Facets of Greatness - The Unknown - Monumental Accidents

So, again, the unknown facet represents what the other facets fail to encompass, as well as the mystery, which is unknowable. The first lines of the Tao Te Ching summarize it best.

The Modular Mind

Engineering Culture

Embracing Diversity

Humanity as the Sum of our Capacity for Thought

Diversity of Experience

What Bonsai Teaches Us About Life

Independence == Ownership

Could Anyone Spare a Donut for my Coccyx?

All In All, That’s Life!

The Modular Mind

A mind which is restricted to specialized tasks is less capable and less dynamic. This is because consciousness coordinates the modular features of the mind, dynamically, to perform higher level tasks. Therefore, if you’ve restricted the development of your mind to a smaller set of tasks, then it should follow that you have strengthened those modular features of your mind to a lesser extent. And therefore, your mind may be capable of a smaller space of available higher level tasks to some degree of efficiency.

I have thoroughly discussed this in Category Theory, Cognition and Epistemology.

Therefore, as technology replaces the day to day activities of our mind and completely replaces some required tasks, then it should also follow that our mind will become less capable. That is, unless we recognize that and utilize something like social engineering to ensure that as we embark on this transition, we do not find ourselves fatally cornered, surrendered completely to some simple facet of life, to which our connection was severed several generations ago. Some people like to bring up genetic engineering and brain-computer interfaces, but let me just state clearly: those technologies can go horribly wrong. And to some extent, there will be problems.

Engineering Culture

In Anticipation of the Singularity

As technology accelerates, we must adjust our culture so that we can retain the capacity to proficiently operate these base cognitive features. Short term memory and working memory are now less necessary than they used to be. So is awareness of one’s location. No one bothers to memorize directions or phone numbers any more. These high-level tasks leverage those modular cognitive functions. If you remove enough of the need for the tasks, then you gradually remove the need for the functions. And you end up with …

Idiocracy

Idiocracy

Furthermore, not only do the cultural incentives disappear for these high-level tasks, but so do the economic incentives. To perform at school or work, technology displaces the human mind more and more. This isn’t something to fear, per se, but we do need to anticipate these changes, both to the average range of human lifestyles but also to the economy. Automation means more people will be out of work. As long as we stay on top of understanding how this transition will affect humanity and the economy, we’ll be OK, barring some catastrophic event or conflict.

Why is anticipation of the singularity important? Someone that wants to build something in this transitionary world, then it is paramount to become aware of how that world will change, in order to anticipate how their energy would best be utilized. At least, to avoid the frustration that is …

Simpsons Did It

Nothing is more frustrating than working on a project for several months, just to find that some other team is more adequately positioned to seize that market.

Embracing Diversity

Of Body, Mind and Culture

Because our mind combinates various ideas and processes into higher-level ideas and behaviors, and because those people who face unique challenges are forced to cope with unique ideas and behaviors, then isn’t it in our interest to leverage to the fullest extent the experience that those people have to offer? By embracing those people who expand our minds by sharing difficult or unique experiences – those we can’t have or can’t completely relate to – doesn’t that make us stronger?

There is value in homogenizing some aspects of culture, but homogeny is the mother of weakness. Cultural homogeny means that members of a culture can be more simply and efficiently motivated towards some end. At the same time, homogeny leads to weakness by reducing our ability to provide robust cultural defenses. It limits the scope of ideas that we can combinate in order to discover new ones. And it makes us more vulnerable, since we are restricted to that set of ideas.

Furthermore, the degree of diversity distinguishes United States from every other country on earth. There are plenty of other cultures with plenty of diversity, but none to the extent that the US does. So, while there is some conflict that arises surrounding diversity, with my points above, doesn’t that actually imply that diversity is a distinguishing strength of the US? A culture rich with diverse ideas and people is resilient against external factors. It is less vulnerable to internal or external subversion, for example.

It has actually been shown that cultural dissonance drives intelligence because of the struggle to understand and interoperate with a foreign culture eventually empowers the mind. This brilliant article from the Washington Post, The Secret to Immigrant Genius, describes some brilliant studies that elaborate on why this is. Another lesson to be learned is that, no matter what challenges you face, if you struggle to push harder, your mind will be strengthened and you will be rewarded. The degree to which your mind can be strenthened is highly variable, depending on your condition. I also wrote an article suggesting Language Therapy for Autism and Traumatic Brain Injury.

At the same time, diversity presents challenges. Multiculturalism isn’t easy and all too often the interests of one culture dominate that of others. It can be more difficult to unify people to fight or the convey the urgency of uniting towards a higher purpose. I t’s incredibly important for our world to retain and strengthen this ability to protect ourselves from the chaos resulting from strained relationships or turbulent economics or some catastrophe.

If anyone was wondering what my beliefs are, exactly. There you go.

