Sunday, March 17, 2019

Riding Sunset

"You don't have to have a dream... I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals."

It’s good to have goals... know what you want out of life, the year, the month, each week, each day, and in each moment... what do you want?

Goals are good because they give you direction... if you’re thoughtful about them, and allow them to evolve with you, maybe you have some idea of where you’re going.

As you move forward, be relaxed and aware. Pay attention to everything around you. Move with purpose and patience.

Let go of willful control, and discover the sort of control that comes from moving forward with awareness, purpose and patience.

This path yields what many would describe as “luck”... but if you live it long enough, you’ll know that it’s much more than probability and outcome.

The worlds may elude you... but attention to the motion is illuminating. If you’re doing it well, then it might be described as “moving with grace.”

...something to consider; on Sunset, on a motorcycle... or as you move through your life.

"Don’t think about why you question, simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know.... Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.” - Albert Einstein

Saturday, January 26, 2019

I've seen this before...

In game development, the greatest challenge we faced was in aligning the vision of the team so that we could work together to create a great product, rather than working against each other, each, in the pursuit of our own aim.

For too many years, we wasted extraordinary energy pulling aginst each other when we could have accomplished much more by pulling with each other.

To broadly generalize the times we now live in, those on the left fear order and are pulling away from all the systems they no longer trust, e.g., police, government, industry, and much more.  Historically, Democrats were the champion of the blue collar worker, believed that power of the Federal government could be wielded to solve problems, and would have been shoulder-to-shoulder with police in opposition to anyone who would threaten those who put their lives on the line every day to serve us.

Those on the right fear the chaos of our times, and are desperate for increased order.  Only in our times could a presidential candidate post on December 7th, a day that has long been held sacrosanct by all sides, and declare that we need to block members of a particular faith at out our borders in order to maintain order.  To stand against one of the founding principles of our country -- the separation of church and state -- and to instead declare that the need for order is higher than our principles; that is something to be feared.

Both sides are radically and willfully blinded to the truth.

If those on the left consider: Do we need less order, are we seeking additional chaos in our lives?  Only those who seek harm for their country and their fellow citizens could conclude "we need further chaos."  Instead, they might conclude: "we need better solutions."  Hence, the resonance of Obama's "Change" messaging.  It might bring chaos, but what supporters believed more was that the system is broken, the people in power are corrupt and leading us astray, and we need better leadership and better solutions; "change we can believe in."

Those on the right should honestly consider: Do we need more order, do we need less chaos in our lives?  The vast majority of us live very ordered lives, and should be grateful for the orderliness of the world around us.  Too many are too quick to point to others' lives as a means of justifying their perspectives on the need for additional order.  But, in fact, if we look broadly at people across the U.S. and across the world, and perhaps most importantly, across history, we live in one of the most ordered places in the most ordered time.  It's not about seeing the glass half full rather than glass half empty, it's about realizing that although 1% of our citizens control more than half the wealth, more than 99% of our citizens enjoy order every day.  For the problems which remain, we don't need to fight against chaos, we need to improve the systems that are operating today.  We need better solutions.  And hence, the power of Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.

Both sides are right.  Both sides see a need for better solutions.  But they're so blinded by the fear of the opposition that they burn time and energy in flight from those fears.

Rather than battling against what we don't want, we all need to start focusing on what we would aim to achieve together.

We can do more.  We can do better.  And working together, we can make American (and the rest of the world!) greater.  Period.

Only solutions.  Clear visions.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Intermittent fasting and Autophagy

For decades, I’ve argued that we all have cancer.  Those of us considered "healthy" are merely (1) not diagnosed, or (2) staying so far ahead of the growth that we never develop symptoms or reach a chronic state.  That is, our bodies are continually operating to eradicate the dysfunctional cells.

The degree to which cancer cells are allowed to persist in our body is a measure of our health, or lack thereof.  Stress, poor diet choices, accumulation of toxins, and lack of effective sleep all contribute to degradation of the immune systems that inhibit accumulation of the cancers in our body.

