Birding

Bird watching is a peaceful place.

I enjoy the variety of flying colors, the sounds, the squabbles, and if you watch long enough, you’ll see a symphony of movement unfold. My local favorites are the goldfinch and blue jay. Birding is a simple pleasure, but that’s the point, eh. Quiet appreciation for the small things invites us to settle into each moment.

The world is wild and endless distractions make us feel frantic when there’s so much to do. Birding, or appreciating whatever the understated beauty may be, can help us stay centered. As this layer of mindfulness becomes part of your practice, it gets easier to slow things down just enough to ensure we don’t miss life along the way.

Replicants

A friendly futurist and DAO developer within our web3dsm community shared this Ray Kurzweil interview that triggered my continued curiosity toward our neon future.

One tangent they take is interacting with replicants. There’s no single definition for what a replicant might be, but I imagine my replicant to be an artificially intelligent, bioengineered entity that has consciousness rooted in the human (or machine) it originated from. This humanoid would index everything I ever created, map the complexity of my network, understand the difference between internalized vs. externalized thoughts, have empathy for how I matured over time, and gain contextual insight from storytelling to form a foundational identity. This identity would support an operating system with core characteristics, essential rules, and different permission levels to guide autonomous growth.

With seemingly limitless advances in technology, interactions with different versions of our past and future self seem inevitable. We’re already speaking to holocaust surviving holograms, watching monkeys play video games with their brain, growing synthetic realities, and experimenting with nanorobotics. As the bandwidth of technology reaches escape velocity, what’s stopping us from pressing the record button to store every angle from every moment? At that speed, how can the linear evolution of humanity’s intelligence fuse with the exponential trajectory of machine learning? Even when it’s possible, do humans want to extend our lifespan?

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Days feel long, but years fly by.

There are more questions to ask and variables to consider, but as we think about futuristic interactions, how might we reconsider the way we spend our time? Would you live your life differently knowing future generations may interact with your own replicant? I have to think our thoughts and actions would be less careless with such a forward-focused mindset. It would also seem that staying in the moment would be more natural when every byte counts.

With a future that gives humans an opportunity to merge with machines, let’s avoid the numbness of endless distractions as we collectively consider ways to transcend time with purpose.

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“…if tomorrow I wake up and I’m sixty years old,I hope when I look in the mirror and ask have you lived,I look right back and say, “shiiit, you tell me!” -Machine Gun Kelly

Feng Shui

Welcoming the unpredictable forces of life, provides ease and creates space for energizing adaptation. Peace awaits those who appreciate all that is, without worrying so much about all that is not. That said, we know this doesn’t mean everything just falls into place. It takes initiative, consistency, awareness, and sacrifice to find your own version of equanimity.

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It’s not a rainy day. It’s free water.

As I felt the warm wind of this sunset cruise on a glass lake, Kid Cudi mentioned feng shui and got me thinking about this week’s writing. Similar to how one may setup the space of a home to harmonize with nature, we can connect elements of our own career portfolio to feel the universal benefits of feng shui.

The places you visit, the people you’re with, and the art you generously create all connect through you. Over a lifetime, you become an environment for others, and this becomes your legacy. If there’s passion, diversity, intellectual humility, and overall harmony within your environment, your impact on the universe can be serendipitous and my hope is that the way you spend your time, will add up in the end.

Bloop

Imagine yourself as a circle.

It’s tempting to suggest a sphere, but the added dimension is not necessary for this metaphor. Alright, with your circular self, take a tiny portion of the arc and “bloop”… push it beyond the circle’s circumference. Even the smallest nudge gives the entire circle space to expand.

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I had fun making all sorts of sounds as I considered the title for this reflection, but I’d love to hear how you’d describe the sound of such an expansion. Also, since I had to look up the terms to ensure this metaphor was translated correctly, here are the parts of a circle.

There’s plenty of research behind the idea of small improvements adding up. As we hear from inspired speakers and read about in Atomic Habits by James Clear, if you get one percent better each day, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the end of a year. It’s hard to define “better” and such steady progress would surely require sacrifice, but most will agree that small choices don’t make much of a difference, until they add up.

While establishing systems that support good habits and compiled improvements are great, this reflection is more about welcoming singular moments of exploration and growth, even when it seems unrelated, weird, or insignificant.

Perhaps it’s trying something new without preconceptions, saying yes when no is status quo, or being the initiator when movement is seen as risk? As we poke the box and invite a bit more bloop in our life, we give ourselves an opportunity to grow as our own circles expand.

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To thank those who have enjoyed brewing on these Roasted Reflections every week for almost two years AND to say hello to some new friends, here’s a free gift just for fun!

Winding Whys

Asking “why” seems to be innate.

As soon as kids learn to speak, the inquisitions begin. The first few whys may emerge from innocent curiosity, but it’s easy to tell when the game is underway.

It’s easy to see how endless whys may lead to frustration (especially when it’s bed time, eh), but I’ve found joy in making these winding whys into a fun challenge for myself. Instead of shutting things down, I enjoy trying to quickly answer every why with an accurate answer. Can I mindfully outlast the youngster’s attention span? What fun!

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I’ve enjoyed winding whys many times, but “Dad, why do you love me?” gave me pause. I found myself feeling appreciative as I tried to coalesce endless reasons into one answer.

As I poked around, it felt trite to reflect on how humans have so many whys we can not answer. Instead of going down the paradoxical path or leaning into understanding our own whys, I found the Five whys interesting.

Developed by system thinkers inside Toyota back in the 1980’s, this iterative Five whys technique was used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. When following 14 specific rules, after exactly five whys, the last answer often points to a process that is not working well or does not exist. This rigid technique has critics and would seemingly lead to shortsighted interpretations, but it was fun learning about this historic use of why. Knowing the value of complexity vs. simplification, as well as, so many other methods like active listening, Socratic questioning, casual diagrams, storytelling, inverse charisma, and pure wonder, the Five whys may not answer all the winding whys of our world, but perhaps it’s another tactic to throw in the mix.

Why not?