Last Updated: 2019-06-02 17:28

I realized I hadn't made a post about it on the old Muse. But I have been working on a new blog! You can find it [here](https://mlu.red)! And Muse has now migrated to [here](https://mlu.red/muse).

I'm excited by it because it's no longer a single page, and I updated Volta to make it work. Got to do some more experience of writing a static site generator. Also it has some nicer fonts / improved reading experience, IMO. Also there are new blog posts there now!


tags:
Last Updated: 2019-04-09 21:25

Hey, yo, so I'm back to writing stuff for now. Or, sort of. I mentioned that I'd be taking a break for about three to four months. And now I'm back. I think that using Muse as a sort of thing for now is okay.

So what have I been up to in the interim? - Well, I tried living without thinking too much about searching for insights. And, that didn't work out that well. - I finally revamped mindlevelup, and I'm excited to be rolling out updated posts on the new site, but that isn't ready yet, and I'm also a little slow on updating old posts. If you're curious, though, here's the current link (no guarantees it'll keep working later on). - Working on a neural net implementation in Python. I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with the bare-bones implementation. Next is maybe looking into implementing an automatic differentiation library.

What have I been thinking about? Well, in the times that I have been thinking, I've been thinking about a lot of the same stuff: - Meditating on the medium, competing alternatives. The single greatest impediment to productivity in the modern world is the introduction of entertainment superstimuli. Almost everything around is a Skinner box. - Striving for some sort of minimalist aesthetic. Having less to worry about, less to carry around, etc. gives you more space to apply to other things. - There are more instances to act than social rules dictate. Awkwardness and double-tracking aren't as limiting as they seem.

Now, I feel like it's less about finding a time to write, and it's more about having stuff worth writing about. Of course, having the time to do it is important, but it seems like that searhc process doesn't even happen unless you want to do it in the first place.

(Shocker, you can only do the thing you want to do. Yes, we've gone Full Circle many, many times. Doesn't stop these insights from being useful, as it seems that, given that humans are leaky systems, we're not particularly great at holding onto everything. Even if growth is a coherent concept, it isn't contradictory to have a model where we're in a constant state of atrophy and loss. Although, oof, that ain't a great aesthetic.)


tags:
Last Updated: 2018-12-22 08:02

One thing I've been thinking about is why self-help works at all. In conjunction with the blog right below this one, why is it the case that doing anything at all works?

In other words, one way to think about the core argument of self-help is that there's something else you could be doing, which would have beneficial effects. But why might this be the case? What's wrong with the stuff you're already doing?

Ah, well, here we get to the evo-psych argument: Humans can be thought of as executing adaptations which helped out previous humans in the ancestral environment. But today’s world has changed up a lot faster than our brains have. Which means that there are a lot of low-hanging fruit to improve our actions.

(i.e. we have cognitive biases and it's our default)

But what about all the stuff we’ve learned since birth? Does that not count? Well, maybe it isn’t enough? To what extent does the environment select for behaviors, ala classical conditioning / learning?

(And even if so, does the environment select for optimal behaviors, or just things that sustain themselves? Probably just the sustaining stuff, methinks.)

Overall, this is just a quick intuition pump to remind myself that it's quite plausible that, given human goals and a natural environment, there can be a lot of room for improvement.


tags:  rationality

So I've been using Todoist as my to-do list of choice for over a year now. This feels pretty good and great. I don't think it's the optimal to-do list app, of course. It keeps nagging me to upgrade to Premium for features I really don't care for.

However, it seems like having a to-do list is way better than not having one. And, perhaps more generally, having some sort of coping technique is good. Having a way to reflect is good. Anyway. The point here is that having any sort of way to do other than your evolutionary defaults seems to be helpful. At least, a good number of things seem to be useful.

This seems to be why so much of self-help attracts a following; regardless of the models or epistemology involved, they all seem to be pointing towards a general cluster of stuff that works. And it seems like they could all be good choices of things if your objective is to get short-term gain.


tags:  self-help ,  rationality
Last Updated: 2018-11-29 17:00

I've been worried lately at my ability to do work and to focus and do work. Not Deep Work in the Cal Newport sense, of putting in several hours, mind you. More, like, closer to just the normal flow sense of "doing something and feeling the time disappear". I feel like I used to be better at getting absorbed into a task.

