Note: This is a previous post that I have brought over from my now-deprecated writefreely blog. Although it is written past tense, I feel that it was a useful snapshot what I was up to. We're approaching the new year and for me it's a time of taking stock of the year and committing to making the next better. This is offered up in that spirit.
The Experiment (redundant H1 edition)
I'll skip the lengthy pre-ramble of what others like Robert Anton Wilson, John Lily, and numerous Zen Buddhists have said more simply and with more clarity: I have undertaken an experiment in conscious brain change. Beginner's mind. Exploring alternate reality tunnels. Whatchamacallit.
Since two of the names I dropped above can be associated with psychedelics, let's throw a disclaimer. I'm not writing about psychedelics (though who am I to stop you - you do you). I am actually talking about undertaking an intentional effort to break out of patterns and experience things in different ways, usually things that you would consider mundane. Media. News. Computer use. Routines.
So far it's been helpful, especially for overcoming some of the feelings of stagnation and helplessness that seem to be amplified by 24/7 outrage media + twitter binges.
So far I've uprooted my:
- Means of social media (reddit/twitter to mastodon)
- Means of streaming videos (youtube to peertube)
- Long form writing (tumblr to writefreely… update: now to keybase+hugo, huzzah!)
- Means of utilizing my computer (Linux Variant to FreeBSD - bonus points for tiling window manager)
- Reading lists (numerous changes, but I'm reading outside of SciFi, Tech, and Philosophy)
- News sites (google news to rss feeds of various sources in and outside of the US, both “right” and “left”) - this one is big. Echo chambers be damned.
These are minor cosmetic changes in one sense - I've replaced one thing for another. I've had to adjust to new patterns though, and find different ways to solve problems I considered “solved” - even if that solution was a hackish shortcut intended to be a stopgap. It still has the effect of increasing awareness of details and appreciation of subtleties.
If you're feeling stuck, it's something that might be worth trying. Shake things up a bit. You'll probably get a new perspective or new way of looking at an old one. Either way, you win.