Journal 2021-11-11

My engine is fuelled by plants, which means the system is cleaned, rather than clogged up with rotting flesh.

There is an irony when people dictate the morality of others, while actively supporting the meat trade. The single biggest thing that most people can do to make a positive change in the world is to stop eating animals, so as to help end the mechanised suffering we perpetrate on other creatures and the planet.

Journal 2021-11-07

Fortunate people often come up with stories and beliefs that justify their own lofty positions in life, looking down on the suffering they could otherwise do something about.

If you have a lot of surplus money, it is your responsibility to spend it well, otherwise you are squandering those resources and other people’s lives. Andrew Carnegie’s quote from a prior era is a bit harsh, but has some truth to it: “The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.”

As Carnegie discovered, there can be a lot of personal fulfilment in spending well.

Random Thoughts:

It is liberating to say what you think and feel, not beholden to what other people say you should think and feel – or to what you think they want to hear.

I wasn’t at my best in an institutionalised setting.

Journal 2021-10-12

Skills and knowledge can now be learnt at any point in life because the resources are openly accessible. What is truly valuable is a learning that inspires the imagination to create rather than repeat.

Random Thoughts:

Artists observe. Intense feelings of empathy are welcome but lead only to misery if overwhelming.

I don’t think life is about the number of points scored, or marks totalled on both sides of a ledger.

Reliving memories of things going wrong can cause worry when presented with a similar situation. It is better to have learned, so the replay isn’t necessary.

Journal 2021-10-10

Sunday is my favourite day of the week, but I wouldn’t want every day to be Sunday.

Saturday is when I can work a full day on what interests me most. I plan no work on a Sunday, but ironically this can be my most productive day because it’s usually when the best thoughts and feelings occur.

Random Thoughts:

Less than one workout per week generally sees a deterioration in fitness or strength. Once a week is the minimum to maintain athleticism in the short-term; twice has marginal improvements; three to four times sees consistent gains; more than four has diminishing benefits.

Process of Improvement

In track athletics, runners do not improve by running all the time; in fact if they overtrain, the body does not have time to adapt to the training load and performances start to plateau, then deteriorate. Cross-training in related disciplines is a way to keep the training fresh, to exercise available cardio systems while mainly resting the tired muscles – introducing vivifying new stimuli to which the body can positively respond.

Journal 2021-09-18

I’m sitting here under an old oak true, on a bright September afternoon, with my phone at the ready, having told myself to record literally anything that pops into my head. Well the first thought that jumps to the top of the queue isn’t particularly interesting, but here goes… 

It is quite an old joke that “it’s er” can sound like “sir” when introducing oneself. So I remember going to some event where I had to sign in at the front desk; I introduced myself as “it’s”, then as the man behind the desk was picking up his pen, I offered the dreaded “er”, before finally saying my name. He had a moment of sardonic glee, then sneered: “Sir Robert Walker, is it?”

I said “not yet” and the man next to him, who had been intently looking down, broke into a laugh – it must have been how I said it rather than what I said. The first man actually grimaced and grumbled to himself, as if annoyed by my response. My interpretation walking away was that he was expecting people to be nervous and this was his welcome, from a raised chair behind a desk within an institution. 

I’m thinking of this now more as an observation of how some people engage in this world trying to subdue others. The man would have been a lot happier if he was interested in helping rather than hindering the people he met.

Journal 2021-09-12

I’ve only had the phrase “do you know who I am” said to me once – I couldn’t resist saying “nope” and didn’t work there much longer. Another time, some “head of” something or other in a bank went red with frustration, muttering indignantly about “no respect”. And I still remember the look of stunned shock by an interviewer when I stood up in the middle of an interview and walked out. But the truth is, I was engaging in the same nonsense as they were.

Random Thoughts

The point of any art is not to tell you anything, but to help you experience your own thoughts and feelings.

Don’t let people teach you to be tedious.

