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May 19 2012

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Boards of Canada - Everything You Do is a Balloon
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Never give up

May 17 2012

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May 15 2012

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May 14 2012

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May 13 2012

Lack of motivation" is a generally misunderstood symptom of depression. It does not mean that I sit around thinking, "Oh, I'm so depressed; why bother to do shit I don't want to do anyway." It means not that I lack discipline, but that there is a mental disconnect between my conscious mind, which says I want or need to do X, and the part of my brain which actually initiates activity. It prevents me from doing things I would very much like to do, as well as things I need to do, rather than indicating simply a lack of interest in doing things which are not immediately rewarding.

If you want or need to go somewhere, whether somewhere you're eagerly looking forward to going, or somewhere routine, or to the dentist for a root canal which you may be much averse to but have nevertheless decided will leave you better off in the long run, and you get in your car, turn the key in the ignition repeatedly, yet the engine sputters but does not engage, this is not an indication that you don't really want to go anywhere. It's an indication that something is wrong with the equipment you need to transport you there.

I am fully capable of sitting for hours, thinking periodically, "I need to pee," then, "I really need to pee," and eventually, "Damn, I need to pee," before being able to jump start the part of my brain which engages with the task of getting up and walking the ten feet to the bathroom, and initiates the movement which allows me to do that.

The more complex the task, the harder it can be, because a more complex sequence of actions must be, in some sense, imagined and targeted before the actions necessary to bring them about can be initiated. Most people are unaware that this process even takes place, because in a healthy brain, it occurs swiftly and automatically. In my brain, it does not.
— Maud from www.shakesville.com
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May 09 2012

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April 30 2012

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How to Think

1. Synthesize new ideas constantly. Never read passively. Annotate, model, think, and synthesize while you read, even when you're reading what you conceive to be introductory stuff. That way, you will always aim towards understanding things at a resolution fine enough for you to be creative.

2. Learn how to learn (rapidly). One of the most important talents for the 21st century is the ability to learn almost anything instantly, so cultivate this talent. Be able to rapidly prototype ideas. Know how your brain works. (I often need a 20-minute power nap after loading a lot into my brain, followed by half a cup of coffee. Knowing how my brain operates enables me to use it well.)

3. Work backward from your goal. Or else you may never get there. If you work forward, you may invent something profound--or you might not. If you work backward, then you have at least directed your efforts at something important to you.

4. Always have a long-term plan. Even if you change it every day. The act of making the plan alone is worth it. And even if you revise it often, you're guaranteed to be learning something.

5. Make contingency maps. Draw all the things you need to do on a big piece of paper, and find out which things depend on other things. Then, find the things that are not dependent on anything but have the most dependents, and finish them first.

6. Collaborate.

7. Make your mistakes quickly. You may mess things up on the first try, but do it fast, and then move on. Document what led to the error so that you learn what to recognize, and then move on. Get the mistakes out of the way. As Shakespeare put it, "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."

8. As you develop skills, write up best-practices protocols. That way, when you return to something you've done, you can make it routine. Instinctualize conscious control.

9. Document everything obsessively. If you don't record it, it may never have an impact on the world. Much of creativity is learning how to see things properly. Most profound scientific discoveries are surprises. But if you don't document and digest every observation and learn to trust your eyes, then you will not know when you have seen a surprise.

10. Keep it simple. If it looks like something hard to engineer, it probably is. If you can spend two days thinking of ways to make it 10 times simpler, do it. It will work better, be more reliable, and have a bigger impact on the world. And learn, if only to know what has failed before. Remember the old saying, "Six months in the lab can save an afternoon in the library."

How to Think - Ed Boyden's blog - Technology Review
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I’ve stopped classifying things as “love” or “friendship” 
according to arbitrary superficial details—the feelings I share 
with certain friends are so intimate, so beautiful, that it’s 
ridiculous that I don’t call them lovers just because we don’t 
sleep together. It’s fucking absurd that sex should be the 
dividing line between our relationships, between which ones 
take precedence, between who we play with, live with, sleep 
with, who we take care of first, who we die with at last.
— From the zine Infinite Relationships (http://zinelibrary.info/files/infiniterelationships.pdf)
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