"You must remember that anyone under 30 — especially a ballplayer — is an adolescent,” he once told me. “I never got close to being an adult until I was 32. Even though I was married and had a son at 20, I was a kid at 32, living at home with my parents. Sure, I was a manager then. That doesn’t mean you’re grown up.
You know all those TV shows and movies and anime where the guy and girl never say what they feel and this drags on to the point of insanity and you’re like “JUST TELL IT ALREADY DAMMIT!!”? Turns out that pointless, annoying dilly-dallying is actually beneficial to the success of the relationship.
This research qualifies a social psychological truism: that people like others who like them (the reciprocity principle). College women viewed the Facebook profiles of four male students who had previously seen their profiles. They were told that the men (a) liked them a lot, (b) liked them only an average amount, or (c) liked them either a lot or an average amount (uncertain condition). Comparison of the first two conditions yielded results consistent with the reciprocity principle. Participants were more attracted to men who liked them a lot than to men who liked them an average amount Results for the uncertain condition, however, were consistent with research on the pleasures of uncertainty. Participants in the uncertain condition were most attracted to the men—even more attracted than were participants who were told that the men liked them a lot. Uncertain participants reported thinking about the men the most, and this increased their attraction toward the men.
So next time you fall in love, don’t tell them right away. Tease them with your uncertainty till they (and all who observe) end up in a mental asylum ‘cause apparently that’s how humans work (doing this increases the time the target thinks of you leading to higher chances of a favorable response). Marlon Brando employed this strategy in his life and he was quoted approaching friendships as a spider tackles its prey; he moves closer, pulls back after a while and then moves closer again thus slowly weaving his target into his web.
The whole process, to me, is very convoluted but knowing the reason for why this strategy seems successful makes it a bit more palatable. If I have to give an anology, this strategy of maintaining ucertainty is like a dance and dance is way more harder and absolutely pointless when the goal is simply to move from point A(strangers) to point B(relationship) when compared to just walking straight from A to B. Yet dance is undeniably more memorable and interesting than just marching from point A to point B. Guess it’s the same deal here, when it comes to human relationships the memorable and more interesting “uncertainty” approach has a higher success rate than the straighforward approach.
(Of course, the rich and the famous and the beautiful have no need for these convoluted strategies, these are mainly for normies like you and me.)
"No one knows exactly why yawning is contagious, although many theories have been posited — including the idea that yawning cools the brain and increases alertness, helping entire groups to become vigilant if one individual yawns."
"Genius is an African who dreams up snow."
In 1980, 16 shipwrecked Danish fishermen were hauled to safety after an hour and a half in the frigid North Sea. They then walked across the deck of the rescue ship, stepped below for a hot drink, and dropped dead, all 16 of them.
The whole piece is chock-full of thrilling goodness.
This why I’m still single, I don’t find this list of demands Einstein made to Mileva, his wife of 11 years, outrageous at all when plenty of others have already slit their throats in rage. See for yourself:
- You will make sure:
- that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
- that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
- that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
- You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, You will forego:
- my sitting at home with you;
- my going out or travelling with you.
- You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
- you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
- you will stop talking to me if I request it;
- you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
- You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.
So basically the list can be summed up as “keep my things clean, don’t disturb me and don’t belittle me”. Seems perfectly fine to me, but a lot of people out there are calling Einstein a demon as horrific as Hitler. I don’t get that.
What happened after “the list”? Mileva and Einstein divorced 5 years later and Einstein went on to marry his cousin Elsa Einstein and lived happily for 17 years until her death in 1936 from heart and kidney complications at age 60.
No idea if he had a list for her too, but going by this…
Elsa spent most of her marriage with Albert acting as gatekeeper, protecting him from unwelcome visitors and charlatans.
… seems like she didn’t need a list to take care of her talented “Albertle”. Their wavelengths already matched making a list of demands unnecessary, I think. What happened to Mileva? The poor woman died from depression, right? Not really. She lived ostentatiously with three large houses she bought from the alimony she got from Einstein.
Einstein’s tastes here seem to match my own; I prefer to marry a motherly figure like Elsa who’ll take care of me and provide me a quiet life focused around my work, than an uppity “little girl in a grown woman’s body” like Mileva who wants showers of attention and social life and dance parties and lipsticks and hats and frocks and laces and shoes with heels and tattoos and servants and butlers and houses and jewels and cars and the right to belittle me in front of friends and family and all of the rest of that jazz.
See, like Einstein I like to be maintained, not maintain. Unfortunately for me, that’s about the only similarity I share with the timeless genius so my fate is a foregone conclusion.
