Confronting reality 👀


Goal setting is like game setting. You start at level 1 and graduate into unforeseen directions.

If you’re lucky, you’ll ping-pong forward, making leaps and bounds.

But more often than not, declaring your ambitions acts as a compass, guiding you with mere suggestions on how to proceed.

The lighthouse may tease what’s ahead yet what remains murky is only cleared up when confronted in reality. 

Still, the opposition throws roadblocks, trying to flip your resiliency into a foot-dragging laggard.

On, in, or around — you’ll find a way to build a bridge or crush through the wall with a persistent hammer. Give into the resistance, and it will proudly celebrate your inaction.

The goose gets bones via experimentation, the same way an athlete strengthens their body through bicep curls or a monk jogs the brain through meditation.

Even the machine evolves to beat a chess master after learning from its own failed iterations. Wrongs accumulate until they make it right.

The choice is yours to either show-up and move or yield to imperious anticipation. It is recommended that one spend less time pausing and more time living en medias res.

Effort investigates the self and paves the road of life with a bunch of guesses. Fortunately, those assumptions appear to get more accurate with time.

3, 2, 1…action!

The irrationality stick


Irrationality runs rampant, pervading every human that dare unthink its power. 

Call it karma. Call it branding. Call it exuberance. The effect is burning beyond the reality of facts. Instead, perceived progress is all visceral. 

But like any other placebo, a little drunkenness works still. All we need is conviction. The rest of the story perpetuates itself. 

Dancing with the algorithms


Dancing with the algorithms, yielding results random but time-saving. How else are we to discover all these gems in a sea of content?

From Spotify to Gmail, we accept the recommendations to curate and speak for us. Playlists generate themselves, email answers itself.

Predictive life is human, stung with errors.

The computers and their code are often over their heads, impractical and sometimes stupid.

But in combination with human neurons, the computer gets closer to the truth: that we just need help deciding.

What appears random at first is the marriage of a happy accident.

Web Gems 21 / Music’s power is in its ambiguity


Below is an excerpt from the weekly newsletter, published every Sunday morning which includes links to interesting reads, music, and other top-notch content. Subscribe here or below.

Music doesn’t need thought. It is intuited. Like laughter, its power is ambiguous but pleasurable.

Music, after all, does a rather poor job of showing you anything, especially when there isn’t any text to consider. It doesn’t have the same resources to depict things that the other arts do (apart from the occasional cheap trick such as a loud thunderclap). Perhaps music’s power is in its ambiguity.

Life & Arts 🎭

It’s hard to know why music gives pleasure: is that the point? | Aeon Essays

We know music is pleasurable, the question is why? Many answers have been proposed: perhaps none are quite right

Ten tweaks to your morning routine that will transform your entire day | Quartzy

Your energy isn’t infinite. Learning how to control it is key.

Quote 🗣️

Listen 🎧

Video 📺

To see more content and read the newsletter in its entirety, click here.

The origin of “OK”


O.K. or “Oll Korrect” was originally a corny joke amongst Boston intellectuals in 1830s Boston who would intentionally misspell abbreviations.

The Boston Post printed in what is the first known print of the word OK in 1839. Martin Van Buren even adopted the idiom during his 1840 reelection campaign as a nickname. His supporters called him “Old Kinderhook” after the New York town where he was born.

Van Buren lost the election, but OK took off, emerging from slang into practical use thanks to the invention of the telegraph in 1844. It was easier to tap out the word “OK” versus anything else for operators on the railroad to confirm receipt.

Part of the reason OK continued to supplant itself into vernacular in the 20th century was the way in which marketers used the letter “K.” Very few words started with the letter K, so brand strategists modified the C in words like Kraft, Kleenex, Krispy Kreme, and Koolaid to sell products.

Today, OK is universal. Used as an adjective, noun, verb, and adverb, it is most commonly understood as “the ultimate neutral affirmative.” As Alan Metcalf writes in OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, OK does the “affirming without evaluating.” People use the word to convey the acceptance of information and not necessarily its confirmation.

So the word OK started off as awkwardly as it persisted. Yet, there never goes a day where you can avoid the ubiquity of the two-letter word.

