It seems worthwhile to notice when I’m just, like… doing great. I feel healthy, energized, secure, interested, loved, and worthy. This rules. I’m turning from needing and grasping at stuff to feeling like the flywheel’s going, and now I just need to play around to find ways to keep it going. “Play around” is key there; it’s too complex to logic out, but I can keep trying stuff and finding some stuff more pleasant and doing more like that.
Some of the playing around recently: No School (see last post), synths, puzzles, cranio sacral therapy, Feldenkrais exercises, lifting, yoga.
Notably, writing has really fallen off! I can’t find time or energy to actually post stuff. Writing feels very constricted, very mental and logical, and in turn that feels like it’s slowing down the “feeling good” flywheel. It’s kind of too bad because I like having this blog as a record, if nothing else. But I think that’s ok and I’m gonna do what feels right here.
things that are on my mind, meanwhile
VCV Rack is a software you can use to make synthesizers. That’s cool. It seems a lot easier to play with software synths than to try to start hooking up wires together.
Objecting to experiments that compare two unobjectionable policies or treatments - what the title says; people sometimes object to an A/B test even when rolling out A or B to 100% would both be fine. I don’t know how to deal with people sometimes.
a digression into woo
inspired by What if wildflowers could sing?
I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with people saying a lot of woo things recently. A lot of it’s not really incompatible with, y’know, facts, just as long as you’re careful. Some examples:
- “it feels like there are little golden threads in my stomach.” I don’t think anyone could object to this statement.
- “it feels like there are little golden threads in your stomach.” ok, things can feel however they feel to you. Maybe you’re even able to pick up on little details that my body’s giving off - minor twitches or feelings - that I’m not aware of, like how a sommelier can tell differences in wine that I can’t. Cool; I would like to have that skill!
- “maybe it would feel better if you let go of that energy.” Maybe! Let’s find out. How? As long as you’re not talking about anything harmful, I’ll try it, and see if I can understand this level of abstraction with you.
- “you need to pay me to do healing method X to help you let go of that energy.” Ok, now we have a problem.
But the thing is, most people never do that last step. I think a lot of fear comes from people who have dealt with unscrupulous woo practitioners who have tried to concretize something that’s kinda working on another level like this.
Another example: power poses. A professor studied people who stand in a “powerful” position before giving a presentation, and they did better at the presentation. They ran studies to show that it “worked”, then tried to sell the universal gospel of power posing to the world. There are an increasing series of claims here:
- power posing helps me feel better
- power posing actually helps me do my presentations better in a measurable way
- power posing helps these N people feel better
- power posing actually helps these N people in this measurable way
- power posing will help you
- you should power pose
I don’t doubt 1-3 at all! Maybe the researcher found something that helps them personally, and even placebo effects will make you feel better. #4 is surprising, but unless they lied about their data, cool. 5 and 6 are the problem here, and it’s because they tried to concretize and universalize a claim about a very complex system. Who knows what actually made power posing work in their study: a real effect, a placebo, just making people do some light movement, the Hawthorne effect, the researcher being unwittingly a very convincing person, whatever. But the problem here is selling it as a Fact About Humans, when really it’s a kind of temporary potential-fact about these specific humans.
Woo shit fills the gaps between Facts We Know About Bodies (there are really not that many) and stuff we all need to know in order to pilot the body we have (there is a lot). If acupuncture feels good and relieves your chronic pain and we don’t know how, then that’s rad.
back to links
qaul.net mannn why don’t we have mini-internets yet? here’s one attempt I guess.
GaudiLabs - microfluidics and other DIY bio things. Tagging because this is all super opaque to me. You sort of feel like if you know computers you kinda know a little of everything, but especially with anything biological, I certainly do not.
Applied tension training in case you also get lightheaded or faint from needles. I’m much better at this than I used to be, but getting blood drawn is still a whole dang unpleasant fainty ordeal. I tried this last time and I think it helped? Again, file this under kinda-woo.
Jhanas as easily accessible insight practice This article is long, I read it a while ago, and forgot most of it, but I think mostly what I got out of it is, maybe jhanas aren’t impossibly far off and are maybe attainable.
“Data science is different now” Aw this is a whole different post, but in short: as a field grows (ML, software engineering), it feels like the amount of “actually interesting” work remains constant, while the people required to do the infrastructure to sustain that work grows linearly (or more). So every year the amount of blah grows, and you need to be really really good to be in that top crust doing “interesting” work.
hmm maybe that’s a good point to drop this Depression Overview - this is Lorien/Scott Alexander. It feels real accurate and good and thorough and helpful for at least the first few lines of fighting depression.
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