Seamless Hyphenation [draft]

Sometimes people who are *not* novelists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, management consults, programmers, parents, financiers, CEOs, politicians, scientists, traders, consultants, models, etc., find that they want to *become* novelists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, management consults, programmers, parents, financiers, CEOs, politicians, scientists, traders, consultants, models, etc.

Sometimes it seems doable, or one can do some low-cost experimenting to see what it might be like; one has enough time, enough savings, few enough obligations. Though, sometimes it seems like that ship has sailed–too little time, too little energy, money, health, youth, something.

(All of this applies to not only “career,” “income,” “impact,” something. All of this also applies to things like wanting to be cool, loved, loving, confident, etc., too.)

In any case, I think people often oscillate between, on the one hand, excitement and optimism about becoming something different, and, then, on the other hand, at least at the extremes(!), a sense of resignation, futility, or despair.

People do change their lives, all the time, of course. People accidentally find their niche, or have an epiphany, or a catch a break. Something “just starts working.” And/but, people also have the intuition that some kinds of big life changes can be quite hard, can realistically take years or a decade, and often involve some kind of safety net, which might just be youth; or parental support; or savings from a former, high-paying life; or hard-won, opportunity-costly knowledge about how to be frugal; or a tremendously supportive community, or other significant resources.

In any case, a question one might ask, is how might someone *systematically* become something/someone different? (And what are the pitfalls and paradoxes involved in that!?) And, here, for the moment, we’re at least *temporarily* setting aside questions of food, shelter, money, opportunity cost–just, what are the gears-level things that need to happen, for true, deep, change, on the level of, say, “deep bodymind”?

Those gear-level things are somewhat outside the scope of this blog post, but there are at least two reasons that change of this kind is so hard. One is at least counterintuitive, and the other is at least paradoxical.

The counterintuitive thing is just how much, how expansively, how seemingly heterogeneously the things are, that sometimes need to change, for a person to change. One typically doesn’t have a model, a feel, a sense, of what all these things might be. They all fit together at “the level of mind,” but teasing them out, semi-explicitly, can look pretty weird. It’s maybe stuff like this:

  • self
  • personhood
  • world
  • universe
  • eschatology
  • cosmology
  • the experiential/phenomenological field

The above items aren’t mutually exclusive, though they’re arranged somewhat in order of expansiveness or inclusivity. You might note that I phrased it above as these items *themselves* need to change. That might seem kind of weird–the “universe” needs to change, for you or your life to change?

What I really mean is that your “model” of “the universe” needs to change, rather, the “very preflective seeming” that is, in part, your “physically embodied, moment-by-moment anticipations” that somehow involve “the universe,” that need to change. (One’s “model” could be the reflective, explicit part of that.)

People change, all the time, for much less. But, sometimes, the whole universe needs to change.

Items in the list above might be counterintuitive for different reasons, but I want to focus, in particular, on “personhood.”

People often have the experience, even when they kind of like the different parts of their life, of all those parts not quite fitting together. Something is bursting at the seams. But, their life goes on, their relationships continue, maybe indefinitely, their career continues, maybe indefinitely. So, it’s not exactly the “external” roles and obligations that are bursting at the seams, they just keep happening, steady state, but instead one’s “sense” of all of it, one’s embodied feeling, sense, deep-down planning, the constellation of sensory anticipations and physical actions that make up them doing all of that:

Somewhere there’s a little bit of shearing, a little bit of grinding, a little bit of jamming, and so there’s some stress, some shortness with loved ones, some muscle tension, ongoing “unsurprising surprise,” because something, somewhere isn’t able to learn.

For there to be, instead, costless ease, a seamless life, sometimes a person’s very concept of a person needs to change, maybe subtly.

The way this goes, is, usually, a person’s intuitive concept of all the ways a person can be becomes more expansive, the basis vectors change, and then a pin is dropped, on the map: YOU ARE HERE…and perhaps you could be THERE. The voice can be soft. The reconfiguration profoundly shocking. This is sometimes on such a low, low level–the sensemaking of the blooming, buzzing confusion–it changes.

So that’s the counterintuitive piece; now, there’s the paradoxical one.

We’ve all heard things like this before, “what you resist, you’re stuck with.”

