About Projects Essays

Essays

The Essays section of this website is still a work in progress, and the essay drafts shown currently are incomplete. If you're interested in reading these essays, I would recommend coming back later once there is more content...

Iterative Essay Blogging

(current version - draft - last updated 6/26/2019)

I’d imagine this is already a thing some people do, but on this website I'm going to experiment with iterating essays in the open.

I will post a first draft shortly after having an idea for an essay, and then will revise it over time, saving the old revisions for the record. Once it’s at a point that I think it may be useful to some people, I will announce it - sharing it with friends, family, and all 62 of my followers on twitter. After announcing an essay it will usually still be revised further. Some essays may be split in two if they develop into topics that would be better served subdivided, some essays may be combined, and some may be canceled, but in any case, old versions will be saved for sake of documenting the process.

The form of this blog will also be an iterative process, so is likely to change over time. Making a plan is useful for the benefits derived in the act of planning, not for following the the actual plan that was made.

Reasoning from Fundamentals

(current version - draft - last updated 6/26/2019)

One of the commonly stated of benefits of studying physics is that it teaches you to reason from fundamentals. Elon Musk sites this often when recommending physics as a field of study. What does this mean exactly, why is it a useful skill, and how does studying physics prepare you to do it?

...

While you can understand the concept of reasoning from fundamentals, and understand its importance, simply understanding those things is not enough to consistently live your life in a way where you a) remember to reason from fundamentals when practical, and b) manage to reason that way successfully when you try.

Remember, Remember, Remember...

(current version - draft - last updated 6/26/2019)

Mindfulness is a simple thing. What it is exactly can only be pointed at in english, not stated explicitly, but regardless, once you've experienced it a few times, for the most part, you have understood it. It would be great if just coming to an understanding of it once was all it took to be mindful from then on, but unfortunately that's not how it works.

To live your life in a conscious way takes repeatedly remembering to be mindful hundreds of times a day. If you set an alarm to go off every 20 seconds to remind yourself to be mindful, you not be able to focus on anything else, and the effort it will take to actively remind yourself would be exhausting. So instead, you need to develop the mental habit, the subconscious process, of constantly reminding yourself when you get lost to return to the present.