Thoughts About Accomplishments…

…and the direction of the world this week

In an attempt to understand what career I should pursue I began to follow a method suggested by someone on the internet. I began to list down my accomplishments.

As I wrote down my experiences, I realize that I haven’t done enough in my life to even write down 25 experiences as a shortlist. I wonder if now would be too late to create more experiences. I kept doing things that “seemed” right for the longest time. Whatever looked like the correct thing usually that was to do from my mother’s perspective. I think I found this shortcut where I could make things appear to be something even if they really weren’t that thing. Perhaps this is what led to the choices that I made later in life. If I was to correct those things what would they look like?

I think the first thing that comes to mind when I think about looking for a career is money. I realize that money is only a measure of value. However, that measure could be broken and it’s not necessary that every time a job that pays substantially high adds the most value. It is quite likely that what appears to add the most value to society only appears so and is not really the case. Take for example jobs where people are trying to solve societal problems.

Such jobs are usually within non-profit organizations and do I even need to say more? On the other hand, you look at jobs like those in Finance and they are bringing organization based on rules framed to lead a civilized society. However, society and its civility is a fragile fabric that when disturbed slightly does not take long to dissipate. What then happens to those financial roles?

This being said I realize that as I was talking about essential roles in society and I digressed into the question of what role would suit a society whose civil fabric is disappearing. Perhaps then a pertinent question to ask is what state of society am I considering when I’m thinking about a career? Indeed, this is a question that has come up more frequently now that GPT models are changing the way AI and ML are used to do everyday tasks and even eliminating common tasks within organizations.

Many strongly believe that ‘Experiences’ is the way to go. I don’t disagree and it seems what is “real” does become more important when the “artificial” will take over everyday life. In order to provide expertise in this area one would need to be initially familiar with and then later in charge of providing the experience. Many times this would entail experiences in the wild. (in future there will be an article titled ‘Can Outer Space be Wild?‘) Perhaps survival skills that can enable existence in the “wild” is something that becomes somewhat of a niche skill that initially becomes more wanted and ultimately proliferated throughout society.

The fact of the matter is that when I list down the ten instances I consider accomplishments in life, quite a few of them are related to said Experiences. These threads were not initially connected but appear to be such. Whitney, BJJ, the Appalachian trail – they all have a few things in common. While I might be passionate about technology, it doesn’t figure in the top things I consider my accomplishments in life. As technology is disrupting lives, I wonder if the things that bring me the most pleasure in life start to become a foundation for skills that become ultimately the most valuable in society.

The days are getting easier

Either the days are getting easier or I’m just losing touch with my challenges in growth. I’ve been fully immersed in the project at work. I feel like I’m doing great but whenever I pause or get distracted by things around insecure thoughts about the future start to creep into my mind.

Every time there’s a project on this team the work feels great. Especially when you seem to be hitting goals and getting noticed for your work. The conditions there are that projects need to be coming, which is something completely out of my control. Secondly, I need to be hitting my goals, which includes overpreparing for everything because I, like many other people, have imposter syndrome, and no matter how much I put in, it never feels like enough. Finally, I need to be appreciated for the work, which means it depends on the other people on the team and their experience of things more than just my work on the project.

Whenever I’m not staring like a zombie chipping away at work, I stare into the abyss of what it is that I am actually doing at work. I think that feeling quickly goes away as I get my paycheck. This is clearly indicative of an underlying problem that I need to be doing more than just remain satisfied by a simple “job”. It isn’t even a question about what because I have explored that and I am fairly confident that I know what I want to do outside of work is something of my own. The ambiguity is around the “something”. As long as I keep this zeal of wanting to do something I think I am in a good spot because I’ll keep looking.

So, yes, the days are getting easier but not because it’s getting easier with any of the tasks within the days but because the vision of the future is getting clearer every day. I’m glad about it but I also know that there is a lot of work left to do with regard to delving into the details.