There’s such danger in “deliberate, systematic, directed,” change. First, where we’re pointed is usually somehow incorrect, some deep error of conceptualization or misunderstood personal preference, ignorance about the personal goodness/badness/possibility of the thing. That’s usually fine, when one starts with little bets as well as care, to mitigate overcommitment! (Granted, the bigger and more monolithic the decision is, the higher the potential stakes. College majors and career decisions, I hear you.)

Second, though, and this one is killer, “directed change” can sometimes mean away from something, in this case, parts of yourself, and this can be disastrous. So instead of away from yourself, you must somehow, at least first, if not forever, move towards yourself:

For you to become anything *else*, anything truly new, for you, you must somehow, simultaneously, become ever more *yourself*, in some sense, as you always, already, now and forever *were*, and will forever *be*.

And this is sometimes terrifying, the feeling of fucking cruel, cosmic joke. What if one hates oneself, seemingly irrevocably and irreparably? Sometimes: self-disgust, cringe, shame, horror–all of which, that you will always have been, written into the past, written in stone. Who wouldn’t, sometimes, want to reflexively try to smash all that out of existence? A bifurcation, a discontinuity, at least a forgetting, by you and everyone else–and then, finally, you can start to live your real life.

But no. That’s not how it works; that’s not what minds are. Usually, maybe, probably always, for the deepest changes, at least, you have to go back, all the way, for all of it. [Note: “Going back,” can *also* become a top-down, smashy thing, if one isn’t careful…………]

It turns out, in the end, in the end, in the end–that it’s ok. All the things you thought and did, your causal history goes through structure preserving transformations–the feel of it gets to change, almost nothing is what you thought it was, no matter what it was and is. It’s ok.

***

A bit of a tonal change, here:

I thought young kids often spontaneously hyphenate their aspirational professions? (I thought this was more of a thing, but google is failing me.)

  • “Librina” (a librarian ballerina)*
  • magician-scientist (that was/is me; true story)
  • (Please add yours in the comments…)

Update: Commentators, mostly on twitter, have submitted these, to me:

  • pirate-paleontologist
  • doctor-cashier
  • actor-hacker-wizard-scientist-spacecolonist-author
  • rock star-author
  • lawyer-comedian
  • hypnotist-ventriloquist-novelist-librarian adventurer
  • carpenter-chef
  • hairdresser-engineer
  • musician-wizard
  • “I just wanted to have an adventure and be in love”
  • I wanted to be a mad scientist geneticist president and make War Pokémon
  • physicist-mathematician-inventor.
  • archeologist-artist
  • Unfortunately I can only offer mycologist, which is non-hyphen, but still weird enough to be notable.
  • Space Wizard-Scientist
  • Supervillain-artist
  • book store owner-pilot-ballerina-writer-witch
  • transhuman-pilot
  • flaneur-consultant

Here’s some more, maybe tongue-in-cheek, though pretty indistinguishable from those above; this online article** suggests (additional) grown-up versions:

  • makeup artist-influencer-accountant
  • lawyer-model-blogger
  • actor-director-entrepreneur
  • digital-strategist-ice skater

And, here’s even more, quick-imagined by me; I think lots of people crave a sort of heterogeneous seamlessness:

  • homemaker-adventurer
  • avenging valkyrie-mom
  • dad-entrepreneur
  • spouse-astronaut-world saver
  • financier-bitcoin millionaire-lover-traveler
  • blogger-scientist
  • captain of industry-community organizer

To be sure, sometimes having a “hyphenate” career or life (or multiple jobs) is an act of desperation.

But, modulo resources, privilege, and more, and often even then, with the right tools and avoiding counterintuitive and paradoxical failure modes, why not?

To be sure, as well, you may have to walk through hell and give up far more than you ever thought you’d get in return, and what you finally end up with may look nothing like you thought it would, and that might be heartrending on the front end.

But you may end up with a seamlessly satisfying life.

***

*https://www.fatherly.com/love-money/the-2017-imagination-report-what-kids-want-to-be-when-they-grow-up/ [last accessed 20201114]

**https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/What-Multi-Hyphenate-Career-45742128 [last accessed 20201114]

***

https://linktr.ee/meditationstuff

no one gets pixel-perfect possibilities

There’s an intuition I’m working on conveying, which I think applies to circling, bio-emotive/nedera, somatic experiencing, vipassana, concentration, kasina practice, core transformation, IFS, the preliminary/auxiliary practices in my stuff, everything.

