Do you know the feeling when someone tells you something you already know, but you still think it's good to be reminded of it? Because some things you just need to revisit occasionally, because they fade with time. And while you are bustling about your life, things you don't need often are not easily remembered when needed. Then, one just needs a quick reminder to enter that old headspace again. Like programming in a language you haven't used in a year, you know the general workings of the language, but you forget the syntactical subtleties. So I write what I call "code-bases" for these languages that sum up the most used tools. This is my code-base on life. Nothing in here can not be found in another place, but here, you'll get it in the form that I find most useful for myself, and maybe it can help you, too. And since life is hardly ever expressable in code, let's call it "thoughtbase", instead.
My interests revolve largely around freedom, strength of mind and body and philosophy. Philosophy as in how the world works on a fundamental level and how that can explain how we see it, live in it and interact with each other.
Due to these interests I am studying Materials Science, with a focus on the really small things, like Nanotechnology, Quantum Mechanics and Simulation. It is intriguing how the very few basic laws that exist on this scale play out to form the world we see around us, and I find it extremely reassuring to have this most basic frame of understanding of natural laws as a reference by which to judge what's happening around us.
Some years ago I started to interest myself for the enigma of how it is possible to build a machine that is able not only to calculate, but also to illuminate a screen and play sounds in a meaningful way. How is it possible to translate physics into a tool that does virtually everything we ask of it and enables technology that would have gotten ourselves burned at the stake just a couple of centuries ago? Being perhaps the easiest, if not simplest, topic to really dig into online, I submersed myself in all kinds of IT-related stuff and tought myself programming. What I found was enlightning, fun and enormously useful, even though I feel like I have just taken the first steps.
Studying a natural science is not one of the easier things one can do, and neither is staying up till 4 in the morning to "unbrick" (repair) a phone that didn't take a switch of operating system well. Next to a whole lot of enthusiasm, it requires tenacity and willpower to stay motivated and focused on these things. While I always had the feeling that there was something shady about them, I still found a number of books and articles that fall into the self-help genre extremely useful. Not everything needs to be scientifically right in order to be of use. Still, I consider the works of Anthony Robbins, Tim Ferris and similar "gurus" to be somewhere in between psychology and religion. Not being a religious person, I'm not particularly happy with this state of affairs and am looking for a work that is built less on emotion and more on simple principles that are clearly stated and work. Not having found that, yet, I may give writing such a thing a try myself, from my own perspective.
The bigger picture
For a long time I felt like understanding math and physics was necessary to understand the world. Everything else is ultimately based on that (as far as we can tell today), so starting from anywhere else seemed not to be a very good option. Today, I feel like I have understood enough of the basic concepts to apply them to more complex problems, as far as that is possible. That does not mean that I can explain politics using Quantum Mechanics, but it is a good tool to separate truth from lies, and possible things from those that can never happen. Being satisfied in my thirst for knowledge in this area, I'm starting to interest myself more for the more tangible things in everyday life, though they are often much more difficult to explain from a theoretician's point of view. And yet there are analogies in places I would not have expected. Compare, for example, culture with the concept of phases from chemistry: Both are made of simple building blocks (individual people vs different atoms), in both cases the behavior of the whole is governed by the actions of the building blocks, but in both cases only the statistical averages matter, predictions are hard to make, and changes in collective behavior, even though minute, can have drastical effects on the system as a whole. This is what fascinates me when I travel (and I make a distinction between tourists and travellers): To see which laws we encounter growing up are fairly universal across cultures, and which are just manifestations of how we do things, with no deeper truth attached. Knowlegde is not the only thing that can be gathered on the road, though. Being in unfamiliar places, having to adjust to new ways of life, people and environments keeps me alert and out of my comfort zone. It shows me new perspectives and triggers thoughts that would not have occurred to me otherwise, not to mention the variety of people I meet. It is a constant source of inspiration, and some of my best thought and work as happened "on vacation".