How to be less anxious amidst a changing world

Give me raw thought

Stefan Zweig and his drawing board
Wittgenstein and his rabbit-ducks
Ein pelikanartiger Archaeopteryx mit einem Centaur auf Pferdefüßen galoppierend, darüber ein spitzhütiger Kobold mit Spitzenbart

Know thyself

You often hear people say “you need to spend some time alone to learn who you really are”. It always sounds to me like the advice Laertes gets from Polonius:

Grande-Dame mit Blumenhut und Fisch

“You contain multitudes”,

as the Brahman might say.

Le roi (se meurt)

Travelling makes you grow as a person

People commonly say “you grow by traveling”. But you definitely don’t grow physically, so what do they mean? I think you do grow, but not in the way people think that this automatically happens when you set foot in an airport with a ticket to Ibiza. First of all, if you travel, you can choose to either go visit a country and then shut yourself off in a resort (to relax), in which case you are not really traveling. Or you can choose to interact with the locals to some extent. But if you choose the latter, you again find yourself in the predicament of not being perceived as your “true Self”. You have left your old relations and relationships behind you and with them your old Self. The new community, however, has its own thoughts about you upon arrival: they may quickly decide to fetishize you in some way (because you are a rarity) or demonize you (because you are a threat), or both together. Your exterior/your demeanor/ your provenance, the more tangible things about you, in the first moment trump whatever fancy Self you have constructed for yourself. Suddenly, you are confronted with a new version of you, and if you start to think about it, you may realize all the things you previously took for granted. You thought you’re this particular fixed Self, within a playground that you thought was the world.

“Grünbart” Castro mit Militärkappe und Paradiesvogel

Be more conscious of yourself

People often tell you to be more aware of yourself, reflect more, and you will solve all your problems, be more considerate of Others, etc. First, one needs to realize the difference between “consciousness “ and “self-consciousness”. When I am at full consciousness, I can perceive my surroundings, the sensory stimuli impinging upon my receptors.

Escher’s snakes
L’infante défunte (Ravel)

Fixing the odds

Imagine yourself as a gardener. You work hard all day to get the weeds under control, plant trees, plant flowers, plant vegetables, in the hope that it will all one day flower and bloom in a cornucopia of colors and tastes.

Moka és a csillag a kertben

The more you learn, the better

Turning a decade older is a good time to reflect upon all the useless things learned. The problem, of course, is you don’t know what you might need, and you don’t know what you don’t know, so learning more stuff in school is better, no?


Go back to the old ways

In the future (aka San Francisco), you increasingly perceive a tendency to reject technology and go back to the way things used to be. Not just there, but there especially, among the very denizens of the data-powered, app-controlled future. It’s almost like the more you gaze into the crystal ball, the more atavistic you become (e.g. Burning Man).

Dr. Bagoly



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Engineer & Neuroscientist. Exploring the machinery that keeps the simulation going🤖🧠🌍