Snacking on disattention


Wake up snack

We snack when we’re bored, especially when we watch tv.

But it’s no longer the food that woos us. It’s our phones.

What was our third screen is now our first, so distracted we couldn’t be bothered to skip the tv ads.

The tube has been relegated to mere background noise.

Every time we check Instagram, we get a little snack. Stuck pecking at refresh, our profiles dangle like carrots begging us to buy more stock.

Will Kevin Kelley’s 1,000 true fans make us a successful influencers? What should our influencer price tag be?

Forget the future. We are poor fortune tellers. We live in the persistent presence of distraction, amusing ourselves to death.

Humans seek fantasy. But wake-up science reveals only hell. The real world screams peak screen.

Risky indecision


risky indecision.png

In the absence of ideas, we’re lost floating at sea.

Weighed down in idea debt, a lack of action can have the same debilitating effect.

Interia is the purported enemy. Just write the truest sentence already.

What works better is facing fear and proceeding right into it.

Keep your eyes on the prize and spend your time wisely, for the latter is never under your control.

Remain undecided at your own risk. Faith knows that even the wrong ideas fail successfully.

Medicating off the placebo


Medicating off the placebo

If you want to instantly feel better, step into a hospital. The placebo works every time.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Hospitals can make the healthy feel a bit ill.

Does anyone like hanging out in hospitals?

Placebo is a mere expectation. It helps only because we think it helps. But that psychological boon could be the difference in making things better or worse. Brain modulation is pain modulation.

It turns that out managing your own internal wiring whether through expectation, habits, or lucky charms may just be the oldest medicine in the world.

Read The Placebo Effect’s Role in Healing, Explained


Winning a coin toss


winning a coin toss_luck.png

“There never was a man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street today, and another tomorrow, and so on, day after day. He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it.” — PT Barnum

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been lucky. And while you have more luck to come, there will be pitfalls along the way. Such is the sine wave that is life.

As John Berger wrote, “You can plan events, but if they go according to your plan they are not events.”

Good photographers always seem to be in the right place at the right time. That’s because they are in a position to capture the magical shot when it happens.

With the right intentions, you can manufacture your own luck. But you want long-term serotonin over short-term dopamine.

A harsh test always follows beginner’s luck. And that is when you’ll know if the destination was meant for you.

“It’s called the principle of favorability, beginner’s luck. Because life wants you to achieve your Personal Legend.” The Alchemist 

Embracing uncertainty


Monkey embracing uncertainty

Bored when you know too much. Anxious when you know too little.

The good news is that you can’t control the universe. Acknowledging your powerlessness should set you free instead of trying to float onto absolutes.

Writes lifehacker Darius Foroux:

Lighten up. Relax your muscles. Get rid of that tense face. Don’t worry. And have faith in yourself.

Every minute that you’re investing in yourself will have a return. You just don’t know when that is.

Maybe it’s tomorrow, or maybe it’s in 10 years.

Who knows?

Who knows if your most electrifying life and work are yet to come or shit’s going to hit the fan.

But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re probably worth fighting for.

The quest for self-improvement at least brings novelty, even if the impact is rarely immediate. 

‘Mankind = manikin = mannequin’


Memory Theatre book cover

 

Let me put this in a simple linguistic formula: Mankind = manikin = mannequin. Like Plato’s demiurge or creator-deity in the Timaeus, the fashion designer takes the old rags of matter and forms them into something sublime. God is the great fashion designer in the sky and the fashion designers here on earth are his prophets, his true disciples: mortal portals to his immortal power.

Simon Critchley, Memory Theatre

Gamed and uattended


Beyond the robot. Waiting for the robot.

The question of who does what won’t matter when the automata yield the paintbrush, teach Castilian Spanish, dance, and write best-selling romance novels.

Even if this is all simulation, the gamers from above played their part in permitting the unscripted.

Like hungry pigeons, we were just picking up the scraps following in the footsteps of Neanderthals, cavemen, and dinosaurs before us.

Now the era of wonderful nonsense gives drones and bees a first person perspective.