Michio added a topic in LearnHistoryI have never received a good answer to, "How do I learn history?" So I figured it out on my own. The following is what has worked for me.
Why learn history?
- Makes one's place on Earth more meaningful.
- Gives old literature / mythology context.
- Makes current events and politics sensible.
- Makes one extremely intellectually well-rounded.
- Upgrades your Bullshit Detector to version 2.0 when people start talking about controversial politics.
How to learn history?
The place to start learning history is world history. After getting an overview of world history, you can decide on a specialized topic and research good resources for that specific topic. Even if you have a topic picked out beforehand, learning about world history might make you decide on something different. Additionally, knowledge of world history will give you context for specialized topics.
Geography is a central part of learning history. If you aren't familiar with Earth's geography, much of world history will not make any sense because there will be references to countries and places that will be nothing more than a meaningless name if you can't locate it in your mind in relation to other places. You should know major mountains, seas, rivers, regions, and the borders of nations and empires (how they evolved).
As you read, you should have a map open that you can reference. These are the two I use:
This is National Geographic's World Map. It has the locations of all major geographical and political features and it seems current. When you zoom in, more details and features appear.
This is TimeMaps. Indispensable reference. It has a map of major regions relevant in world history, and allows you to jump to major periods in world history showing the evolution of nations and peoples as empires crumbled and populations migrated.
I recommend the following resources in the following order:
(4) The History of the World - Roberts & The Earth and its Peoples - Textbook
Comments on the above:
- For Crash Course, I casually watched it, I didn't take notes. He oversimplifies, but it's a crash course. The purpose was to get a taste, a bird's eye view, before diving into a book.
- I read Roberts' book and the history textbook in tandem. I read the chapter summaries on the cengage website and do the quizzes.
- When I come across new names of places, I always look it up on the Nat Geo map, in order to make the region and its people meaningful.
Other things I've liked so far:
I brute force memorized some geography on this site.
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - Podcast.
Podcast History of Our World. Work in progress. He has been consistently adding a new episode about once a month.
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Michio added a topic in ExploreGood Philosophy vs. Bad PhilosophyLet's explore the difference between good philosophy and bad philosophy.
- What is good philosophy vs. What is bad philosophy
- What are the habits of good philosophy and the mindset of professional philsophers
Before distinguishing good from bad philosophy, it is important to define what philosophy is. This is unfortunate because that is itself controversial and there are many possible answers. It is difficult to give a clear, one-sentence definition.
Here is one that I personally like: Philosophy is the application of logic in order to answer fundamental questions about the world using primarily a priori methods.
Here's a short write-up from Florida State.
Source: Wilfrid Sellars
Source: Gilles Deleuze
While the quote, "Philosophy is the love of wisdom." has been repeated ad nauseum to the point of meaninglessness and pretention, defining wisdom in this context is useful.
Wisdom is perspective rather than bias. A person who loves wisdom, i.e. a person who engages in philosophy, is a person who seeks perspective, as opposed to illogical single-minded attachment to any particular conclusion.
What philosophy is not is helpful in defining what philosophy is.
1. Questions better answered by another field.
e.g. Deepak Chopra. New age mysticism. Meditation. Self-improvement. Quantum mechanics. Tripping balls. Inspirational quotes overlayed on a nature wallpaper. etc.
While tripping balls is fun and may inspire a person to ask metaphysical questions, that is not philosophy, except in a very casual sense. Any 5 year old can ask surprisingly deep questions, but not everyone can engage in rational argumentation and draw upon philosophical tradition in order to answer those questions.
With that said, how can we engage in good philosophy and avoid bad philosophy?
Answering the following question will provide good answers to the previous question.
When people ask, "Where do I start if I want to learn about philosophy?" People have a tendency to provide a stack of reading materials, which is terrible advice, because it is likely that the individual will engage in bad philosophy unless they already have a knack for the habits of good philosophers.
