Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1124 and Go Within and Look Out

I am considering doing a pullback from social media for a few weeks. I must hone my instruments. Don’t worry, I’ll still write daily and you can message me on Twitter or send me an email.

I don’t like where my attention is being pulled and I need some time to reorient myself so I can more effectively pursue wider goals for the year.

While considering how this short term goal can serve me, I came across Daisy Alioto’s fine essay on refusal and the loneliness economy.

Much of the current attention economy demands that you turn your focus to this or that crucial “thing” even as engagement with others has few agreed upon social boundaries.

Even the nature of replying has changed, as Mariah Kreutter writes, “The Reply is ambiguous. It can indicate any level of intimacy, any level of investment, any level of care.”

Dirt.fyi “The Loneliness Economy”

So much is being demanded of our focus with so little being given in return. And yet we have to make such critical decisions about our own lives and future. I must go within myself to look out for

Categories
Media

Day 1117 and High Variance

I don’t know where the first few weeks of the year went, but I suspect they disappeared into the maw of panic over 2024 reality. No narrative alignment holding as “current thing” means that everyone is looking to exert leverage to make their pet causes pop.

I’ve closely watched a number of important events unfold in real time with unexpected and very dramatic conclusions. To then subsequently seen the non reactions from our various institutional leaders is upsetting for most people who are paying attention, I’d say everyone else is enjoying the rollercoaster but it would clearly be a joke. No one likes it.

I am myself waging a war against the instinct to contract and react. Let me quote myself from Day 784 where I posted my press appearance in a Vanity Fair piece. Insufferable flex I know.

She thought something had gone wrong with us physically too. “Endocrine systems get fried. There’s too much cortisol, you’ve been running on adrenaline, eventually you tap out. Everyone feels nuts right now,” she said, “because what on earth are we supposed to do with the fact that we’ve had this incredible rate of change for so long. We think we’re keeping up with it, but our bodies are like, ‘Oh, actually no. We have no idea what’s going on

Dissident Fringe.

We are in a high variance moment for good and for bad and if you cannot handle the ride please find ways to get off of it. Take care of yourself because when you feel nuts you act nuts.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1113 and Sorry Can’t

I dislike days where I spend too much of my energy doing stuff as it prevents me from spending time synthesizing stuff.

Of course, and I hope this is obvious, the opposite problem is much worse. If you spend too much time synthesizing stuff then you run the risk that you don’t actually do stuff.

You’ve got to keep your skills sharp with new conditions on the ground but you have to intake as much information in your field as possible.

“Sorry I can’t” is a strong signal. It means you are engaged in the productive middle of focus. Family is a productive middle of focus. Your business is a productive middle of focus. Your friends is a productive middle focus.

Maybe you picked something to focus on that someone powerful wishes you didn’t. Maybe you sold your focus to someone else. Maybe you are on the clock to a wider goal. The calculation of how we do that is best left to market forces in my opinion.

I will redirect my attention for someone that asks and shows me the incentives. I think it’s a worthwhile balance. If I believe my focus being redirected can help someone else execute on taking action I’ll do so. That usually means saying to someone else “sorry I can’t”

Categories
Internet Culture Media

Day 1112 and Signals and Noise

I want to be as available as possible on the Internet as that’s been the best possible path to being available to other weirdos for the longest period of time. I shift through a lot of chaff but the wheat has always been there. I’m not for everyone and everyone is not for me.

But the open human Internet is struggling under the weight of non-human actors. Machines create more and more of the content and so many interests groups, philosophies, nation states and general chaos agents are acting within the group mind and/or network state that we call the Internet.

You can complain about bots sure, and crypto folks are in the thick of it, but some of what’s going on is just the noise of people who are under the influence of algorithms. Humans are happy to be NPCs in the great game of life. And it’s much easier to play out a fantasy the Internet while you struggle to find meaning in your daily real life.

I like to intake as much information as I can but even I have my limits as to how much noise I can tolerate in the search for signal. Consider sending me an email. Maybe we go back to private corners of blog comments and email correspondence. Get a little more signal as a treat.

Categories
Chronicle

Day 1095 and 2023 Round Up

I’ve been sick for the last week and a half or so, so this round-up is coming on the last day of 2023.

As you may have gathered from my title schema, I have been writing every single day for 1095 straight days.

That means I’ve been doing this for three years which is a satisfying achievement. If you’d like see my favorite posts of 2021 here is a link to my first year round up. My round up for the second year of writing in 2022 was quite comprehensive as well.

Below is a list of categories that held my attention in 2023 and the posts I wrote as I tried to make sense of my rapidly changing world.

It probably tells you a lot that the largest sections are artificial intelligence, startups and community. I think this includes almost 50 posts so it’s a testament to how busy the year was that I couldn’t narrow it further. I spent time in Prague, Puerto Vallarta, New York City, Austin, Seattle, Frankfurt, Tallinn, Helsinki, and Amsterdam which is way more travel than I expected. Much of my focus was on investing work for chaotic.capital and is reflected across almost all categories.