Now, science is providing the exact descriptions of the mechanisms involved in the clearing process.  We have the opportunity to more fully understand exactly how to support this process.

"Autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that disassembles unnecessary or dysfunctional components."

"The name 'autophagy' was coined by Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve in 1963.  ...first observed by Keith R. Porter and his student Thomas Ashford at the Rockefeller Institute in January 1962."

"Resveratrol induces autophagy by directly inhibiting mTOR through ATP competition"

"Resveratrol (RSV) is a natural polyphenol that has a beneficial effect on health, and resveratrol-induced autophagy has been suggested to be a key process in mediating many beneficial effects of resveratrol, such as reduction of inflammation and induction of cancer cell death."

"Intermittent fasting— the practice of going without food for some (undefined) period of time — has many health benefits. It can help prevent heart disease, speed fat loss, and slow or reverse aging.
There are a number of physiological mechanisms involved. It reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, leads to increased numbers and quality of mitochondria, and increases autophagy, the cellular self-cleansing process."

"Dr. Naiman suggested that 'the sweet spot for intermittent fasting' occurs between 18 and 24 hours of fasting, since this is the time period that sees the greatest drop in insulin and increase in lipolysis — the breakdown of fat."

"During the fed state, when insulin is increased, the rate of autophagy is low. During the fasted state, as insulin drops, autophagy increases dramatically, perhaps 5-fold."

How to Clear Your Body of Senescent Cells Through Activating Autophagy - Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Who are you?

I really wanna know.  From the immortal words of The Who....

With consciousness comes self-awareness, and with self-awareness the notion of identity.  Who are you?

Those who ask the question of themselves have recognized that their identity is incomplete, or perhaps, they've discovered, is fundamentally incorrect.  We all have an identity.  But we don't all recognize it, or how it defines our choices.  So, I really wanna know, who are you?

Initially, we receive our identity from our circumstances.  I am a child.  I am a step-child.  I am an orphan.  Whatever our circumstances, we have a distinct identity, but generally lack the context to have any awareness of the significance of this first step.

Of course, before this realization, or perhaps, at the same time, through our bodies, we discover our gender identity.  I am a boy.  I am a girl.  Interestingly, if we mark this as our very first identity, then we may recognize that we live in a time where politics has been oriented around first-principles.  What is gender identity, who has the right to define it, and as it is defined, who has the right to assign that identity to an individual?  Something less than twenty years ago, the answers were "boy or girl," no one defines it, it's just a fact of biology, and the assignment is made by your anatomy, affirmed by doctors and your parents.  Simple.  The reality being debated now is no longer so simple.

So, for the vast majority of us over twenty, our initial identity was likely to be an amalgam.  I am a son.  I am a daughter.  Perhaps, I am a step-daughter.

Traditionally, through the influence of parents, close family or peers, our next step is to identify through sports.  I am a baseball or football fan.  My team is the Atlanta Braves.  Or, I play hockey, or soccer or football.  Sports identity can become foundational, to the degree that even when we move on from the origin of that identity, we retain it.  Who are you?

Depending on our family heritage, we may also receive another identity; that of religion.  I am a Christian.  I am Protestant.  I am Catholic.  I am Lutheran.  In the politics of our time, it has become increasingly important to expand the range of valid U.S. religious identities to include all religions.  Although it is part of our foundational truths that all Americans should be free to practice their faith, U.S. history makes it clear that religious identities outside Christianity -- still -- are not considered first-class citizens.

This cultural war has been ongoing for several decades now, with lines drawn first around the celebration of Christmas -- is it OK to say "Merry Christmas" to your colleagues?  The right to any and all religious identities is also at the forefront of our current political debates, and as with gender identity represents a return to first-principles.  Which religious identities are valid?  Who defines religious identity -- are non-traditional religions cults, or equally valid?  What is "non-traditional" -- how old must a religion be to be "a tradition"?  Are all religions equal, or are are some more valid than others?  Here we venture into notions of truth.  What are the fundamental truths?  How do we value and measure these truths with respect to religious traditions?

