Spectrums

Psychology and neuroscience are interesting topics for me. I’m by no means enmeshed in these fields, but I’ve always been fascinated by the complexity and capability of the human mind. We are Paleolithic hunter-gatherer primates that managed to create a global civilization far beyond our simple beginnings. All because of the capacity and flexibility of our minds. Of course, it’s not all white magic and high art that we play with. Read more...

What Do You Want?

That’s one of the most important questions. The tandem questions of ‘who are you’ and ‘what do you want’ can guide your life. Once you can begin to answer them. The key word there is begin. They are not answered once. You will keep asking and answering them through a lifetime. For me and for now, it’s … Interesting friends and companions. An opportunity to learn, every day. A resilient, healthy, and loving family. Read more...

Observations From the John Muir Trail

In July of 2018 my son and I hiked the John Muir Trail. This was my second time and his first. The trail covers 211 miles from Yosemite National Park to the summit of Mount Whitney. It includes over 84,000 feet of elevation change and some of the most stunning scenery in the Sierras. We hiked it in 17 days. What follows is a collection of thoughts and observations. In one sense they are simple and obvious. Read more...

A System of Systems

You are not you. Not in the sense that you imagine yourself to be. That internal monologue in your head and that world view you have, that’s not your singular identity. It’s an assembly of complex and conflicting components that your brain smooths out into an image of unity. Western civilization says that we’re all unique individuals. Zoom out and abstract enough and you can fool yourself into thinking that. Read more...

Memento Mori

“That man lives badly who does not know how to die well.” - Seneca We are a limited and temporary process of becoming and ending. I am going to die, so are you, so is everyone we’ve ever known or loved. How frequently do other people consider their own mortality? Such reflections can arise when the universe throws us out of our usual patterns - perhaps with the sudden death of a loved one, a health scare, a major accident narrowly avoided, or some other upending of the status quo. Read more...

The Metaphors We Build By

The practice of software development is frequently described in terms of metaphors. The point being to establish a non-obvious connection or analogy between the creation of abstract logical structures executed by computers and other pursuits that are somehow similar. Metaphors are powerful cognitive constructs by which two words or ideas are linked by association or identity even if they seem dissimilar. When Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage”, he was using metaphor. Read more...

Factors to Consider

I tend to think about a lot of different things. It’s more than a bit annoying and it doesn’t mean that my observations and conclusions are accurate, just that I’m constantly making them (and sometimes changing them). I assume the world is in many ways knowable, and in a lot of ways not knowable, at least not by creatures of our limited intelligence. Whether an object of thought is somehow knowable or not, we can still attempt to reason about it. Read more...

On Frustration

I aspire to equanimity. To calm acceptance, gratitude and understanding. This is often harder than I think it should be. I’m frequently frustrated or annoyed or irritated by the actions or inactions of others. Even from people and environments I have known for years and decades. The source of frustration is unmet expectations. Reality simply isn’t conforming to my view of how things should be. Of course this is ridiculous. Reality and other people are under no such obligation. Read more...

Character, Effectiveness, Fulfillment

I reflect quite often on what it means to live a “good life”. I suspect it predates my philosophy degree but I don’t trust my memory on such things. After years of doing this, I’ve decided there is no one way to view living. At best, my thoughts are a set of lenses and perspectives to think about. A way of turning life this way and that, to see it differently, to catch the light in other ways. Read more...

Reflections from the Trail

I love the outdoors, most notably the forests and mountains. Solo hikes and backpacking trips are some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences I’ve ever engaged in. Wilderness is one of the places where you can find the distillation of human experience. What matters can be found on the trail - solitude, challenge, quiet, focus, danger, connection, transcendence, beauty. It’s where we came from, or at least the closest thing we have left. Read more...