Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

Great having you @grundomatic and thanks for the write up.

To add to your point that my role as founder is real but not dominant, once or twice I’ve been unexpectedly absent due to finding myself in a location without internet when I thought it would, unable to even send a “sorry I’m not going to be able to make it” message. The group just carried on and had a solid meeting without me, with one member spontaneously stepping up and doing the very minimal facilitation I usually do. Or so they tell me, I wasn’t there. :P

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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

Link to my write up on our last call, which was my deep dive on my Skillathon project design:

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I was on the hot seat for the MM call yesterday. Initially I planned to focus on a documentary project I've discussed in my journal. I was hoping to get a little feedback on technical aspects of video editing, as well as feedback on the general approach to a project like this now that I have more free time.

Over the fall of 2023 I interviewed my parents about their experience growing up in the midwest and Europe, meeting in a hostel in Europe, their courtship, raising my sisters in an English cottage, traveling across the states in a VW bus, and ultimately moving to the US to build a log cabin and start a homestead. In addition to the interview footage, I have a couple hundred photos that my mom took from the late 60's through the early 80's documenting some of this. The plan is to layer the interviews on top of the photos, in a Ken Burns style documentary, to tell their story. I partially crafted the questions based on the old photos, with a particular vision for the film.

I've been out of work for almost two months now, and my initial plan was to relax and decompress in Thailand for a month, then find a monthly rental in Vietnam to start working on the film. After arriving in Vietnam, I immediately signed up for a monthly gym membership and have been resumed my lifting routine (push/pull/legs&abs) in the mornings about six days per week. Late mornings are usually spent drinking coffee and analog journaling, reading, video calls with family, and hanging out on the internet. DW and I enjoy a delicious and decadent lunch that lasts an hour or two, then I nap or read or watch a show. We have another delicious dinner and a long walk on the beach after the sun is down before winding down with a movie or more reading in the evening. Occasionally we switch things up with a museum, a day on the beach, or something like that. All this is to say that the days have felt full with a lot of simple pleasures; and I haven't felt particularly compelled to start working on editing the documentary.

In fact, someone pointed out that I used the term "force myself" to work on this a couple times as I was describing the project and my current headspace. After confirming that there is no real deadline for the project, and no real expectations for it, I should take things at my own speed. It hasn't been much time since I finished working, and taking additional time to enjoy my immediate environment is healthy.

However, I also pointed out that this is a pattern that played out in my professional and personal life. Procrastination tied to perfectionism. Based on feedback from the call, I'll be sitting with reflections on how I react to sucking at new tasks/skills.

We talked a bit about how sometimes simply starting small leads to a lot of momentum, so I want to make a commitment to start on some aspect of the editing process in the next month or so. I didn't mention it, but I also felt the same prior to the filming process, and simply sitting down and drafting questions was quite helpful, followed by an initial interview. After the call, I thought about some organizational tasks that sound quite interesting in which I'd be creating a digital storyboard tying the interviews and photos together.

We also talked about another project on my plate, which I'm actually more excited about at the moment. This involves a focus on anatomy and muscular imbalances. I've got some postural issues that I've neglected for a while, likely exacerbated by my time as a desk jockey. This is something DW and I can focus on together.

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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by daylen »

Posted this in our signal chat after the meet and thought the forum scene might enjoy.

Anatomy and physiology from a systems theoretic perspective:

The body is a collection of cells that replicate and differentiate towards an anatomical attractor or body plan. Each cell is aware of how they fit into this plan. If a cell senses that it is misaligned with the plan then it will communicate this by sending distress signals to nearby cells.

These stress signals propagate through the nervous system converging onto a general discomfort/anxiety level. Self-reflection on this discomfort may perturb the body into alternative routines that disrupt how cells are locally configured. This can be thought of literally as local state transitions from cell solids to cell liquids due to a moderate increase in temperature. Cells are inherently semi-solids / semi-liquids.

The space of possible actions or routines the body can engage in is large. This makes it quite easy to neglect various parts of this space (e.g. shoulder exercises). A small amount of neglect can spiral over several months or years to become severe neglect and even permanent disconfiguration likely accompanied by chronic pain.

On the flip side, staying active across this entire space with a wide range of activities can prolong the active arc of the body over decades.

Different types of cells can exist at different locations along the solid-fluid spectrum. Bone-like cells are more solid and thus have more of a crystalline or rigid structure for gripping neighbors. Muscle cells are like parallel strings or strands that can become entangled or knotted from repetitive movement thus being more fluid-like.