Artificial Intelligence

Day 1078 Why We Keep Centering Ourselves

Day 1072 and Math is Leverage.

1055 and Freedom to Compute

Day 989 and Autopoeitic Ergodicity

Day 980 and Beff Jezos

Day 897 and Cruft and Email Bankruptcy

Day 826 and Alignment

Day 780 and Copernican Crisis of Meaning

Community

Day 1070 and Allocating Social Capital

Day 1055 and Shipping, Smoothing Narratives and Making Reality or Effective Acceleration Is About Choice

Day 1053 and Neo Revivalism

1033 and Agency Explosion & The Network State

Day 1025 and Petit Aristocracy

Day 978 and The Great Twitter Unfollowing

Day 932 and Schisms

Day 847 and Erasure in Crypto

Aesthetics

Day 1040 and Being First

Day 1023 and Automatic Doors

Day 1007 and Half A Decade After Premium Mediocrity

Day 961 and Repeating 2003 Aesthetics.

Day 748 and Molly Millions (William Gibson Casting Choices)

Travel

Day 1038 and Travel, Middle Markets & American Exceptionalism

Day 1030 and Helsinki

Day 1029 and Nordic Ferries

Day 1019 and Old Town Tallinn

Day 876 and Americana in Germany

Day 863 and Abstract The Pain Away

Day 749 and Beef in Prague

Economics and Politics

Day 1019 and Tallinn’s Free Enterprise & Alcohol

Day 1010 and Exogenous Shocks

Day 907 and Unaccountable Bureaucracy

Day 904 and Wardogging on Mobile Phones

Day 817 and Mourning A Bank

Day 811 and Hierarchies

Day 807 and Hyperinflation

Day 803 and Killing Strangers

Day 799 and Black Friday in Silicon Valley

Day 740 and Immigration Failures

Emotional Work

Day 1014 and A Fragile Birthday

Day 1000 and Milestones

Day 987 and Eggs

Day 902 and The Singer Lasts A Season

Day 895 and How to Stop Being An NPC

Day 845 and Fucked Fertility

Day 791 and Bathing Suits I’ve Never Worn

Day 784 and Endocrine

Day 731 and Auld Lang Syne Motherfuckas

Startups

Day 1001 and Circumstances Change

Day 970 and I’ll Be Your Publicist

Day 962 and Milestone Based Seed Rounds

Day 939 and Culture Wins Not Culture Wars

Day 906 and Resilience Tech

Day 840 and Chaos Magic

Day 783 and The Alliance (Vanity Fair Magazine coverage of chaotic.capital which is covered in two pieces on the blog)

Homestead & Montana

Day 976 and Chores

Day 969 and Hot Chicks

Day 958 and Civic Engagement

Day 940 and Buying Dishes

Day 856 and Springing Into Action

Day 766 and Weather Station

Categories
Biohacking Chronic Disease

Day 1086 and Body Language

When I was younger I spent a lot more of my time in my body. As I’ve aged I’ve become more cerebral and this has had a negative impact on my overall health.

I had the opportunity over the last two days to do some bodywork with very present people. It was frankly much needed. I haven’t felt entirely in my own body and was as reactive.

It helped to be with someone who was very present and attuned to body language. I spend so much time communicating in virtual spaces recently that I’ve felt further away from my body than I’d like.

If you haven’t had cause to get in better touch with your body this week might be a good time. There is something to be said for simple communication between humans that isn’t captured in our writing. Maybe artificial intelligence can work entirely without being embodied but human intelligence is still very much embodied.

Categories
Emotional Work Politics

Day 1015 and Selfish

I think we are entering a selfish age. High trust societies are built from cooperation. When we get more through coordination than we do from conflict we have an incentive build more. Simple supply and demand can teach us a lot about improving the bargain of trusting each other.

Coordination suffers when trust goes down. But we can’t all maintain the same types of trust across all levels of our interactions. Some areas must remain high trust. Tight industries and clear lines of communication can help.

But we have to become intense skeptics to coordinate in otherwise hostile environments. Civilization has a thin veneer. To selfishly live your own life for your own good is often in conflict with others. The boundaries we tolerate are the rules for acceptable competition. This is how we civilize society. There are laws and then there is power.

Maintaining your own power in a crueler world is knowing when to be selfish to the benefit of other people’s coordination problems. Competition is good.

I am more careful in some interactions now because I see the fog of competing interests. Different rules apply to different people. Knowing when rules do and don’t apply can make you crazy. You’ve judged power and norms correctly when sympathy is with you.

Categories
Politics Preparedness

Day 1010 and Exogenous Shocks

There are few shocks as jarring as waking up to a war starting. I was preparing to leave for Germany when the current Ukrainian conflict boiled over. I woke up in Estonia today to news of an escalation in Israel. No matter who you are or where you live, the existential dread of a hot conflict finds you.

