Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

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rref
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by rref »

jacob wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 7:23 am
As such, we're more like the theoretical physics department of modern science and a lot less like the traditions of Roman Engineering.
Who is the most recent example of the Roman engineering version of what you are trying to do?

thef0x
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by thef0x »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 8:13 am
But why do you want those things? If part of the price of something is maintaining it, then part of the price of ownership or even use of an item are chores.

Maybe it's just for me, but I think there is a certain pleasure in maintaining the things one uses and a lack of maintenance is a sign that one has extended their scope too far.

These are the kinds of questions I eventually reached when trying to actually have a web of goals and not just arbitrary nodes.
^^ my emphasis

Yeah, I'm not really considering the totality of these wants and the cost of ownership. I guess your question makes me wonder: with everything I own, should I try to have every part of it, even something that at first glance looks like bothersome work, really be aligned with my values? Is it okay to like 80% of ownership of the thing, accepting 20% is tiresome? Should it always look like 100%?

I like having a house but don't want to redo the exterior trim paint. <-- I'm not really accepting / understanding the nature of the ownership of this thing when fighting parts of its constituent structure (maintenance as painting).

So the wider view is to ask: what does ownership of this thing really mean? And how can I find a joy in what I'd initially consider to be a negative (maintenance).

For many items, I really do enjoy the ongoing maintenance (restringing a guitar feels great). I think I need to be a bit more curious about some of the maintenance I dread. In the right lens, it's all valuable progress, homeotelic action.

Lack of maintenance as a marker of overabundance is a super useful idea. More to ponder.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by Jin+Guice »

thef0x wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 11:00 am
I guess your question makes me wonder: with everything I own, should I try to have every part of it, even something that at first glance looks like bothersome work, really be aligned with my values? Is it okay to like 80% of ownership of the thing, accepting 20% is tiresome? Should it always look like 100%?
Now it is getting interesting! I don't have the answers, these are the same problems I'm trying to figure out.

I don't think anyone SHOULD do anything. It has to come from somewhere.

Since we are on the ERE forum, I assume we are trying to reduce costs and the amount of stuff we own and increase skills. So I think maintenance heuristic is useful. I don't think its absolute, but I think it's worth pondering why you don't want to maintain anything that you own or use.

Overlaying "needs of modernity" and initial conditions helps. For example, I don't want to own a car, but I need a car to extract money in the most efficient way possible. I don't want to learn about car maintenance, because I don't like cars. But I need to at least access a car because someone built the modern world to require jobs and put the one that meets all of my other WoG needs across a giant fucking river from where I live. So car maintenance isn't on my list.

The initial conditions of your life may be such that it is really annoying to maintain something or you have to use something you don't really need. This is a loop to be eventually closed, but I wouldn't spend too much effort learning to maintain it if you don't feel compelled to.

Now let's think about something like food. Technically, if you can't forage, hunt or grow your own food AND prepare you own food, you can't really maintain your physical body. But pretty much no one is doing this. Using modernity but keeping costs low, you want to be able to buy food, prepare food and clean up after yourself.

A lot of people find shopping and/ or cooking and/ or dishes tiresome. My question is, do you really not like to cook or is it some weird insecurity/ cultural programming/ no one ever taught you how? If you give me some speech about how you make more money at your job to afford to pay for others to prepare your food because you are an optimizer, I don't really think you've considered that it might be more fun and meaningful to cook for yourself. If you tell me how you tried for six months and just really hate it, I'm more inclined to believe you don't like it.

The more shit that is involved in running a basic human life and not just a modern one that someone tells me they don't want to do, the less I believe them. Insecurity, cultural programming and lack of knowledge are difficult to overcome. One has to be vigilant to not become their slave.

The hallmark of one of these being present is internal conflict or a problem or pattern that recurs or a person who has a problem and argues solutions to that problem in a loop.

Everyone is also interdependent. No one does everything for themselves. If you know you don't like to cook or shop but still need food, the greater capital networks you grow, the greater are your avenues for meeting this need.

jacob
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by jacob »

thef0x wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 11:00 am
Yeah, I'm not really considering the totality of these wants and the cost of ownership. I guess your question makes me wonder: with everything I own, should I try to have every part of it, even something that at first glance looks like bothersome work, really be aligned with my values? Is it okay to like 80% of ownership of the thing, accepting 20% is tiresome? Should it always look like 100%?
You should get your head out of the "optimization"-framework. The optimization itself has a maintenance cost and this cost is too high the closer to the "edge of perfection" you get. In algorithmic trading, almost all agos operate with something called a slop-band. Naively, you might attach a certain value to something, lets say $10, and if the price is less than $10, you buy (go long), and if it's more than $10 you sell (go short). But what if the price hovers just around $10, like $10.02...$9.95 ... $9.97 ... $10.01 ... $9.99 ... Then your dumb algorithm would be spinning its wheels racking up transaction costs. The simple solution is to insert a slop band so you only trade if the price exceeds the value +/- the slop. E.g. if the slop is $0.50, you only sell if the price is >$10.50 .. and only buy at price>$9.50.

