Saturday, September 17, 2011

Love and Happiness Through The Looking Glass

This journal entry is for anyone on the outside looking in.
I have recently become on the inside looking out.

The Choice
Something I did not truly internalize until recently in life:
Love and Happiness are CHOICES.
They are internal choices and not external situations.

The absolute definitions for Love and Happiness are defined by the self.
Nobody but you can tell you that your definition is wrong.

You can not control the weather, but you CAN control you.
You CAN control what you DO and how you FEEL when it rains.
And you can CHOOSE to be happy during the worst of thunderstorms.

Like Happiness, Love is a choice.
It is NOT a stroke of luck or a spell that is cast upon you by another.
When you are in love with somebody, it is because YOU are CHOOSING to Love.

That Love will serve you well as long as your accomplice is also a willing participant who CHOOSES to love you back. If there is such a thing as a soul-mate, then your true soul-mate will love you back.

Equilibrium Between The External and Internal
There are limits to how much our interactions can achieve and how much we can alter own way of thinking.

We have standards for Love and Happiness.
We can’t just love anything that comes our way or be happy about any situation that arises.
But the fact is that Love and Happiness are powerful universal NEEDS,
and life becomes easier when we prioritize those needs over our limitations.
"The happiest people are either very lucky or very flexible in their criteria for happiness."
-Matthew Y. Wong, Ph.D.
So our challenge in life is to find that equilibrium between how much we can change the world around us and how much we can change ourselves.

Unconditional Love and Happiness
Marriage is a promise to love, unconditionally.

The breakthrough that occurs in the transition from “Dating” to “Marriage” is the commitment to make the Relationship more important than the self as if it were... a third self.

There might be such a thing as a promise to be happy, unconditionally.
Perhaps this is the original promise that one can make to their first self.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Redefining "Religion"

The Awareness Problem
They say that in any organization/tribe/civilization, approximately 95% of the decision-making power is held by 5% of the people.  Empirical evidence suggests that relationships are a stronger factor in decision-making than actual correctness.

This happens partially because we are genetically hard-wired to seek approval as a form of motivation.  That, combined with the fact that one person can not effectively process more than a person's worth of information causes our minds to think in terms of specialization.  We delegate the processing of "surplus" information to others in order to preserve precious attention bandwidth.

Delegating Awareness
This cycle of converting information into decisions is the dominant pattern of how humans deal with the unknown.  We leverage trust as the commodity that allows us to trade certainty for peace of mind.
"I do not know the answer, but I know somebody that does..."
We are genetically hard-wired to trust.  This is not going to change anytime, soon.  From the moment we are born, we want to trust and derive pleasure from being able to trust.

Giving Form to the Unknown
Religion is our personal relationship with the unknown.
"I do not know the answer, but I know that there is an answer..."
It may manifest as an anthropomorphized deity representing "the trusted one", or it may simply manifest as avid Atheism and dedication to science.  Whatever form it takes, religion is essentially our personal compass that gives us a working mental model that we trust for making optimal decisions with the subset of information available to us.

Faith in Truth Outside the Self
We can not fight the fact that relationships are a more sustainable mechanism for decision-making than correctness.  The human brain is optimized for operations within a social structure.  Being correct consumes more mental energy than maintaining relationships.  Relationships offer a promise of stability in a world where truths can either be unstable, lost in translation, or ineffectual; one's relationship to truth is more stable than actual truths due to the degree of control we are afforded over that relationship.  In other words, it is much easier for our human brains to manage a relationship with truth than it is for brains to manage the overwhelming volume of unprocessed raw facts.

Religion is our relationship with everything outside of the self.
We want to trust our mental model of how things work, and some of us may even go so far as to engage in "faith"... trading certainty for peace of mind so that every possible question that could ever exist has a sense of closure that is intrinsic to the mental model we choose.  Instead of truth, we appoint a method that represents that truth.

The Code We Live By
Religion is the algorithm by which we program our brains to deal with uncertainty.  When established recipes for verbs become insufficient, we synthesize new plans by running available data through established algorithms... written either by the self or by another.

The personal Code we live by exists because we have an identity that requires an interface between the self and the non-self.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Triangular Theory of Friendship

Inspired by the Triangular Theory of Love

Friendships often begin as kinship. But then... marriages can happen, cities might change, babies might get born, and lives become different in ways that alter the common grounds that hold many friendships together.

Availability may not come naturally when the commonality is lost. Sometimes, you choose to make the time for a friend that otherwise has no place in your life.

Vulnerability can be the hardest thing to expose. The choice to be a friend and the choice to stay a friend begins and ends with this.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Tungsten-Carbide Alloy

By itself, single-element metals are highly malleable because the molecules of the metal are uniform in size, and this gives adjacent molecules room to move as each molecule acts like a ball joint to its neighbors.

Alloys are created by infusing a large-molecule metal with another element that has a much smaller molecule. The smaller molecules fill in the empty spaces between the large molecules, thereby making the metal seem more solid as the large molecules are fastened into place by the tight packing of small molecules in between the large molecules. Within an alloy mix, the same amount of space can contain more matter because previously unused space is now efficiently filled by smaller molecules.

Density increases.  The two elements will inevitably occupy a space that is less than the space occupied by each element separately.

The heavy metal can be quite formidable by itself, but as an alloy, it can become more effective at achieving goals while maintaining a desired equilibrium.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Detecting and Moving Duplicate Files with Perl

I had used iTunes the wrong way, and it auto-generated numerous duplicate copies of my music files within my music folders (song.m4a, song 1.m4a, song 2.m4a, etc...).  Manually deleting those files would have been extremely tedious as the duplicates were spread out across multiple nested folders within my Music directory.

I decided to teach myself Perl this weekend.
My goal was not really to master Perl as much as it was to solve this very specific problem I had created for myself.

Perl is... interesting, to say the least.
If coding wars happened ONLY on battlegrounds of string and file manipulations
... and success was measured ONLY by the number of verbs per keystroke
... then Perl would be far superior to C++.

The program I wrote to move all duplicated files out into another folder for manual deletion lives here:

I wrote a second program to move non-mp3 files (*.wma and *.m4a) if an mp3 with matching filename was found:

Today, I also learned that servers do not like it when you post files with a .pl extension.

Special thanks goes out to the internet Perl community... Who taught me how to program in Perl without the need for any book purchases.

I used Strawberry Perl... because strawberries are pretty.