"If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm."
"Digital technology is programmed. This makes it biased toward those with the capacity to write the code. In a digital age, we must learn how to make the software, or risk becoming the software. It is not too difficult or too late to learn the code behind the things we use—or at least to understand that there is code behind their interfaces. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of those who do the programming, the people paying them, or even the technology itself."
We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.
—Lydia Davis, “Affinity”
"Power is no longer measured in land, labour, or capital, but by access to information and the means to disseminate it… Unless we design and implement alternate information structures which transcend and reconfigure the existing ones, other alternate systems and life styles will be no more than products of the existing process. Our species will survive neither by totally rejecting nor unconditionally embracing technology - but by humanizing it; by allowing people access to the informational tools they need to shape and reassert control over their own lives."
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."
… And so I was able to keep my food chilled another night. Today, I checked my solar panels, and found that the charge controller was only sending 2 amps to the batteries, instead of the 4 amps it should be sending. I checked each of the 4 panels, and found that one of them wasn’t working (it’s only outputting 2 volts instead of 19). So, it seems like I have a number of issues. One is that only 75% of my panels are working, and, on top of that, they are outputting far less than they should. It’s also possible that the heat has been causing the fridge to run its compressor more often (or longer), and is therefore using up more power. Also, I’ve been somewhat negligent in keeping my solar panels oriented towards the sun, which also further decreases output. All these factors combined seems to have pushed me to an energy deficit, resulting in two nearly completely discharged batteries. I’d been planning on buying more solar panels anyway, but it looks like I should do that sooner rather than later.
You’d think life would be miserable if you didn’t have basic things like electricity or water. But, to me, it all seems like a really fun game. In the city, people have most of their basic needs fulfilled. Flip a switch, the light goes on. Turn the faucet, you get water. Talk into a phone, pizza comes to your door. Yet, somehow, people are still stressed. While people don’t have to worry about electricity or water, in exchange, they have plenty of other things to worry about. The boss, the client, the landlord, the upstairs neighbor who moves furniture around at 2am, your friend who’s inexplicably mad at you, the cable company who double charged you, the phone company and their shitty service, the waitress at that restaurant you went to for dinner who took too long to bring you your appetizers. A lot of these stresses are caused by the fact that, in the city, you’ve delegated so much of your life, that you’ve given control over your life to complete strangers. You no longer have agency over your destiny, and when something goes wrong, you’re at the mercy of other people; people who actually don’t really care about your problems, even if they’re in a position to do something about it. So, people escape to games. They play Farmville and World of Warcraft for hours and hours, because games give you back your sense of control, and you are rewarded (albeit in virtual points) for the effort you put in. It satisfies the basic human desire to solve problems, to be rewarded for doing so, and feel empowered. It satisfies a desire that, sadly, modern civilization has taken away, for the sake of comfort and convenience.
Arguably, what I’m doing out here is a game too. I’m here because I want to, not because I have to. And, it seems, anything that is fun these days, is dismissed as “entertainment”, a mere distraction, because life isn’t meant to be fun. But, when you think about it, humans, and all animals, are programmed to enjoy life functions that are truly necessary. Eating, drinking, solving problems, getting exercise. These are all fun. It’s everything else that’s not fun. Working in a cubicle. Paying the mortgage. Calling customer service. Dealing with the car mechanic. Waiting in line at the super market. The very things that we associate with modern life, turn out to be not-fun. Up here, all I did was to get rid of all that. And lo, all that remained was stuff that we naturally find pleasurable. Eating cake. Napping under an oak tree. Solving my own problems without getting put on hold by customer service. Seeing my own labor make an immediate tangible difference in my quality of life. So, yes. If that’s a game, then awesome, it’s a game I’d recommend to anyone; the graphics are amazing, it’s pretty damn addictive, and oh, you’ll lose weight and get in shape too.
Fantastic stuff from ex-Google Engineer Ryo Chijiiwa who’s now experimenting with living life as an independent out in the woods of California. He’s documenting each day of his new life over at “Laptop and a Rifle”, right from the day he quit his job at Google all the way back in 2009 till today, with details ranging from the loss of his girlfriend (and later meeting a new girl) to lessons on buying land to keeping animals off his garden. He’s also the guy behind the Chi-qoo solar power kit (Company homepage, kickstarter page from last year) that lets you charge your iPods and iPads with just solar power.
update: Here’s a talk he gave at Google Tokyo last year about his new life as well about the volunteer work he did at Ofunato, among other places, affected by the Tohoku Eqarthquake-Tsunami.