Now, though, whether I am doing homework, reading, or doing most sorts of cognitive tasks which ask for my attention, I notice myself slipping. Every few minutes, there's a compulsion to go and check Facebook, or to play a game of Pokemon Showdown, or to check LessWrong again for new posts, or to see if a new chapter of whatever manga I'm following is out. Independently of this, it seems like I can generally only manage to put in about 25 minutes of "good work" before I lose interest in the task and want to do something else.

The first reason why this is worrying to me is because it seems to be indicative of the extent to which I've actually become beholden to quick sources of reinforcement. While I don't have any active distractions which suck me in for long periods of time, I can't help but wonder if this is really much better. I could blame tech, of course, like I usually do. Reinforcement schedules and immediacy are powerful contingents for habit formation. But talking about the factors which brought this about doesn't make me any more satisfied with my situation.

I'd like to live life at a slower pace, and it seems that the speed at which I'm asked to process information in today's age is faster than I'd prefer.

And I'm stuck feeling like some older version of me, less entrenched by this mass of addictions, could be out feeling better and doing better work. I think maybe I feel like this a lot. It's also maybe worrying that I sometimes feel like better versions of me are in the past, given where I am right now in life.

Actionably speaking, there are more things I can do to cut myself off from the perils of social media. Interval-based reinforcement can curb the constant expectation and curiosity, the question of "Oooh, is there a new notification?" I wish this wasn't about tech, but it seems to be about tech. The majority of things I find asking for my attention are other things on the computer...which ping me when I'm on the computer. It's always the digital stuff that's making me feel "ugh".

But also writing stuff down on paper feels bad. Probably because I've also become accustomed to using the keyboard as a more direct medium for channeling my thoughts. Hah.

Slowly, though, I want to see change.


tags:  attention ,  tech ,  addiction
Last Updated: 2018-11-13 20:27

Maybe because it's one of the algorithms that's been showing up lately, but I've been thinking about sliding windows as an analogy. Specifically, as a way of thinking about memory. There's some sort of cutoff point where I might be able to recall things, but it no longer feels "recent" or directly connected to my identity.

The feeling of recency is quite interesting to me because it seems to imply that important things are going to fade over time. And if you want to preserve certain parts of your identity, there's some sort of "upkeep" you'll need to pay, i.e. having more of those sort of experiences consistently so they stay in recent memory.

Anyway, that's if you equate identity with memory, and that's definitely an oversimplification. But, whatever.

As new things filter in, older things drop out. I'm unsure how to square this with the theory of compounding experience. Presumably if something has effects, even if it falls out of the window, then things it influenced can continue to resound, ala domino effect, but that feels quite contrived. The obvious answer, of course, is that there are several factors at play.


tags:  bad-philosophy ,  p-of-e
Last Updated: 2018-11-13 20:18

I have this gut feeling that games should have some degree of depth to them. There should be lots of options, menus, customization, and variety. When I click a button, it'd better to be to put forth an order, which has effects which resound. Or, at least that's what I used to think. As a result, I would always be quite confused by mobile games, for example, which would have only a few moving pieces.

"Surely," I thought, "no one would find themselves entranced by just clicking these little buttons, right? You need something bigger, something with a larger feeling of grandeur, in order to make it worth your time."

And, yeah, I was totally wrong.

It turns out that you can get human brains to care about literally anything. The part of our brain searching for reinforcement can apparently be hacked to derive pleasure from basically anything. I've since found myself sucked into things like clicker games, where you literally become an optimizer, striving to pursue upgrades to make a fricking number get higher.

But it's not exactly just that I'm amazed at what sort of small things can capture our attention. It's more like, the sensation of chasing after one of these frivolous goals feels basically identical to chasing after any other goal. Striving to try and get another coin in whatever small game you're playing on your phone feels just like trying to try out a new recipie for making pie. Okay, that's probably not a good analogy, but whatever.

The point being that, if at any point, you find yourself wondering exactly how in the world X could command someone's attention, you would do well to remember that we're really good at becoming obsessed with chasing after even the smallest things.

One good thing about this is that you can probably get yourself to become interested in anything.

One bad thing about this is you can probably get anyone to become interested in anything.


tags:  bad-philosophy
Last Updated: 2018-10-03 17:28

A few years ago, I was viscerally scared by the thought of the world ending. It felt a lot closer than it does now. Also, since a few years ago, I've become a few years older. It's scary to think that this is probably one of the things that happens to you when you become more of an adult.

Propps to all the other EAs who can reckon with these feelings still even after whatever general-emotional-stability-boost-that-inadvertently-makes-it-harder-to-get-invested-in-dangerous-scenarios kicks in.

