Updated Quotes and Essay Topics
share link   meditation (18)   
share link   meditation (18)   

Meditation exists only as a result of trial-and-error. We couldn't have invented meditation directly from the philosophy behind it. Mindfulness philosophy exists to rationalize a convenient back-door to our mind that doesn't require psychoactive drugs. We could have very well been designed to not be receptive to meditation. In that sense, anybody who relies on meditation to calm them down and find happiness should be grateful evolution worked out that way.

share link   psychology (32)    self-improvement (42)   
share link   self-improvement (42)    happiness (26)    psychology (32)   

Reading a book on productivity or success, while for some people may genuinely solve a problem in their life, for most will just re-enforce the belief that small improvements to one's circumstance will make them happy. Sonja Lyubomirsky's The How of Happiness is then the last self-help book one needs to read, because it once and for all shows that circumstances only account for 10% of people's happiness. Those who are happy are scientifically proven to be those who continuously, intentionally make themselves happy, whether it's by meditation, deliberate acts of kindness, prayer, etc, or who are already wired with a calm temperament.

share link   business (15)    computer_science (16)    futurism (71)   

Entrepreneurs wear a ton of hats initially, because it's hard to recruit people at that scale, especially without revenue. Perhaps by offering small shares as bounties for little bits of work, and if these shares could be administered efficiently and fairly, then perhaps entrepreneurs wouldn't be needed, and everybody could just wear the hats they want to wear.

share link   cosmology (5)    astronomy (2)    futurism (71)    evolution (45)   

Although sci-fi writers have done well to stretch the imagination as to what alien life might look like, they often project or extrapolate from creatures we know on Earth, such as reptile men or urchin-headed beasts. The more creative ones imagine floating ethereal tablets communicating telepathically, but even that is a projection of Earth-like individual organisms.

Is it possible to imagine life without individuality? Could alien life on another planet from start-to-finish be a single organism, possibly with internal independent parts that undergo natural selection, but ultimately combining together into one piece. One planet, one life. Perhaps the alien life is fused with the planet itself, such that the entire planet is one organism, in which case we may be peering into a universe looking for life on other planets, when the planets themselves might be peering back at us as individual floating eyes off in the distance, and together a series of organ-like planets in a solar system might form a single organism. Who knows, and we can't know, because we are forever biased by life as we know it.

share link   science (7)    living (18)   

The modern descent to death, with it's lengthy battles against incurable diseases like cancer, has a Judeo-Christian feel to it. For most, the end of life is a drawn-out gauntlet, a tunnel where we are whipped on both sides by technology and nature. Meanwhile we peer forward at the faint light at the end of it; a glimmer of a chance for extending our golden years.

share link   religion (14)   

When studies came out that abstinence pledges were shown to have zero or a potentially negative impact on the sustained virginity of students, religious officials scoffed at the results. And while this is par for the course when religion meets science, it's especially troublesome because it reveals that efficacy is not the point. The pledge is the point. And perhaps this is the whole point of the Bible. It is a virtue pledge that has endured for thousands of years simply because people believe that talking about virtue helps spread virtue. But perhaps it just helps spread virtuous talk.

share link   design (4)    technology (36)    ux (3)   

When looking for jobs on craigslist, you receive more personal responses, as opposed to automated or mass emails that come from other large job sites like Elance or Monster. Craigslist's competitors provide all sorts of tools to help advertisers re-post ads, and job-hunters to apply in bulk. On craigslist, there are no templates. There is no "apply to all" or "post to all" button. Everything is a one-shot event. One job post has one fee. And if the post or email gets buried over time by the competition, so be it. There's no gaming it, so the results are more genuine and personal, which is ultimately better for everyone.

share link   relationships (5)    evolution (45)   
share link   education (4)    futurism (71)   
share link   technology (36)    business (15)   
share link   society (47)    futurism (71)   
share link   technology (36)    society (47)   
share link   work (20)    happiness (26)   
share link   utopia (6)    society (47)    futurism (71)    singularity (16)   

Trickle-down economics is working in the sense that each rung on the ladder of prosperity is gaining better and better simulations of what the upper rungs used to have exclusively. It's no doubt that a high proletarian American can eat better every day than Charlemagne did occasionally. And the once-unique perks of Google, with signature chefs, back rubs, and mobile, on-site dentistry, is spreading to many unknown start-ups with significantly less significance than Google.

Perhaps the Singularity won't be this punctuated heavenly moment, but a rising golden tower of continued social stratification, with each strata fulfilling the wildest dreams of their ancestors.

share link   psychology (32)    society (47)   

The durability of the long-since debunked Freudian philosophies, speaks less to the quality of the psychology behind those ideas, and also less about the pioneering nature of them, but more about our natural human biases. We are all critical about the way our parents raised us. It's not very often you hear someone proclaim, "I was raised really well." Freud is now less a part of the world of psychology than of literature, being lumped in with mythology, with the gods being slowly replaced by bare human biases.

share link   evolution (45)   

Everything is maladaptive and adaptive. To argue whether or not something is or isn't natural is a bit of a moot argument, simply because the present is never the same nature that shaped our genes.

share link   computer_science (16)    technology (36)   

The reason Agile development works so well is that software is much like water. While it's important to architect and design code before building it, there's an infinite number of ways to get to the same business outcome. Whole features that were once thought critical may fall onto the floor of the editing room if a gun were put to the developer's head. Short two-week sprints are exactly that gun.

When building a house, one can't just skip building bathrooms or skip building a foundation. When building software, though, sometimes a sketch that's re-sketched a few times becomes a minimally viable product, and a few iterations later, one stand-out feature becomes a whole company.

share link   psychology (32)    philosophy (23)   

The experience of consciousness can be boiled down to a simple sensation: the feeling of inner complexity. I am complex, therefore I exist. It's a qualia, just like sight and smell, but of a lesser order, like our sense of balance. When we look at dogs and imagine that they're less human than us, or when our ancestors looked at slaves in an inhuman light, the assessment comes from a question: "Just how complex can their inner minds be?" Likewise, there are humans today whose minds are so much more complex (or more ordered, to use Kurzweil's terminology), that they would look down on us and think, "Well, just how conscious could those people be?"