Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Too easy

Why do people like to be extremists? Maybe part of it is just laziness. If there is only pure good and pure evil, there is no need of mental effort to do good; no point in putting effort to try to avoid evil.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Karma tales

I can't believe he's not calling me, and I'm sitting in this boring office,
and I've got nothing to do tonight but..
wait a second.. what's this?
What?? We're already recording?!
Yes. We're recording your average happiness level.
When you're done with this life, we'll send you to the next one according to your score.
What? When did you start?
Ohh.. the day you were born.
What?? So everything so far counts?
Didn't we agree you would only start recording when everything worked out for me?
Ahh.. not really.. though a lot of people assume that for some reason.
But it's totally not fair. How I am supposed to be happy before I get a relationship
with that guy I've been thinking about?
Well if I put a gun to your head and said do something that will make you happy now,
what would you do? Would you say `Ohh just kill me there's no way I can be happy now
without him'
No, I'd meditate, or work on one of my music projects, or math projects,
or call a friend, or give someone on the street a complement,
or volunteer at the meditation center, or write something creative,
or go dancing, or just smile at someone, or just take a deep breath and tell myself I'm awesome, or..
Well, then I'd highly recommend you start doing more of that stuff even without a gun to your head.. cause your numbers are not that great so far..
we're thinking of making you an elevator constantly playing `marry that girl' next time..
Ohh no that song has such shitty lyrics
..well being a higher power.. can you at least tell me when he'll call?
ohh sure.. it'll be next.. ohh sorry you're out of higher-power query karma..
what?? this sucks..

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I'm watching the great move `inside job', about the US financial crisis.
Well by 50th minute it's a bit repetitive so not sure about the great part.
So many Jewish names in the movie. Is it anti-semitic? Or is this just what you get by an unbiased sample of leading figures in the financial industry?

There's an interesting analogy between finance and mathematics about
the value of abstraction.

We know that money is an abstract thing, that is made
very real by the collective human mind.
But it turns out the rapid growth of financial industries,
is by making even more abstract things real.

For example - derivatives.

Rather than the value of a currency\company -
the change over time of a currency\company.

This becomes a real thing you can buy on the stock market.

Maybe the more abstract a thing you can make the general public think
of as a real, tangible thing - the more you can leverage and control.
Because there's a bigger gap between what people perceive as how the thing
is and works, to what it actually is.
This gap, already exists when thinking of a bunch of atoms, as cells,
and than of a bunch of cells as a human.

But how much larger is this gap when looking at something like a financial derivative.

`They found - the part of the brain stimulated when these men make money,
is the same part that Cocaine stimulates'

The investment companies would, at the same time,
sell their clients mortgage packages, buy `insurance' derivatives that would go up if these packages
lost their value, and buy insurance in case the company selling the insurance derivatives - AIG - would go bankrupt

It seems everything is part of the system - you see a congress board questioning the bankers,
accusing them on TV `You knew you were selling your clients crap!' , and you see the CEO of a big company like Goldman Sachs mumbling an answer like an embarrassed child being scolded - and that makes you feel `OK, it is being taken care of. The power is indeed with the people' so I can continue just living my life and not worry about it.

They say people's interests as they grow from infants to teenagers to adults to being old
are peeing-> food -> sex -> money -> peeing.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Scott Adams Connect2014 Keynote

Just bought Scott Adams' book: How to fail at almost everything and still win big.

He talks a lot about systems vs goals.

He defines a system to be something you do regularly that increases your odds of success.

He says focus on doing things that no matter what the short-term outcome of a specific action -

Did I get the job? Did I get the date? Did I prove the Theorem?

Put you in a situation where you have better odds of success in the future -

though you may not be able to predict where this success will ultimately manifest,

especially in today's increasingly complex, and getting more complicated at an increasing rate, world.

One nice example he gives: A friend who would go to interviews for jobs he didn't want just
to get better at selling himself. At the end of one of these interviews the interviewer said `well you're totally overqualified for this job; but the department manager just left and you'd be perfect for that job.'

A psychological positive side-effect of being system vs. goal oriented,
is that each time you follow the system - by going to the gym, going to the job interview,
you feel good: `I'm doing something right now that's making a long run positive impact on my life'
Whereas, with the specific goal in mind, you are almost constantly in `pre-success failure' -
as except for that small interval of time where, in the best-case scenario, you've achieved your goal
and are still enjoying the glow of victory before moving on to the next goal, you're feeling like you are lacking something.

This reminds me indirectly of how in Buddhism they talk about `The Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle and good in the end'.
That is, the true spiritual path should give fruit every step of the way, it should not be total misery
except when reaching Nirvana.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Being a scientist of life,
rather than being dogmatic,
you see an experiment that goes against your intuition,
again and again.

Whenever you think of a time you got what you desired,
all you feel is a sense of lack of not having it now.

