The practitioner of the shamanic tradition at once sees the world as it is as well as a manifestation of infinite energy that is is constant flux.
The sequence of four enemies a knowledge seeker must inevitably face
Fear: The fear of uncertainty and the unknown is the first enemy a knowledge seeker must face. As he progresses along his journey, he will be faced with fear over an over again. The work is to face the fear and keep moving forward in the question for knowledge. With time, this fear will dissipate and he will get clarity
Clarity: Clarity is a subtle enemy. Succumbing to this enemy means the inability to decipher real clarity from one’s egotistical illusion. The work is to constantly question the perceive clarity while moving forward in the quest for knowledge. With time comes true clarity which brings with it a lot of power
Power: Power is a very seductive enemy. With great power comes the temptation to abuse this power. Succumbing to this enemy brings around rampant destruction due to abusive use of power. The work is to constantly keep power in check while continuing the pursuit and application of knowledge. With time, comes the final enemy, old age.
Old age: Is an enemy that can only be conquered temporarily. The work is to constantly fight the desire to lie and rest. Yielding to this enemy will result in no further pursuit and application of the knowledge acquired.
Jimson weed: Psychedelic to help you relive and see your past memories
Peyote: Another plant to aid in the communion with the spirits
Mescalito: Hallucinogenic drug made from the flowering heads of cactus
Human values like justice and mercy is hard if not impossible to encode as rules
Data scientist use proxies as an approximate gauge for the existence of values. These are inherently inaccurate if not downright wrong
While using of race as a feature to determine if loan should be approve is obviously racist, the use zip codes though not obvious is equally racist since race tends to segregate around geographical territories
Models are increasingly used to across various domains to help increase the speed of decision making. This increases the negative impact of badly designed models will have on humans
A feedback is necessary to ensure continuous correction of badly design models – transparency of how your credit score is calculated
Regulations are necessary on the use of models as companies driven by quarterly reporting requirements of shareholders are primarily be focused on the bottom line
There are only so many nights you can spend alone in isolation out in the wilderness before your brain fully discards all the faulty wirings imprinted by Hollywood’s horror movies.
What’s left is this primal realization that human is a very vicious predator perched pretty high up on the food chain. Further arm him with tools and he ends up right at the top of the food chain.
It is easy to forget about this fact when you have spent much of your life living in the city amongst other men following man made rules while attempting to play “civilized”.
Between groups of men there always exist collaboration and competition for resources extracted from nature. There also exist this constant jostling of position, usually labelled “politicking”, to gain more of these resources while exerting the same amount of effort. The bulk of the “stress” of “modern life” stems from “acquiring” what you need through the collective efforts of the group.
Between men and nature, the relationship appears simpler. The rules are pretty much fixed at the on set by nature. Man’s primary task is to figure out if the season is conducive for the activity being undertaken. Nature’s feedback is usually pretty immediate.
The Van Life idea seems like an ember that will eventually grow to become like what manifested as the Hippies movement of the 60s, the Burning Man festival and before that the Scouts movement.
One recurring theme observed between Van Life and Burning Man is the notion of “Coming Home”, where man steps away from the artificial construct he spent generations building up to finally return to nature.
Humans in the aggregate do behave somewhat like a self adjusting thermostat forever oscillating between extremes.
One of the primary fear of the future an average man has stems from the “abstract idea” of how physical discomfort would feel like during old age just prior to the point of death and how terrible it might be.
This primary fear is the main driver behind the average man’s continued effort to accumulate resources of various forms. It is done with hopes to alleviate that “discomfort” when it does eventually come.
The problem with that mode of thinking is the future is unknowable and man ends up wasting his precious limited life span over provisioning, not to mention it’s overall negative impact on the environment.
An alternate approach as practiced in various ascetic traditions is to steadily build the ability to keep equanimity at various thresholds of discomfort through daily practice. This curtails over-provisioning , frees up precious time to do more meaningful stuff and is generally good for the environment.
– Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
– Vipassana mediation
– TaoDeChing, Lao Tze
– The Tiger’s Cave, Trevor Leggett
– Zen mind, Beginner’s mind, Shinryu Suzuki
– The book of five rings, Musashi
Across multiple literature, its been stated privacy versus health will be one of the primary dichotomy societies around the world will need to juggle with as technological advances are made in the fields of artificial intelligence, communications (surveillance) and medical science (genetic research).
What is surprising was the rate at which the Corona pandemic catalyzed this change. In light of this, it is fascinating to observe how different societies position along the spectrum. Some societies has opted for surveillance to the maximum extend possible with current technology while others opted for its polar opposite going to the extend of staging mass protests against it use.
The AI Economy, Roger Bootler
To Be a Machine, Mark O’Connell
Irrational Exuberance, Shiller, Robert J.
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Max Tegmark
The basis we use for interpreting what is happening our world is through the understanding of our history. History heavily relies on narrative constructs.
The critical flaw with using narration as a tool to understand, encode and communicate what has transpired is it can only support data in a chronological order while reality is inherently chaotic, multi-linear, on occasions non-linear and confounds understanding thus narration. To tell a coherent tale of what has transpired, authors are forced to decide what to include and leave out of the narrative they weave. This phenomena is commonly labelled as the narrative fallacy.
Compound narrative fallacy with a collection of common human cognitive bias such as the framing bias, survivor bias, confirmation bias and consistency bias and you get a recipe for a fragmented society. This is especially more so when you have multiple equally plausible narratives that are diametrically opposed but draw evidences from the same chaotic sample space to reinforce their positions.
The task of deciphering what has transpired becomes even more daunting to the everyday individual with the reintermediation of social platforms as our primary news source. In the days prior, individuals need only rely on one official news source on how to understanding what is happening, usually from their government. Now, individuals are bombard on a daily basis with news sources sponsored by multiple parties with varying interest and agendas. In this day and age, it has become crucial for individuals to exercise critical thinking.
Some final food for thoughts:
Iran is portrayed as an evil country in American media
America is portrayed as the devils incarnate in Iranian media
China is portrayed as an evil country in American media
America is portrayed as an evil country in Chinese media
Why is it that the winners are always as good and righteous in any battle?
“If God’s on our side, who the hell could be on theirs?” Private Reiben in Saving Private Ryan.