Trying to orient your life around exogenous shocks of violence and conflict is part of the human condition. One that we seem as yet unable to evolve beyond no matter how much we elevate rationality. Every time a new rift emerges in the fragile status quo of the global consensus, I find myself wishing I were more surprised. But it’s pointless to be surprised by chaos.

I hesitate to weigh in on a conflict as it emerges as no matter how closely you watch the news it’s a mess of conflicting narratives. All I know is that more external risks like war will continue to drive volatility across all our human systems.

Our many complex human systems, from trade to politics, are already riddled with known endogenous internal risks. You start adding in more variables that can impact a given system and we don’t fully understand what is exogenous anymore. What’s outside the system if we’ve networked the whole planet?

I wish I believed a sunnier outlook was reasonable in the immediate term. Destiny remains in the hands of men. And we are a species prone to reactionary behavior. We are evolved to it. But we are tied together on this planet and every conflict, shock and unexpected event can ripple out to touch us all.

Categories
Culture

Day 997 and Brain Fog

I have felt a bit disappointed in my recent writing. I’ve not felt the urge to produce anything of much substance or synthesis in a week or two.

The exercise of writing daily isn’t meant to produce anything but the consistent repetition of a habit of critical thinking about my daily experiences. I sometimes have to accept that there will be weeks where it all feels a bit half baked. I’ve got no conclusions to share.

I am not the only one experiencing a lack of clarity. Confident assurances read as naive at best or manipulative at worst. No one is certain of anything at the moment. The widening gyre has our best struggling with conviction.

I have been following Venkatash Rao’s working theory on the breakdown of world narratability in his series on Protocal Narratives. If you are not a Ribbonfarm reader I’d encourage you to begin.

He is grappling very well with these themes considering the deep sense making challenges facing all of us. Attempting to find workable worldviews that are manageable to our human minds is a challenge as consensus reality is a competition between thousands of different competing narratives.

To retain fluidity, you must retain an unmediated connection to reality. But the unaugmented brain is clearly not enough for that connection to be tractable to manage.


How do you resolve this paradox?


I think the trick is to inhabit more than one interposing intelligence layer. If you’re only an economist or only a deep-state institutionalist, you’ll retreat to a fixed logic of caring; a terminal derp.

Fluid Fogs and Fixed Flows

I’m doing my best to stay out of terminal derp but I’m still feeling like the fog is impeding my view. I’ll just have to keep putting out my own beacons and hope the lighthouse network illuminates enough for us to navigate together.

Categories
Community Internet Culture

Day 989 and Autopoietic Ergodicity

In one of my group chats, I hang out with a bunch of rationalist machine learning engineers who are happily climbing the rungs of accelerating life.

I really love the energy of the community as it’s centered tangibly around making things. It’s a little less talk and a lot more action. It’s got a bit of a feeling of Stack Overflow’s early helpfulness but without the Hacker News nerd sniping culture. It’s like the best of a small Reddit thread but for dudes who want to make shit with artificial intelligence.

Now, of course, every community finds itself with disruptive members and turf fights over social mores. Virtual spaces are notorious for clout chasing and personal dramas. Veterans of green text wars are familiar with Geeks, Mops and Sociopaths in Subculture Evolution.

And so it seems fitting that last night, in a much bigger very public egregore that is e/acc’s online community, we got to witness an immune reaction to someone trying to apply non-consensus standards.

I spent an hour watching it play out last night and then went back to reading before bedtime. I’ve got some personal investment in the space and it’s people, so of course that’s what I’m doing on a Friday Night.

But as I got up the next day and saw everyone going back to work, a insightful lowbie named bmorphism (slang for smaller anon accounts on Twitter within subcultures) introduced me to a term I’d never heard before. Autopoietic Ergodicity. Or how do multi-actor dynamic systems self regulate?

He introduced me Autopoietic Ergodicity via a link on PerplexityAI which seemed appropriate. And it got me thinking about how we as individuals interact on a much wider system and how it interacts with us.

The term combines two ideas by positing that complex adaptive systems (like living organisms or ecosystems) exhibit self-regulating behavior that enables them to maintain persistent patterns while also experiencing change from external influences. These systems are capable of minimizing changes caused by random factors, ensuring their essential dynamics remain stable without needing to undergo a complete reset or cycle back to the initial state. It’s like having a dampening mechanism that continually adjusts for fluctuations, allowing system resilience and long-term persistence in an ever-changing environment.

It’s my suspicion that something special is happening across portions of the fracturing social web as most of our platforms go back under more centralized control. The system is fighting back.

A meme using a Dune visual that originally has the elder Etreides saying to Paul “we need to cultivate desert power” with a substitution “autist power”

The grey tribes that have populated Silicon Valley have an opinion about the future. And it’s a positive one. We’ve got to find ways to be resilient in the face of memetic interference on our systems. There will be high energy distractions. We’ve got to be reminded that it’s a competition for efficient use of energy and we shouldn’t let it be drained. We’ve got to focus on making things that speak for themselves.