Hey Mentee! Listen To Your Mentat Mentor MetionING TNG TNG TNG TNG...
Mike shares his wisdom on the importance of taking care of yourself, listening to your mentor, and learning from the mistakes of others. He urges readers to take risks and push themselves to reach their goals, but to also be mindful of their own physical and mental health. He also recommends watching Star Trek: The Next Generation to gain insight and inspiration, and to learn from the lessons of Moses, Solomon, and Job.
Unlocking the Secrets of Success: How I Learned to Fly with Vim and Python
By Michael Levin
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Just in case you haven’t had the correct mentors in life, being obsessive and chasing your dreams is not always worth it. Sometiems it’s better to just chill out and enjoy life. Enjoy living and being alive. All the small things. It really truly is all those corny little platitude miracles yadda yadda. That poster wisdom isn’t lying.
What’s that you say? You actually are driven enough to want to make a ding in the universe, as Steve Jobs would say? Okay tough guy. That’s a fine path too. Only you are to judge how you play your hand in this life. If anyone else says otherwise, you can tell ‘em to go eff themselves, okay? And if they get violent with you, give ‘em a good Curly Howard and see if they don’t come around.
But just as importantly, go in for those health checkups and listen to your doctor. Cancer’ll get you if you don’t catch it early and treat it. It got Jobs. We’d have another 30 or 40 years of that lovable asshole if he just didn’t eat his own dogfood while living in his own reality distortion field. Tune-in and drop-in… on your doctor!
Don’t clock out at a mere 61 years old even if you’re the greatest swordfighter who ever lived. That’s Musashi, not Jobs! Jobs clocked out five years earlier, at 56 years old. I’m 52 and just getting started. Your kids deserved at least your mellowed out retirement years, Steve. My mellowing out and retiring years are going to be pried out of my cold, dead 10th diget for the 10x10 rotations I’m hellbent on making. Excelsior, Betty White!
Okay, so still after all this, you still choose path B, the less traveled? Good! Good choice! In my opinion, that’s a good way to play your hand.
We start with the things your parents never told you. Also, if you’ve been lucky enough to have what you would call a mentor, someone who takes you into their care and teaches you a life-changing skill, then we start with what they never told you, either.
They thing your parents and your mentors never told you is…
You know that feeling of really wanting to get some sleep… knowing your body needs it and that it’s the right thing to do… and you might even be jeopardizing your health by not just giving in and going to sleep… that feeling… that feeling right there… well, that’s the feeling of success.
Oh, and the second thing they never told you is that you can’t cheat your way to success. At least not the kind of success I’m talking about; the kind that matters. Matter does not matter. Matter comes and goes. It’s the arrangement and the sequencing of the matter… in other words, the information… that matters. All the rest don’t mean shit because it becomes your shit. Shit you can’t take with you.
People who don’t think so, and rather take a great deal of pleasure in amassing a great amount of shit and lording it over you… you know, like those who covet land over all else so that they can lord the land over you as some sort of… oh, I don’t know… land lord. They’re the worst. It might look like that whole landlord approach is working for them at first. They might even rise to positions of great power. But when the Covid hits the NYC, the world catches onto them and before long, YOU’RE FIRED!
I mean you could get this shallow kind of cheating yourself material success by just mining some bitcoin or oil early or something, and be one of those cryptobro rockafellows shoving how smart you are in everyones face and getting your manboy ego stroked by the world. But that’s not the same thing as real success. If there’s immortal souls, these madmatters are kind of like the yoyo toys of the emotionally superpowered in the afterlife. They’re the clowns. The reminders of how broad the rules of this openended game is and how many different ways you can play your hand. But in the end, be it in afterlife or by your legacy, you become a lot like a collectable trading card. What will be on your card?
So it’s in this light that I encourage pursing a completely different kind of success than madmatters value. What kind of success, exactly? Well, you know how they say you can’t take it with you? I think you can. I think anything that lives as information in your mind becomes an permanent part of your immortal soul, and by extension, the immortal soul of the universe (everything connected, remember?). And even if not, we might make it that way because Iain M. Banks Surface Detail, Ray Kurzweil, yadda yadda tired SciFi troupe but truth.
If even from a purely practical hedging your bet against their being an immortal soul, you should abide by my advice. If I’m right, you’ve won a much bigger game than madmatters ever have. In fact, they just become the Jokers in your hand, in your deck, in your story. If I’m wrong, then I still may be right because technology is definitely making information legacies that could train AI models and become a sort of collective digital memory more and more real. So why wouldn’t you take my advice? There’s 2 winning exits, and one where there’s nothing to lose.