Many people, including many intelligent professionals in other fields, see philosophy as nothing more than a semantic, obtuse, pretentious circlejerk of bullshit, name-dropping, and $20 words. This is because that is how those people engage in philosophy, or how they would engage in philosophy if forced to do so. Therefore, they imagine all people who do philosophy behave in such a way.
So the first step for this beginner is to learn the fundamentals.
If someone asked, "I want to design a skyscraper, where do I start?" You don't tell them to read a 1000 page book called Designing Skyscrapers when their math skills never made it past arithmetic.
If mathematics is to engineering, then what is to philosophy? What is: reading comprehension, writing skills, logic, social skills, attitude, and good habits.
I presume the importance of the first three are obvious. Why are social skills, attitude, and good habits important?
- The social aspect of philosophy is down-played, and casual observers of philosophy view the practice of philosophy as
(either that, or a circlejerk). Philosophy shouldn't be seen as a lone activity, it is more like a 3000 year long conversation. Engaging in philosophy as a loner is more likely to end in pseudo-philosophy territory.
Basic social skills are important in order to charitably interact with other students of philosophy and produce productive discourse.
- The core of philosophy is rational argument. Students of philosophy should always be concerned with arguments rather than conclusions. This prevents ego-attachment to -isms and taking criticism of a certain idea personally.
- Avoid "I think", "I believe", "I feel", "It seems that", "some people say", "you could argue" etc. as much as possible. It's easy to bullshit in philosophy with these phrases, at least with non-professionals + non-academics. These phrases are used when people (1) are ignorant about the topic (2) lack confidence (3) want to be humble.
Strong assertions should be made. This allows the body of writing or speech to convey a clear message, leading to productive discourse. Confidence, definitiveness, and assertiveness are not incompatible with humbleness. Additionally, people will not be distracted by inconfidence and will respect the conveyer more, even if the audience disagrees.
- Avoid "I" and "you" as much as possible. This keeps the discourse focused on the arguments rather than the people. Criticism is handled better from both sides in this situation, and the resulting discourse is logical and productive.
- Philosophy is not psychology or biography. Wondering how Nietzsche's life on a mountain informed his later works is irrelevant information as far as philosophy is concerned. It is pointless to ponder too much about what a philosopher "thinks" or "believes". The focus should be on the arguments. Kant is some guy, a human, like all of us. No big deal.
- Philosophy is not politics. A philosopher is not an -ism. Philosophers discuss the prescriptions and descriptions of political thought, but are not necessarily politicians or revolutionaries.
- Think ahead. This is accomplished by examining counter-arguments. Professionals are familiar with a chain of arguments and counter-arguments to a thesis. Formulating counter-arguments to one's own argument prevents ego-attachment to -isms, deepens understanding, and accelerates the conversation of philosophy.
- Good philosophy draws upon philosophical tradition (the ongoing conversation). In other words, being familiar with what has been argued. It is extremely unlikely that a complete amateur will formulate a novel idea while examing none of the tradition.
This is an exercise in time-wasting. This would be similar to formulating Newtonian mechanics, then screaming about your findings in 2015, when that has already been massively explored and extended upon by modern physics for the past three centuries.
- Don't worry about being or looking smart. Many young, curious kids are obsessed with appearing smart because they were raised poorly by their parents and the education system. When they approach a subject like philosophy, they immediately attach their egos to specific -isms the same way they choose shirt. It's all an exercise in fashion and showmanship. They will never learn anything about philosophy aside from petty arguing on the internet.
As for where someone curious about philosophy should start reading, there are many Introduction to Philosophy books that people recommend all the time, but it's better to start with basic logic and reasoning.
A Rulebook for Arguments. This is short, 100 pages. Someone wanting to learn philosophy has no excuse for not reading something short like this.
Rationality: From AI to Zombies. This is an exploration of rationality. Fascinating and anyone curious about learning philosophy will enjoy this.