America is a patchwork of various cultures, all assimilated to some varying degree. by assuming that we should all melt into a single culture, we will actually lose our greatest strength. Again, our cultural diversity is one thing that america has that no other culture on earth can match. It can be difficult at times, but that just means we need to identify the common thread that connects us all. We all bleed the same color. We do still face different challenges, but we all go to the same place eventually.

Embracing Our Differences

Far too many people associate being different with weakness. They consciously or subconsciously seek to identify what makes others different and they point it out, questioning it. Or provoking situations with exemplify it. Many people accept our differences, but occasionally people will try to use it in some way. Even those who claim to be advocates, which is sometimes used as a shield.

And, with respect to themselves, instead of embracing their unique differences or disabilities, too many of us try to hide from them. To each their own path. No one has the right to tell you to live one way or another. That is, IMO, if you respect the same right in others.

Some of us have quirks in how our minds function or have other minor differences. Too many of us seek to lie to oursives by distorting our true self to seek conformity. We assume that whatever it is that makes us different must make us weak, instead of stepping back and seeing it for what is is, which can often be a strength. Instead we see whatever part of us that doesn’t conform as being some unnecessary appendage that should be amputated and cauterized before it threatens our conformity. And possibly makes us a target by causing us to stick out or attract attention. By accepting this, we delude ourselves into robbing ourselves of our strengths.

As an example, blind and deaf people have minds that are fundamentally different than those of “normal people.” This is usually considered a weakness by others and is no doubt difficult to endure. Yet, according to my theory of mind above and in previous articles, then because this person has a limited range of sensory input, then the rest of their mind develops different and utilizes their cognitive functions differently. Very differently and this can be evidenced in plenty of studies with fMRI data. And therefore, this person has a different perspective or a different shape to their mind, which is unavailble to the neurotypical or the “normal” person. Or at the least, this person as a wildly different range of experiences.

Humanity as the Sum of our Capacity for Thought

And if we consider humanity to be the product of all the ideas available to our collective minds, shouldn’t we embrace diversity of mind, body and culture as strengths? These people who have endured challenge after challenge in their lives and whose minds will no doubt contain a wholly different range of memories and ideas: we should see them as luminaries who can see things we could never imagine.

Diversity of Experience

Knowing how important diversity is to personal growth, it’s also important to recognize that a wide range of experiences and a self-directed life is crucial for ourselves and our children. People need to be able to think for themselves and make their own mistakes … most of the time. Sometimes it’s crucial to intervene, but too often and you’ll stagnate or interfere with or completely redirect that person’s development. Maybe that’s for the best, but who can be the judge? We must have the wisdom to respect the beauty of things being inherantly perfect as they are, where any form of intervention would only destroy that thing or mar it’s beauty. On the other hand, in the case of our children or friends, we need to balance that with the wisdom of knowing when to act.

There are lots of parallels with between specific artforms and other aspects of life. As you progress in skill with some artform, you begin to consciously and subconsciously draw parallels between it and life. Your mind is recognizing some of the epiphenomena found in the practice of that artform.

What Bonsai Teaches Us About Life

One artform that takes decades to master is that of bonsai trees. It requires tonnes of difficult-to-acquire experience on how environment, nutrition, genetics, trimming, tying, twisting, etc. affect the development of the trees. Any interference, intentional or not, results in the redirection of the tree’s energy, but you can’t actually control how the tree uses that energy. And too many such interventions end up impeding that tree’s ability to grow or causing it to die.

Bonsai is an art where one seeks to control change to meet some aesthetic goal, through an interface which restricts the set of actions. And this is a skill in itself. By practicing bonsai or some other skill that requires such a restricted interface, especially one in which large amounts of time are required, our mind can leverage this knowledge towards other high-level cogntitive behaviors. Or, I’d like to believe, at least. Another similar skill is building a ship in a bottle. You have a restricted interface to work with and it can be incredibly frustrating.

Independence Promotes Acceptance of Self-Culpability

It’s important to for someone to maintain an idea of independence in their development. And this is why maintaining authentic freedom is important for America. If you’re raising a child and you constantly intervene in an opaque manner, then it’s now obvious to that person that you’ve altered their course.

For me, I got hung up on court-mandated drug treatment’s effect on my life. It only served to solidify my sentiment towards it. Again, for me, it drove my urge to continue to rebel against drug policy in America. I simply used the extensive group therapy treatment programs as a platform to spread the message and strategies to resist the policies. Some of the people needed to be in those classes and didn’t need to hear what I had to say. I get the feeling that I was in those classes because of some interference, possibly politically motivated. And possibly due to my mom, who personally knew the “psychologist” who recommended the extensive treatment, which more than doubled my license suspension period…

It can be very difficult to intervene in such a way that is transparent and effective. Again, who should be the judge of what is effective for someone’s life and goals? But it’s worth the effort, as that person retains their sense of independence. Just as their sense of success will belong to them, so will their setbacks, struggles and sense failure. They will own it. One issue that overcomplicates everything for me is the fact that, over the past decade, I have had a license and a car for less than two years. That makes it nearly impossible for me to accomplish much of anything with my life. I have only overburdened my family and unnecessarily so. I have overutilized every person willing to help me out and because of continued persecution, I have given almost nothing in return. The way I have been treated is bullshit. It doesn’t matter how talented or smart I am, if I’m living on a proverbial island after burning every bridge I had.