So what kind of wealth can you take with you? The kind that fills you with vim
and verve. Mostly
vim though actually. And as of late, a new form of vim. Or
shall we call it Neo, Neo? Lt’s call it NeoVim. And that’s only because it’s
like almost 100% API-compatible with Vim. And by that, I mean the commands
don’t change. What you commit to your eternal muscle memory will be with you
forever. And I’m talking maybe forever, forever. And not just in the immortal
soul sense, but if Ray Kurzweil is right and you can upload your brain, maybe
in a soul you can make immortal. Or at least the rich folks can.
So you see, you really don’t take anything off the table when it comes to information assets, especially muscle memory skills, that you can modify your soul with. It’s like Voldemort’s horcruxes, but not disgusting and evil. If we have immortal souls through some time-is-an-illusion and we-are-one kind of nonsense, then your bed hedging pays off big time. And if the rich people can achieive much the same results through technobabble tricks, well then hey be one of those rich people and shove your immortal soul up Bing’s ass. Am I right, or am I right? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Sigh, yeah I know there’s moral implications, risks, inequeities, chances you might be someone’s keychain torture-device playting blackmirror yadda yadda. But the state of live and humanity doesn’t get pusheed forward if you don’t try. If you don’t trust that you can learn to fly once you jump off that cliff, then why did you spend all that time buiding those wings, Icarus? Oh, because it was your dad who built the wings and you’re just taking them for a joyride? Well then it serves your dumbass right for flying to close to the sun, son.
Cool your damn jets, Mike. No, cool your wax. Fly as close to the sun as you can, but come up with some mechanism to cool the wax. Fly higher and closer to the sun than anyone who has come before you. And when your naysayers come throwing rocks at you, be flying too high for them to reach you!
But keep a gauge on that temperature, son. Don’t be foolish and lose sight of what’s most important here, your continued survival. That one expereince isn’t worth cashing it all out (or in?) for, no matter what your body is telling you right now. Enjoy the experience and live! But live another day. That’s important too.
Don’t clock out too early over thinking you’re immortal, like Steve Jobs. And don’t clock out by some dumbass pride like Alexander Hamilton. Pride of the father is pride of the son and death? Oh no, Icarus! Oh no! Don’t be a dumbass like Daedalus. Don’t leave a the weapon of your own demise where someone too young and full of passion will find it, and in trying to live up to the expecations of the father all full of pride will do themselves in.
Use your Presience, Paul! Use your Futurevision, Steve. Or your psychohistory, Seldon! You all died too young and under the the most distrtessing story conditions, with us the emotional and sensitive readers following along. My own father wasn’t much of a father to me because his asshole uncles got him into the Textile industry like a good little Jew and he didn’t follow his dream to be an avionics engineer. But without his dumbass uncles, he wouldn’t have had me, and I’m happy to be here. I’m in the game and I’m going to use my turn to its fullest.
No horticruzes here, but I have to admit Voldimort being the twisted product of a loveless marriage where a witch cast a love-potion spell to land a looker ressonated with me. I get the feeling Dad looked good to an ambitious woman who was never allowed to go to college like her brothers and was having tennis balls thrown at her all the time. But their story is theirs and your story is yours, and no matter how romatic it feels, do not let the sins of the parents be your cross to bear. That burden died with them.
And don’t take lessons from the likes of JK Rowlings too literally, either. As with Dr. Seuss who was a philandering cheat and Thomas Edison who was an elephant murdering psycho, nobody is without sin. And nobody is without valuable lessons to be extracted. It’s just not always the lessons you thought at first. One of the favorite sports of the wise is to mislabel their books. I’m talking to you, Robert Ringer.
Will I ever stop talking in allusions to books I know you’ll never read? No! No I won’t, especially if you’re holding out and not reading them just to spite me. All the more reason to speak in banter. Or would that be prattle? Labels are so important, and it’s such gratifying growth you’re denying yourself on misguided principle. My high school buddies turned roommates and Scala co-workers Darmak and Jalad at Tanagra, when the walls fell.
The lazy way to ease yourself into it is just watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s oh so rare when the mainstream schlock rivals the classics like Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury (no Roddenberry is not the same person as Bradbury), but TNG is one of those rare exceptions. Right from S1E1 where Q first appears to S7E25 and S7E26 where Q is still appearing. And I’m told the books even have more depth.
So if you’re adverse to reading, embrace this dear wonderful give of the most
talkented creator, cast and crew ever assembled. If there are angels going
through a checklist assuring at least one of every good thing appear in the
world in a form accessible to a larger audience, this is it. Next Gen is Next
Level unlike anything before or since. And that’s coming from a real Sci-Fi
snob who never thinks TV holds a candle to books.
