State of the Nos, and a Retrospective Review.

Image: Me.

So, in case you haven’t noticed, everything has stopped. It’s surreal. I can walk outside, and I live in the middle of a major European capital city, and I can see absolutely nobody on main street.

We’re living in some pretty odd times. But I wouldn’t say these times were bad for all perspectives. Consider the following: two weeks ago we were living at the height of world technological progress and acceleration. It was the fastest that humans have ever had to be to survive.

It’s a good time for reflection.

Today, I can walk around the center of a major European city and basically see nobody. That’s actually pretty cool. I looked into people’s windows while I was passing. One lady was typing on a laptop. Her husband was out front carving a new door for their house.

I am one-hundred-percent certain that out there, there are busy people who are getting to spend time with their families when they would usually never be able to. I’m talking people who live lives on long communtes, or people who chained themselves to a grind and forgot themselves.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a grind. Today I worked my ass off on a bunch of things I cared about, but which are also relevant to my career. More that it was nice that I could take a break in the middle of the day and go for a walk and buy some eggs for my partner while she was taking a shower.

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve changed jobs. Hence the relative lack of content this month; but I did get my first comment, which was nice. I had a post syndicated on Blue Labyrinths too, which is an online magazine edited by the lovely Matt Bluemink.

I’ve picked up a steady cohort of followers, too! Which I didn’t necessarily suspect was going to happen. I also deleted my Medium– it wasn’t really doing anything for me. Besides that, I’m pretty sure the partner program just ended up incentivizing low effort clickbait. So uh, that sort of backfired, I guess.

I’m just sick of people posting their Medium links all over the place. I say this as someone who has previously posted my Medium links all over the place, hence the shame.

Anyway, here’s a rough guide to what I’ve produced so far on this blog by interest area:

Most recently, this blog has been an outlet for my notes on my personal study. And most recently, my favorite object of study has been Heidegger. I’ve been trying to understand how he might relate to other areas of interest for me like psychology and cognitive science.

This run of Heidegger begins with a weird little series of aphorisms, which has somewhat oddly set the program for what I’d be doing for the rest of the month.

Luckily, Hubert Dreyfus exists. He has a fantastic series of lectures. I produced a hopefully useful if less fantastic series of posts on those lectures. In these pieces, I tried to get a close to what he was talking about in the lectures as possible, but I also couldn’t help myself from linking them into other areas.

For more on the Dreyfus lectures, see my resource list— if you like talking to me or listening to what I have to say, you’ll probably like the sort of stuff I’ve put there.

In the first set of notes, I connect Heidegger’s thought to ecological perception and the way we construct ourselves from the perspective of social psychology. This is an area that interests me pretty rabidly. This relates to the theme of the first blog post I ever wrote: “The World is a Dream, and All of it Comes for Free.”

For those of you who liked that piece on my old Medium account, now you know where it is! It was probably the most popular piece I ever wrote, so I guess it makes sense to dig it back up for people’s enjoyment.

Anyway, in the second set of notes on Heidegger, I link the ideas to some of the theory around Schizophrenia in the work of Ian McGilchrist, and I relate that to some of my own experiences working with the homeless, the addicted, and the mentally ill.

The perspective I take there is somewhat socially critical. For more socially critical essays, see my essay on how capitalism might be incentivizing meaningless lives; my essay on why the way we alienate the suffering probably just makes it worse; my essay on the way that an increasingly relativistic cultures don’t leave much room for lifestyles other than homelessness and addiction; my essay on how medicine might just be an elaborate form of shamanism or my essay where I talk shit about how I think the profit motive has ruined the pursuit of an education.

Man, I sure managed to get a lot of complaining done lately.

That’s not to say that all my work has been complaining. I also wrote a piece about how cosy the internet can be, and how it might afford opportunities to love in ways we hadn’t before; a piece critiquing fatalism about life and what a bitch it is; a piece about why you should listen to people you disagree with even if you disagree with them; a piece about how to love, with some help from Erich Fromm; a piece about how you might use reflective writing to learn about yourself; and also a piece about why the creative employment of nonsense is great– be warned, this one also relates to Heidegger.

Regarding what I learned from all this, it’s probably that I am way too poetic about the stuff I want to talk about sometimes. I have no idea what this piece was trying to say, and I’m just putting it here because I’ve realized another thing: which is that putting my ideas here holds me accountable to both keep them sharp and stick to them. I’ve also realized that in this piece, while I may be groping towards the notion of embodied cognition, I’m doing it about obliquely as I possibly can.

I’m noting these to make public how bad and sloppy I think they are. I hope this will make me write less badly and more rigorously in the future.

Finally, regarding vague-poesy and cognitive science, I’m really conflicted about the series I wrote on spirituality, occultism, cognitive science and Tango. On the one hand, the Tango article is probably the thing I’m proudest of having written maybe ever. And I really don’t think it would make as much sense without the thoughts I expressed in the first two.

But that doesn’t mean I think the first two are very focused or that they really express anything that couldn’t be better expressed otherwise.

From a summary perspective, the writing I’ve done here has been interesting because it’s helped me articulate what I want to learn– which is absolutely 4E cognitive science, and which all you readers will learn about shortly when I finally start writing posts about it– and given me a reason to be serious about it.

As I’m writing this, it’s interesting how my view of this site is changing. It’s sort of like the Gestalt is shifting. It feels a little bit more self-motivating and a little bit more organismic and alive.

Most recently, I’ve put a temporary capstone on the series of notes on Dreyfus’ lecture and I wrote a little piece on embodied processing and metaphor. Oh, and also, if you’re the sort of person who’s engaged enoughto get all the way to the bottom of the post, here’s a piece just about me, and who I am.

2 thoughts on “State of the Nos, and a Retrospective Review.”

  1. Thank you for this my lovely tango friend.

    With the onset of C19 and social isolation I realised very quickly that it had benefits for me. The internal peace and contentment settled in very happily and I was aware that my mind and body needed this.

    I’m loving the space and freedom of being outside with no one else there to spoil my pleasure of selfish ownership.

    I imagine what it would be like to live in this space with only the people who truly appreciated what the planet has to offer.

    A sort of mass euthanasia to wipe out all of the badness in people.

    Unfortunately that dream doesn’t work because C19 affects everyone. So the dream of wiping out crime doers et Al is very appealing to me.

    There is nothing surreal about the emotions I’m feeling rather a sense of unity with the beautiful planet we are all destroying.

    Global warming has been reduced literally overnight and targets will probably have been reached by the time the virus settles in just this short space of time.

    The dream would be to live a way of life without the deadly sins and to stand still
    every day in appreciation.

    Ironically, would this lifestyle become increasingly boring without the gluttony of tunnocks t cakes and a G&T.



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