Just to make sure nobody gets the wrong idea – I am not a fan of politics.
I post them because they are just that – extraneous, yet still vaguely related. The thing that is related is not the topic, but the approach: reading through news and sorting through needless and misleading information to get to a central point is what I do in my longer original and more interesting posts. It is akin to a tournament in any competition. You do not simply slack around until the all-important day, you practice and train and then do exactly what you did all those other days from prelims all the way into finals. I use political news simply because it is the only constant refilling source I know of to hone my mind (It has the added benefit of keeping me sharp where most other people are not). Physical workouts help me focus, but is essentially nondirectional – there is only one real idea being used; there is no demand for switching and translating between ideas. Reading books and more concentrated material does do this to some extent, but is not nearly as close to “reality”, and is not nearly as easy to post on. Some romantic comedies have proved more helpful to my learning than politics on news on any given topic. However, as I am not particularly familiar with literature or theater, I do not know how to put into words how they are more effective. People also seem to take news and politics more seriously than romantic comedies. And I am attempting to write at least a somewhat serious blog.
Politics is not the main focus of this blog, just as scale exercises are not the main focus of piano. They simply allow more important things to happen.
I had an interesting talk with a friend, and it clarified a little bit about what exactly those “more important things” are. I’ve never really found a name for what it is that I am interested in. I thought it was philosophy, but that wasn’t it. It’s not ethics for sure. Epistemology is one of the ones that it crosses the most; psychology is another. Economics uses a lot of what I am interested in, but the final things – price theory, cycles, margins – are not things I care for. I didn’t really have any kind of model to explain it either. I just talked about it with close friends and they ended up saying “yeah I don’t know what it is that you do either”.
But now I do have a model.
He talked about a computer language he was writing – something about closures (enclosures?) and writing functions inside of functions. Not understanding why he was telling me about it, I said that the concept was not too hard to understand and seemed to be pretty intuitive. He agreed, saying that if something is mathematically possible, it is programmable. All languages have those same capabilities. However, and this was the point that I was missing, was that what determines whether a language is better than another is how much effort is required on the part of the programmer, the user, and the machine itself. Closures make things much easier to do. Apparently. I didn’t really get it.
Doing what I normally do, I generalized the idea.
I asked him, if Compsci were to be put into in a linear three step model – Concept/Desire, Mechanics, Skill – where exactly it would be. Concept/Desire is the aim, goal, dream, or purpose. Mechanics is the actual execution. Skill is, well, what you want to do in reality. We agreed pretty much instantly that the Mechanics to Skill link is simply time and repetition with adjustment, so it couldn’t be there. I turned to the Concept/Desire-Mechanics link and realized, I don’t know what this is called. What exactly do you need to do to go from Concept/Desire to Mechanics? It is some kind of translation from thought into reality, but what is it?
Or Purification. Or Abstraction. Whatever works for you. Doing things and getting used to them is all well and good, but “if you practice it wrong you’ll only get more wrong”. Figuring out how to practice it right is not between Mechanics and Skill, but between Concept/Desire and Mechanics. This is what Compsci does.
It is also what I do. Not for computers, but for people.
Using a slightly different model, we talked about where philosophy might be. A pyramidal rather than a bilinear model. Start from ground level, Concept/Desire is upwards, and “Fundamentals” is downwards. Mechanics is the material. The higher you go with any building, you must also go lower with foundations. This is why in training for anything you don’t need to know much at first, but the more you do it and the better you get at it, the more you need to think about it. The exploration and extending of the foundation, “Fundamentals”, is where Philosophy would be. I say “would be” because in a purpose-driven model, there is no place for philosophy. Philosophy is the exploration of fundamentals without a direction to go in – that is, no Concept/Desire. That is why they are able to ask questions like “Does the color red exist?”
Do you care if red exists? Would you change anything if suddenly, some reputable people came out and said they believed colors existed as objects? I wouldn’t. There is nothing in my life that would change because red is now thought to be an object rather than a property by some guys in lab coats or suits in a smokey room. It is similar with the recent discovery that neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light. While it gave me a small spark of inspiration a student of Aerospace Engineering, to my daily life, I don’t really care that the discovery was there. Hell to me and most people, it doesn’t matter that light has a speed, or even that sound has a speed. It is sufficient enough to treat them as instantaneous. The questions I ask very clearly have some end to achieve. They are always conceived of or asked in the direction of some driving force of interest. They may later mutate naturally out of pondering during liesure, but only to yet a different purpose. What I do is not philosophy.
What I do is find clearer ways to achieve what I want. The only reason why it was ever confused with philosophy is because I spend a lot of time optimizing general rules for living, i.e. morality, justice, and all those other words. However, because I do have an aim in life and because everything I end up saying and critiquing is based off of my interests, it is not philosophy. I’ll still tag my posts philosophy because colloquially what I do is philosophy, but it really isn’t.
What it is… hmm what’s a cool name for it…
Dream is kind of vague. Hope is a word and concept for people who are not acting. Purpose… is not very flowery. Desire is better but still kind of vague…
Let’s go with “Passion Clarity“. Two words, to represent its two original and conventionally recognized parts.
Yeah. That sounds good.
Through the flowing course of time and events, the infinite amount of information and other goals you have will inevitably make you forget, or put less important things both long term and short term at the front of your mind and the top of your priorities. Whatever you do, you will eventually find that your methods consistently fail to realize your desires in similar situations and in similar ways. They are not two separate things, motivation and analysis. Analysis without direction is meaningless. Drive without ability is ineffective. I find that keeping these two concepts separate does not yield any useful effect. The desire, the tool, and the task belong together.
I think this is perhaps why I am attracted to Kendo. I think this is why I am attracted to almost all the activities and people I am attracted to.
Cleanly executed, nothing special… but because it was seen as generic yet so perfectly executed, it regains its meaning. There is so much effort these days going into being special. Everyone needs to be unique, to have their own signature. Who wants to be “just like everyone else”? That’s boring… We all think this, and yet, we all are still attracted to that one character in the story who ends up just “doing the right thing”. No complaining. No personalizing. No specific unique lines. Just a person, a man, or a woman, taking the optimal course of action, “doing what needs to be done”. In disconnected categorization, they are generic. But because nobody ever really bothers to try what is seen as generic, nobody is ever in that category. However, when someone is persistent under harsher conditions than we, then we realize – they aren’t boring. Their methods aren’t boring. Generic is generic because it works; this is true in every field. Those who are persistent will end up being “generic” because order and discipline are what the world demands of them.
Honest drive puts into perspective that it doesn’t matter too much what your emotions are. What you did and tried is what you have emotions for: if you did nothing and tried nothing, that’s all you can have emotions about.
In the end, there is only you, your goal, your desire, your friends, and your obstacles.
While you can’t control the events that happen around you, you can control how you respond. […] Approach it like water flowing in a river, with ease and calm, by adapting your surroundings and using the strengths given to you. Do your best and push yourself to the limit, knowing that good things will come with hard work, no matter how tough your present situation may be.
[…] It may take years, but I believe if you put in the effort, you’ll be paid back in full. When you reach that point, all you’ll have to do is wake up, all you have to do is exist.
-Roosh V, Bang