Given that I don't really feel this way, it's also been harder to tackle problems that relate to stuff in this scope. So effective altruism as a general philosophy feels less attractive, which also seems to suck. I think that...I've become more selfish in recent years?

I'm working on projects still, but they're not all interesting, and I feel like sometimes I forget to focus on the right goal of helping people.

This is worth spending more time Focusing on.


tags:  gcr ,  effective-altruism ,  introspection
Last Updated: 2018-10-03 17:21

You know how sometimes you're staring at a problem or a math proof, and you know that you could find the solution? But maybe you don't go all the way and actually explicate the solution. There's just the feeling of existence that's present.

I often feel a similar black-box-y feel when I'm thinking about justifying certain rationality techniques. As in, there's effort I could put in to "translate" whatever technique I'm using into a more Standard Ontology which makes it sound Reasonable. But sometimes, I just deal with existence proofs.


tags:  rationality ,  bad-philosophy
Last Updated: 2018-10-02 07:29

Everyone kinda knows that some mixture of love and affection doesn't cut it in relationships. I've been reading Attached on attachment theory. (Yes, I'm late.) Anyway, in the same way that Double Crux seems to work because, by acknowledging each side's most "strongly-felt" arguments, you signal to the other person "Yes, I see you, and you exist / have valid points."

Some scattered words:

  • Security
  • Support
  • Affirmation
  • Acknowledgment
  • Appreciation

These all seem like some of the "boring" (but they're really not!) undercurrents of good relationships, ala attachment theory. I don't think I thought in this way of affirmations previously.


tags:  bad-philosophy ,  romance
Last Updated: 2018-09-26 18:49

It's now my second year of college. I suppose that Muse works more as a place for me to be far more casual about what's been up with my life. I'm not sure if many people read this. But whatever, I'm using this as a way to catalogue some of my messier thoughts.

Since coming back to college, I feel like I've been swept up in a far more frantic flow. Around this time my first year, I wanted to take all the cool classes and learn all the exciting things. Now, though, it seems like, after a year, I haven't exactly learned the virtue of Patience, but I'm okay being more...unfulfilled?

It no longer seems prudent to try and maximize all of the things or to take all of the classes. I think this is a little jarring. The pace of growing older seems so slow. Projects can take a while, and no one is ever in a rush to get things done.

At the risk of channeling the aesthetic of accelerating progress, acclimation, and fading novelty, I still think there is a Time and Place to be FAST.

There is something independent of the carelessness and hurry that accompanies the typical speediness. There is a more delibrate use of speed in the same way that focused attention does not discount the use of Blankness.


tags:  virtue ,  aesthetic
Last Updated: 2018-09-15 07:53

It feels like there's been a push towards getting people to start creating their own content. Platforms like YouTube + the Internet make it a lot easier for people to start.

Growing an audience, though, seems hard because there's not often a lot of free attention. Most of the competition is zero-sum between different content. People only have so much free time, so minutes they spend engaging with your stuff is minutes they don't spend engaging in other people's stuff.

There's a cynical viewpoint here which is something like "If you don't think you're creating Good Content, don't broadcast it! We have enough low-quality stuff as it is, out there."

I think people often want to create, though. It's one of the default responses people have if you ask them "Say you could live comfortably without needing to work. What would you do then?"

Often, though, implementation takes far more time than coming up with the initial idea. There is an asymmetry across many fields where the actual ideation is done by only a small group of people. This then requires maybe 10X as many people to actually put into practice.

Thus, if you want people to join your project (which is of course great because you came up with it), you'll need to convince other people to go with you. On the flip side, I think there's a skill worth practicing where you let go of idea ownership. Stuff is going to get done, and you're going to be doing it; whoever came up with the idea might be less important than whether or not you want the stuff to happen.

But maybe the desire for individual ideation points to something important. A really large amount of people seem to want to partake in creative endeavors.


tags:  asymmetry
Last Updated: 2018-09-14 21:49

Malcolm Ocean gets it. There's a terrible thing that happens when you try to encapsulate your essay with a title. Somehow, the label takes on a life of its own, and you sometimes forget the content inside the essay.

This happens to my own essays where I think "Oh, huh, this essay is called 'Learning from Past Experiences'". Sounds kinda boring.

And in fact it was not boring and it was good.

I'm thinking of maybe instead transitioning to just numbers + summaries instead.

