Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Why don't more people just go out and buy "positive" emotions? Some do. They go after some dream that will "complete" them, or use chemicals.
But it doesn't work.
When you're working from the ego's point of view, it doesn't matter what emotions you're buying. You'll end up with those in the "negative" category anyway. Even if you're buying "positive" emotions, you'll get a high - and a low. Then you'll set out for another high - and here comes the low again.
Probably the first profound realization about human nature is that the cause of our sufferings is the false personality that's built around our thoughts, emotions and memories. The second (or joint) realization is that you're not that false personality - the ego - but you are the awareness that's noticing the false personality.
People realize that there's something fake in buying "good" emotions. So they either turn a blind eye and join the chase. Or cut the crap and immerse themselves in cynicism. A third solution is to realize that you don't need to "buy" emotions.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm not saying every person you meet is going to try and use them against you. Nor am I saying you should be on the lookout all the time, in complete paranoia, looking for evil dudes. The world is, as far as I can tell, a pretty friendly place.
Back to our lovely traits. When you visualize your goal, say a magnificent mansion, or a beautiful lover who will complete your life, you're gradually becoming greedy. The thing is, you're not even noticing it. You vividly see this picture, and with it all of these intense emotions start coming up.
They are the emotions of desire, of wanting, of needing.
Then you're given this line: "when you visualize your goals, and you believe in them, the universe will come to your aid. I know this sounds new-agey and stuff, but it works. I didn't believe it myself, but it does work."
The law of attraction, if you can even call it a law.
It's, simply put, a call for laziness. Sure, a confidence you'll succeed helps if you're working toward a goal, but blind faith? And calling this faith a law that guarantees your success?
You won't always succeed. Will that stop you from trying?
My favorite - The feeling of self importance. When you think you know this secret, this law - and no one else know it, No one else besides you and this small group, this inner circle - you can't help it, you will become vain. This brings up another point. Feeling part of a group, and an elite group none the less. All the more to vanity.
Are We There Yet?
So, I'm on my way to whatever it is I'm after. I have all of these visualization techniques. I'm unstoppable. Only time is between me and whatever it is I want (what do I want, anyway?).
But I'm not there. I'll probably never be. Why? Did I not visualize correctly? Or enough? maybe I didn't believe in it strongly enough? Or didn't communicate clearly enough with the gods of attraction?
I'm not there not because I can't get there, but because I'm using silly techniques instead of taking action.
Get a handle on your ego. Not by trying to destroy it, or controlling it. That creates another ego. Instead, observe it's structures. Understand them. Realize that the ego creates them to survive, that they're not real. Under observation they crumble, And down with them goes the ego.
You won't need to "visualize" your success anymore. Now we can start doing the stuff that matters.
Next time you get all hyped up about something, first observe, then see it for what it is - an ego bribe.
Vanity, greed, fear and other human traits are used all the time by marketers, salesmen and con artists. It is the way they get results. Perhaps they're not conscious that they're doing it. That doesn't change the fact they're using their knowledge of human nature to get people to do what they want them to.
Even if you're using so called "white hat" techniques, like reciprocation (giving away free stuff to build trust), and doing so knowingly, or perhaps unknowingly, it's still too vague. The con artist can (and does) use reciprocation to build trust and finally, when the time comes, pull the con.
There's a thin line between the con artist and the marketer. And that's because they both know and do pretty much the same things.
The marketer, however, uses it to build trust and then actually delivers a solution to some problem, or a set of valuable knowledge.
Yet it's so easy for a marketer to turn into a con artist, or for a con artist to turn into a marketer.
And that's because the means are identical. Only the end differs.
I am fascinated by human nature, the good and the bad. Our vanity, greed and ego; The way we build an illusionary "self" based upon our thoughts, feelings, and memories and call it "I"; Or "me" - The structures of our ego. This is the illusion that plagues us all. Perhaps the cause for our sufferings. That's what buddha and other really profound people think, anyway.
What makes a person into a con artist? What constructs does he build into his ego to feel alright about it? Is it greed? Or are there other motivations? I don't think he'd do what he was doing if he didn't feel alright about it.