For those interested, maybe consider this color sorter:

http://jackxmorris.com/posts/color-sort

I would click on bubble sort. (I think this sorter doesn’t quite finish, but the analogy holds).

[If the website dies or the images get lost: There’s this big square, still image image that looks mostly an ugly gray, with faint heterogeneity in its pixel colors, little glimmers of color. You can click buttons that say e.g. “bubble sort.” And, when one of the buttons is clicked, the pixels start to get sorted by an algorithm, and a columnwise rainbow starts to appear, filling the whole image, made up of only pixels that were already present, yet in an order that hid the potential rainbow. Finally, buggy-javascript-dependent, there’s a “perfect rainbow.”]

There’s a low-key, leaky-abstraction sense in which there’s a real, true, final “pixel perfect” state of (body)mind, at the end of meditation. The abstraction leaks, in a bunch of ways, maybe, in that the mind doesn’t know or need to know, at the beginning what rainbows are, that they exist, that pixels exist, all sorts of stuff. And, there’s no perfect, no final end, no fixed goal, etc. And, from the inside, the process needs exploration, experimentation, creativity, and self-authority, not rote/mechanical color sorting.

But, sort of, in some sense, (a) pixel-perfect precision, and (b) something like really-there, absolute, objective patterning/ordering (like a rainbow)— analogously, analogously, analogously—are a thing.

My concern with circling, somatic experiencing, nedera, etc., is that they’re seductive in the ways that THEY PRODUCE EFFECTS unlike just about everything else that’s out there. They are true advances. I’m so grateful they exist.

And/but, long-run, they sort of trade off on local versus global. Like, they can make little rainbows (highly valued breakthroughs, changes, something) in some local area, while fucking up a bunch of shit outside that local area, sometimes, in ways that are hard to detect and realize.

(And it’s all fixable! It’s fine! Lossless rewind, long run. And, for any particular person, doing nedera or etc., is, for sure, the right strategic move for them, in terms of life situation or total path length, or whatever.)

But, almost no system seems to get this “pixel-perfect” thing.

(This is for sure not a denial of nebulosity, emptiness, etc. The “pixel-perfect” thing accounts for these. It’s just an analogy. It’s also beyond arhatship, though; it’s the deconditioning that continues, through proper practice, after arhatship.)

There’s sort of this belief, maybe, with all these systems, that “if I just keep going,” either in a straight line or picking off issues, one by one, as they come up, then “that’s enough, that will get me what I’m looking for.”

And there’s a sense in which that’s true:

The mind IS always working on heading in the right direction, unwinding, unknotting, etc. The mind is ALWAYS working on doing the pixel-perfect thing. That’s what the mind naturally, spontaneously does.

But.

I can’t speak well to other systems, except for local interactions I have with practitioners in them, small-n impressions. But, I think with respect to those systems, and certainly with “meditation” we see side-effects, muscle tension, distress, plus sometimes a belief that “it’s part of the process,” or even “it’s somehow my own fault.” To be sure, even when meditation goes perfectly, it’s usually a rough ride. But when things get rough, people often start mashing buttons harder, because of the intermittent really good stuff that happens in the roughness. But the roughness isn’t long-run costless, depending on what the person is trying to ultimately do.

In any case, there’s a loose mechanism, here, that I can point to, that’s one of the problematic things:

When someone does (a) any sort of reaching, pushing, forcing, scraping the bottom, and then (b) sort of pivots to doing something else, in the next moment, without “cleaning up,” without “taking one’s foot off the gas”—that reaching, pushing, forcing, scraping tends to still be operative, in the “place that the person just was, e.g. attentionally.

It’s like a pushy/reachy/grabby/scrape-y process gets left behind, that’s sort of operating mindlessly and autonomously, in the background, underneath stuff, and it’s dragging stuff around, in weird directions, kind of warping the whole system over time, if left long enough.

And we all start out with “knots” and “slack” and/but these techniques, used unreflectively or not meta-systematically, eventually can start pulling those knots tight, which makes them long-run harder to unknot, and it leads to distress, behavioral rigidity, emotional suppression, and sometimes impulsive behavior or a diminished behavioral repertoire.

Often, especially in the beginning ALL SORTS of good stuff will happen, because the bodymind is exercising new degrees of freedom and really smart about grabbing value, and these techniques are cool and brilliant.

