Humility

What I see in Nature is a magnificnet structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.

~ Albert Einstein

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Inconsistent yet persistent

Tuline Kinaci is an all-around mover, a dancer, rock climber, traceusse and earned her degree in athletic training. In addition to her movement practices, Tuline is a certified authentic Tantra instructor, teaching holistic healing of body, mind, spirit and sex. Tuline considers herself a sex activist and is the founder of LoveCraft, a sexual coaching and empowerment collective.

Tantra was the obvious place to begin since we were surely going to end up talking about tantric sex. My fear was that most people’s—myself included—knowledge of Tantra would be something to do with the artist, Sting. We immediately agreed that leaving the world only knowing about “men in linen pants” would be a disservice. “Tantra means, literally, to weave light and sound with form, the light being visualizations of your chakras in your body, sound being chants that you’re making, and then the form being your body, your physical body. That’s it, in a nutshell. The way that often looks is meditating. The way a lot of people do that is they’ll meditate and then have sex; they’ll meditate during sex; they’ll meditate on their own without any sex. Yeah, that’s kind of that, which means nothing, right? It’s like a, ‘Cool, and then what?’ which is what got me into having a coach.” — ~ Tuline Kinaci from, ~4’40”

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Stretch yourself

There is a place, right on the edge of your ability, where you learn best and fastest. It’s called the sweet spot.…The underlying pattern is the same: Seek out ways to stretch yourself. Play on the edges of your competence. As Albert Einstein said, “One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

The key word is ‘barely.’

~ Daniel Coyle

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Patterns where there are none

Last week, one of your fellow readers hit reply—replies come directly to my personal email box—and shared some thoughts about connections and interesting juxtapositions in the week’s email. After I pointed out that the patterns they commented on, were simply a byproduct of how I write and how the email is assembled automatically, they rightly observed, “Lol, humans finding patterns where they don’t exist. A timeless classic.” I completely agree, and our power of pattern-finding is an awesome tool.

I was reading, and found a new-to-me Einstein quote. (You’ll find it soon, some time in February.) When I capture a quote from someone already in my collection, I have to check; There are ~800 quotes these days and sometimes I “find” one I’ve forgotten. (Surprisingly though, I can usually tell on sight if it’s in the collection already.) This led me to a search for “einstein” here on the blog. (There’s also a tag for Albert Einstein, but the search nets more posts including those I failed to tag.) I found a quote already on the blog—but not the new one that prompted it all—that was so old, it wasn’t in my collection. I fixed that, leading to a very old blog post, with a very high slipbox address, 4a784: Part of a Whole. And also 4a789: Do You Have a Question? Those were posted in 2013.

They’re about curiosity and broadening our sphere of compassion. Which sounds a lot like my just-barely-one-year-old vision and mission.

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish. My mission is creating better conversations that spread understanding and compasion.

So, as a human here finding connections, that’s a breadcrumb from 8 years ago hinting at the path I took to today. Awesome.

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Entry points

When I began trying to understand how a Slipbox would work for me, I think I was most stuck on the idea of entry points: Where and how would I find myself going “into” the Slipbox?

Turns out, I’m “in” the Slipbox a lot simply because I’m often adding things to it. So of course I run into other slips and ideas inside the Slipbox.

But I’ve had a lingering concern: What happens when I want to locate something in particular within the Slipbox?

All the instructions and guidance I see caution one to not try to structure the Slipbox from the beginning; cautions against trying to incept the perfect categorization of all the stuff you don’t yet realize you are going to want to add… They are correct; that way madness lies. And so I set off creating top-level slips.

But still that lingering concern: What happens when I want to locate something in particular within the Slipbox?

And so I’m stealing a trick from the even-older-than-Slipboxes/Zettelkastën methods of creating commonplace books: How to create an index on physical media (journals, blank books, or little paper cards going into a Slipbox!)

slip 4c is “Slipbox indices”
slip 4c1 is “people by last name”

Here I’m hacking the Slipbox addressing system. Yes, I’m leaving room for a later 4c2 that could be another index, by topic. But mostly, I’m making sure that the slips under 4c1 can then be letters— 4c1a, 4c1b, 4c1c and so on.

And here’s the hack from commonplace books: To Build an index that doesn’t get out of hand, take the first letter and the next letter which is a vowel.

Constantine > “co”
Washington > “wa”

Easy. But the following are not under “an” …

Anka > “aa”
Antisthenes > “ai”

And…

Armstrong > “ao”
Curie > “cu”
Einstein > “ei”
Epictetus > “ei”
Gracián > “ga”
Irvine > “ii”
Twain > “ta”

And so on.

If you’re wondering, that means there could be 26×6 slips in this index. (a-z gives 26 first characters, times a, e, i, o, u, y gives 6 second characters.) But in reality I’ve reached about 40 slips and I’ve not had to add another for a while now.

What’s on each slip? Just references to other slips in the Slipbox…

4c1wa has
Ward, William A — pj4.28
Wayne, John — 4a7
Ward, Bryan — 4b21
Washington, George — 4a19

It’s not sorted. It’s simply in the order I added those names. If the card overflows, I’ll add an identically addressed 4c1wa since the items on those two 4c1wa cards aren’t in any particular order.

What? Is it worth it? …yes. I’ve already gone in to add a person, only to discover they are already in the Slipbox somewhere completely different and that’s a connection I hadn’t noticed before…

BOOM! There’s the other part of the Slipbox I wondered about: How is this thing going to make new things fall out of my thinking.

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Questions

The main difference between innovators and the rest of us is that innovators ask more and better questions “and they are more driven to find answers and embrace them, even if the answers are first not what they wanted or expected to find,” Lang writes. “They have less in common with Einstein, frankly, than with young children.”

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2013/12/7-innovation-myths/

It’s common to talk about, (write about, read about,) how questions are the key to pretty much everything. But, I agree with this article. It’s not just about the questions, it’s about the curiosity, drive, tenacity, and possession to find answers to the questions. What makes someone an innovator, a rising star, is their ability—or if they’re really exceptional, their affliction of being unable to stop searching for the answers—to dig and dig and dig and learn and learn and learn. For innovators, all the hard work is front-loaded while the part that looks like the innovation is simply the obvious last step.

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Start before you are ready

It’s Einstein’s principle of relativity: all points in the universe are created equal. “There’s no need,” Patricia teaches, “to find the right starting place.”

~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2014/06/principles-of-improv/

After considerable consideration, I remain unsure what to think of, “start before you are ready.” I agree with it, in the sense of one’s needing to avoid the opposite behavior: Never actually starting because one is busy preparing procrastinating. If Pressfield’s admonishment to, “start before you are ready,” gets you around procrastination, terrific!

However, I have a different problem: Taking on too much. At this point in my insanity, I’m desperately trying to insert an emphatic “wait, no, don’t!” in front of any urge to start any project. But my thinking becomes circular. What if all the things I’m doing—which I’m trying to avoid starting… What if all the things I’m doing are actually just me procrastinating. What if there’s some other thing that I do need to “start before I am ready,” but I just don’t see what that is yet?

Are you starting? Are you procrastinating? …how do you tell the difference?

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