Marketers and con artists know more about human nature than most psychologists do. Sure, psychologists need their knowledge for practical purposes as well. They need to cure depression, or anxiety, or other mental illnesses. But there's no accurate way to measure their results. And from my experience with psychologists, most of them don't even bother. They don't measure if they're successful or not. Hell, they don't bother defining "success". With marketers and con artists it's easy to tell how successful they are - Are they making any money? It's not theory and speculation for them. They don't "think" this might help, or might provide "results", whatever that might be for the psychologist.
They need results, and they have a way to measure them. And, the good ones anyway, are getting them.
How do psychologists measure results? "Well, if my patient commits suicide, then I failed. Doh!"
Sunday, December 14, 2008
"All you need is value!"
"Make something people want!"
I hear this stuff being thrown about a lot, and it's fine advice. However, it's not complete advice. Knowing that you have to make something people want is only the first step. Or the first half step. The real questions are:
"what is value?"
"how do I create value, and how do I create it on a consistent basis?”
What is Value?
The first question isn't so hard. Something valuable is simply something beautiful. I never saw something authentically valuable which wasn't also beautiful. Money isn't beautiful, but then again ,it's not authentically valuable. If you're making something beautiful you're on the right track
What is beauty?
Paul Graham talks about beauty in art a lot better than I can.
Good art is not subjective.
There is good art...
And there is bad art.
To say it's subjective insults our creative efforts, and the creative efforts of all who came before us, not only in art but in science as well.
Me saying it's insulting shouldn't convince you I'm correct. That's why I'm pointing you to Graham's essay, so I don't have to redo all of his good work.
How to Create Value on a Consistent Basis
This is about creativity and routine.
This is about leading a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity, emotional health, eat, drink, create.
Creativity and routine sound like opposites to you? Your most creative successes will come out of routine.
You have to record all of your ideas somehow, no matter how badly they suck, or how irrelevant they are to what you're trying to accomplish. Always be ready for the next idea.
Most of all, discover what works for you. There is a lot of information out there. Find it.
There are a few people that don't lose their faith. But most people do. In fact, it seems the natural course to take; Life is great as a child, as you grow up you suddenly have all these expectations turned to dust, you become cynical, etc etc.
But some people don't lose their faith. Why? I don't have a clue.
At this point I should make it clear that I'm not talking about faith in god, or in some organized religion.
This is about something else. Something bigger. Something a lot more mysterious. Something profound. It's hard to put you finger on it. But there's this feeling, this sense. It can barely be described. It's to be found when you least expect it. In fact, you won't find it when you do expect it. But it's there. And the paradox is, you have to look for it without expecting to actually find it. I know I'm not making any sense (I usually don't).
I suppose it's called faith for a reason, but I don't want you to have faith in God, or church, or country, or Buddha, or some guru, or me, or anything. I don't want you to have blind faith.
I want you to have questioning faith...
What I'm trying to talk about is not there. There is mysticism in this world, it's only very hard to talk about accurately. It's where you cant find it. But you can find it. That's the strange thing.
I don't know anything, nor have I found this thing I'm trying to talk about. I'm only trying to point at the strangeness.
Those that have the desirable thing,
those that want the desirable thing,
those that promise or provide the desirable thing (and the means to get it),
My favorite is group number four. I love them, they rock. 1-3 suck in varying degrees.
So, what's so great about working from home?
Well... besides the loneliness, the long hours to pull your own weight, and the freedom to use your time however you please?
Wait a moment, I think I've misused that rhetorical device...
Back to our categories. Those that have the desirable thing, besides for salivating, you'll agree, aren't very interesting. Those that want the desirable thing are chasing a dream that probably won't make them feel all that great if they ever get it; and if they do get it, they'll probably realize they were after something else entirely. And those that promise or provide the desirable thing are, to put it simply, bitches; They're the smart ones who realize opportunities are to be found in providing the means to get the desirable thing. Whether it's tools to dig for gold, or teaching how to start a “home business”.
The thing about working from home is the promise that you can have all the freedom you want. It's like the ultimate freedom pill, as if we 1st world countries don't have enough freedom as it is. Look at those poor folks in Gaza, for instance. Now they need freedom.
But I regress.
There is something silly in making it your goal to “work from home”. Why would you want to work from home when you can get out of your home? There's so much out there: People to meet, places to see, things to do, a difference to make.
And we want to work from home? You think you can make a difference from home?