For example, a format like: Essay 10 [Fading novelty, ways to address it, and a brief digression into typography.]


tags:  meta
Last Updated: 2018-09-14 21:35

I've been on a real not-learning kick lately. By that, I mean a long stretch of not feeling like I've changed much as a person. See also Learning from Past Experiences and Replace Stereotypes with Experiences. I think I've stagnated a lot post-discovering-rationality, in that I haven't had lots of recent experiences play into informing how I make decisions or into changing my self-concept. (It might not actually be that way. It just feels that way.)

For example:

  • I haven't really figured out how to feel like a college student.
  • I don't think I've updated most of my models about marketing / companies after interning at Google.
  • I don't feel like I'm the sort of person who dates even after actually dating.

The real question is something like "A bunch of cool stuff seems to be happening in the present. So why can't I move faster and let these things in? Why do I feel stuck by past things?"

The answer is that experience compounds. One reason childhood events can be so influential isn't just that they happened when you were at a formative time and developing your models. In addition, the fact that you pick them up early means they've had the privilege of being part of your thought processes for longer. They're more well-worn tools.

Then, there's also the default answer that each additional year of your life is, relative to the amount of years you've lived, a lesser amount. EX: From year 6 to 7, you've gained an extra ~15% of your total lifespan in new experiences. Whereas from 26 to 27, you've gained closer to 4% of your total lifespan in new experiences.

But, I'd like every year to be measured more equally with one another. I feel like cool stuff is passing by me right now, and I'm just slow on the uptake. I'm not taking it in!

Yes, you can get set in your older ways of thinking, and you will have seen more with each successive year. But experientially speaking I'd like to get my brain to also pay more attention to the recent stuff.

I guess on hacky way to do this would be to spend more time ruminating on the present (which is also harder because if you've lived for 30 years, then by the same proportionality argument, there's just less stuff to think about if you restrict yourself to years 29-30).


tags:  bad-philosophy
Last Updated: 2018-09-12 21:05

I used to think that happiness was pretty important. Now, though, it looks like I didn't do a good job of figuring out exactly what 'happiness' was about. (Yes, I know, Philosophy 101. Spare me, though, pretty please?)

SquirrelInHell has a good post about how happiness isn't even what people really want, and I think I'm now more inclined to agree. It's not the wireheading thing; rather, it seems like sometimes I don't really...find myself inclined to seek out happiness in and of itself? But, also, yes, the wireheading thing.

So, as an alternative, there's been a whole bunch of buzz lately about this cool 'meaning' thing. Some things have more 'weight' than others. This quality affects how we recollect memories (is it the meaningful or the happy moments that are indelible?) and what we chase after.

Narrative, for all that it acts like crack for the human soul, is, um, important because it acts like crack for the human soul. There's something captivating about these cycles of conflict, loss, ascension, and acceptance. I had a recent conversation with a friend about how some of his most enjoyable activities were ones where only brief respites of triumph and happiness surged amidst a sea of contemplation and struggle.

(There's the immediate pattern-match to getting hit on a head with a truncheon here, but stay with me here.)

It might seem that, given the relative nature of our brains, having some amount of loss is important to better feel the highs. But that's also not exactly it! It's like I would seek out conflict and problems as a fun activity, in and of itself. There's something about surmounting challenges that's just...how it is.

It's more like...what do you even want?

  1. You could do things to be happy.
  2. But then people complain about not doing something meaningful.
  3. You could do something meaningful. But the Mission can fade, and in time you're back to feeling unsatisfied.
  4. Do you cycle back to 1 to preserve your ego?
  5. Is it treadmills all the way down?
  6. These are all just abstractions over the Actual Human Thing, which is messy. Any model here seems like it'd be descriptive at best. ("If there was an answer to this question, what would it look like?" is a recent favorite question of mine to ask.)

tags:  narrative ,  meaning ,  bad-philosophy
Last Updated: 2018-09-11 07:54

Three concepts that I seem to be using a lot lately are acceptance, analogies, and asymmetries. They feel like important building blocks that I use for decision-making, so I'm listing them out here. And, yes, I suppose they're probably also just obvious.

Acceptance is when you're "okay" with the state of affairs. I think it's a key component of being able to change your mind, updating towards the truth, or taking criticism. The point is that you're taking the way the world is and you're putting it into yourself.