Unearned Wisdom

There are things that I want to talk about and write about but I’m unable to bring myself to get some structure.  So finally I settled on putting structure to some thoughts I jotted down during a conversation I listened to recently. I thought about writing about a topic that Jordan Peterson mentioned during his conversation with Joe Rogan this past week. They were talking about Ayahuasca and the impact that psychedelics can have on individual perspectives. They veered into this topic after starting with something about religion. I don’t appreciate the conversations about religion myself but I appreciate Peterson’s opinions on quite a few other things things. In all honesty, I sometimes think he’s quite correct about religion as well. I just don’t want to take the correctness of his opinions, especially about religion, for granted. I want to arrive at them when I do by myself without a canvas painted by imploring opinions eloquently stated. As they eventually started talking about psychedelics, Jordan Peterson quoted Carl Jung. 

“Unearned Wisdom”

I am yet to unravel the context of this quote from Carl Jung myself but cursorily I understand that it was about the feeling of having become wiser following the use of psychedelics. This nicely encapsulates my opinions when a friend tells me about their experience with or the need to experience psychedelics like Ayahuasca. I think there is a yearning to understand the world and these substances feel like a shortcut to that understanding. I feel like many individuals are distressed today because of several reasons and alternatives seem like a way out. I know this not just from observing but also know from personal experience. At this very moment, I have a part of me that wants to go to the gym for the rest of me. I know that this is something I need to do in order to keep myself functioning to the best of my ability. Yet, I keep delaying the decision and even do something that is arguably more challenging intellectually than making the decision to go to the gym. I know that I am trying to take a shortcut. However, I know that while I have a tendency to take the easy way out I need to push myself in one way or another and hence I am extracting the effort to compose this little essay from that ‘diversion’ that my mind thinks it is taking. Yes, I know I’m talking about my brain’s thoughts in third person.

I am a curious person and I understand that sometimes my curiosity can get the better of me and hinder me from being productive. I know these things about me and when I decide to undertake a task I have to take these shortcomings into consideration. When I do this I am not answerable to anyone but myself. However, I am aware enough at the same time to know what I don’t know. I think the lack of this trait in combination with the inability to push oneself is what leads a large majority of people to despondency. That stagnation then forces individuals to look for alternatives to jump-start something exciting in life. Something that will either radically change the direction of things or bring some new flavors to life. Ayahuasca and other traditional psychedelics are the answer to this despondency. Is it the right answer? Not in my opinion but it is just one of the things that the universe throws at us when we are clamoring for ‘different’. 

The Road Within

There was a friend with whom I thought I’d have a long and old friendship. The kind where one looks back and hums songs of old before completing the tune. Unfortunately, that was not the end of that relationship and it was in some ways bitter to part on the paths we did but still not apart. This person at a time in that past put me in touch with another friend who wrote this poem. It was written from her heart during that time of life when we all go through a tumult. I did not want this poem to be forgotten in the annals of the dark web i.e. my email inbox and hence wanted to put it up on my blog. Here at least some fortunate web crawler will crawl, index, and store it in an indexed version for years and years to come. I don’t think this poem is worthy of grandiose claims of human ingenuity in literature but it’s a part of history that was mine, not my personal history but part of the history that was mine. Perhaps one day we meet and I can share this for her to reflect on the past that perhaps she would be proud of. So here goes…

The Road Within..

The road within

is the road I must travel now

my Master is calling

I must listen to her now..

The roads around me are very beautiful

But none as much as the road within,

All others may lead to happiness,

But only this one leads to bliss.

I had always feared it,

because it holds the reality,

Reality of the evils of my mind,

Guised under the garb of morality..

But my Master is now,

urging me to walk..

Walk if I cannot run

and crawl if I cannot walk

Because soon one day she said,

a time will come,

when no longer will I be a participant,

an observer i will become

An observer I will be

to the schemings of my mind

and laugh I will at it

At its fruitless attempts to misguide

Laugh I will in deliverance

laugh I will like a new born child

laugh I will at my new birth

like a caged bird let lose in the wild..

The road will become my home

like the brightest star I will shine

I will be one with myself

My consciousness will merge with the Divine…

This is the only road 

that I will travel alone 

There is no goal

there is no end

the joy is in the travel alone..