We should want to help others. And get out there and meet new people. And make some art. And write something interesting and actually read it out loud to real people.
It shouldn't be all about working from home, it should be about doing something you believe in. A mix of faith (not faith in god, I don't believe in that), purpose, and “work” you love should be the keywords.
If you have these three things, whether you work from home or some 3rd world country doesn't matter.
Working from home? A recipe for stagnation, For boredom.
The world is a big place, why limit yourself?
I want to work in the world.
So, I was experimenting with this idea and that, and at some point I came to the conclusion that it's way too easy being cynical. Now, why does that matter?
After thinking about it for a while, I realized, that if something is too easy, it has to be too easy for a reason. No kidding you say? Well, yeah...
The reason it's too easy is because, you either have a "talent" for it (I'm not a big believer of talent), or because it's not worth doing. If you have a talent for it then that's great. Pursue it. You'll still encounter tough spots in spite of your talent. Those are probably the opportunities to learn. But if it's something you wouldn't think of yourself as "having a talent for", and at the same time it's way too easy, then something is wrong.
For instance, I never heard anyone say, “I have a talent for gossip” , or “for negativity”, or “for cynicism”, or “for criticism”, or just “I have a talent for being a pain in the ass”. Doesn't sound quite right, does it? These are all things anyone can do regardless of any special talent, gift or training. You just don't need practice in making others miserable. Sure, you'll get good at it if you do practice. Some people get really good at it.
But easy things are not worth doing.
Unless they're fun.
Ever heard a person say "I love making others miserable"? My point exactly.
I did know someone who took pride in his cynicism. Know the type? A fun bunch, no doubt about it...
Friday, December 12, 2008
The reason for the style of my posts is what I like to call the "just hit publish" methodology (all rights reserved :)). It goes something like...
First of all write a lot, and when you write something do not under any circumstance censor yourself. DON'T DO IT. Second of all (actually third), always publish. I haven't got a clue what I'm doing, so there's no way I'd be able to judge what I wrote myself. I need someone else to take a look at it.
Just hit publish...
If it sucks it sucks, if it's awesome it's awesome, and if it's mediocre I'll be deleting it.
I'd rather suck than be mediocre.
If I suck at something at least I might be getting somewhere. I'll learn something if I pay attention, then I'll think a bit, then suck some more, then think, pay attention, etc. But if I'm mediocre I'm probably just doing over and over something that isn't getting me any results. And worse, I might not be learning anything.
Back to the "just hit publish" methodology (all rights re...). I'm not doing this because I lack respect to whoever might stumble on this. I'm doing this because censoring yourself is limiting.
This is the so called "real" "me". This blog is about whatever idea I might have, and I'll be expressing it in the most straightforward way I can. Hopefully it will either be brilliant, or just plain suck. Kill me if it's mediocre.
So if I write something, and I think it's crap, I'll be hitting publish. I just might learn something. Note that there's a difference between crap and mediocre. Mediocre gives you the bored, blank stare of nothingness with a "it's alright" response. Crap, however, gives you the "hm, that's shit. But hey, it's kind of interesting" response.
Are you writing stuff without actually publishing it? Did you ever publish something you thought was crap but turned out to be pretty good?
I cant remember where I read it, it was probably some dating book cause only dating book authors can come up with this bullshit.
In this particular case, it's the kind I like.
Anyway, what he said, whoever he was, and if you know who said it I'd like to know too, was that you should live life like you're fucking the world (in the good sense, ya?).
This is a really neat metaphor actually. If you'd be immersed into living like you are when you're fucking then you'd be sure to get some results, and not only in dating...
This isn't in "fuck the world and everything in it" sense. I love the world, it doesn't need to be fucked. But like anyone, it does need a good fucking.
Ah, I lost myself...
A scavenger goes through a lot of crap (ideas) before he finds something something really cool (an "exotic idea").
I'm not talking about marketing. A good marketer can take an old idea, and in the "there's nothing new under the sun" sense, repackage it as his own new, innovative idea.
People who present exotic ideas do pretty much the same thing. You might be wondering at this point what the hell am I talking about. On the one hand I said exotic idea people are not doing what marketers are doing, on the other hand I said they're doing pretty much the same thing.
What I'm trying to say, in my typical
Found any exotic ideas lately?
