Clerestory

Dry November: Day 13

November 13, 2019

Lovely dinner tonight with a friend, discussing many of the topics that have been on my mind lately: enactivism, learning, writing, note-taking, moments of insight, how fact-free learning might relate to decision tree pruning. She’s rediscovering fiction after lots of nonfiction, a balance over which I’ve been grappling too. We discussed chaining habits together, and habits as the path of least resistance — which seems to relate to certain notions about thought patterns (addictions, anxieties) as well.

Otherwise today I tangled with Ribbonfarm, Venkat’s take on ways to fall off productivity wagons, and why he recommends doing so. I can’t say I’ve fully grasped its implications, but attempting to do so has been interesting. I decided early on in the reading of the article that, within his schema, I’m a process-oriented disruptor, i.e., a hacker.1 True to form, I dislike holy warriors, and occasionally slip into my “contrarian” evil twin type. I don’t think I fit into the reluctant hero’s tale pattern particularly though. But maybe that’s exactly the kind of thought that a reluctant hero’s tale would produce.

I do wonder whether the vagueness of such models doesn’t verge on astrology at times. Myers-Briggs has sometimes felt that way too.

Finally, I highly recommend the latest Lexicon Valley. Man originally meant human, woman is from wifeman (female human) whereas male human was were as in werewolf. Lord and lady come from loafward and loafmaid, revealing their rather untoward and unladylike feudal origins. And bridegroom was originally bridegoom; goom is related to human, but man is not, if I understood correctly? I won’t try to explain how person and people relate to French and Latin but it’s all fascinating stuff.


  1. Given yesterday’s solution to how to keep a list of books, he may be onto something.


I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.