When learning about cognitive bias and reasoning, the student should keep in mind the fallacy fallacy.
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Michio added a topic in ReadWhat else can I read or watch?I'm looking for books (fiction or nonfiction) or films pertaining to social/power dynamics and social dominance. In particular, I'm really interested in the dark triad (narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy). I've never actually read The Prince. Should I read it?
I want to explore the techniques and behaviors of the dark triad, so I can use them for my own benefit and to protect myself against these personalities in my professional life and social life. I'm not looking for anymore information about sexual strategy/pick up. I'm good on that.
Maybe good examples of Don Juan characters? I don't think I've read any stories (fiction or nonfiction) about a Don Juan.
Some relevant stuff I've seen:
Kevin Spacey's character in American Beauty - the transformation of a beta male to an alpha male
Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross - psychopathy/narcissism
Ben Affleck in The Boiler Room - narcissism
American Psycho - the ultimate dark triad
Light in Death Note - psychopathy/machiavellianism
Lelouch in Code Geass - machiavellianism
Littlefinger in Game of Thrones - machiavellianism/psychopathy
Relevant stuff I've read:
The 48 Laws of Power & Mastery - Robert Greene
No More Mr. Nice Guy - Robert Glover
The Rational Male - Rollo Tomassi
Playing to Win - David Sirlin (http://www.sirlin.net/ptw)
Models - Mark Manson
Commentated version of The Art of War
Dimensions of Body Language (http://westsidetoast...nguage/toc.html)
The Red Queen - Matt Ridley
Influence - Robert Cialdini
Haven't started reading this yet, but it looks interesting: http://www.ribbonfar...k-and-gametalk/
Oh, I think I should learn more about psychology itself.
^ Part of the OCW Scholar series, which are for the self-learner, so it's a full course.
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Michio added a topic in Extendelectronic musicThis came up in chat. I was surprised scotty and david didn't know what "EDM" or electronic music was at all, dafuq? I just assumed everyone on the internet has heard it lol.
It's hard to explain what electronic music is... it's evolved so damn much, and genre-creation in the electronic music world is ridiculous. Now that electronic music has gone mainstream, and we're in the midst of a tech-savvy/internet-savvy/remix culture, the music evolves so fast and there's an unbelievable volume of fucking songs being made all the time.
I hate genre labeling personally. It's full of elitist/pretentious bullshit to be honest. And I will shy away from any argument about what a genre is, exactly, and what song should be pidgeon-holed in which genre(s).
Does electronic music require 0 talent to make? I'm not sure how to answer that. The process by which a typical electronic music track is made is quite different to ... songwriting when you're playing in a band or something.
One of my good friends, when we were in junior high, we downloaded fruity loops, a popular software suite among amateurs for all kinds of mixing and sound creation. Now, this guy had several years of experience playing the piano, and a few years playing the guitar and was well acquainted with music theory. He was no noob to music. Even though we worked together, we never made anything good, it all sucked. I tried really hard to learn and he taught me some basic music theory. Sometimes we spent an entire weekend trying to come up with something, and barely getting a single layer worth keeping. It just didn't compare to a professional production at all.
People who aren't familiar with electronic music don't understand the extreme patience required to learn and familiarize yourself with the software (it's VERY complex...), and usually they don't notice how much is happening in the song, and therefore it's just a blur of sound and it's like, "wtf anyone can do this". Professional producers use hardware in conjunction with some software suite btw.
I recommend a high quality pair of headphones while listening to electronic music, as well as 320kbps mp3s if possible.
Here's armin van buuren and ferry corsten working on a song:
You're right, learning what all the buttons do on a software program is nothing like mastering an instrument say. But, I mean... even then, you could say the instrument is the computer.
At the end of the day, the limit is not the tool, but the human. Make sense?
First, I would recommend checking out this link: http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/
This goes through the history of electronic music through roughly the mid 00s.
