12 -> 14 -> 11

I ran the random # generator today, and got 12, then 11. So the first four times I’ve rolled the “dice”, I’ve gotten 12, 14, 12, 11. Doesn’t feel random, “RANDOM.ORG”!

11. some sort of blockchain-based thing where you can modularly create an environment (Minecraft)

Yikes this one is a bit nutty. The idea is sort of that we can formalize the way we construct our online realities (which are quickly becoming our real realities) into structure-able pieces, like legos, and build the realities we want ourselves. And you can apply this concept to governance, to education, to how you want to live life, you can choose what to experience but choosing the context that you build for yourself, by choosing the ruleset under which you operate.

I’m not going to be very straightforward today – just don’t feel like making myself easy to follow or understandable.

I don’t particularly feel like writing about a random creative idea today. The above one is fun, I can always come back to it, it’s too abstract anyway, at least for today. More of a thought experiment than something grounded in my life.

So what does resonate today? Well there are three quotes I have written down in my “things to write about” list that jump out:

  • Everyone in today’s society lives in constant contradiction of their ideals. In these young corners of the internet everything is simultaneously ironic and genuine.
  • I try to always ask myself when I meet someone new “is this person a force of nature?” It’s a pretty good heuristic for finding people who are likely to accomplish great things.
  • This is why the question of a person’s motivation is so important. It’s the first thing I try to understand about someone. The right motivations are hard to define a set of rules for, but you know it when you see it.

The first one is from an analysis of political subcultures on Instagram. It’s actually somewhat related to the idea I initiated this post with; at least my interpretation of the quote is related. Basically now we have so much freedom to construct the reality we live in, in choosing the filters and the bubbles we experience life through, that we often create contradictions in our lives, because we really aren’t thoughtful or nuanced or intelligent enough to understand how the different positions we choose actually relate to one another. So we live in a state of massive cognitive dissonance, or at least, we live in a state where we are constantly trying to understand what it is we actually believe, because there is no one in the world anymore that is telling us what is right to believe. This is a long-standing trend… the spread of information has obvious benefits, it enables the aggregation of information and therefore mass, rapid accumulation of knowledge which results in innovation, genius, creativity, dominance, monopoly, but it also overwhelms us with choices of what to believe in, and robs us of the time to think about what we should believe in.

So I like AOC, I like Lebron James, I don’t like Drake, I don’t like Trump, I like Obama, I like the Warriors, I like crypto, I like Frank Ocean, I don’t like the Kardashians, I don’t like Facebook and the advertising model, I don’t like Tesla, I don’t like Netflix, I do like Spotify… how do these merge into an approach to life that is cohesive, coherent, comprehensive? They almost certainly don’t. I cannot dig too deeply into my own beliefs or it is certain I will find contradictions. Things I like that I shouldn’t; things I don’t like that I should, at least based on the logic of my prior choices.

I am confronted with so many inputs every day, and I have to choose whether I like them or not; or at least there is a “Like” button in front of many of them. But if I were to seriously consider the meaning of a “Like” and try to align my “Likes” with the direction of all my past “Likes”, I would be non-functional. I would have to withdraw from society. So the alternative is I become very good at dismissing my past choices, at saying, Well look, I reserve the right to change my mind.

And that starts to sound like a very American thing to say, in the sense of our growing obsession with being present, in our obsession with independence, in our obsession with rationality, in our obsession with being objectively correct, of being logical. None of my past choices reflect the choice I am about to make; the choice I am about to make reflects the TRUE ME, the me that exists in this moment. Old Calvin is dead (from yesterday). New Calvin is reinvented in every moment.

So what does that mean? It paints a sort of freedom. But it also paints a sort of meaninglessness, a lack of arc in a life. It creates a feeling of being 31 years old and having barely existed, of not having a past that is meaningful except in its creation of this moment, of knowing that even this moment will become meaningless when the future becomes now. It creates a sense that if the future looks like the past, what it will really feel like is a rush of memory, and nothing more concrete.

There’s a lot I want to unpack here, I think I need the paint to dry in my life, I wish I had a conviction that defined my life, knowing full well that is not the path to happiness, but perhaps to something fulfilling.

And I know I have beliefs that could become convictions. One just needs the courage to make them so.

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