But, there’s also a sense in which they can and do make a mess, a mess that can keep getting worse autonomously, and they all have large tail risk, in my opinion. (So does my stuff, to be fair).

There’s still all sorts of reasons to do these things–to learn new degrees of freedom for the bodymind, to meet cool people, to learn from people with lots of experience. And, the benefit/risk often comes down to the actual person leading, facilitating, mentoring, as well as the actual other people attending the event, because of interpersonal vibe and nonverbal stuff.

And, when engaged reflectively, sensitively, responsively, meta-systematically, all of these tools, and/or the fine-grain best parts of them, have a place in personal practice, of course.

But so few people seem to really get this “pixel perfect rainbow” thing, and so I see SO FEW mentors or teachers who are, in my opinion, correctly balancing local with global, short-run with long-run, when interacting with clients, students, workshop attendees, etc. Frankly, I think it’s because they haven’t gotten far enough to realize that this “pixel-perfect rainbow thing” is even a thing. But they absolutely could. And I could be wrong about something, etc.

***

“Where do I go next?”

https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/better/

https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/protocol-documents/protocol-analysis/

merely just having the experience itself, and, technical debt is good, actually

Pre-notes:

  • [Thank you to at least three different interactions amongst collaborators and students for inspiring this post and for some fun pieces.]
  • [This is a draft.]
  • [All my posts on “technical debt”: https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/?s=technical+debt ]
  • [There is a P.S. at the bottom.]
  • I wanted to make sure that people don’t get too afraid of “accruing technical debt.” It’s a leaky abstraction, for one thing, even though it really, really fits.

***

Trying out a bunch of things, having a ton of plates spinning, keeping a lot of balls in the air, being in a new job, a new relationship, a new hobby—these kinds of things will tend to accrue technical debt. Prior to having put in tons and tons of meditation time, there’s sort of just too much going on to easily “integrate” in real time (or in stolen moments, or on long walks, or in meditation), because integration, when needed, takes real time, and sometimes a lot of time.

One can tell they’re maybe accruing technical debt (accumulating karma, in another model) if they have to kind of use a bunch of willpower, or push through a bit, to show up for things or to get things done, some of the time—or, even if not being “pushy,” if one’s “mental checklists” kind of go into overdrive.

There’s an arguable phrase in the software industry world, “always be shipping.” Maybe, here, it’s something like, “always be living.”

Part of having a good life is sometimes doing a ton of stuff, that gets really ragged around the edges, and/or you get really ragged around the edges. But, that’s ok:

Have all the experiences, so you know what’s out there and what you want!

There’s a real/fake way in which there’s always enough time—like, even if things feel crazy, if you were to sort of put everything on your calendar and just show up to everything, that would just work, in some abstract fake world, that ignores how minds work. Everything fits on your calendar.

But the mind doesn’t work like that, and you don’t work like that, and something would maybe break, somewhere, sometimes (demotivation, forgetting things, who knows). The felt complexity is sort of the “inelegances” bursting at the seams, the puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit because the bodymind hasn’t had time to kind of whirl it all around into settled-yet-shimmering elegance. Life sensemaking.

And, so, sometimes, one needs a break, a weekend, long walks, a full-on retreat. And sometimes one needs periods of their life where they’re doing less, or, say, putting e.g. meditation first.

But, when that’s not going on, maybe, then—”always be living.”

It’s ok to bumble through, sometimes at max crazy complexity. Have all the experiences.

***

If one takes the meditation journey, which does require some time and space, during some periods, for various kinds of nonmonotonicities, including making it over various technical debt payback humps (this is is one place I sometimes equivocated-ly use the term “escape velocity”), then here’s what eventually happens:

There’s a simplicity on the far side of complexity—successive “elegance collapses” (though it’s, on net, much more incremental than dramatic “collapses;” it’s tiny changes over a very long period of time, with maybe a few big whooshes).

Most people, at first, have a few big “mind zones,” two to five, at least: different, big parts of mind space, or, like, maybe everything “in here,” and then everything “out there.” (Also, here’s another thing, too, that’s barely a metaphor: minds are also composed of layers and layers of “virtual machines”).