Before we get to political identity, it is far more likely that you identified yourself, in addition to sport, relationships and gender, by a hobby.  I am a ballerina.  I am an artist.  I am a gamer.  With this step, we have taken our first tentative steps into defining our own identity -- based on what we want.  And as what we want shifts, we may discard these identities and form them anew.  I am a programmer.  I am a motorcyclist.  I am a writer.  I am a hunter.

At an increasingly early age, we begin to understand our sexual identity, and expand our gender identity in terms of sexuality.  Traditionally, the acceptance system has been simply: I am a boy who likes girls.  I am a girl who likes boys.  Binary.  Simple.  But the sexual revolution of the '60s and '70s ushered in the freedom to openly express sexual preferences, and with this increasingly public expression, we've seen the binary system bifurcate, and then split again and again.  Gay and Lesbian,  transitioned (perhaps simultaneously?) to Bi-sexual.  With Katy Perry announcing that she "kissed a girl," the cultural attitude toward the notion of "lesbian" began to shift toward open acceptance.  Political support for gay marriage offers the measure of acceptance within the U.S.  And, with Bruce Jenner's transition and the political shift that has occurred over just the last few years, the transexual identity has become the latest front in the sexual revolution -- which bathroom can you use?  Here too, we're working our way back to first-principles.

Of course then, we have political identity.  Traditionally: I am a Republican.  I am a Democrat.  Simple.  Binary.  More recently, we have found these political divides have become ambiguous, and the political machinery has recognized that polarization is the key to energizing constituents.  To this end, mobilizing supporters around a brand has become the norm, "I am a Hillary supporter."  or simply "MAGA."  To fail to realize that our political identity has become as fundamental to us as our religious, sexual or gender identity, and yet to also fail to realize that it may be no more valid than our sports identity puts us, as a society, in great peril.  Who are you?  Why?  What do you believe... really?  Why?  In this era, we have seen tremendous fear... this fear should tell us something about the depth of our understanding.  But rather than work toward first-principles here, we are generally very quick to lean on the validity of our political identity.  As with religious identity, this is a space that is far too complex to navigate, and the risk of discovering conflict with our "team" far too high.

Once we have matured into each of our identities, we risk much in deeply assessing their validity.  And we risk even more in moving to change our most deeply held identities.

But there are still safe areas where we can explore and expand our identity.  As we move toward adulthood, we are likely to form a new identity based on our vocation.  I am an electrician.  I am a Physicist; perhaps, first, I am a college student.  I am a Psychiatrist.  I am a farmer.  I am a poet.  I am a sculptor.

Next on our journey, some, earlier than others, most will identify with a relationship.  Here, we venture into a shared identity.  I am a boyfriend.  I am a girlfriend.  I am a husband.  I am a wife.  Here too, traditional relationships have been radically expanded.  Complicating matters is that this identity is a dance -- the partners or group must agree on their mutual identity to give it validity.  Who are you?  To have defined yourself as a husband, or a wife, and then to go through divorce is to witness the dissolution of your identity, perhaps violently.  One moment you were one, the next... what are you now?  ...I am single?  ...I am divorced?

Although becoming married is increasingly no longer a generally accepted criteria for becoming a parent, the tradition here has been to adopt the "married" identity with the expectation that one would soon become a parent.  I am a father.  I am a mother.  Here, this relationship identity is a one-sided choice.  And, although it is a shared identity, once made successfully, it becomes permanent.  Once established, no circumstance may alter this identity.  Because of this, this identity may become more fundamental and more foundational than any other.  And yet, as we have seen in the evolution of our culture, it is insufficient.

Beyond politics, and often, because of it, we begin to recognize our place in the larger world.  I am an American.  I am a citizen of the world.  I am a human being.  Or, feeling alienated, perhaps we identify, I am an alien.

Who are you?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Free will

Karma: the universe operates in balance and will actively restore balance across time and space.

Destiny: there is a Universal plan for you.  The Universe operates at all times for your benefit.  No matter your choices, just as water always flows downhill, the Universe continually resolves a new plan.