It is good to be unusual – usual is being shocked into comatosity by the system into which you are thrown.

The only certainty is an experience of now. From which all art and emotion flows.

I think fewer people can act realistically than sing well, even though people effortlessly perform their usual personality with mastery.

Music is the drama of dissonance, suspense and resolution.

The future soon becomes the past; far-off events that seem so important at the time, come and they go. The waiting is soon forgotten, as can be any pain, unless resurrected for a present story. Life is the locus of attention through which events pass.

The sudden moment of realisation radiates from any great art.

Art senses truth.

It is true that necessity is the mother of invention in the sense that comfortability dulls the need for new action, but the real secret to doing anything well is enjoying the process. The perfect combination then is enjoying being out of your comfort zone.

I get embarrassed if someone really likes something I’ve done – because I’ve become used to doing everything privately, and someone enjoying my stuff is like they’ve just rummaged through my secret things.

The benefit of privacy is you can devote attention to what inspires you, with no interference. The benefits of being public are gaining access to great help, talent, ideas, and expertise.

There is usually more wisdom to be gained from failure because it invites reappraisal of what is central, whereas success often distorts a person’s senses and self-understanding.

Wounds of the mind cling to the familiarity of sadness. Drip-fed addictions waste my skin away. My words are dead. Life is staring at a broken screen.

Strangeness is a release from popular conformity to the objectively dull.

Reality is far too big for a little me to see.

Silence calls.

Film, Music, Art, Games, Tech. All these can cross-pollinate.

Bringing life to words on a page is art.

My daily diary is a collage of screenshots, photos, and videos.

Lifting weights makes me feel hot, running helps me feel alive, but walking helps inspire me.

It is possible to define much that is essential to humanity’s flourishing with an inverse reading of Orwell’s 1984.

On the other side of the horizon is the horizon.

I enjoy programming and making things.

Learning turns on your version iteration loop.

The phone screen tries to zombify me and sometimes it wins.

Showbiz defaces art with its signature.

APIs are so sexy.

I originally became plant-based when I realised I didn’t want animals to suffer because of me. It was fascinating to hear all the trite justification slogans echoed back to me that I had once said, by people insisting I explain why.

If causality is as perceived then existence is impossible, for its chain can not begin from nothing.

I hope the panoplies of life extension companies flourish because my to-do list is about a couple of hundred years long.

Problems are opportunities to improve.

Questions are open journeys, answers are closed ends.

The melody is yearning, as the outsider stands out from the crowd, either to be ridiculed or crowned. I wanna bathe in your obsessions; I wanna hear it on your lips – no more searching for hidden tears, in a desert night eclipse.

Ponzi scheme valuations are priced by the cashflow of future investors rather than by the profitability of fundamentals.

Highlander 2, Jaws 3, The Matrix 4. Ka-ching!

The ability to view every point in time and space simultaneously would be kinda cool.

Art. Any Random Thought ~ Version 1000.0.

Different mental states verifiably affect heart rate and blood pressure.

The best way for me to memorise something is by speaking the words; the next best is handwriting or drawing; followed by typing, which has only marginal benefits. Going over something in my head is the least effective heuristic.

Ever wonder whether there are higher dimensions of reality that are inexplicable from our perspective?

Previous generations were so preoccupied with surviving, and information was so sparse, that there wasn’t much scope other than to accept the situation as given.

The enforced gaming aspects of social media—scoring social status points for likes, plays and follows—exacerbates social pressure and mental heath problems.

Zigzagging is a very strange aspect of human behaviour, evident in any trending market or social pattern.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a social platform where only high quality interesting content can be posted, by real non-bot people.

People are “of their time” if they adhere to contemporary popular thinking and behaviour. In an evolutionary process, that rule would hold true for people today, relative to future generations.

In a dystopian future, if AI and robotics meant ruling cliques didn’t need attendant servants or slaves in sweatshops anymore, there would be a clear incentive to trim the population of the have-nots.