Some simple medical treatments like alternating between hot and cold can be explained from this perspective as triggering locally distressed cells to reconfigure into a lower energy state which is by definition towards the anatomical attractor AKA body plan. Hot cells get confused by all the signaling going on and so may act chaotically. Cold cells get more reliable signalling while settling into place. Alternation of hot and cold is effectively how the body searches for alternate states.

With aging various signalling failures can occur. Cancerous cells for instance mutate to forget they are part of a body. Resulting in them replicating uncontrollably because that's what single-celled organisms do. Other failures include little cellular tribes that are locally confused about their role in the body leading to perpetual misalignment. This is inevitable due to the increased entropy of the body with time from iterated failure to correct compounding mistakes. Only to be corrected by some equally sophisticated system other than the body to intervene.

Not that simple but an interesting perspective to explore. Especially alongside systems theory. Open questions being what does the phase diagram of the body look like and how do body states evolve with age? What are some key dimensions along which cells differentiate? To what extent are cells aware of their neighbors and the current body state as a whole? How much cell signalling is going on anyway and what is the exact relationship to temperature? How does metabolism fit into the picture? Are cold blooded animals more prone to misalignment? Can excessive activity lead to permanent misalignment? Do regular massages help with long term alignment? Etc etc

Also worth noting that cells are continuously being replaced through replication. Though some kinda of cells cannot be replaced like in the heart.

Another note being a certain degree of muscular tone is required to support body postures that align more closely to the ideal body plan. The required amount scales with mass. So elephants require relatively more muscle to maintain bodily posture than a mouse. More massive bodies are also at more risk of injury.

Imbalances of muscle tone throughout the body can also result in more injuries. Especially in the context of competitive sports that may incentivise less common actions.

This perspective can smoothly transition into cooking where cells have lost their electrical charge or membrane potential (i.e. death). Without which they cannot signal distress or navigate towards a body attractor. Heat then serves to break cellular walls and cohesion leading to various suspensions of proteins and browning reactions.

Exercise or activity cycles for the musculoskeletal are akin to psychedelic or cross-paradigm cycles for the brain.

Useful metaphor for both being annealing in metalworking where stresses in the metal are minimized through rapid cooling after a high energy shaping. Changing your mind is difficult because it is hard to get the brain up to "temperature" or "chaos" for long enough to re-anneal into an alternative configuration or world view.

In other words, stresses and their responses are difficult to forget and significantly influence how we experience and act in the world.

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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by Quadalupe »


In two weeks we start with iteration 7 (!!) of our MMG. We had a good meeting today to discuss if and what we wanted to change.

Some changes in our mastermind group:
  • Introducing a scribe role: someone will do a (rough) writeup of our talks to share on the forums. This way, we prevent darknetting and everyone can forever profit from our great insights (ahem). Quadalupe will be the scribe for now, except when it's their turn to do a deep dive.
  • Reinstate accountability for who wants it: Group members want various levels of accountability for their goals and mastermind group projects.
    We discussed and picked two options (for now):
    • We created a sheet where members can record what they have worked on and want to work on next fortnight.
    • Certain members will get pinged/harrassed/texted by other members to check in with them and keep them accountable.
    We also wanted to keep the MMG a fun and safe space. A second order effect we DON'T want is to put to much pressure on people so that they'll only pick easy goals or disengage from the group. Accountability is a tool, not a goal in itself.
  • Bookclub on the forum: We want to sometimes read books and discuss them, but will experiment with having those discussions on the forum instead of in a meeting. This can lead to more insights and more people can benefit from them.
  • Some deep dives or special sessions can be ERE theory crafting: since we are all ERE nerds, we sometimes want to talk and experiment more with some concepts like WoGs, fishbones and other things we haven't thought of. Doing this interactively, with paint, paper and powerpoint can help to gain more clarity. The results can be shared on the forum.

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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by grundomatic »

Quadalupe wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2024 10:42 am
[*]Bookclub on the forum: We want to sometimes read books and discuss them, but will experiment with having those discussions on the forum instead of in a meeting. This can lead to more insights and more people can benefit from them.
Our MMG decided to take something of a summer break, and some of us decided to do a book club in the meantime, reading Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, planning to discuss it sometime in July. I don't know whether they would want to move it to the forum for text-based discussion, but maybe some of you would like to join us? Maybe we can open it up for others on the forum to join us like I did for the Spiral Dynamics book discussion?

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