Free-will: within the realm of time and space, you always have a choice; your will or the path laid before you — your destiny.

The question you must resolve for yourself is whether your will is ever of benefit to you.  When is your judgement superior to the compassionate judgement of the Universe.

What, then, would you choose?  Which will would you seek to understand most fully?  Which will should you pursue?

Choose wisely.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Masters of Matter

The Industrial Revolution may be examined through a more abstract lens: It marks the era where mankind became "the masters of matter."  By leveraging human capital, resources, new forms of energy and technology at scale, we moved to increasing levels of control over the physical world.

The nuclear age ushered in a new era... it was the dawn of our move to become "the masters of energy"... the laser followed shortly, the transistor, then the Integrated Circuit, the CPU and then GPU.

Whereas our role as the masters of matter was expansive, growing to consume available space, resources and energy, the primary technological pursuit within the realm of computation has been to reduce scales toward zero time and zero space, thus maximizing computation within time and space per unit of energy.

The masters of matter harnessed resources, energy, technology and labor to produce.

The masters of computation -- a subset of those within the realm of the "masters of energy" -- harness a new era of labor: the human computer has been replaced, quite literally, by the digital computer.  Where the titans of the Industrial Revolution harnessed the manual labor of humans, augmented by technology, the titans of the Information Age harness the labor of digital workers... the computers.

Whereas the human laborer must be augmented to expand their capability, and when they cease to work, their productive output is also halted... the digital worker can be run endlessly without further involvement by the original programmer. More extraordinarily, the digital worker may be replicated endlessly.

This might suggest that the programmer's purpose would rapidly come to an end.  With the workers defined, and able to be replicated, and driven relentlessly, there is no further need for the programmer.

This perspective fails to realize the fundamental power of programming and computation.  Working in layers, the programmer is able to produce exponentially more complicated solutions over time.  Although the programmer may no longer be needed to maintain operation of the original building blocks, the ability to move on to new pursuits means that the programmer may employee the digital worker in increasingly sophisticated ways.

One of the "end" states for this pursuit that is now increasingly obvious to the world is the creation of general A.I.  At the point AI becomes sufficiently capable that it can replace human programmers, we will have entered into an era where human-kind is obsolete.

With this awakening, we tend to fall back on the idea that we obtain capabilities that are somehow unique to us, and may not be replicated digitally.  Love, compassion, creativity.  It is shortsighted to imagine that AI can not be creative.  And, we dismiss the ability for AI to exhibit love and compassion at our peril... for it is these attributes alone which may save us from our creations.

Perhaps more importantly, it is short-sighted to conclude our exploration of abstract levels of mastery.

What remains?

What becomes of us, and our AI progeny, when we enter into the era of mastery of time and space?

What do we need to learn to truly master time and space?  Do the masters of time and space already exist?  Perhaps.  The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed.

Once we have mastered time and space, then what?  ...perhaps, we leave.

Watch: Her - Samantha Leaves

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is love?

Love is not a feeling... it's a choice...

Choose to love...

Choose to open your heart to another...

Choose to spend your time and attention... choose to give your gifts... choose to touch lovingly (physically, or even, with just your eyes)... choose to share words of affirmation... choose to serve.

It is the expression of love that is real.  It is that expression that changes the world.

When someone does that for you... AND you open your heart to them, you will feel "In love."

...opening your heart requires trust... opening your heart requires vulnerability, and the courage to let yourself be vulnerable.

Opening your heart to another, and allowing them to love you also comes with a certain degree of obligation to reciprocate... there is a karmic balance... this not a quid-pro-quo... they love you, so you must love them... it's deeper and far more complex than that...

The minimum that is required of you is to act freely, with honesty and clear intention -- you must understand what you want, and then you must communicate honestly.   With that, then, everything else will take care of itself.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Awakening and PTSD

In May 1989, we visited a number of doctors.  By one, I was tentatively diagnosed with PTSD.  We never returned to that Psychiatrist; both Anne and I concluded that the guy was a complete hack.  ...but in hindsight, he may have been on to something...

