Things I’ve noticed that I like

Things I've learned about myselfWe go through life and all it’s strife, and we learn about things and we learn about ourselves. A big part of learning about ourselves is learning what we like. We are wired differently and sometimes we like different things.

So here is stuff I’ve noticed that I like:

1. Direct experience. I spent 3 hours today on the internet with a simple question: Is the flu shot a good thing? Came across a paper saying no, then a few blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4) saying the guy who wrote the paper was wrong and bad and not an expert. At the end of the experience, I still don’t have an answer about the flu shot, but I have an insight:

You can only know something by counting your own beans. By this I mean, you count flu-related harms and you count the effect on the harms of the flu-shot, and you make a conclusion. And this takes a whole lot of work to do yourself.

“See I have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something. How careful you have to be about checking your experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself. I know what it means to know something…I see how they get their info. I have a great suspicion that they don’t know. They haven’t done the checks, the care. And they intimidate people by it. I think so. I don’t know the world very well. But that’s what I think.” – Richard Feynman

People on both sides of any issue are arguing and arguing, calling names, but really it comes down to disciplined, often tedious, work.

But because time is finite, you have to trust your friendly neighborhood scientist to count your beans for you. To count the flu shot beans and write them up in a pdf file that gets distributed to doctors who then gently nudge their patients to do what the file says. That’s how medicine works: “A hierarchy of trust.”

I don’t like it. I like to be close to the earth, mining my own truth.

This is only possible for a few truths, because life is so short, and mining is such hard work there’s no way around trusting others. In the olden days we just trusted others to do some work for us, like farming and making clothes. Now we trust people at desks to farm knowledge. Maybe I belong as a scientist so that I can at least mine a few truths in my life…Or maybe I belong as a farmer.

I was walking down the street and saw some grapes. I picked them. It was a lot more fulfilling to me to eat these fresh grapes than drive to a store and pay for food with the papers I got deposited in my bank for doing certain tasks in the hospital.

I guess, be it in data or in food, I like being close to the source. Being part of making the thing and not just trusting that the truth or the food gets delivered to my door by some expert.

2. Spontaneity. Skipped yoga today. Poo you, plans. “It’s good to exercise, it’s good to do this, it’s good to do that.” It’s good to take the plans and ignore them. To do what flows. It feels good to be a time anarchist.

3. Aesthetics. I poured my tea into a jar. The tea was pretty cloudy yellow-green. I looked outside. The leaves made a gradient along the branch:


I pointed this out to my roommate, who said he hadn’t noticed it.

I like pretty things. Going down the stairs in my house, the sun peering through the blue stained-glass window gets me high in the mornings.

4. Dalai Lama Goop. Basically he advocates a compassion for all people. A concern for all people, no matter their walk of life. After reading the argumentative name-calling-type posts of anti-vaccine people vs. pro-vaccine people, it just becomes very clear that the world needs more Dalai Lama substance in it.

Dalai Lama goop agrees with me. It’ll take a lifetime of work to be able to secrete more of this stuff inside my brain.

And that’s a wrap, folks!

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