Why are all the kids these days loving this kind of music suddenly? It all started with dubstep exploding in popular on the internet around 2008 I'd say?, which coincided with rave culture becoming mainstream IMO. Promoters finally figured out how to successfully market the music to a wider audience or something. I believe certain pop music started to incorporate electronic dance music elements into their music. You started hearing the music played in advertisements and what-not, and almost overnight it became the new cool thing.
It's about the loud music, the droning thump-thump at a party, it's easy to dance to, it's new and constantly evolving, there's a massive variety of sound for any mood and situation, it's cool as shit and the music of the 21st century. What's not to love? It doesn't matter whether or not someone has "talent", it's about the music, the fun, the moment, the beauty itself. Let's not pedestalize artists and musicians too much, but just enjoy the fruits of their labor, however that labor came to be. Why get into a dick-measuring contest about who has more talent than another?
I was born in 1990, I've been listening to some kind of electronic music since I was 8 or 9, and my exposure to electronic music was fairly limited until about 13ish when I really started seeking out new music on the internet.
I used to listen to a radio station in my area that played cheesy commercial dance music when I was 9, and they occasionally broadcasted live from a nightclub that was playing house/trance music.
Here's an example. Ian Van Dahl - Castles in the Sky
This was the shit man, back in the day... LOL. I'm getting tears listening to this again. When this track came out at the turn of the millenium, this was the music of the future to me. Pure magic and energy.
When I first got internet access at about age 11, I looked up producers I heard on the radio. I listened to a ton of vocal trance tracks similar to castles in the sky and lots of cheesy commercial dance.
Here's some modern vocal trance from 3 big names. Definitely one of the most beautiful tracks I've ever heard.
Vast Vision feat. Fisher - Everything (Aly & Fila remix)
When I was 13ish, I discovered www.di.fm, which opened up a whole new world to me of many different kinds of styles.
There's too many, jump around on youtube and listen to random stuff in the related videos. I don't wanna get into it too much. The following is the sort of music I enjoy these days.
Here's some trance. Just pure, uplifting, powerful trance.
RAM - RAMsterdam (Jorn van Deynhoven remix)
Orjan Nilsen - Arctic Globe (W&W remix)
Full-on psychedelic trance.
Electric Universe - Bodhisattva
Drum n Bass
Rameses B - Visionary
Reverse - Absolute Reality (Arty remix)
Progressive House (I guess)
Mat Zo & Porter Robinson - Easy
Swing Kings - Sledging
Jamie Berry - Delight
Mord Fustang - Lick the Rainbow
I believe Savant is the one who said, "Fuck genres.", therefore I will not pidgeonhole him.
Savant - Wildstyle
Ya you all know what dubstep is...
A small mix of dubstep.
Tired of the noisy shit above? Relax and sleep to this.
Jeff Scott Castle - The Stars Will Guide Us Home
If you would like to discover more music falling under "ambient" and "chillout" with a psychedelic twist, check out this channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiqS_owY45Eht0_zqXBZ4hg
If you want more pure space/ambient with absolutely no beats or drums or anything, you need Stellardrone.
MrSuicideSheep's channel is the go-to for chill shit. https://www.youtube.com/user/MrSuicideSheep
Browse around, see what you like, jump related videos on youtube and discover new stuff. There's tons and tons of channels on youtube of just music like this.
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Michio added a topic in Playpreparing for basic + olympic liftsI used to do powerlifting with the goal of putting on as much weight as possible, but I neglected my body for a long time unfortunately (several months). I’ve recently been getting back into the groove. I’m doing as much as my body can handle. Just making sure I’m eating well and sleeping 8 hours a night.
I’ve always been interested in olympic weightlifting but they’re significantly more complicated than the powerlifting movements. You can teach those to yourself by watching youtube videos and reading.