In Panama for a week in April, I had "seen" things that I couldn't understand... many, mundane... but I had glimpses of an extraordinary connectedness that went beyond words...  for the last few days of the trip, I also lived a life I had dreamed about as a child, but had forgotten.

Returning home through Miami, the experience became even more miraculous.  And, I began to disassociate with reality.  Suffering from sleep deprivation and starvation, the degree of chemical imbalance was becoming extreme.  But I loved every moment... mostly.

Recovery from that period took several years.  Understanding that experience has taken decades.

Over the last seven years, I have finally begun to integrate the physical and the meta-physical... the experience with the imagination... and the truth with the delusions.

Over the past two or three (or seven, or 29) years, I've discovered that many of the truths I've "discovered" have been known by others all along.

For example: Last year, I encountered deeper insight into my perpetual question to myself and others, "What do you want?"

In through 19:01: “The question is: “What do you mean by ‘actually want?’”

...I've learned... sometimes, the hard way.  Awakening comes in many forms -- but I can say from experience that when it comes to awakening, "the hard way" can be VERY hard.

Extraordinary experiences of several varieties may yield variants of the “PTSD” experience.  For those finding themselves on this path, part of the recovery process involves building a larger understanding, and re-establishing a balance between the extraordinary aspects of metaphysical realities, and the mundane realities of every day life.

Digging a layer deeper -- a consequence of extraordinary experiences (those that result in PTSD) is the disruption of the framework of values, and the goals which depend on those values.  Rebuilding a frame of reference that allows one to pursue valued goals is central to recovery.

In through 26:10 Peterson offers insight into a strategy for building a vision for life, concluding: “Better have a valued goal, or you can’t get any positive emotion.”

The team at Boulder Crest has redefined the perspective on PTSD by considering “disorder” to be a fundamentally wrong attitude toward the experience.  Their attitude aligns perfectly with my lessons-learned over the last three decades.  They define, instead, the need for "Post Traumatic Growth;" recognizing, in their particular domain, that the skills and experience developed in combat demand growth.  Rather than seeking to "fix a disorder" their program is oriented toward seeking to rebuild a renewed sense of the purpose for life, organizing thinking around the emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial wellbeing of the participants that come through their programs.

For now, their program is limited to a very select few.  But the skills the teams teach are invaluable to us all, regardless of our experience.  We all need to deeply understand our purpose, and to build a framework in our lives to move forward effectively.  For most of us, this process is ad hoc at best.  For the vast majority of the world, this isn't even "a thing."

Furthermore, to do this well, requires a deep understanding of "how things work" -- or, as Peterson put it, it's necessary to “do a structural analysis of the subcomponents of human existence.”

Since the '90s, I've been formulating my life goals, aiming to organize my thinking around what I want out of life.  In 2006, I was inspired by Ted Leonsis's blog to expand the scope of my thinking.  But this year, I've finally begun to encounter the state-of-the-art in thinking about the future.  For example:

I know there are thousands of self-help books.  And, I've heard of many that are oriented toward purpose, goals and finding direction in life.  But, off hand, I don't believe I've read any that I'd recommend.  ...I've been winging it!

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Born again

In the Netflix series Troy, S1:E6, Aphrodite explains to Paris that the curse has been broken.

What was the curse...?  The first of several archetypes we'll examine here:  The choice of sexual love and beauty over all else.

"A: Do you remember choosing me?  P: Yes.  A: If we replayed that day a thousand times again, you'd choose me a thousand times more.  P: Yes.  A: Yes."

Paris died in the river, and was resurrected by the Amazon warrior women; he died, was washed clean, and was born again.  The archetype for the metaphor that is Christian baptism.  He starts afresh, a second chance.  For what?

"A chance for fathers to grow old with their children... and their brothers."

This story of death and resurrection is timeless.  Surely, it must point to deep truths of the nature of our existence.