Analogies can help you see inconsistencies by drawing parallels between situations. For example, if you often listen intently when one friend talks but are much more dismissive in your conversations with another friend, this is worth looking into. Either the parallel should hold and this points to something different you should be doing, or the parallel is off, and this points you towards examining why the two situations are not exactly comparable.

Asymmetries point at situations which are special. In the same way as analogies, they give us pause to question the way things are. For example, the typical student-teacher relationship has the student being instructed by the teacher. A stereotypical response to the reverse would be outrage and anger from the teacher.


tags:  rationality ,  tools
Last Updated: 2018-09-10 21:05

I think I missed the memo on this, but apparently 2x2 squares have been the sexy thing to do when talking about concepts for a while now, re: Ribbonfarm? Anyway, I've been trying to square some thoughts about how it feels to do a task, and it seems like a 2x2 is the right way to go about it.

Here's the image:

2x2 square of attention/effort, low and high

Now, I'll explain. I think about a task in terms of how difficult it is to start and how difficult it is to maintain.

Tasks with low effort are easy to start, you can think of them as things you don't have a lot of resistance to start. High effort tasks, for some reason or another, are aversive to start. They might be outcompeted by other, more attractive options, or maybe you've got some internal conflict to resolve.

Tasks with low attention are ones where it is easy to keep going. This typically corresponds to a flow-like state. Your attention is occupied by the task. High attention tasks are ones where you constantly jump out of the moment.

What is this model useful for? I don't know...for now. I'm happy that it provides another perspective on the same idea I was trying to gesture at in Attractor Theory, but in a cleaner way, though.


tags:  rationality ,  attention ,  effort ,  2x2
Last Updated: 2018-09-09 17:30

In Normative vs Descriptive Confusions I touch upon a key distinction I've been thinking about lately. It's a set of conflicting attitudes towards my identity: Do I want to take my inclinations and wants as signs of the way that I really am, or do I want to strive to change myself into who I want to be?

When thinking about dichotomies like this, I think there is a hierarchy of responses:

  1. The default response seems to be acknowledging that the dichotomy is important, and that we must cater to both sides.
  2. Going one step further, however, you in particular probably do not have the correct mixture of the dichotomy meaning that you can probably get better results than what you are currently doing by biasing towards one side or the other.

  3. However, this doesn't solve why the dichotomy is there in the first place. You need some sort of model that can reconcile the differences, especially if there is some sort of apparent contradiction at play.

Thus, with regards to this specific dichotomy, I think that I used to bias towards self-modification and have since become a lot more impulsive / listening to myself. Or, at the very least, it seems like I pay less attention to actively changing parts of myself.

And while the rest of the rationality community seems to have adopted the more gentle attitude of looking at your behavior as evidence of your needs (EX: pica, Internal Double Crux, Focusing), I am still thinking about your relationship with yourself in the context of parenting styles:

  • Being forgiving and acquiescing to your body's needs is like being a good parent that isn't depriving your child of things they need to function.
  • But also sometimes you need to be strict because it can help the child grow. There is a time and place for being firm and unyielding. (EX: exercise)
  • Yet, you're also not always the parent. Sometimes your body actually knows better and you're just wrong. (EX: sleep)
  • Also, you are your body.

People are processes, and there are going to be strange tangled dependencies between beliefs. We're inconsistent. This is not an explanation.

Here's a first attempt at some pieces of the puzzle: Some traits are harder to modify than others. This is sometimes because they are less visible than others. Not all of our needs are nicely captured by our ontology of choice. Striving to become the person you want to become has problems when you are not specific about where you want to improve; getting better and something in the general sense is a confused concept. Acting to become the idealized version of you can run into problems like extra affect / virtue associated with your mental conception, which you might not have acted on directly, and thus you can fall flat with regards to your expectations (but perhaps not your specified goal). Another issue is when hidden traits are dependent on a lot of other traits. Some things require other things to function, and rooting around with a lot of your more lower-level things can lead to unexpected effects.

So, when trying to figure out whether or not to modify vs accept something as part of you, there are at least a few areas to be thinking about:

  • Is the trait a dependency for a lot of other traits? (But also, this is often not apparent.)
  • Can you be more specific about what sort of person you want to become? (Identifiables over aesthetics.)

tags:  rationality ,  dichotomy
Last Updated: 2018-09-07 19:31

There's this weird thing that's been happening lately where I generally feel okay, and I'm noting that my state of mind is "y'know, pretty good". And I'm being mindful of that.

The issue arises when I am thinking about what to do next. Some part of me will think "Oh, hey, there's this cool problem that's been bugging us that we could dive int..."

