Friday, June 22, 2007
Simon's new blog, The Cluttered Desk, talks about how people in your head when you read are composites of people you know.
It's true - it reminds me of how I read somewhere that one theory of dreaming is that all of the people you meet when wandering around in your dreams are really you. Ocassionally in a vaguely lucid dream, you can become aware of this, which makes weird dreams even weirder... But on some level, this makes sense - for instance, while you think you are talking to your Wife, you're really talking to the way you imagine your Wife to be - it's not like she's actually in your head...
Reading is similar to dreaming in that respect. The late Kurt Vonnegut, in his last interview, said of reading that he thought reading was a difficult task. If you could do it right, you could be transported to the murky waters of the Atlantic with Herman Melville, or a deserted tropical island with Defoe.
But if you couldn't do it, I guess there's always TV, right?
Friday, June 01, 2007
"I'm annoyed!" I announced to nobody in particular.
I pushed the desk away from me and rolled back into the middle of the cubicle.
"What by?" Dean asked, turning away from his machine.
I thought for a bit.
"Well... I'm annoyed that things don't just come into existence because I think of them."
"Uh -right... You're actually annoyed by that?"
And you know, I was. I mean, I still am.
In software development, solving conceptual problems isn't always easy, (or even possible) but it is usually rewarding. Unfortunately, just solving the problem isn't enough. Once all the hard thinking is done, you then have to sit there, and wiggle your fingers in a very exact and particular sequence, until your design is completely implemented. Then remove all the mistypes and little deviances from your perfect unimplementable design.Then re-test it, over and over. And that's the thing that's annoying.
And the more I think about it, the more this little truism seems to apply to everything in the world. Knowing what you have to do is all fine and dandy. It's the doing of it that's annoying.
For example, I know I have to get up and go into the office tomorrow. I won't want to. I will want to lay in bed, and listen to the Typewriter Bird outside the window. I know I should eat less, and excercise more. I know that watching CSI:Miami is a complete waste of time. I know that. Doesn't all that knowing count for something?
Bah. Being smart enough to know what I need to do should be enough!
But, one thing I do know with my thinking brain is that reality doesn't work like that. That nothing comes as easily as thinking.
And so, lately, I've resolved to pursue reality with a little more vigor than I previously have. To work harder at materializing these clever thoughts into actions and artifacts.
And central to this, is the mantra that 'Nothing is Easy." Essentially, I've just assumed, slightly pessimistically, that everything I need to do will take more attention and concerted effort than my default appraisal might expect.
And so far, it's been a remarkably liberating thing. I find that at the end of the day, I've done much more, simply as a consequence of expecting to do much more.
Today, for every action you conciously pursue, from preparing breakfast to all your daily work tasks, remember that it will take MORE than you think.
That nothing is easy.