All you life hackers out there, if you happen to know of a "meaning of life" hack, please, and this isn't meant to be sarcastic, this is completely sincere, please do send me your "meaning of life" hacks.
Thanks to all these web applications you just don't need a desktop, or desktop software. I can name very few desktop applications I cant live without.
Give me a browser and I'll be just fine.
And then I won't need a super fast computer. How much do you really need to run a browser?
Of course I haven't got a clue if such a thing is possible, but I'm sure that if some smart guy puts his mind to it he'll get it done.
Or maybe it's a really stupid idea and I'm just jumping on the trendy "cloud computing".
Self development doesn't happen in your room, it happens when you're out there, in the "real world", trying things, helping people out, being a human being (or something like it).
It happens when you try public speaking for the first time, or when you volunteer for something.
It happens when you approach that women/man you fancy. It happens during conversations and during collaborative efforts, or individual effort.
And it happens when you just do something.
The same goes for "enlightenment". You want enlightenment? You won't be getting it in a cave on a rug, or on a chair in front of a screen (the modern equivalent of the cave and the rug).
Don't get me wrong, I love quite contemplation. And soaking new knowledge. But more and more I'm discovering that soaking shit won't get you anywhere. And like Vinci said, it's a tragedy to know a lot about something you never fucking did. Well, he didn't quite put it that way.
What about happiness?
Chasing happiness is the best way to never have it. It sets you up for misery.
I know I'm done chasing it, and the strange thing is, when you stop chasing it, you just might, and it will find you in the strangest moments, but you just might...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Gmail works the same way.
One of the reasons Gmail became so popular (I use it myself, it rocks compared to all other free email services that I know of) is the promise of unlimited space, which is, a false promise.
Google has a limited amount of hard drives, as does the world, and if everyone claimed the amount of space Google promises, Gmail will be brought to it's knees the same way any good bank would've.
Of course Google doesn't actually promise unlimited space, but they are promising huge amounts of space and that's enough to make my point.
So, what is my point, besides the obvious one that I'm not a big Google fan since they started throwing around “be good”, or “do no evil”, or whatever it was, while infact they do quite a lot of evil, and besides the other obvious one that I don't want to turn into this one long anti-google rant?
Gmail is marketed as having a quality that until recently everyone else didn't have: unlimited space. But it's a bluff, just like the banks promise is, at it's core, a bluff. Religion, too, is a bluff of this sort. All it takes is a small or big majority to call the bluff simultaneously, and the bluff, so to speak, is called. Sure, if I decide to use up all my seven gigabytes of Gmail space (or whatever it is they're advertising at the moment) I'll get it the same way that if I withdraw all my money from the bank (about 350 israeli shekels last time I checked, which in turn is a bit more than 89.6056 U.S. dollars – but nevermind that! And no, I did not miss the irony that that's according to google), it won't be brought to it's knees.
To call a bluff of this sort, a small to large majority has to call the bluff at the same time.
Don't get me wrong, I hope gmail won't be called on it's bluff, and the banks too. Besides being pretty shitty, they're doing an ok job, I guess.
But there is one bluff I'd love to see called...
And that bluff is religion.
The question that bothers me the most is why did I add yet another blog to a crowded net? The reason is simple, and frankly, quite selfish. I want to write a lot, I want to do so anonymously, and most of all, I want to write crappy stuff, that is, without the pain of embarrassment that comes from writing painfully crappy stuff. My writing sucks, and if I ever plan to become somehow good at it, I have to write a lot of shitty stuff.
For my own amusement, and since lists are so popular on the net, here's one for you:
Top 6 reasons why I started my own blog
- It provides an anonymous medium to write extremely shitty stuff.
- I want to become a master, black belt, enlightened writer.
- Everyone else is doing it, so, for once, I decided to go with the crowd since the conformity created around non-conformity is quite annoying... sucks all the fun out of it.
- Only through shittyness do I improve.
- No embarrassment.
How's that for a list?
I'll be writing about pretty much whatever jumps into my head and hopefully it's not so bad as to make you feel nasty in various places. If it does, you can poke me (email@example.com).
There's this long tradition in technical computer programming books to start with an example of how to force a poor machine into printing "hello world".
Strangely enough, this trend was generous enough to grace blogs; Not entirely unsurprising since the technology behind blogs was built by programmers.
So, fucking "hello world"!