Even more than this, whenever you are in a situation
where your desire is fulfilled, the main thing you feel is stress.

But when you think of an act of generosity or kindness you did,
the good feeling is there forever.

And whenever you simply contact the present,
by being aware of your posture,
or being aware of a feeling on the body,
or being aware of a thought in the mind,
or being aware of your breathing,
or being aware of what you are hearing or seeing  at this moment,
rather than being immersed in your thought process,
you feel a stable, though not exciting, joy,
even though life is not how you dreamed it would be.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Every morning, intoxicated by the beginning,
Every morning, forgetting the end is coming.

Every evening, fearing the end of pleasantness,
Every evening, forgetting a new beginning always comes.

Every moment, whether day or night,
the wise take refuge, not in the sun,
but in the knowledge that day and night 
always change into the other.
Take refuge, in the place where there is no day or night.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Only by knowing,
nothing awaits you but death,
does the heart truly expand
embracing the beautiful and ugly,
the desired and undesired,
as nothing more,
and nothing less,
than molecules in space.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nice quote from Dan Ariely :
Technology gives us the ability to do noting, while feeling like we are actually doing something - a.k.a. structured procrastination
We are under the illusion that we don't have time,
while usually we don't have energy.
So we keep spending our time in low energy tasks
that sometimes are clearly useless,
and sometimes create the illusion of being useful
cause the relate on the surface level to our actual task,
e.g., browsing the internet for related papers,
browsing the internet for possible conferences to send a paper,
we are yet avoiding to finish writing.
Use the morning to `swallow some frogs'
and do the task you're avoiding that will make you feel awesome after it's done smile emoticon
.. while your energy levels are still relatively high.
Don't rely on willpower. Get into a `Ulysess contract' where
there will be consequences if you don't persist in what you've decided is important to you.
Commit to paying a 100$, for each week you watch too much TV (see stickk.com)
Dan Ariely tells a nice story about the `Denver Drug program'
where people would write a letter to their Mom saying
`Dear Mom, I've started using hard drugs'
The organization would keep the letter, give them surprise urine tests,
and send the letter if the tests were positive for drugs.
By the time you are in your 30s, even if you are not too rich,
you may have more dollars than healthy\free days..
don't trust that time supply in the hands of Mr. WillPower


Friday, June 05, 2015

A man desired something - a person, a position.
He made an attempt to obtain it.
He had some level of success in obtaining it.
This process of trying to obtain what he desired brought a
mixture of pleasant feelings, disappointment, excitement, stress, sadness,
frustration, happy moments, euphoria.

He is left with the feeling that if he did a better job getting what he desired,
or if he was more lucky and things worked out perfectly,
he would have gotten only the subset of positive feelings from the list above,
and he would have kept feeling them, day after day, till he died.

He encounters Buddhist teachings.
They tell him - when the root of something
is desire - it is inevitable you will get the whole package,
the pleasant and the unpleasant.

He tries to believe this. He tries to go on with his life
without feeling he missed something perfect.

He listens to the news. He reads the interviews in the papers.
It seems like everybody feels they missed something perfect,
because of some bad luck, some injustice.
He rationalizes - well, so it's just everybody's illusion.
There is no perfection outside, only inside.
He tries to believe this. He tries to go on with his life
without feeling he missed something perfect.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Biography of the walking dead

There's no way around it,
to change you need to be cooked.

Pain is the heat, meditation is the water.

And during the cooking process you are the walking dead.
You can't move in the real world, or in the illusory world.
you are stuck in between.

The times you do nothing, your body and mind say,
this is the opportunity to do something important instead of urgent.

You are sick and with heat, and you are searching for a divine voice
to take you out of here.
And it tells you keep on cooking.

Your life flashed before your eyes,
and you wonder how could anyone stand so much pain and disappointment
and still survive.

You started this war. You don't remember why.
You vowed that this would be the last round.

You cut off all escape routes,
and now are regretting doing so.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

You feel it so strongly some days.
Your story has reached its final chapter,
and the end is bitter and disappointing.

But a moment later, the view of
the same experience changes completely.

All this `final chapter' was just a part
of a foot stepping on a thorn,
as part of one step,
in a journey that is 10,000
miles long.

Monday, April 06, 2015

We live in paradox, and isolation.
Alone at our computers, in front of our TVs
We browse, we listen, we see.
We get the message `dark emotions are a sign that something's wrong'
But we feel them. We think: what can I do to make them go away right now!?
And, in it's many forms, the answer is generally to consume something.
An experience, a coffee, a workshop, a trip, ..
And we play our part in the economy.

But the truth that we don't want to face is not that bad.
We are just at sea, not on land.
A sea of the mind, and the waves are emotions.
All they can do is pass through you like water.
The water passes, the peace underneath stays.
Face it, your home for the next million years is the sea..
Just be the ocean.

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Hi! I am a computer science postdoc. For some reason google is not finding my new homepage so I added a link from this profile