The slop does not need to be symmetric.

You can apply this to time or energy cost as well. You don't quit a job that's "acceptable" just because you have had a bad day or a bad hour which makes it slightly "unacceptable". Instead slop makes it so you only quit if the job is "acceptable - slop = bad+ ... and likewise you only take a job if is is "acceptable + slop = good".

Apply the same method to ownership. Enter slowly. Exit slowly. Try to make all changes reversible. Try to change as few things as possible at the same time.

black_son_of_gray
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by black_son_of_gray »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 8:13 am
Maybe it's just for me, but I think there is a certain pleasure in maintaining the things one uses and a lack of maintenance is a sign that one has extended their scope too far.

These are the kinds of questions I eventually reached when trying to actually have a web of goals and not just arbitrary nodes.
Yeah, the way I might describe my own "pleasure in maintaining" would be something along the lines of "stewardship", defined as "the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care."

So the thinking becomes, "maybe I don't want to have to have a car, but since I do have one, what way of "taking care of it" makes the most sense for me? Having scheduled maintenance performed by a mechanic because I hate tinkering under the hood is still much more in line with my beliefs/goals than say, never changing the oil and having an otherwise perfectly fine motor seize up and be unusable to anyone after only a few years."

To that end, lack of maintenance would seem to indicate: a system with too many components (that I don't really have an balanced relationship with); or, a lack of systems-perspective about the components in my system (that is, I'm thinking too much about me being the main consideration at the heart of every decision rather than a more complete view of each component's needs/lifecycle)

thef0x
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Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Post by thef0x »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 1:07 pm
I think it's worth pondering why you don't want to maintain anything that you own or use.
This might be an overshare but I think this comes from fear of becoming grumpy/scary/joyless like my dad was growing up. I hated it; he'd choose a perfectly manicured lawn over time with my siblings and I. Part of his generation, I guess. Picking a lawn over family.

I've reacted in my life extremely strongly against those behaviors. Simultaneously, I notice myself coping with hardship through similar mechanisms. It scares the shit out of me.

^^ Peeling the onion.
The more shit that is involved in running a basic human life and not just a modern one that someone tells me they don't want to do, the less I believe them. Insecurity, cultural programming and lack of knowledge are difficult to overcome. One has to be vigilant to not become their slave.
Furthering this point, I find meeting my basic needs to be some of the most delicious activities in my life. Cooking, eating, bathing, exercise, sex.. all so visceral and real. I love getting in my head, galaxybrain style too. But the feeling of cool sheets after a full day and hard exercise is so so good.

Our culture pushes us to outsource those behaviors via time=money rationalizing and I'm absolutely guilty of it myself in many ways. But it pushes us away from the core, animalistic aspects of our being. Drinking when you're really, really thirsty (like you cannot stop thinking about water thirsty).. it's hard to describe how relieving, satisfying, and good that feels.

I like the quiet vividness of satisfying those core needs.
Everyone is also interdependent. No one does everything for themselves. If you know you don't like to cook or shop but still need food, the greater capital networks you grow, the greater are your avenues for meeting this need.
I suppose this is where I see myself drifting specifically with the needs of modernity. I am at a strange inflection point where I can have a lot of the 'toys', but I'm looking around the room as I write this surrounded by guilt-shaped excess -- even if comparably small by other's standards.

This is where I wonder if there's an operating principle behind "limiting storage" to limit excess, e.g. you can only have so much shit. That idea of unused items creating drag feels to describe me well. Yet.. looking at the homebrew equipment sitting there, I feel that twang of fear of missing out, thinking at some point I'll make cider to reduce summer BBQ CapEx (insert w/e rationalization here).
jacob wrote:
Wed May 15, 2024 1:36 pm
You should get your head out of the "optimization"-framework. The optimization itself has a maintenance cost and this cost is too high the closer to the "edge of perfection" you get.
It's weird to admit I've internalized this principle in business but really have not taken it to heart in my personal life. Maybe I just hit burnout in business and had to create slack or else kaboom. Working with people (staff) immediately demands a slop-band .. yet that same all-too-human slack isn't easily granted to myself. I guess it's not exactly an uncommon occurrence to be hardest on yourself.
You can apply this to time or energy cost as well. You don't quit a job that's "acceptable" just because you have had a bad day or a bad hour which makes it slightly "unacceptable". Instead slop makes it so you only quit if the job is "acceptable - slop = bad+ ... and likewise you only take a job if is is "acceptable + slop = good".

Apply the same method to ownership. Enter slowly. Exit slowly. Try to make all changes reversible. Try to change as few things as possible at the same time.
Useful in a practical sense, thanks. Quantifying slack across other currencies / personal capital sounds challenging (esp compared to money) but those intuitions are what I'm trying to develop these days.

To your point, too rigid of a structure lends itself to fragility; better to build a body that can absorb a few blows and shake them off.

This has been a really fun, interesting conversation. Thank you both. Way better than redoing the paint on my exterior windows.

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