of good, the commoner, the better

“I thinke it sufficient for any, whom reason may satisfie, by way of answeare to alleage this action and sententious position: Bonum, quo communius, eo melius et præstantius: a good thing the more common it is, the better it is.” -Dodoens, tr. Henry Lyte



Happiness comes in small doses

I’ve been wanting to write about stand up for awhile, because I’ve been watching or listening to a great deal of it. Humor is such an interesting type of communication. My bestie recently loaned me Mathematics and Humor: A Study of the Logic of Humor
by John Allen Paulos, which turned out to have quite a few of my favorite math theorems in it. A delightful read.

I’m not trying to be an ad for Netflix, but they have a ton of stand up, and they keep releasing more of it. This year has had a lot of awesome new specials. I’d like to rewatch and figure out which ones were my favorites. I’ve noticed that the stand up has gone international. There are stand up routines in other languages, bilingual, or even multilingual. For example, Aditi Mittal’s Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say, is in English, but she mixes in her native language. I have found a lot of the international stand up to be very valuable experiences.

I like intellectual comedy. I like to be shocked by comedy. I like a nice bit of sardonic wit. I don’t mind vulgarity. The only thing I don’t like is actual meanness. The only comedian I’ve ever just, completely black-listed, is Joan Rivers, because I think she’s mean. Ah, and I also didn’t like that guy who did the terrorist puppet act that was really popular on the Internet for some reason. Other than that, controversial comedians tend to score very well with me.

Which leads me to a joke that I actually went through the trouble of grabbing the screenshots. Angsty goodness.

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Dinner Party Stoicism

Remember that you must behave in life as at a dinner party. Is anything brought around to you? Put out your hand and take your share with moderation. Does it pass by you? Don’t stop it. Is it not yet come? Don’t stretch your desire towards it, but wait till it reaches you. Do this with regard to children, to a wife, to public posts, to riches, and you will eventually be a worthy partner of the feasts of the gods. And if you don’t even take the things which are set before you, but are able even to reject them, then you will not only be a partner at the feasts of the gods, but also of their empire. 

From Enchiridion by Epictetus

Pathless land

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path.


Is the truth pathless? I think truth is a path, but specifically an arbitrary path. We experience it on the level where we are interpreting many arbitrary paths working in tandem with our senses. We build systems of systems of representations in order to handle the stochastic behavior of our environment.  Our mind is equipped with the biological technology required to continuously improve our representational systems with time and experience and adapt to the unexpected.
I do agree that organizations should not be formed to coerce anyone.  However, I think that organizations formed to lead people are unavoidable and I disagree that they shouldn’t be formed. There are, of course, many weaknesses that organizations can experience. Just like people study can psychology and neuroscience to understand themselves, they can study sociology, history, and rhetoric to understand how to diagnose those problems in their organization. But as an organization’s weaknesses are as unavoidable as our cognitive weaknesses, there is benefit of a multiplicity of specialized organizations, because they create diversity in a “pool of truth” that can be used to adapt “guesses at the truth” to the unexpected or to new information.

“Her Path to Divinity” Bryan Kent Ward 


Perspective-making, perspective-taking

[…] consciousness is so much more than an evolutionary accident or epiphenomenal to biochemical processes in our heads — consciousness is, in fact, fundamentally woven into the universe itself. […] What we are saying is that some degree of subjectivity is indeed present all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary ladder, from the tiniest quarks to the biggest brains. This consciousness can be loosely described as a ‘perspective-making, perspective-taking’ system that creates, collects, and organizes deeper, wider, more sophisticated points-of-view as it develops.

Ken Wilber & Allan Combs (2010)