Last modified: 2012-06-11 (finished). Epistemic state: log.

Couldn’t think.

Woke up,
couldn’t be anyone,
couldn’t get stuff done,
couldn’t think.

Didn’t matter
because bad feels
don’t make my decisions.


A wise man once said, “when I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead”. I found that running through rain and mud works too.

(And taking blurry Instagram pictures. And fancy-as-fuck horizontal lines.)

So practice! (Besides running 8km through the forest. It’s so unfair that two hours of getting dirty is worth 300 points on Fitocracy, but I’m-getting-a-heart-attack-for-reals burpee sessions are only 100, and my-arms-are-killing-me push-ups maybe 20. Stupid paleo ancestors who didn’t leave with me any strength.)

Did some meditation because even though I never feel like it affects me, doing just a 10 minute session of just-sitting-and-letting-the-tension-dissolve precedes my most productive days. So I’m doing that again.

I’m a bit disappointed that I don’t have the hardcore vipassana “gotta attain some serious goals” attitude anymore. It just… seems so irrelevant. I’m happy, I’m having fun, I already have more projects that I can handle, what do I need some formless jhana for?

But then, that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? Before enlightenment, stare at walls; after enlightenment, eat pizza. (Or however that koan goes.)

Unfortunately, shedding the goal-oriented attitude makes it harder to log. Just sitting for a while and breathing, not knowing if it was 10 minutes or an hour, doesn’t suit my timetracking software.

Suits me, though.

The Hacker will have to modify it soon.

Another casualty of being happy is that I can’t write for shit. Or rather, I have lots of drafts, but I just can’t really approach them, and I’m actually too busy not being an idiot and doing stuff.

Which is especially bad when your message is “don’t be an idiot and do stuff”.

Or as the song goes1:

You’re at your best with an ache in your chest
and that worn out old song that you play.

I also tried writing a rant against misanthropy and being grumpy, and how “believe in the truth or be happy” is a nonsensical false dichotomy, and how pessimism is a glorification of your lack of skill, and other stuff, but you know, that’s too self-refuting for my taste.

However, the old Buddhists could pull it off, I thought, so it should be possible… What can I use besides a rant to do a rant?


So I wrote three short dialogues. So sophisticated!2

More practice.

I’m getting a lot of mileage out of “if you want to be a person that does X, you better do X”.

There’s the obvious moral dimension where you realize that if you want to be a person that does the right thing even under bad circumstances, and then those circumstances come along, you better not chicken out now but stand by your morals.

And there’s decision theory where you understand that “I wish I could’ve precommitted to do X, so I could now easily do X!” is a bullshit complaint because you can always just act as if you always retro-actively precommit. Post-pre-commit, if you want. You don’t need a causal excuse for being a certain kind of agent. You can just be it.

But finally, it crops up everywhere when I don’t want something. I’m like, ugh, I wish I could write this short rant about pessimism, but I just don’t feel like typing or thinking. I wish I were the kind of person who could just sit down and write!

Wait a minute.

I can just be the kind of person who sits down and writes. So I decide, out of pure spite if necessary, that I’m not going to believe that I can’t do it.

Alright, so here’s the part where it gets tricky. (At least I didn’t get this right until very recently.)

It’s not about wishful thinking or making yourself believe something. Rather the opposite. It’s about realizing an emptiness, a lack of necessary belief.

It’s about realizing that there’s no reason to believe that “I can’t write this because I’m tired”. Sure, I may feel tired. It doesn’t logically follow that therefore I can’t write. Or that therefore I will stay tired. Or that therefore I can’t do something about it. The automatic reaction is simply not justified.

So I shed it, and go back to an empty mind. And then it’s easy to see that to be the kind of person who relaxes and regenerates by writing, I better write when tired.

So I do, and feel refreshed.

Fucking magic.

  1. Of course, it also goes:

    Sometimes I wonder where you’re coming from
    when you roll in like thunder just to turn around and run…
    it’s a good thing I don’t need you to stay.

    You smell like moonlight in early morning rain;
    pray tell a fool might surrender to your pain
    or find a cure for your decay.

    Which is why it is a great song.

  2. I disproportionately enjoyed making those videos. In my future cult, all philosophical arguments will have to be in the form of short flash videos.

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