I’m starting to treat social media use as a form of impro and it’s made it so much easier for me to have thoughts there—or even conceive of having them there. Especially when I keep in mind classic Keith Johnstone advice like, “be more boring”.
AFK, kinda Show more
On the 12th September, 2018, I switched from posting daily to posting every
Wednesday and Sunday. The experience has been exquisite so far, but it hasn’t
entirely solved my problems. First, twice-weekly still doesn’t leave me enough
time to do deep thinking and research. It seems that, at the moment, one
thousand words is the … [Continue reading AFK, kinda
Two particularly thought-provoking posts I read today.
The first is by Joe Norman and says that “In living systems,
the whole generates the parts.
The parts do not exist a priori.”
The second is by David Collins and takes a look at the history of “mindfulness”. This actually persuaded me to try focusing on concentration-orientated meditation for a while (all I’ve ever done is awareness/vipissanna practice).
With the poles of “abstract” and “concrete” in mind... Is humanity better at analysis or synthesis?
Do we handle big concepts like love and hate better or worse than we handle specific, contextual mechanisms that lead to those things?
aliens: holy fucking shit
humans: I know, first contact right?
aliens: no you dipshits we're talking about whales
humans: ooh yeah, whales are pretty cool
aliens: literally the most amazing thing in the entire galaxy
humans: did you know you can boil them down into lamp oil?
Stories, post-abolition Show more
In Solutions to the problem of life, I acknowledged my tendency to get caught
up on the first of the Buddha’s Four Nobles Truths—Life is suffering.
Realising that that wasn’t exactly useful, I attempted to find a way past it.
As a consequence of releasing that piece, Harry Potash was nice enough to
point me … [Continue reading Stories, post-abolition
Eyes open Show more
Much has changed since I began my meditation practice several years ago. I’ve
experimented with multiple ways of sitting and found that the Japanese seiza
position (legs folded under) and the Burmese position (legs crossed in front)
work best for me. I’ve tried different things with my hands, too. Resting them
together in a gable … [Continue reading Eyes open
Authorial intent Show more
I was lucky enough to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last week. I
enjoyed it. The music was immersive. The acting, as far as I can tell, was
spot on. The use of space and the movement used to transition through it added
to the entire production, instead of detracting from it. The … [Continue
reading Authorial intent ->](https://swellandcut.com/2019/01/02/authorial-
The reclamation project Show more
Hidden in the overwhelmingly cluttered aspect of London are infrequent slices
of negative space. Places which have emptiness as one of their primary
features. There are tiny gardens, parks, terraces and balconies—these are
mostly for the use of residents. There are also “official” negative spaces.
Places like Horse Guards Parade, St James’ Park and Trafalgar … [Continue
reading The reclamation project ->](https://swellandcut.com/2...
Setting all the apps I can to a completely black theme, this is amazing
Environment-Thought Loop Show more
Just finished a holiday clean up and it’s had a noticeable effect on short-term angstiness.
So, I’m wondering, does anyone else experience a strong correlation between the mood of a room or setting and a flavour of thinking?
For example, I find it easier to think with more diversity and rigour in a clean, uncluttered space.
Getting to intimate Show more
There were a few, but the most powerful moment in Derren Brown’s Sacrifice was
this one. Synopsis: Phil, the Average Joe construction worker with a prejudice
against immigrants, is being persuaded by Derren Brown to make a sacrifice for
the sake of a stranger. After Derren Brown reveals Phil’s genetic
heritage—itself a mish-mash from around … [Continue reading Getting to
IQ Hoohah Show more
Funny thing about this whole charade is that there’s people from many different fields/disciplines weighing in, and they’re all smart.
It’s prompted me to speculate that the inability to transfer reasoning skills from one domain to another is a way bigger problem than we realise.
A new kind of overclocking Show more
Mathematicians exist on a higher plane of abstraction than us normies, and
thus seem positively odd. But in the same way that Pareto’s 80/20 principle
can be applied to itself to yield an even more bizarre distribution of
incomes, we can attempt to identify the most eccentric mathematician amongst a
field of people renowned for … [Continue reading A new kind of overclocking
To feel, to swim Show more
When it comes to reading, I have a process. Once I’ve selected a book—always
of the dead-tree kind—I begin reading it, with pen in hand. As I go, I make
infrequent marginalia, highlight interesting parts, and fold corners (top
corner fold represents a notable passage or idea, bottom corner fold
represents an idea or author … [Continue reading To feel, to swim
Oxygen, not coffee Show more
Sun Tzu said that “Morning energy is keen, midday energy slumps, evening
energy recedes”. In Daily Rituals, Mason Currey outlines the quirk-full and
often-mystic routines of famous creatives, scientists and thinkers—a lot of
them describe the featured individual’s primary activity as taking place
before the morning is over, and sometimes before the sun has even … [Continue
reading Oxygen, not coffee ->](https://swellandcut.com/2018/12/...
Writing is a non-linear activity. Composing a coherent and effective 5,000 word piece is more than ten times as hard as stringing together 500 words with a similar collective quality.
Solutions to the problem of life Show more
I know. I have a tendency to write and think about relatively bleak subject
matter. So I want to change tack today and begin with something light and
frothy, a simple if-this-then-that statement. Here it is: If it is true that,
as the Buddha says, life is suffering, then having a child is one of …
[Continue reading Solutions to the problem of life
Proust, Before and After Show more
I read v1 of ISOLT. Then I read an edited collection of Girard’s work and Things Hidden. Now, I’ve begun v2 of ISOLT.
Before Girard, ISOLT was novel and intriguing and oddly aesthetically pleasing. After Girard, all I see is the absurd fluctuations in desire that make up the bulk of the narrative. And it’s the first time I’ve really noticed how affected I am by framing and context.
Unreliable narrator. Rhizome traveller. Wannabe timelord.
Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin.
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