

In Ancient Greece acedia originally meant indifference or carelessness along the lines of its etymological meaning of lack of care. Thus Homer in the Iliad uses it to both mean soldiers heedless of a comrade (τῶν δ᾽ ἄλλων οὔ τίς εὑ ἀκήδεσεν, “and none of the other [soldiers] was heedless of him.[3]“) and the body of Hector lying unburied and dishonored in the camp of the Acheans (μή πω μ᾽ ἐς θρόνον ἵζε διοτρεφὲς ὄφρά κεν Ἕκτωρ κεῖται ἐνὶ κλισίῃσιν ἀκηδής

Naturally we’ve demonstrated this lesson of heedlessness in the Anglosphere through the Iliad. Two dudes who seemed pretty horny for each other despite being on a mission to save some hot chick named Helen is a hell of a way to train the young on moralism but you do you.

My Greek isn’t what it used to be but if you literally have to die to get your boyfriend to pay attention I think he might not be that into you.

Who knew self help and the Iliad could so easily be filed together in a mental library. Anyways, it’s a sin to be joyless and you should be heedful of the Hectors in your life before they are gone. It’s what Zeus the old horny bastard would have wanted.

Categories
Culture

Day 1212 and Being One of Many

Quick. Without overthinking it, pick one.

Words or Numbers.

I can’t predict your choice, but I’ll admit my “rational” conscience mind desperately wants me to pick numbers.

Alas my emotional subconscious intelligence quickly goes intuitive, lurching my feelings to a grabby place with “words.” That the right answer. I’d be hard pressed to correct my gut.

Humans love a good story. Even a single word can contain centuries of meaning. Just ask someone to define “woman” if you don’t believe me.

In the battle between numeracy and literacy, the bell has long ago been rung on the fight. Cave paintings transitioned to runes. Runes became alphabets. Literacy won before numbers got beyond accounting for the treasures of a king.

Priesthoods may have hated man understanding “the Word” but human minds were already on board with incantations of auspicious words before we got formal symbolic systems.

Probably understandably attempts to introduce topics like algebra were was a bit of stretch. Even simple arithmetic proved to be a contentious abstraction for many humans.

Ideas like property are a not a long haul from understanding “mine” and “yours” but it’s quite a leap to understand “how much” and “in what ways across different time and organizational schemas” which gets humans upset over specific collection of things.

Look at your hands and you understand that base ten allows you to calculate simple transactions for resources within your life.

Beyond that good luck. Got an abacus? Understanding that zero and one can communicate a universe’s worth of information is an even further leap. Attention wanders quickly without a computer.

And yet, as I enjoy the aesthetics of my own numeric symmetry in my 1212 days of consecutive writing, I know it’s my private counting mechanism.

“The need for numeracy today is enormous. Business requires people who have grasped the principles of reducing chaos of information to some kind of order.”

The Economist 1966

The narrative overlay of what numbers mean matters more than the numbers. So I’ll ask again. Which would you pick? Words or numbers?