break out of the egg

May 27, 2024

Sorry to keep you waiting, I had some things to sort out.

the egg

For many years, when confronted with a choice of A or B, I exhausted myself engineering worlds in which I could have both. How unnatural these worlds were, and how I failed to notice the energetic cost of maintaining these unstable equilibria. It is as if Sisyphus reached the top of the hill, only to realize his task is unfinished; he must stay there balancing the boulder atop the hill or else he returns to nothing. He can not even rest against the it for it will roll down the other side. Naturally we seek upwards progression - we are all running hill-climbing algorithms. We are so imprisoned by these instructions that knowledge of a higher hill may still fail to stop us from what we are in the midst of.

And so in order to protect myself from rolling down the hill I constructed a barrier. As the years went by I began to forget what lie outside; hunched over kokuyo soft-ring notebooks I searched for infinity within a dotted grid. Thought became habit. Meditation on autopilot. Passage of time indexed by nothing except erosion. It was not until slivers of sunshine broke through the cracks that I realized how I long for warmth.

For months I lie there wondering who built this wall that makes it so hard to see the sun?


You can not stand up to see the sun without letting go of the sculpture you have so delicately balanced atop the hill. When the boulder crashes down the hillside do you try to push it up the hill again? Or do you take a step towards the mountain in the distance - mirage or not?

Uncertainty is simlutaneously the devil and the angel. It is the carrot and the stick. Uncertainty in the world is beauty. Uncertainty in the self is poison. Uncertainty in the world is terror. Uncertainty in the self is opportunity.

the world

I haven’t talked to him about it but I think J balances this perfectly (and he will certainly disagree with me). He doesn’t know where he’ll live in 3 months, but he knows what he’ll be doing – he knows what he wants to be doing. I lack the language to phrase this another way: We are all solving a constrained optimization problem, and you don’t wnat uncertainty in your constraints. Of course personal values change overtime but it’s important you refactor your own code accordingly when that happens. Optimization is the easy part and the natural part; we have been optimized to optimize. The hard part is picking the right constraints. There’s an endless collection of work which teaches how to optimize but very little that teaches how to constrain outside of the ubiquitous engineering maxim: “A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved.”

To embrace uncertainty is to embrace the non-linearity of the world. You are limited by your imagination but the world is not. You can not imagine the beauty of tomorrow’s sunset.

It’s your turn to water the garden.