Monthly Archives: May 2013

Awesome real time bullshit protector

The Dalai Lama’s English isn’t great. Arguably it’s pretty terrible. It’s reminiscent of someone half way through learning a new language. When I was an exchange student learning Spanish, I noticed that because I couldn’t grasp the language fluently, the content of what I was communicating became so much more important that the way in which I delivered the content. I really had to know what I was trying to get at, instead of just letting a response roll off my tongue.

And so the connection was made with the Dalai Lama. His English is terrible, but the content of his communication is so coherent and rich, that it does not matter a bit. You are still enthralled.

So it’s like the perfect bullshit detector. Get a potential bullshitter to speak in a second language or even a language that’s your second language. In either case, you’ll be forced to listen to the content and gist, not the flowery language and whimsical styling.

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On walking, neuronal growth and creativity

There have been numerous studies elucidating the fact that walking increases neuronal growth (APA article detailing it: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/06/exercise.aspx).

But the most brain-tickling theory I’ve heard explaining it is that as nomadic peoples, when we arrived at a new location (after lots of walking or course), it would benefit us to have a rush of neuronal growth to deal with the new flora and fauna that we had come to encounter.

Whatever the true reason it happens, I like it 🙂

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On being antifragile to life

Taleb’s new book has learnings that, though it comes from a very financial and value driven background, can be applied to life and happiness.

If something is robust, it means that shocks that it takes won’t hurt it very much. It’s strong. It gets shaken but not damaged from the volatility.
It means that if you don’t care about money in life, than the shocks that life brings to you (the financial or emotional ups and downs) won’t hurt you very much. You’ll be robust to life.

If something is antifragile, it means that when it receives shocks and volatility, it will be better off directly because of the shocks. It’s like a kinetic watch the uses the shocks of daily wear to charge its batteries.
It means that, if you see the emotional and financial ups and downs of life as truly living life and truly love these things in life, you can be antifragile to life. The shocks and volatility will not just not hurt you, they’ll benefit you.

Love the ups. Love the downs. No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.

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Fleeting perspectives

The Overview Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_effect) is a shift in perspective gained via seeing the earth in its entirety from outer space. I saw the video that accompanies the above link while beginning to read The Penguin History of the World. There couldn’t help but be a connection between seeing the world visually in it’s wholeness and then holding a book which is, at its best, a verbal representation of the same. But what was daunting was not what was held in those items or knowledge but what I found happening afterwards:

I went about my daily life.

Jeff’s relationship with Gina and the twists and turns it had been taking along with what Sarah had told Max (who’s friends with Jeff) overtook my recent and fleeting sense of wholeness. Daily humanistic life easily takes over. It’s part of the human condition.  But there are mechanisms people have developed to counteract these things. The prayer is one of them. It’s one of the oldest forms of practice known to man. Via a Talebian logic, it means that it stands a great chance of carrying enormous value for its most basic attributes. And it’s most basic attributes? Repetition of a logical flow. This has wonderful neuro-scientific connections through the fact that neurons that fire together once will incrementally more easily fire together again the next time they are brought to attention. So if I follow the logic of a passage and truly try to understand its idea every day, it will become engrained.

So maybe there should be a ‘prayer’ to remind ourselves of the wholeness of the world. And if one were to adhere to this, maybe the idea itself would seep subconsciously into that person’s decisions and actions instead of having to remind themselves overtly that their seemingly separate consciousness from other people is really an illusion and that in such a measly short period of time, they’ll just be space dust. Again.

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