18: Making discoveries
October 10, 2022
Consider this a bonus weeknote since I smashed a whole bunch of days together in the previous one.
I’ve been better about noting down discoveries this week — mostly because I made a number of them.
A tool that lets you discover your hidden literary style by highlighting only punctuation. I dropped one of my longer essays into the tool. So many digressions and asides! Someone stop me!
Bookshelves belonging to some of my favourite writers. Obviously, new life goal dropped: being able to afford 12,000 books (and enough dusting cloths) in a massive double-sided bookcase a la Hanya Yanagihara.
Smartphones as ‘anti-risk-taking devices (1). Reading about it showed me just how utterly predictable most of my environment is. My iPhone helps me accomplish a tonne of things but, at the same time, is severely limiting what I’m exposed to. I don’t even leave the weather or driving route to chance. While driving without satnav on Bangalore’s roads still seems like a spin-off of Dhoom I didn’t ask for, I’m thinking it might be good to explore other ways of decoupling my habits from my smartphone. So far, I’ve:
moved my task list and rough notes back into a notebook
turned off notifications for almost all apps
gone for walks in safe areas without my phone
put my phone on personal focus mode more often and physically shut it away when I want to focus on one thing.
Onto other updates:
Most of the time I hate Twitter but sometimes, I love it. I recently asked around for copies of Offscreen, this delicious indie print magazine about tech and the web that is currently on hiatus. I was just testing my luck but the publisher/ art director himself reached out and offered to send me back issues for just the cost of shipping. Indie web 🤝 cozy web 🤝 lazy web. Thanks, Kai!
I was talking to Dhruv about this niggling feeling of “what next?”, mainly at work but also in life. One thing he said really stuck with me: “you can’t be discontent and be in the present moment at the same time” (a derivative of Eckhart Tolle). Self-sufficiency is really all we need to be in the present moment (2). The whole conversation reminded me of this excerpt from Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life:
“the greatest waste of life lies in postponement: it robs us of each day in turn, and snatches away the present by promising the future. The greatest impediment to living is expectancy, which relies on tomorrow and wastes today."
Thinking of an essay from 49 AD in the context of a 2022 conversation is a convenient example of one more thing Dhruv said: all of these are realisations that people have been writing about since the dawn of writing a few millennia ago. But despite reading about it, we can realise or feel them only after going through our individual journeys. Despite the cheat codes, it’s a rite of passage to unearth and understand these epiphanies ourselves. Who’d have thunk.