communication

One difference between American and Japanese education is that, if you get a piece of information from your teacher in Japan, it is always critically important, and it will not be repeated.

All of it.  Seemingly unrelated things written on the back of other things are critically important.  There will be no reminders.

In America, there’s a huge volume of stuff that is sent that neither the sender nor the recipient really care about, so you learn to filter it.  You expect important things to be covered in blazing yellow and red, with “important!” plastered all over it, and you apply varying levels of attention to the rest.

I think here, it’s kind of an insult to remind someone of something, as it implies the recipient is not responsible enough to follow through on information, or that the sender doesn’t trust, or does not respect the recipient’s ability to schedule/remember things.

And, they just don’t want to bother you.

In America, people are used to treating each other like idiots, and have no qualms about disturbing one another, so communication is more of a fire hydrant that you sort of have to filter.

Anyways, 気をつけてね。 Buy a calendar book(lots of stationery stores here).  Use software with Gantt charting ability.  Absolutely do not put off examining every piece of paper, front and back, that you receive, until you have accounted for when its relevant/due.

I’ve been a little sloppy this term; I’ll do better next term.

good and evil

It’s important to note that social pragmatism is antithetical to advanced societal order.

Criminal cultures run on primitive social pragmatism.  They view morality as naive at best, and idiotic at worst.

If you look at the nice places to live in the world, you’ll find they run on mostly on public order, rather than the loose, shadowy, shifting alliances that typify the criminal world.

I think this is primarily because national wealth/strength depends on public order and specialization of labor to sustain complex logistics, production, military, and research efforts.

In a chaotic world, everyone must be generalists, and technology requires order and specialization, above all else.

too weird to die

My life decisions are generally made by normalizing and averaging the typical vector for someone in my position, generating the plane orthogonal to that vector, and then choosing a random vector lying on that plane.

When you do that enough times, you become so strange that people no longer know what you are and aren’t capable of.  You can no longer relate to anyone, and they can no longer relate to you.

Now, being hopelessly strange is freedom, and it’s kind of safe, assuming you can find the right job in the right place(which, I suppose, is 90% of safety, anyways).

But it’s lonely.

Of course, when you stay lonely long enough, the pain goes away, and then you become even stranger, because then you can no longer deal with random social situations at all.

Still, I like working.

In Idaho, I always dreamed of having a place where people could just work, and talk about work, and work all the time, and work together on projects.  No one really seemed to quite understand.

Fortunately, I don’t have to implement such a place myself, as I discovered later that it already exists, and it is called “Japan”.

I just hope I can find a way to stay here.

The Internet

The commercial Internet was so cute when it was a baby.

If it would have stayed the way it was in 1998, perhaps we would have all been better off.

It became a monster, and consumed us in ways we could not have imagined.

We kind of implicitly assumed that Internet power would mostly be used by people for distribution of information and shopping, but really didn’t foresee what would happen when it became a truly mass medium, when it became accessible in smart phones.

The echo chambers, the wholesale destruction of various creative industries, the information flows governed by the most charismatic, rather than the most informed…

I still kind of compare it to the post 50’s glut of food technology… trans-fat preserved snacks… the mass consumption of high calorie foods we no longer needed.

Eventually, we learned food discipline, once we understood all the limits that were simply never encountered by the masses before, since food had never been so unlimited before.

Eventually we will learn Internet discipline.

Not merely in the sense of, “don’t play mobile games for more than an hour,” but in a more all-encompassing way, since the Internet is certainly all encompassing.

Rather, we need to understand that the instant gratification… the ability to evade even the shortest moment of boredom with something, is like weightlessness in space.  It’s easy, but it robs you of your strength rapidly.

I think we’ll find that boredom and creativity are more inextricably linked than we realize now.

We learned not to eat things just because they taste good, and instead focus on calories and nutrition.  Likewise, I hope we are somehow able to stop consuming Internet things just because they are fun or gratifying in some way, and focus on the effect it’s having on our minds.

Even things like Wikipedia are perhaps informational junk food.  When I  go back to books for similar information, it is kind of disturbing how much better a source of information they are.

Difficult vs. Easy.  Cheap vs. Expensive.

Being a successful streamer requires a very particular set of people skills, at a level certainly far beyond my grasp, but not much in the way of hard skills.  I’m not sure how valuable it is for people to watch Twitch streams.

I think a lot about what life was like when we bought and listened to whole CD’s, and bought books from stores, and watched movies, and, as importantly, spent a lot of time not doing any of those things because we couldn’t.

I think a lot about how different people are now who never experienced a world without the Internet, and further, people who never lived without the mobile Internet, and how different their minds work.

But never without the thought, in the back of my mind, that I must avoid senseless nostalgia and stereotypical resistance to change that one begins to experience around my age.

What are the limits?  What is the future like, and what kind of minds do we need to have for it?  How to we prune our mental environment to give us back what we’ve lost, if that’s even possible?

Is it even possible to do so and still remain functional in the modern world?

before, as now

Long ago, nature killed the weak.

Then humans found ways of fighting nature to stay alive longer, far past the prime of life.

But it seems nature is finally catching up with us again, at least for now.

Coronavirus is not the end of the world.  It is only a return to the past.

god mode butter

I am a connoisseur of butter.

Pancakes have been the cornerstone of my diet for years now, and thus, so has butter.

I’ve tried all USA brands commonly available, and a few imports.

But Hokkaido butter, oh Lord… oh… dear sweet virgin Mary is it good…

I will visit Hokkaido some day, when the weather is nice, and gaze respectfully upon the glorious cows from whose udders issue forth this creamy goodness…

protect

The globalists are alarmed at the inevitable rise of protectionism in the wake of this present crisis, having been raised on, and largely being dependent on, a globalist doctrine.

But I’ve always found “protectionism” to be a rather strange criticism: if it is not the purpose of a national government to protect the interests of a nation, just what exactly is it for?

Beyond a certain degree, making things cheaper is utterly pointless.  If people can afford to buy n things, they will want n + 1 things, regardless of the value of n.

And if in the process of cheapening those things, some sectors of the economy disappear from a nation, leaving a subset of people financially without purpose, that is a big problem for everyone in the nation.

Protectionism is not a sin.  It’s not a regression.  It’s a sign of life.

Make your nation strong and healthy.  Make trade agreements to further your alliances and economic well-being.

The global macroeconomic religion we’ve lived under since Breton Woods is the aberration here, and I think that is one of the few things that both the left and the right can agree on.

That regime is perhaps unbreakable in nations which have forsaken long-term national strategy and thinking, and/or no longer care about their fellow countryman.

But not every nation is like that.  Some still play the long game.  Some still plan for tomorrow, at the expense of today.