Weekly Review, 2021-05-30
It's been awhile. In the time I've missed doing weekly reviews, I completely whiffed on two of my [[2021 Goals]]. One from not writing weekly reviews. The other from being embarrassingly naive about my bike fitness and skill (more on that experience in a future review).
However, in the time I missed, I went to [[Saint George, UT]] for a month, started to learn [[Clojure]], took a MOOC called [[ludobots]] to learn about [[Evolutionary Robotics]], did a lot of [[Rethinking Work]] (but still have no conclusions), and more. So I have a lot of notes to refine and move over to this website.
Here's what I thought about this week:
I came across a great combination of articles and podcasts this week. First, in [[The Anxiety of Influencers]], an English professor shares what he observed while living at a [[TikTok]] collab house for a few days. He connects his experience to the rising anxiety he has watched among his students on campus in the last 10 years. A key takeaway: a huge factor in the rising anxiety is how concerned everyone has become about their [[personal marketability]].
- Historical context helps justify our problems
- Three causes to the loss of serenity: busy-ness, competition, envy
- all of these accelerated by our great advancements in communication technology
- Clash between [[Romanticism]] and [[Capitalism]], which leads to tension between work and
- romantic relationships
- family relationships (mainly parent/child)
In the end, we were born into a time when everyone is expected to do everything well, especially because social media makes it easy for people to pose as if all aspects of life are butter, so we feel like shit when we fail at anything. In the past, people were more content to dedicate their lives to any one of these things - we aren't anymore.
This article leads to many rabbit holes, from the basis of modern romance: [[The Sorrows of Young Werther]], to the lives of [[John Stuart Mill]] and [[Matthew Arnold]], to the newfound expectations of the modern worker, and the never-ending battle of comparisons we all now fight.
After reading [[The Anxiety of Influencers]], I thought back to how much I enjoyed [[Packy McCormick]]'s article [[The Great Online Game]]. It made re-consider my motivations for getting active online. In Packy's article, he frames online activity as an "infinite game" - a [[World Building]] adventure game. We are all free to explore, make connections, and build up our own corner of the internet. Those who excel have already seen great benefits come to their lives. They have made great friends, find great business opportunities, and learn a ton. What an opportunity!
On the other hand, [[The Anxiety of Influencers]] gets at the dark side of this game. Particularly, the anxiety it gives people who don't want to play or aren't any good.
More and more, we are forced to play the online game, whether we like it or not. Part of the online game is building your [[personal marketability]], which is what so many young people are now stressed about. Instead of a positive, game-like experience, many people see this as an overbearing challenge to figure out complex internet dynamics and carve out a life in a new age.
I lie somewhere in between the tension of these two articles. I'm excited to lean into the experience of playing [[The Great Online Game]], but I also recognize that I'm driven by [[FOMO]] on the great opportunities I've seen others talk about (especially on twitter).
- Huberman is a neuroscientist who leads a lab at [[Stanford]]. In his research, he's found that [[neural plasticity]] is just as accessible in adults as it is in kids, but adults need a serious sense of urgency while applying intense focus to the subject matter.
- So, in the end, the tension between my motivations doesn't really matter, as long as I feel urgency to improve.
I also loved this tweet:
So: the most important thing about the most important thing in life is attention,— visa is almost done ✍🏾📖 (@visakanv) July 11, 2019
and in schools, IMO, we often screw up how we teach it.
If you use threats and coercion to force kids to “pay” attention...
...you set people up for dysfunctional relationships their whole life pic.twitter.com/DILk1zn2pN
Part of what I found so interesting in [[How Not to Let Work Explode Your Life]] is that they pointed out how much work used to go into romance, parenting, housework, and other non-job related tasks. Romance was invented as a time-consuming leisurely activity. Middle class workers used to have maids because there was so much housework to do. Now, these parts of our lives are expected to simply fall into place. Do well in school, get a job, and everything else will follow - so we are told. In reality, the rest of life is work too. Just not the kind we are taught about or prepared for. When the rest of life doesn't fall into place, we are left frustrated.
Part of the fix is just being aware that life is hard, in and out of work and school. Every aspect of life requires focused attention to go well. Accepting that makes it much easier to set expectations for yourself.
Great Quote from Post-WEIRD Nacirema Psychology
"I am in constant dialogue with the Networked Human Organism. I exist in multiplicity, and as a node in the network."
Maybe I'll start posting these every week again. Follow me on twitter to stay updated!
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