He didn’t particularly notice passers by; large chunks of experience disappeared into the dim twilight of disinterest. Unwilling to engage, he withdrew internally from a dull, ugly system into a dull, ugly mental state.

Something of the times. A wisp, pleading to a teddy bear, please forgive me, forgive me, I’ve been insane. Flaming hot lo-fi, roaring and raging with heat straight out of the furnace into a dystopian lifeless void. A nightmare trapped in Armageddon. Winter is ending.

Articulacy and insightfulness are not necessarily correlated; in fact if the antenna is slightly mistuned then layer upon layer of skilful verbiage can bury the axioms needed for deeper understanding.

Political ideologies or “isms” are theories about society. The next stage should be testing a theory against data, then modifying initial opinions in the light of real-world evidence, so that we arrive at a conclusion that works best for the current time.

Party politics encourage perfidy and divisiveness. Why can’t elected representatives be independent and vote on an issue-by-issue basis, fully accountable and not beholden to party diktats?

People on the right are rhubarb from the ism-left perspective. People on the left are rhubarb from the ism-right perspective. Therefore everybody is rhubarb from the ism perspective.

There has to be a new norm of civility backed up by what is verifiably true.

Politicians can be public or corporate, but hopefully not both.

Don’t allow the tyranny of matching socks.

To hedge “disappointment risk” you could bet on the candidate you don’t want to win.

One of the best inadvertent compliments is “everything’s just a joke to you.”

If you woke up one morning and found you were all-powerful, having been inserted into the world of a well-known story, such as The Lord of the Rings, that is populated with sentient beings, would you intervene and change the story?

If scientific discovery within the next few decades is able to stop the ageing process, then in distant epochs some of the oldest beings of Earth could be alive now.

How would you treat people if this were your last day alive? I don’t want anyone to suffer. I forgive and ask to be forgiven. I love you. Thank you.

When you think you might die, your soul calls out for love and connection, as when you first came into the world.

A new day to live is precious.

The lower the compassion the quicker to condemn.

Tell a better story.

Looking forward to the day when a home machine can scan and fix you before you even know there is an issue.

I would quite like a feature where I could order food in nutritional quantities e.g. choose a meal, then stipulate the amount of calories and/or protein. The size of the served food portion would be the nearest measure to the request.

Teas to revitalise you: Rooibos, Matcha, Dandelion Root, Ginseng, Hibiscus, Beetroot with Ginger. Superfoods for seasoning: Turmeric, Apple Cider Vinegar.

It’s a catchy little headline that 10,000 hours of practice makes perfect, but in fact it’s long-term sustained quality rather than quantity that matters. A lot of bad training leads to poor or even negative results.

It would take a journey of about 10,000 miles to see our blue globe floating in space.

Let the mind wander constructively, responding if there is anything interesting created; or actively do a relaxed nothing and see what emerges. Overstimulation is for survival mode, fighting the fires and grinding over the line.

I first learnt to code when I was a kid using Basic on a ZX Spectrum 128. My first programs were algorithmic stories based on the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Since then I have built up a large code library of useful functions and classes over the many years I’ve been programming.

School is typically a training in becoming a drone, with extra badges and gold stars for conforming to the set standards of assimilation into the machinery. The next life stage is to be oiled-up with the particular drugs of choice, to desensitize and negotiate the drone bot through the system, for the waiting skip at the end (unless not already fallen off into insanity).

The fact that you will soon be dead can be a helpful reminder that you are alive.

A challenging situation is probably not happening at this moment.

Hubris: “I can’t see anything therefore there isn’t anything.”

I try to stay away from the frenzy of news and online commentary because it mostly depicts further distortions of mischaracterised situations.

“Someone must do something about something” leads to nothing. The world is changed as you change.

Those of us alive are currently about 7% of the people who have ever lived. Current pop: 7.5 billion. Historic pop: 108 billion.