New Place, Same Society

I wish I could say that things seem easier now. I am in this new apartment where I am paying more and it seems to be in a much nicer place. Imagine, I can even feel the burden of framing that previous sentence. I talk about the rent as the first thing and then I state how it seems to be something. Not that it is but rather it seems. Honestly I feel this lingering burden of something over me. It’s not the credit card debt I ratcheted up. Thanks to the trips before moving into this place. The trips that were required for the move and those that were not. It seems more emotional. It seems much of it is caused by worry for people close to me and not. Or perhaps it feels like I don’t want to be here in some subconscious part of me. If I said there were lingering presences here, that would just seem ridiculous. Not many things have happened since I came here besides the escalating war, the social consciousness going crazier by the day and then there’s Kanye, who destroyed his empire, at least financially it seems so right now.

It was a tragedy what happened with Kanye. When I got the notification that he appeared on Lex Fridman a part of me was elated just like any other consumer of content on the internet. Just like the millions of viewers of Youtube. A relatively simple reaction to a new notification, sometimes maybe any notification. Then slowly I started thinking about other things. One for e.g., was would I finally be able to communicate with people significant in my life what a genius this guy was/is? Then I thought, okay, finally a conversation that will perhaps transcend the general nonsense on media. Then I started watching it and Lex’s awkward start to the video made it feel either an exceptional conversation or a conversation that began with a sense of urgency to get right into it. Without getting into the finer details of the episode I’ll just leave it here to say that the episode was a train wreck. Not because of what he said but because of how it would be perceived. This conversation was a knife edge that was serrated and blunt. Perhaps of one that was unused and will never be used ever again.

“Fools be saying that he ruined his empire in a few days”. Unfortunately or fortunately for some I think that’s true, they are fools indeed. Perhaps it will be interesting to see what the history books don’t write about this person. His art in real life was something to see being made. I was fortunate to see a documentary that documented him doing his work. Were all his views correct? Maybe not according to the current society. Were all his lyrics admirable? Was all his art where I found the calling for my heart? Perhaps not but he had genius during my time. I among many others witnessed his rise and I won’t say his fall. He is too eccentric to be judged by this society. He doesn’t fall in its framework of laurels or failures. They’re still figuring out what hit them. I needed help figuring out what hit me. And that’s where Casey Neistat came into the picture.

I wanted to make some sense or maybe just find my bearings in this scenario. Casey being a creator I’ve followed for long was helpful. He’s eccentric in his own right. He’s Jewish and understands how the media works as well. So, his views would make sense. To my surprise, which honestly shouldn’t have been one, he had interacted with Ye. Not in the way one would consider an interaction because he hasn’t created anything or even collaborated on anything. He had only interacted with him as a human being a couple of times in a corridor, here and there and listened to him speak up close about his ideas. He admired him and appreciated Ye as a creator. Not anymore. He had seen what all Ye said about the Jews and he didn’t take well to it. As many did and perhaps should. His explanation was that Ye was dog whistling people. I didn’t clearly know what that means and perhaps don’t even now but here’s what I understood. He was giving people the permission to openly hate and in a way condoned hate speech by doing what he was because he was a prolific personality. I can see that. As much of his genius I see, I also see that he is provocative. He has talked about being provocative and he has been provocative. The time he was being provocative as well but I think he broke the social contract.

Everyone enters into a social contract the moment they leave their parents. Their parents handle the contract before that. In a way they bear the brunt or fruits of the person’s external engagement until the person leaves their nest. The time they spend at home is the time they undergo a sort of “training”. They understand what is, can be, should be, and can’t be. Sometimes they learn what can be and what isn’t and they set out to change things. At any rate, they understand what the social contract means. Some set out to change the contract because they are not satisfied with what was handed to them. This is when Legends are born or where dreams are created or simply complexes created and harbored. Or at least that’s how I think is the way that it goes. I can’t speak about Ye in entirety but he learned to chase greatness early. He did not sign the contract he was handed at birth. No one except his Mama knew that. She saw him break rules early. Others were yet to witness what Ye was to bring to the table.

I feel I only learned about the preordained contract a few weeks ago. Or maybe I’ve been learning about the contract for sometime now. I hope I am able to do something with this one wild and precious life.