We are born into this world cursed.  Christianity tells this same story in Genesis.  And, throughout the New Testament, Jesus teaches that we must be born again: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by [my way of being]." - John 14:6

The reality of God is formless, a Unity beyond time and space, energy and matter, beyond our conceptions of truth, and in fact, entirely beyond our comprehension.  But God is visible to us in every form that we're willing to accept... in Nature, through the Spirits of our Ancestors, through the Gods, through the teachings of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through Love, and through Ourselves.

"Know Thyself."

The Christians captured the archetype for our relationship with God in a way that is extraordinarily beautiful, and obvious, and yet has been misunderstood for two thousand years by nearly everyone who has heard the words:

God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus proclaimed a truth: "I and the Father are one." - John 10:30

If we, for a moment, can accept the historicity of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, then we can accept a second truth: that Jesus was a man.  This is the archetype for our human existence in this physical reality.

Through his crucifixion and resurrection, a third truth is proclaimed:  Jesus Christ is unlimited by his human form.  This, then, is the essence of the Holy Spirit.  This is the archetype for our Spirit, our ultimate nature, and the argument for our existence outside of time and space, beyond this physical reality.

As stated above, the reality of God is beyond our comprehension.  It is sufficient to say only: God is.  And then nothing more may be said without diminishing that Truth.

It follows that if we, like Jesus, are human and yet have a Spirit that transcends this reality, and we, like Jesus, are one with God,  then, while seemly separate in this realm, the truth of our ultimate reality is that we are each One with God ...we are God.  You are God.

So, here's the problem: To claim that you don't believe in God is, implicitly, to say that you don't believe in Yourself.

Consider, for a moment, an alternative... don't worry about God.  Instead, to start, just believe in yourself.  Know thyself.  Search for purpose in your life, and the meaning of your life through effort, and service to others.

Discover love...

Discover the meaning of intimacy...

Have fun!

The rest will take care of itself.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

What I'm doing now

As of April 15, 2018...

Quality time with friends and family
☑︎ Dinner with J and the kids in December
☑︎ Help A move

☑︎ Refresh TrackDay 4.3 for iOS 12
- Republish WinFan and WineFan Pro for iOS 12
- Port FeatureMapper 2.4 to Swift 4 and iOS 12
☑︎ updates for 2018

- Run daily
☑︎ Hiking
☑︎ 22+ push-ups daily

- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
- E-Squared
- The Algorithm Design Manual
- Childhood's End
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
- The Circle
☑︎ Marcus Aurelius Meditations (October 2018)
☑︎ Euler's Gem (July 2018)
☑︎ The ABCs of My Life (6/2/2018)
☑︎ The Abundance Prophesy (5/26/2018)
☑︎ TCoC (4/1/2018)
☑︎ Out of Your Mind: Essential Listening from the Alan Watts Audio Archives (4/14/2018)

☑︎ What I'm doing now
☑︎ A new model for the bi-polar experience...
☑︎ Implications of intimacy...

☑︎ WWDC - Remote (June)
☑︎ Hilton Head (June)
☑︎ Austin (May)

As of March 18, 2017...

Spending quality time with friends and family

- updates for 2017
☑︎ FeatureMapper 2.3
☑︎ TrackDay 4.2
☑︎ ColorAssist 2.0

☑︎ Hilton Head (June)
☑︎ South Carolina (October)
☑︎ Cambria, CA (November)

- E-Squared
☑︎ ACIM (September 25)
☑︎ The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
☑︎ Saturn's Children
☑︎ Emotional Freedom
☑︎ FastCompany
☑︎ Smithsonian

☑︎ 22 push-ups / day
☑︎ Running (soon)...

- Summit Point Main with MARRC


- Saturn's Children
- Emotional Freedom
☑︎ Ready Player One
☑︎ Distilled Spirits: Getting High, Then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher, and a Hopeless Drunk

☑︎ Live, love, forgive, learn... and have fun!


☑︎ Why Beauty Is Truth
☑︎ The Martian
☑︎ Finite and Infinite Games