Anatomically modern humans have been around for at least 200,000 years, according to the fossil record.

Adults generally (despite the facades) are often lost in a mix of anxiety, depression, frustration, regret, vengeance, anger, fear and self-loathing; in varying stages of struggle and turmoil. Yet young children are joyous, loving, curious, imaginative, creative, alive – everything we as adults should be. Something happens along the way that drains the joy and implants the madness. If we are aware of what that is, can we become better adults?

Millennia are micro units in the cosmic timescale.

Given sufficient time, a little bit per day literally moves mountains.

The world is abundant with both beauty and pain.

The internet is an amplifier of the positive and the negative.

It’s difficult to determine what is fringe or mainstream in the siloed channels of the internet, e.g., 1 million of 100 million is a lot of people, but is tiny as a proportion.

The staple forms of entertainment for leisured ladies and gentlemen of recent prior centuries were playing the piano, reading literature and writing letters. Romantic intrigue also seemed to be a thing (or maybe I’m just getting my history lessons from Jane Austen).

The descent into disillusionment is usual but not necessary.

Inspiration likes to hide when called for, and pops up later when you’re looking the other way.

Delusion is an assertion of oneself over reality; an insistence that the world conforms to mental projections of personal perceptions, or how it “should be”. Openness to life is accepting uncertainty, and exploring with astonishment at what the universe reveals.

I don’t talk in my sleep (or so I’m told), but I do sometimes flicker a line from some dream dialogue when the channel switches to awake.

See past the external tags, to the human being. You are not your attributes or your situation.

A statement can seem false at surface level but true when drilled deeper.

What society says you should do won’t always work for you.

From a practical perspective, my real weakness is flittering about, instead of focusing on one interesting activity for a sustained period of time.

Surprisingly, the genre of music I listen to most often is classical, mainly played softly and soothingly in the background.

If an aggressive, shouty person appeals to the times, are they great because many people of the zeitgeist say so?

When walking in the countryside with headphones, I can catch glimpses, thoughts and ideas. When walking in the countryside without headphones, I allow moments to catch me.

All the colours and textures of life complete the canvas.

The shadow of death can push a person into life.

If you are alive, you can improve.

Journal 2021-08-28

Wandering around, passing people engrossed in a myriad of stories and situations, one line leapt out: “If we get rid of Bruno that actually frees up money for the London office.” What they were drinking would have probably cost Bruno’s wages for a week. They were smiling in satisfaction with the idea, not talking with solemnity about the gravity of the consequences; not in cold calculated indifference or even in vengeful triumph – no it was a base self-satisfied broadcasting of how they were in a position of power over another.

Journal 2021-08-01

It is possible to define much that is essential to humanity’s flourishing with an inverse reading of this passage from Orwell’s 1984:

“There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

Approval Addiction

If you are indifferent to other people’s opinions about you:

You don’t need to pretend or hide anything;

You don’t need to worry about impressions or what was said;

You don’t need to conform to rigid or mistuned expectations;

You don’t need to be offended or hurt by words;

There is no need to show-off and chase false, empty priorities;

You break an addiction to the approval of others;

You break free from inhibitions;

You have freedom to be who you are.

Journal 2020-07-05

Reading about Dostoevsky. There is certainly a trend in history that the most interesting thinkers and artists tended to be outsiders for defining periods; and sometimes the untamed spark that made them great was dampened when invited in from the wilderness. Dostoevsky’s spark seemed to ignite after the more eventful stages of his life – in particular after a death sentence for sedition was commuted at the last minute to hard labour in a Siberian gulag, writing four classic novels after this period.

Journal 2020-06-16

One of the effects of the worldwide shut-down has been to hasten the widespread transition from offline real life to an online virtual life.

The analogue world often has more reverence, albeit less sheer efficiency than the online version; for instance finding a seminal work in the labyrinth of a dusty old library feels like discovering a bit of history, rather than scrolling past disposable data on a screen.