Thoughts Streaming from 2019

Posted on January 15, 2020
Last Edited on January 22, 2020
8 mins read
Tags: writing life reading essay

Harvest Moon
Friday The 13th, 2019 - Day of Harvest Moon. It’s a special night for me. :)

Let me tell you promptly that I am writing this post to share a few of the things I read in 2019. I thought I could share some of the “good” reads saved in the pocket app. I am a very heavy pocket user who reads contents ranging from a couple of minutes to hours. So, if you are up for consuming those contents, I want you to stick around with me here. I hope you can relate to these contents as much as I do.

But First!!!
2019 is over and it will become a memory from a distant past in upcoming years. Nonetheless, I am not the type of guy who makes resolutions, and changes goals whenever this abstract notion of time we have resets to (yet) another year. Let alone if those goals are actually GOALS or some wishes. I am not sure if I am affected by these resetting of days, as days turn into weeks and weeks into months. These years, weeks and days are merely the abstractions of time we share. Yet, they are relevant to keep tracks of changes happening around!

There’s a paradox in these sentiments of mine, for the fact that I am writing this after the year 2019 has closed its chapters. If I am really unaffected by these changes, I would have written this essay before 2019 or should have waited until these old-fresh 2020 days become outdated.

I let it be…

It’s been a while I haven’t written any productive posts. Most of the posts from 2019 stemmed from the depressing thoughts I had. 2019 was a wild roller-coaster ride for me. I flew on a plane for the first time in my life. I went to another country (Jordan), had first-hand experience on cross-race effect, quit from my own startup (after directing AI Tech and Research for a year), met a girl and fell in love with her (now I’m trying to move on), told my parents about my depression, gave GRE and TOEFL exams within a month (neither good nor bad). Now, I am applying for graduate schools somewhere in the world out there. Seriously! It’s freaking taxing. :/

For me, these thoughts are what make me who I am, an abstraction of me. Daily doses of vague anxieties and what else? Memories about moments with Aurora. Trying to see where the river is flowing, let alone not sure if one exists. This indefiniteness of life is making the creatures in my mind-cave go havoc.

I just let it be…

Like I said in the very beginning of this post, I have listed the writings in the order of how fascinated I got while going through them (first one being highly fascinated). Remember, I have written abstract descriptions here that “vaguely” represent those writings. So, I urge you to go through them on much deeper levels than they appear here.

Reimagining PhD

A must-read essay I’d say that “tries” to go into the subject of PhD and its necessities (and thus essence?). I have probably read this 3 times. Since I am applying to various grad schools (at the time of writing this post), I feel this truly resonates with the current state of my mind. On the similar thought processes, being an independent researcher (tinkerer?), I loved the idea of self-induced research (PhD) track. But that’s a long way off for me.

The Lesson to Unlearn

It is always refreshing to get into Paul Graham’s essays. These past few months I have prioritized many things, and thus trying to re-assemble my knowledge on various subject matters!

The Categories Were Made For Man, Not Man For The Categories

This is a fascinating essay that made me reinforce my already-established notions on judgements, categorization and labels we humans have established in the society. I have written my own essay on this topic which requires another blog post of its own. I might post that as separate construct later.

Sabbatical Check-In

Basically, it’s about the impacts of long hiatus on one’s learning. Having been on a sabbatical myself, I could resonate with the author’s sentiments.

Why Does F=ma

This is a thought-provoking essay that tries to question the parameters on this equation. What do those parameters imply? Why is the equation the way it is?

Accidental Leadership

This article somehow resonates with a situation I had in my startup. Whenever I feel I have to lead a team, I get this uneasy sensation that I am not capable enough (yet) to handle the leadership. I am not sure if this is to be called a “role” or position, but things quickly get out of hand when you think about it. But patience is the key!
You lead a project, form a team, come up with solutions to a specific problem, fail miserably and then re-iterate over! You are focused on rapid prototyping and streamlining things that you forget the very essence of “coding-as-an-individual”. But I guess that’s fine.
Life is like that! It’s just that in life, you cannot really figure out the “right” time when you feel like the project isn’t going anywhere…

Rachel Carson on Writing and the Loneliness of Creative Work

This one is my favorite, partly because I “tend” to go deep inside my mind-cave and spill out my thoughts in my own journal. And partly because “loneliness” touches everyone in some ways!

If you write what you sincerely think and feel and are interested in… you will interest other people.

