18: Making discoveries

October 10, 2022

Content

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.