Independence == Ownership

And finally, even though it’d be great to receive credit for the various things I may or may not have set in motion, it’s impossible to prove who set what in motion. The only credit I could claim is that I was smart enough to say the right (or wrong) things to some people who may have influence. And I’m not sure the good resulting from my actions outweighs the bad. It’s hard to be certain of anyone’s intent in any situation to be honest.

Honestly, in my case, while I’m bursting with creativity, there are so many other people who are far more capable of leading a team to take on some lofty pipe dream than I am. Who knows whether or not it’d work out and one should own both their successes and failures. And a corollary of this is that if you are hard at work on some project, then you also need to be aware of how your efferts are perceived, if you care about getting credit or recognized.

In my situation, it seems like people are quick to say that I’m not working hard enough. What the fucking shit?! If it was up to me, I’d work 12 hour days, six to seven days a week, without blinking. My problem is that – because of my god-forsaken life situation – I cannot actually utilize any more than 20% of my free time. And furthermore – again – I feel compelled to mention the fact that not a single person has contributed more than an hour to any idea that I’ve worked on in the past five years. Try working your ass off for five years, while no one appears to give a shit, and then basically being told that you failed because “you’re lazy,” and “you didn’t try hard enough.” And basically, that nothing I ever did or said mattered. That, I should just give up and paint. I’m not even fucking allowed to DJ at my family’s skating rink anymore because of this dumb fucking bullshit. Bullshit doesn’t quite describe it. It feels like i’m straight up fucking a Triassic pile of shit from Jurrasic Park.

A round of applause for the American Dream, please…

A word of advice, don’t mimic my behavior. I forgot that when you get raped in the ass, you’re not supposed to talk about it. I keep getting the feeling that ooooohhh something’s coming, but if life has taught me one thing: do not let yourself be played with your hopes and dreams, until someone gives you something you can see, touch or taste. So, yeh, I’m an asshole. I wish I wasn’t. I really, realllly do. But, it’s a bit hard to sit down because no one bothered to use lube when they fucked me in the ass. I need one of these:

Could Anyone Spare a Donut for my Coccyx?

DONUTS!

And it’d be much better to own my failures. However, as for startups, I can’t ever really say that I have tried. No one listened to me in 2011 or 2012 or 2013. I am so sick of working on this crap when it is clear that, regardless of my talent or wide range of experience, I totally forgot Rule Number One:

Rule #1: Don’t ever fucking let David Conner win. Fuck that lazy, druggie piece of shit.

And remember, anything is possible! If your name isn’t David Conner. Now, please excuse me, while I melt my fucking face off.

For Fans of Kaizo Mario and Masochists in General, Amazon Recommends:

A Rubik’s Cube in a Klein Bottle

Here’s a Bonsai Shokunen

American Shokunin from Ryan Bush on Vimeo.

All In All, That’s Life!

Please don’t take anything I say too seriously. I am laughing my ass off as I write this. My writing is often the only place to vent, as I am not actually allowed to express myself to another living human being. I have been perpetually (and possibly intentionally) isolated for the better part of a decade, like I’m some kind of human cancer or virus or some shit. I have literally been alluded to as a “cancer” by a very few people in some unnamed subculture. And the only person I have at home is my mom. She’s the only person I talk to on some days and our relationship is so strained that she doesn’t have the energy or willingness to listen to me bitch. I can confidently say that the problems in my life are – to a minority of people – ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NOT INTENDED TO BE RESOLVED.

So, again, if you’ll excuse me, I’m very fucking confused and writing in my blog is the only place I have to vent. It is bullshit, but I have no support system with which to talk to. I have been told by my family that, because of my reluctance to give up, I am “crazy” and I “belong in a hospital.”

Again, I challenge you to write 20,000 to 30,000 words on leadership. If you criticize me, then what do you have to say? Obviously, there are people out there who are more agreeable, but look honestly at what I have been through. And how can someone read the 20,000 words I have published in the past 48 hours and reasonably conclude that I am not in touch with reality, unless there is some aspect of reality I am not being shown. How can someone allude that I am delusional because I do not understand my own capabilities? Absolutely ridiculous. I have a lot to learn and a ton of room for growth, but I am absolutely not delusional about my skillset or range of experience. Be the next person to make a Steve jobs joke, I fucking dare you.