Writing  is a lonely occupation at best. Of course, there are stimulating and  even happy associations with friends and colleagues, but during the  actual work of creation, the writer cuts himself off from all others and  confronts his subject alone. He  moves into a realm where he has never been before — perhaps where no  one has ever been. It is a lonely place, even a little frightening.

I couldn’t have agreed more on this as Rachel tries to make “sense” on how people want to spend their time of solitude and solace while writing. Although companionship helps, in the long run you are all you have got. Words are one of the best wonders that reflect from the sea of emotions and life.

For me, writing helps. It does. A lot. And whenever I “write” or “try to write”, I let myself get locked deep into my mind-cave, contemplating about things I have in my own little world. This, in some ways, helps me to redirect my thought processes and emotions to the readers (who are to read), to make them feel about these abstract concreteness (well, fuzzy?) I want to convey. But then, companionship and seeking out one’s own freedom in his/her solitude are two supplementary entities that make up the flow (or at least tries to).

What Is A Poem

When we come across a poem—any poem—our first assumption should not be to prejudice it as a thing of beauty, but simply as a thing. The linguists and theorists tells us that language is all metaphor in the first place. The word “apple” has no inherent link with that bright red, edible object on my desk right now. But the intricacies of signifiers and signifieds fade from view after college. Because of its special status—set apart in a magazine or a book, all that white space pressing upon it—a poem still has the ability to surprise, if only for a moment which is outside all the real and virtual, the aural and digital chatter that envelopes it, and us.

This struck me as an astounding essay. Being someone who “writes” his thoughts, I have never tried asking this question the essay tries to dive into. A poem, like any other art, has its own expressiveness to project various thought processes into another dimension.

The Monarchy of Fear by Martha C. Nussbaum

An abstract summary to Nussbaum’s lecture can be found here.
This is a thought-provoking lecture that goes deep into the roots of anger and its impulsive manifestation that leads to violent motives. I’ve been thinking a lot about this “moral” and “ethics” lately. But, this surely presents a profound understanding of philosophy towards fear, its place in democracy and society.

The problem, however, is that in losing fear we also lose love. The basis of both is a strong attachment to someone or something outside our control. There is nothing that makes us more vulnerable than loving other people or loving a country. So much can go wrong. In one half-year the Roman philosopher and politician Cicero lost.

When we are afraid, we jump to conclusions, lashing out before we have thought carefully about the who and the how. When problems are complex and their causes poorly understood, as economic problems tend to be, fear often leads us to pin blame on individuals or groups, conducting witch-hunts rather than pausing to figure things out.

Fear also feeds obsession with relative status: when people feel bigger than others, they think they can’t be destroyed. But when people protect their vulnerable egos by thoughts of status, they can easily be goaded into anger, since the world is full of insults and slights. Indeed, Lucretius traces all status-competition to fear, arguing that it is a way of soothing ourselves: by putting others down we make ourselves feel powerful.

Feeling insecure, we rage against what threatens us and seek to obliterate it.

Freedom is beautiful, and we must be prepared to suffer for it, but we must focus on defending what we love rather than “disgorging [our] venom on the land,” as Aeschylus’ Furies put it. Churchill’s speech is of a piece with the best Allied aims to rebuild Germany post-war, and we can now see the wisdom of that course, as Germany is among our most valuable allies.

People may think anger powerful, but it always gets out of hand and turns back on us. And, yet worse, half the time people don’t care. They’re so deeply sunk in payback fantasies that they’d prefer to accomplish nothing, so long as they make those people suffer.

The Information Apocalypse

Loosely relates to all these echo chambers that are having subtle effects on everyone…

Death of The Calorie

Having done callisthenics for a year and refactoring my diet, I could feel that the way we understand about “burning calories” is just the tip of the iceberg. All I can say is “Just eat healthily!”

At this point, you might have become overloaded with such heavy doses of information which might be useful or useless. It depends. No wonder we are having information pollution in today’s digital world. With all these echo chambers and filter bubbles that are shaping our thought processes constantly, and thus our lives, it’s really hard to consume contents that are relevant to our own philosophy of life and how we ought to live it.

Nevertheless, I urge you in all seriousness to read the above resources I have jolted down. Maybe save the link? Or do share this post in your digital chambers. It’d mean a lot for me to keep on writing my thoughts to aspire you!

Anyway, feel free to provide feedback. If not, do have a look at the Other Contents I Loved Reading section.

Other Contents I Loved Reading