What happens, through meditation, is that the whole thing starts to integrate and unify (cf. nonduality). There’s just eventually just “one thing,” and, rather than these “zones” having to spend a lot of time sort of translating back and forth across interfaces and impedance mismatch, with gazillions of buggy microservices all bumbling along, runaway processes spinning, with periodic reboots—over time, there’s just one single integrated thing, humming along.

Further, mind (bodymind, memory, something), becomes more and more “content addressable.” [1,2] That is, the mind rearranges itself, more and more, so that “the right surfaces are exposed at the right times,” and information is shipped to where it needs to go, more and more efficiently, with less and less hops and, so, less and less time needed.

(So there a way in which there’s dramatically less and less need for cognition, over time.)

And, so, over time, more and more, MERELY JUST HAVING THE SENSORY EXPERIENCE ITSELF completely replaces “cognition.”

Experience is memory is integration is anticipation, loosely speaking.

Context switching, pre-prep, “post-prep,” becomes less and less of a thing. “How do you do so much? / I never leave my meditation cushion.”

And so when the monk returns the marketplace with helping hands, they are vastly less likely to accrue technical debt, because everything is operating more efficiently, in this simplicity on the far side of complexity.

In the steelmanned ideal, they’ll be able to do so much more—more responsibilities, more details, costlessly, effortlessly, easefully. (And they’ll be, proactively, both solving and dissolving that complexity along the way.)

And, if they do accrue technical debt, as everyone does, in the course of even a single day, they can pay it down much more efficiently, because of extreme practice and skill at omni-directional “refactoring,” as it were.

When things are too fast, too intense, too surprising, in a bad way, or a good way, technical debt will accrue and that’s fine! Over minutes, hours, days or weeks!

It’s about having a good life, and that’s about having concrete, sensuous experiences, with other people, in all their messy contingency. And/but, one is more and more prepared for that, and it gets easier and easier, to just get lost in life in a good way.

***

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content-addressable_memory

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associative_array

***

P.S. What of the cliche of “broken monks?”

I’m claiming, long-run, meditation makes one more effective.

But, if meditation has been around for thousands of years, where are all the Gandhi-Elon-Musks [sic]? That’s a really long conversation, involving sociology and epistemic viciousness, but here’s part of it:

A key thing is multidimensional, relatively phase-decorrelated, nonmonotonicity. That is, things are getting better and worse along different dimensions and timescales, and, with enough complexity, something is always in a valley, some of the time: For a meditator in the middle of their journey, something’s always broken, at any given time, generally speaking.

And, if a system is relatively fragile, in a technical sense, that is, if, say, four out of five or five out of five pieces are working, then system output is 90-100, but, if only three or four pieces out of five are working, then system output is two or three, then you get “broken monks.”

Instead of five, you know, substitute millions, and so on. Anyway, that’s one piece of this.

But, the whole journey is practically finite, and people do pop out on the other side, and so on. This is just a model, it’s messier than this, and there’s room for proactivity and slack, and so on, but most people will still have hard-to-predict, rough ride, in at least some places.

And this is part of why there can be claims of effortless complexity, while at the same time having broken monks, while at the same time keeping an eye out for Gandhi-Elon-Musks.

practice notes

There’s a thing that happens for me every few weeks where (among lots of other stuff), simultaneously, (a) it becomes safe to radically not know something, and (b) a little “patch of unknowing/not-knowing” opens up and kind of hangs out, doing its thing, and is eventually filled in with new “knowing,” within, I don’t know, a couple minutes to twenty minutes.

This morning, a really big patch of unknowing/not-knowing opened up, and it hasn’t really closed, and it’s maybe getting bigger? Not sure if it’s going to (a) fill in or (b) fill the whole thing, as it were.

Mostly, but not entirely, just little scattered knots left, maybe. They whirly-untwist, with great regularity, without adding twisty-ness elsewhere, on net.

Or, thousands and thousands of hours until something, and/or just this from now on, or (unlikely) a big regime change; unclear.

Still intermittent “spontaneous” and triggered “nigh-intolerable” suffering, amidst general peace, gratitude, and excitement. Looking forward to the possible possibilities of more and more peace, gratitude, and excitement.

better

[See also: https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/post-conceptual-meta-goodness-and-changing-in-the-deepest-of-ways/ ]

Sometimes, I sort of want to throw in the garbage concepts like arhatship and other milestones. I’d just like to replace it with the concept “better.” I like “better” because it doesn’t assume any particular goal. There’s just better than the last thing. (The reason I use “good” so much in the protocol document and not “better” or even “best” is for local methodological, pedagogical, and philosophical reasons: better can sometimes be problematic for local, in the trenches wayfinding. And best is pedagogically misleading and philosophically twisty.)

