What Interest Me This Week

Technologies for thinking

Some surface was scratched here.

The OG of computing knew what they're going for. The Jobs-ian bicycle of the mind was a modern expression of what computing (a term never again uttered) was allegedly about. Commercial history did not swing where they're hoping for.

A decent thinking-tool provides me an anchor to hold onto while doing my thinking without zoning off. My arsenal for this consist of capturing and processing thoughts in emacs org-mode, occasional journaling, brief flirt with zettelkasten and free-writing calligraphy at one point.

We may think of Twitter et al as a vehicle for collective thinking. But that's another story, I'm interest in something more profound and personal.

A good (not just decent) thinking tech ought to achieve these few qualities:

  • Formulate the right questions to ask
  • Facilitate discovery for unique insights
  • Bring out unthoughts

Never mind that these are tall orders. It doesn't help that success can't be measured.

There's no mainstream agreement about how they should look like or even what form they take, but at this point I suspect it's about increasing fluency of thoughts. Latin vowels, modern numeric system are instances where adoption increased fluency that without them new knowledge wouldn't have been able to be built on top.

I'm gonna have to let this one brew for some time. If it sticks in my head, it's gonna be a big idea worth pursuing.

I orignally named this section "tools of thought" but that gets confused for mental models which is a sacred area I rather not violate. "Tech" suggests something less abstract so that makes a good pick.

Original desires

Original desires refer to aspirations not given to you by Mengcius, Jesus, Nietzsche or Tony Stark.

Private jet, yatch party, going to space, gaining political seats, be an honorable warrior. They are dope, provided you don't socratically dig deep enough to find out why someone wants them. Chances are these ideas were planted by people around them or media of all kinds.

Why this matters: you might be unknowingly trying to make someone else's dream come true and come out asking "was any of that my idea?"

Truly original ambitions are rare. Original pursuits that are fulfilling are even rarer.

My question of interest here is: how to develop unique desires/ambitions that are not a derivative of your influences.

To be fair originality might be overrated. But to aspire without influences takes no small feat in imagination.

Joseph Campbell advocated "find your bliss". To do that, "know thyself" will come into the equation at some point but it'll be tempting to stop there. The first person to dream about owning a private island and did it probably did not know himself that well and neither was it necessary.

There's a good chance I'll also have to tackle this questions: if we can't escape our influences then what? Does it make the aspiration invalid? At what point should we accept them and pursue?