by Jinryu

Sorta like how I knew this person who said “Jifk” instead of “JFK,”

USB is just one of those things that should be prouncounced, three sylables and letter by letter, instead of read as a syngle word, usb.

I forgot my USB at work so the post I was working on last night (since it was quieter) won’t be showing up today.  The basic summary of it, in point form, was:

  • I need to talk less about the bad parts of hospitals.
  • I need to remember, see, and look for the good things about life.

Recent Media:
Mall Cop (Hollywood): best King of Queens movie ever, but not such a great movie
Driven to Death (… Hollywood, maybe? Steven Segal): He plays a Russian in this one, and I actually like that.  For someone who is an aikidoka, I’m finding that his movies involve increasingly more violence, especially with the deliberate short-bladed knife fights that have been showing up in all his movies lately. If you’re a Segal fan, don’t miss it.  If you’re not a Segal fan, what’s wrong with you?
The Importance of Being Earnest (… the book, not the movie): One of my favorites because everyone is so goddamn sassy.
The Ninja Handbook (also a book):  It’s got so much ass kickery that the book will kill you if you read it.
The Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autum Twlight (the book by Weis and Hickman): It’s something I really really enjoyed ten years ago, and I’m still enjoying it now.
The Bro Code (a free e-book produced by the makers of How I Met Your Mother): Short, and at times annoying, but it does have a few gems and it’s worth a read.
Valkyrie (the bovie and the mook): I thought the movie was too much like a history book and the book was trying too much to be a movie.

So, I was reading something on the Happiness Project, and they point out something interesting:

“Heuristics are mental rules of thumb, the quick, common-sense principles you apply to solve a problem or make a decision. For example, the recognition heuristic holds that if you’re faced with two objects, and you recognize one and don’t recognize the other, you assume that the recognized one is of higher value. So if you’ve heard of Munich but you haven’t heard of Minden, you assume that Munich is the larger German city.” – The Happiness Project

That’s part of an article discussing the virtues of not keeping it simple.  I don’t agree with all her ideas but I’m basically stealing the definition she gives of recognition heuristics because it’s better than than the one on wiki.

Basically, we usually want to simplify things.  I know I do.  I want things to just be easy.  However, wanting things to be easy and achieving a state of ease are two entirely different things.  Having an easy life has a lot to do with programing in a lot of subroutines to handle things automatically.  Like involuntary breathing– if you believe in evolution, then I think it’s safe to say that all those creatures who couldn’t do it just died off because they got tired of all the work involved.  When something happens automatically, its nice because it frees up CPU power and gives us back the attention, so that we can allocate it on more interesting things.

The process of programming that kind of simplicity is actually very complicated though.

If I had to draw an example, I’d look at 居合道 (Iado), the japanese art of drawing a sword.  If you were to see someone do it, you’d see someone basically draw a sword out of it’s scabbard.  If you asked a master of it to show you do it, he’d just do it, and that’d be it.  If you could somehow scan his brain and see what he was thinking, there’d probably be nothing there to see– you might see a set of commands like

10 if then (draw “sword”)
20 end

Because he doesn’t think about it.  But it’s not something he mastered over night– there are incredible complexities involved in Iado, from more obvious external ones such posture and body mechanics to less obvious ones, such as breathing, mental state, and focus.  All that stuff, he learned it– it was complicated, and then it became simple.

A master might argue that he never completely masters it, or that he’s constantly still refining his techinque, but whatever, I don’t want to split semantic hairs.  The point is, you can’t fill a full cup.  Simplifying is like drinking from that cup, internalizing things, letting things do their job.  It means making space for new things to take in.  Applied to everydaylife, here’s how I’d put it, summarily.

Simplicity is nice– and we should simplify, however, we shouldn’t ever let our lives be too simple.  Because a cup that’s always empty doesn’t have any purpose.  And nobody cares about a cup that delivers always the same drink.

I’m not saying to complicate  your lives for the sake of complication– I’m saying, complicate your with the goal of making things simple, then look for more things.  And build on that.

If your life has actually become simple, that means your life will is operating on autopilot: recognition heuristics all the time. Shen given choices, you take the road more travelled, because you’ve already measured how much joy vs suffering you get from the situation.  How much happiness comes from comfort?  That’s for you to decide.  But the next time you ask someone how it is that they have such an amazing biography, yet, that person will just tell you it’s “nothing,” understand that it’s because you’re playing two different games– what seems simple to them really is (to them) because they’ve been there and done that, and they’re building upon that experience.

In the end I agree with Oscar Wilde was right– nothing is more sinful than boredom.  Boredom comes from autopilot.  Take the wheel!