*

I like better not only because it doesn’t assume any particular goal, and one could clarify that as “no particular *fixed* goal.” Better doesn’t make a *thing* out of an end state; it doesn’t necessary connote, assume, or imply an end state at all.

It also doesn’t assume sort of “top-down directionality” or “top-down wayfinding.”

To do better, to go in the direction of better, you just need to take one little step in some better direction.

Ah, but that’s not exactly right.

*

There is another piece that needs to be added to “better” and that’s “nonmonotonicity.” That is, sometimes, to get to something better, sometimes things need to temporarily get worse. That *dip* is nonmonotonicity. (Monotonicity [as opposed to nonmonotonicity] is never going down [nor sideways??], only going up, but sometimes there’s going up slower, sometimes there’s going up faster.)

*

Ok, so with “better” and “nonmonotonicity,” there’s still directions/directionality, there’s still *wayfinding,* in terms of (a) what to *do* next, and so (b) where to [hopefully or experimentally] *go* next, for (c) to eventually *get* somewhere (maybe unknown). And that somewhere, the sort of intuitive/implicit/inexplicit/felt *planning horizon* gets longer and longer, farther and farther out, the more skilled and experienced one gets; one navigates deeper and longer nonmonotonicity, as sometimes needed, over time.

And there’s always a next somewhere, and the “final” (not final) somewhere (no fixed somewhere) is always over the horizon. And sometimes one needs to massively backtrack, and that’s ok. There’s time. It’s built in.

*

And, so, you can just keep going. States, stages, gateless gates, stateless states, unconceptualizable states, pristine states (along some dimensions)—it can be very helpful to have and make maps and milestones. But, traditions recognize that, say, “deconditioning” continues after arhatship. The path always just continues.

You can just keep going—better and better.

Above, I haven’t talked about how all this is sort of “multidimensional.” Things can be multidimensionally getting nonmonotonically better (and so also worse) at the same time, along a vast number of dimensions. There’s local and large-scale tradeoffs, at first. But the sort of “average” of the whole thing keeps getting better and better. And sometimes there’s big dips, even “late stage” big dips. But some biggest dips eventually just never happen ever again.

And eventually one starts exploring something like globality, optimizing the whole thing all at once (via mostly little, local operations), while, challengingly, somehow, everything is mediately/indirectly or immediately/directly connected to everything else. Things deconvolve and de-intertwingle over time, what’s weakly separable becomes weakly separate, gloriously non-interacting, to some degree, and to greater and greater degrees, when it wouldn’t be helpful if those things interacted, but it’s still all connected, somehow. It’s the ultimate puzzle, in part because the final goal is over the horizon and one is learning (and unlearning) better and better goals over time until the idea of a goal itself gets replaced with something better, too.

*

You can just keep going and going. Eventually meditation blurs and blends with life, being lost in life is the same as being in the meditative state, effortless, costless, engaged, nothing to maintain; it’s just what you are. You get to keep all your tools, they become you, they are you, and also you get to just live, to get lost in life, you can just let go, all the way down, and do what you want because what you want is the right thing to do. (Really right—wellbeing, self-aligned, nonartificial…)

If you have the right method, and by method I mean, sure, some *invariances,* of course, but also something creative, nonstereotyped, fine-grain, innovative, that nevertheless-and-in-any-case can navigate, can travel, in straight lines or along any n-dimensional line, and you just just keep going and going.

Again, you can just keep going and going, better and better.

***

https://github.com/meditationstuff/protocol_1

technical debt and inverse operations

[Thanks to one of my collaborators whose questions stimulated this post.]

One could imagine a model of mind involving the accumulation and cancellation of technical debt. So, say, a person goes through life and has experiences of types A, B, and C, which add imprints of those experiences to their mind:

ABC

One could imagine experiences of these types accumulating further:

ABC
ABC

But, let’s say a person has inverse operations -A, -B, -C. Then, while meditating, or in the midst of life, that person could apply those inverse operations to pay off technical debt:

ABC -A
ABC

 BC
ABC

Let’s say the set of inverse operations, -A, -B, -C are enough for most life experiences. But, every once in a while something surprising and novel happens, like Z.

