Sep 4, 2018


I've had the opportunity to really rethink some things this weekend and I honestly couldn't have thought of a better way to spend the time. I also read a metric shitton and it was the best thing I could have imagined doing with my time. I feel like I'm finally getting over some really big hang ups with algorithmic thinking and computational problem understanding. It's huge in a way I can't describe, really. The ease with which I can flip through a textbook on programming topics and really grok what they're talking about is mind-bendingly new and radical. I mean, I've had this happen to me before in other domains, but this honestly feels like a new kind of superpower. It's not just a problem domain, it's a way of understanding problem domains.

Honestly, what's helped the most is all of the difficult, non-fiction book reading I've been doing lately. I've really dug in, in the last year, to reading dense, long form non-fiction books. It felt really crazy to be devoting so much time and energy to reading such difficult stuff in my free time, but man has it paid off in spades. What really helped me get through them was picking stuff that I find genuinely interesting and that's just blow-your-socks off amazing. Which is to say, authors that sincerely reward the effort. Ok ok, it's mostly just Hannah Arendt. Her stuff is so good though. Finding someone that can really reshape the way that you see the world is intensely powerful. I made it through Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, and Eichmann in Jerusalem. I'm really glad I started with Condition, it was by far the most difficult of the three, but incredibly worthwhile. I've got her short book On Violence floating around somewhere -- I seem to have lost track of it but I'm super keen to get to it, if and when it ever shows up.

I took my personal vanity, which has always given me much personal grief in the form of guilt, and put it in this new, intelligent, true context. I look at myself because I want to know what I look like. It's a curiosity. The real negativity comes from feeling like I shouldn't want to look, and really, who needs that kind of negativity weighing down their features.

Slowly drying you out of my head one table turning conversation at a time. It's a weird thing to evict a tenant of any standing. It's not like it's been long, but I know you're better off elsewhere. It's been nice to have my perspective back though, and to really see instead of watching the picture window my fantasies have been projecting out onto reality. They don't call it a reality distortion field for nothing, sweet jesus. One of the biggest reframing of it though, has been to realize how much having you inhabit my head was, in some ways, not unlike having a muse. I agree, it's a very strange and grandiose comparison, but, in some ways, not totally inaccurate. The real tragedy would be to have been inspired by the experience and not embracing that.  In fact, more people should be upfront about their muses, traditional gender roles be damned.

I looked in the mirror today and the first thought was that I'm turning into a terrible looking middle aged woman. Then I tried looking at myself as if I were a man: was I handsome, how strong is my jaw? and, well fam, I don't look particularly striking as a man either. Some things are just good to see.

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