Whereupon the rest of my brain will think "No! Don't dive in! If you do, then you'll start to think about painful things, and you'll lose your current state of mind (which is not dwelling on painful stuff)."

I think this might just be a not-helpful defense mechanism. Not looking into the bad bits doesn't mean they're not there. While it seems good to be strategic about choosing when to dive into examining different problems, I think my current policy lately has been something like a blanket "No, just don't do it!", which seems bad because then I just never end up addressing those issues.


tags:  fear ,  introspection
Last Updated: 2018-09-07 19:13

I have a Mood or a Feel that I care a lot about. It's a little like minimalism. It's a little like praising deprivation. It's a little like mindfulness. I think that there is a lot to be mindful of in the space of doing things like being hungry / sore / lustful. In general, these are states where you have a feel of Wanting.

I think peering into this space of things is interesting, although I realize I haven't quite articulated why. Some other actions which also seem to fit this pattern:

  • Avoiding video games / TV shows / general attention-commandeering activities.
  • Taking more appreciation in very mundane activities like staring at a wall, going for a walk, or lying on the ground.
  • Eating bland foods, staying in the cold, abstaining from sexual things.

One explanation that sort of fits this Aesthetic is that I'm trying to find ways to renormalize my standards when it comes to rewards and reinforcement. In this way, if I'm finding even bland things exciting, then it's a lot easier to do productive things because most things in life tend to be better than bland things.

It doesn't feel like that from the inside, though. It just feels like a Good thing to do, in the same way that helping people or other Virtuous things feel good.

Tangential: There's a thread here about what sorts of things I consider when making decisions. As in, what are the relevant factors? I don't do a straight-up util calculation, and it's not clear that I'm doing any naive consequentialism reasoning either.

Rather, there's a lot happening, from self-signaling, to chaining actions, etc. etc.


tags:  aesthetic
Last Updated: 2018-09-07 19:10

Sometimes, when I'm on Facebook, I'll get a notification. I'll click on it, and then someone has sent me a message. I'll respond to the message, and then I've got a new notification. This cycle repeats itself. (Usually it's not this direct; maybe I go and respond to an email, then a text message shows up, and then I get a new notification.) The point here is that there's some chain of reinforcement which catches me in a loop, repeating the same activities over and over.

Inside, though, it just feels like "Ooh, there's this cool thing I can check out! Oh wow, now there's this other new cool thing I can check out!"

This is probably just bad.

It's not the same thing, but I'm thinking about switching between tasks and the novelty they provide (more productive tasks, that is). Presumably there's some optimal pattern of choosing activities such that you can also reduce any feeling of fatigue.

But also, activities where you command your attention also tend to be more demanding. You might finish them and feel more tired. I don't know. Doing even normal attention-sucking things like watching TV or playing games also saturates really easily for me.

Maybe my general tolerance for doing the same thing is just lower than average.


tags:
Last Updated: 2018-09-06 15:10

I often think about activities we can engage in as one of two types: activities in which we're directing our attention and activities where our attention is being sucked in.

Some examples of activities where we control our attention:

  • You are drawing a picture of a house, and you are thinking about what part to draw next.
  • You are going for a walk, and you pick a path to go down.
  • You are writing down your thoughts for the day in a journal.

Some examples of activities where our attention is controlled:

  • You are reading a book, and the story pulls you in.
  • You are playing a video game.
  • You are watching a TV show.

Or, something like that. The key here is to pay attention to if you're doing a "getting sucked in" activity or a "mindfully plotting your way" activity. It's not exactly the best distinction, though. If you think about it, most of the time, we're quite entranced. Mindful deliberation doesn't seem to come into play more than, say, 20% of the time. The other 80% seems to more largely consist of a state of perhaps diminished awareness, save for the task at hand. Maybe the default is that we're always in a semi-state of flow, or some other mode where our attention is being sucked in.

Perhaps a more nuanced view thinks more about going in and out of flow states. And some states of commandeered attention can be good or bad, depending on our values. But it becomes less about always being in control of your attention (we waver and can get sucked into so many things!) but it's more about strategically picking the right things to get sucked into. You accept the fact that being mindful all of the time is costly and unsustainable, so instead you strive

Which brings us back to Attractor Theory again.

But what I care about here is less about trying to find the most accurate model of things. Rather, there's something about the "staying in control of your attention" Mood or Aesthetic that I find rather interesting.


tags:  attention