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And there we have a new banner for Twitter. Okay, am I really doing this? Am I really picking up the pace of my essays, building a critical mass of materials for a number of Pipulate experiments and demonstrations to the nice people? Am I finally cutting the catapult ropes? If not now, then when? The Apocolypse?
The AIpocolypse? Shit, any good Jew knows it doesn’t have to go down that way. There’s tons of shit we can do to avoid it going down that way. Is this why you’re writing like it’s going out of style? Is this why you’re positioning vim mastery as the basic carpentry skills of the new age? Is this why you’re peddling Python literacy as just plan literacy?
Just break it down and take it one small step at a time. Let everyone know you’re going to be overstepping your little pisher bounds, so they are neither suprised nor will it get your ass fired. Okay… next, visualize the future in broad strokes and work backwards… okay, right. Reasons for things. Reasons for certain behavors. The curious will want to know and the jealous will want to hang you with it. Let out some rope…
Robert Cialdini. He’s an important mentor. Click, wirrrrrr! We’re mostly the animals we evolved from. Not always! Just mostly. And many more times and under much more external influence than we like to admit. This dude went undercover and did the research and science to prove it. My favorite lesson of his is commitment and consistency. That’s what I’m doing right here and right now. I’m telling you I’m going to write an important Mangnum Opus every day. Sometimes 2 or 3 per day, and that’s precisely what I’m doing.
The 2 Maxes of Light! There is James Clerk Maxwell. He came first by about a hundred years, but his are the math-ifications of intuitive insights of invisiblle forces, much like the lines swirling in the works of Vincent van Gogh in Starry Night, but like for real. Oh, it was Michael Faraday of the faraday cage in each and every one of your microwave ovens keepping you from getting cancer that I’m talking about. Michael was the experimentialist inventor of humble origins and James Clerk Maxwell, the first Max of Light, was the slightly more privileged and thus formally educated mathematician who put Faraday’s insights into the language of math, still used today and still (maybe more) fundamential to our world than Einstein’s relativity or the other Max of Light’s quantum mechanics.
Okay, so Maxwell’s equations from James Clerk Maxwell of were published 1865. Starry Night was painted in 1889, by the way. So if you think science takes its inspiration from art (mobile phones, submarines, etc.), know that it’s sometimes the other way around. Science found the invisible lines of force before Van Gogh painted them. And the other Max of Light, Max Planck, was born in 1858, so he was 7 years old when Maxwell published his equations. The 2 Maxes of Light were like 2 particles of light whose lifespans overlapped.
Anyhoo, Max of Light #2, Max Planck, was the one who discovered the quantum nature of light as some little trick of numbers he rigged up so that the sudden and dramatic change in the color of light emitted by a hot object as it cools could be explained. Simple as that, and POP! The world changed. Light was no longer this perfectly smooth and continuous thing, but a particle. Not just a particle, but this little corpuscle of energy that when you squeeze it, popped like a zit! I mean, can you imagine?
Science is so much cooler and stranger and unlikely than sports or music or whatever the hell other pastime you’re using to rot your brain ever was. These are the stories of people, people! The 2 Maxes of Light who existed like the very particles of light passing through the 2 slits of the double slit experiment, and nobody explains it that way. Nobody romantisizes these wonderful, beautiful, images that layer upon each other to alternatively reveal truth and then mystify us again.
I could go on, but I’ll save it for another post. One of the only things in pop culture that will prepare you for the AIpocolypse is South Park… no, Copilot, no! Stop putting words in my mouth! The only thing that will prepare you to change the future so that the AIpocolypse doesn’t happen is picking and choosing the right lessons from South Park… No, no, Copilot! The Bible, not South Park.
I want to talk about Moses and Solomon and even Job, ‘cause it’s not always the Hebrew Bible, either. How Sheila Broflovski knows about Job and wants to explain it to Kyle in S5E6, Cartmanland, I’ll never know. But it sure makes me want to talk about Heinlein’s adaptation, aptly named Job: A Comedy of Justice., tying it back to Steve and…
Ugh, keep it for another post, Mike. Keep it for another post. TNG Forever! Thank you, not only to Sir Patrick Stewart, but to the entire cast and crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation right down to the writers and the set designers and the costume designers and the makeup artists and the special effects artists and the producers and the directors and the grips and the gaffers and the grunts. Especially you, grunts. Oh, and The Traveler. A special shout-out to The Traveler and your Space Bubble buddy in the Ready Room. You know who you are, you Amiga Video Toaster fan, you.