I'm 51 Years Old Tomorrow

by Mike Levin

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Hello World! Well, I missed 11 AM as I had hoped to be here by, but hey, let’s talk about showing up anyway. Being late isn’t always enough of an excuse for not showing up at all. Some things, especially self-imposed disciplinary things, are very much showing up for even if you’re 15 minutes late for them. Don’t get so hung up on precise titles and labels. As I covered in earlier videos, language lies. In every language lies lies. Lies lie in every language, and there they lay… in wait. In wait for hyper-literalists and lawyers to twist and change and rearrange their meaning until you don’t know up from down.

Lock-down taught us a whole bunch of things. I’m sorry it had to be your generation coming of age in the Alice/Dorothy sense (there are other senses) during this strange period. However, don’t just feel bad for yourself and your generation. The world is full of magic that only nerds knew in my time, and even then I was about 18 years old before technology became cool enough. Then everything I learned about tech/magic and loved so much went away. For me, it was like the Internet and the Web going away the day the Amiga died, singing…

No, won’t go there. But it took me maybe 25 years to replace the Amiga in my heart. This is because I lacked the deep insight about what it was that I was really in love with with the Amiga computer. It was a particular instance of a development platform and player device / runtime engine or what have you. It was a platform like all the various Nintendo devices are platforms. Everything you learn and know and do is keyed to that platform with absolutely no caring about you or your life post-platform. Everything expires. All hardware goes away. No platform is forever. And I went through a long dry spell of the lacking of love-worthy things (Windows 3.1, 95, MacOS, OS X and MacOS again).

You my child are growing up in a world full of magic that can keep the mind occupied WITHOUT long-form reading. I read when I was your age, only these tiny 1/2-inch thick books like Danny Dunn but they were so ahead of their time thought-wise (firefly drones in the 1970s) that they fed something in my soul. My heart sang and such. At around 12 years old I moved onto the thick adult books, and the easily found magic was limited to JRR Tolkien’s Hobbit, Lord of The Rings and such. Anything else was off the beaten track and risky because the books were so thick and took such an investment.

Your generation can get its fix of soul-feeding media 1000 different ways I could only dream of as a child. This includes video conferencing with multiple people. Even that term conferencing is dated because it sounds so high fallutin for something that’s just built into GMail now. It’s commonplace. Online meetings. That stuff is amazing! I mean I can hardly explain to you how mind bogglingly incredible today’s world is, and how seeing it be the new normal for your generation is humbling….

And a little scary. It brings to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s great quote and perhaps warning that, and I paraphrase, any sufficiently advanced technology is going to be indistinguishable from magic… for those who don’t understand it. And how could one person, a mere individual and mortal, ever hope to understand a laptop or iPhone or even other non-digital devices like cars and airplanes?

The answer is education… pewie! What a terrible label for such an important thing. We are all machines learning. We are all the very same artificial intelligences we are trying to create. Doing stuff… having experiences… being in the game… just showing up… I could go on. There’s a Mark Twain quote

The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started

And it’s so true! The first baby-step in any endeavor is the most important. In fact, it’s fair to say that every step in any endeavor is your first baby-step, for actual beginnings and endings are quite blurred in life, and you’re only ever really living in the “now” moment.

I once said to you there is only the now moment, and tried to go on to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, I believe the special case that talks about our Universe, such as it is. But this bored you silly and you cut me off and locked in on the words “there is only the now moment” without the context I tried to give you.

The lesson there is being hyper-literal and talking over someone who’s trying to tell you critical parts of life’s game will leave you with the wrong lesson. Nuance is important. And what I tried to tell you is that in addition to the now moment, we can also mathematically prove a slight moment before the now moment and a slight moment after. So it’s the now moment and enough of a sample of what appears to be time to know that at least momentarily in the past and future are indeed real.

So while the now moment is extra special, we have evidence that some sort of past and future exists in a very real sense. So learn from the past and pay attention to the future.

Just don’t limit yourself excessively in the now moment, because it’s let’s say 80% of what’s important, with 10% being studying/re-living/learning from the past, and another 10% planning for or being prepared for or visualizing what you want the future to be.

That’s about right. The ratios may be off a little, but generally you look for 80% of the benefit of any given undertaking from the first 20% of time you think you may be willing to give to it. That’s how you plan for the future. The future is so uncertain, excessive planning is silly and could leave you with a worse feeling (in life in general) than if you didn’t plan so much, but instead focused on improving yourself in ways that will serve you no matter what the future may hold.

Okay, that’s it. I don’t want to over-do these At Eleven vids. I don’t even know if my child will ever read/discover/whatever these vids.

I’m not going to talk much about them. I’ll just keep pushing them up, using them to think out loud regarding bringing up a child in this day and age, and with them in particular in those ways I am actually able to share.

So, that’s about it. The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Overcome the initial inertial resistance in all things… staying in bed all day. Use visions of the future that appeal to you to entice you into those small first steps, and try to make each such small step all you’re ever doing so that one day you will have had a mighty journey without ever feeling like you put so much work into it.

And plan a bit. That’ll be another video. How to paint the future with broad strokes, regardless of the money in your pocket and most other circumstances of life… because magic. Don’t be hyper-literal. Of course there’s no such thing as magic. But there’s making sure it continues to be that way in practice in your life. You will be a slave to technology if you don’t learn how to be its master. Sorry if all that kind of language is not PC these days, but The Matrix and stuff. The concept of people becoming enslaved can be discussed without it having to be an insult every time to those populations that have been.

SciFi helps you think in extremes so that in your life you can bracket problems broadly… part of those broad strokes of painting the future.

Okay, now I’m just getting too abstract and rambling. I tend to do that. So video over. Later gater!