 BCZ
ABC 

A person doesn’t have inverse operations for some things, so, all things being equal, over time, for an untrained mind, that person’s (body)mind will slowly accumulate technical debt over time.

Additionally, say a person goes on vacation or starts taking long walks, all things being equal, they will only ever be able to pay off so much technical debt, because they lack inverse operations for “deeper accumulation.”

   ZQRS
DEF
GHI
...

In the example above, even if a person pays off all their ABC, they’re still slowly accumulating new technical debt, and they don’t have inverse operations for older and very old technical debt D, E, F, G, H, I… (And, they’ll encounter more ABC in life, so there’s sort of a dynamic equilibrium that people find themselves in, absent meditation or other transformative practice.)

(Recall, so-called “technical debt” reduces slack/creativity/flexibility in the mind and begets more technical debt.)

Ok, so, part of what meditation is, is discovering new inverse operations and building (sometimes temporary) infrastructure to support (and discover) more inverse operations.

So, an advanced meditator will be doing a tremendous amount of undoing, via a large collection of inverse operations, as well as plenty of creative doing, for learning and staging future learning, doing, and undoing.

And, the very advanced meditator will sort of have a fine-grain “omnidirectional undoer” running at all times, and will effortlessly, costlessly, fully embody something like that, such that all their actions are sort of fluid and flexible and (relatively) “karmically free,” because all doing (and experiencing) is self-met with undoing, as needed. And, if something super surprising happens, and a lot of novel, not-yet-invertible accumulation happens, there’s a tremendous amount of latent skill that immediately starts puzzle solving for new inverse operations, as needed.

To the degree people don’t eventually get overwhelmed with all their stuff, everyone already has a lot of inverse operations, as it were, and everyone does get new ones, in therapy, journaling, long walks, talking with friends, and so on. Though, for most people, they are net accumulating technical debt versus net decreasing technical debt, over time. And, learning to meditate, eventually, tips the balance of accumulation versus not to the side of net decreasing (nonmonotonically), over time.

(Remember, local accumulation isn’t bad, in a vacuum; it’s extremely useful! Accumulation can be highly strategic for the purposes of future payoff, and so on.)

It can take a long time to sort of “phenomenologically align” with “undoing as such” to sort of knowingly, directly facilitate, participate, allow it as it’s happening. It’ll of course have always already been happening, to some degree, and it comes to happen more and more, unreflectively, prereflectively, and spontaneously, too. Eventually, it’s just a seamless, costless, creative thing that’s happening a ton, along with everything else in the mind, that the mind anticipatorily and skillfully inclines towards, as needed.

***

So the above is sort of simplified intellectual model, that leaves out stuff about “concrete sensory impressions,” and much more.

And the “real thing” is felt, sensuous, embodied (and intellectual, and daydreaming, and getting lost in life, and everything).

One does more and more stuff that kind of maps-ish to the intellectual model above, by, well, meditating. Wellbeing, relief, insight can be clues of heading in the right direction, though plenty of clues feel pretty bleh, too, contextually.

Meditation is felt wayfinding, meditation is felt puzzle-solving.

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https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/protocol-documents/protocol-analysis/

https://github.com/meditationstuff/protocol_1

micropost: final success stories

Mark 10:51 AM

Looking forward to doing a done-done-done-done-done post on blog… It sort of was a little alarming, like if I don’t post some sort of “final success story” then people will less likely to something????

But I’m like noooo ahhh this is for sure a new, valid, complete(, imperfect, improving) vehicle/yana! Quite possibly far more complete than any contemporary thing currently doing its thing.

Mark 10:57 AM

What would such a post contain, so the right people have legitimate, credible confidence that this particular thing might be provisionally, preliminarily, a good fit for them?

[…]

Mark <1 minute ago

I wonder if [claims of done-ness] asymptotically become more relevant over time, sort of? Where, for like years 0-5 (0-2? 0-3?), one evaluates [new instructional material] on its first-principle-seeming merits. [and, all relevant adjacent information; that’s all one can do.] But then at year 5, 6, 7, something, one is starting to look for what the users are doing in the world?

[This is year two-ish, starting a count from version 0 (now version 90-something). But still, maybe.]

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https://github.com/meditationstuff/protocol_1