Olympians will spend years just perfecting their technique on OLs. And honestly the gyms I’ve been to didn’t have a platform for doing OLs, or bumper plates, or even tolerated people doing that stuff... so it wasn’t safe anyway. The gym I’m going to right now is awesome and caters to powerlifters and weightlifters.
I started by doing conditioning/plyometrics 6 x week for 2 weeks since I was out of shape: interval running, box jumps, push/pull weighted sled, pushups/pullups on olympic rings, planks, kettlebell swings, medicine ball stuff, doing lightweight squats + deadlifts + overhead press to get my form back.
Shoulder + elbow flexibility is critical for OLs, so I started doing these arm stretches using a stick every day. I dunno how to describe it or what it’s normally called but searching “stretch broomstick” brings up good examples.
My final goal is being able to do a clean & jerk and a snatch. These are very technical, you’re doing so many things throughout the entire movement. So you have to work up to it by breaking the movements down into pieces.
The exrx page on olympic weightlifting is good: http://exrx.net/List...ghtlifting.html
Clean & Jerk:
I dunno how hard those look if you’ve never done barbell lifts but it’s probably a lot more complicating than it looks.
On my first training session, my trainer had me do a back squat and deadlift to check my form. This is where you start when you learn the OLs. He said my form and flexibility in my lower body is very good, so next step, he showed me how to do a proper front squat, push press, and clean, then doing a clean & press in one movement
Notice how the girl’s tricep is parallel to the floor. It was impossible for me to do that when I first started.
No .gif for clean & press but it’s just a clean, which naturally brings you to a position to do a push press. When you’re coming up with the bar, at around third/quarter squat position, explode with your core & legs as hard as you can to push the bar up.
When he showed me how to push press, it was weird because I did overhead press for a long time. Not just my flexibility lacking, but the entire movement for the overhead press is generated by your arms. On the push press, you pretend you’re going to jump into the air, so initially the movement of the bar is generated completely by exploding with your legs and core, 0 arm strength. Then you finish it out with your arms.
My trainer recommended I do front squat, push press, and clean on Monday, Wednesday, Friday for 4 weeks. On Friday, also do clean & press sets. On Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, work on my 2 mile time and do a variety of pushups and pullups.
After that we’ll do another session and he’ll start me on a split program where I do one day with 4 push movements, rest day, then one day with 4 pull movements, rest, etc. for 4 weeks. I’ll be starting a split schedule next week.
Finally, we’ll do another session and I’ll learn to do the clean & jerk and snatch. My schedule will be a day with clean & jerk + assistance lifts, rest, then snatch + assistance lifts.
So how am I preparing for basic? By doing all of this. I looked up what happens in basic training, and honestly it’s baby stuff... lol. My trainer went through army basic training and he said I don’t need to think about it or worry about it. If I do olympic lifts + run and do pushups and pullups it’ll be a cakewalk.
I’m glad to be getting my body back too. I’m rapidly getting stronger and my body is changing fast, I'm starting to feel strong again. It’s motivating.
I’ve been sore throughout my entire body for the past 3 weeks. I’ve been sore literally every day, and in strange places that I used to never be sore in.
The OLs are REALLY fun btw. I’m not going to stop doing these.
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Michio added a topic in ExploreFollowing your passion is bad advice?I watched this google talk by Cal Newport.
The youtube description sums up the talk pretty well:
In particular, he references what Steve Jobs said in one of his speeches at Stanford. It's now a very famous speech where he advised people to follow their dreams and to never settle. Newport points out that this is actually really bad advice.We don't have any reason to believe that you should follow your passion, if your goal is to love what you do.
First, not many people have a pre-existing passion. A lot of people struggle with picking out their passion from their interests. Many times, people's passions are very ill-suited for the job market as well. He said there was a psycholgist who designed a test that would determine what a person is very passionate about, and this psychologist gave this test for 500 Canadian university students. Only 4% had a practical passion, whereas most of those students were just passionate about hockey.
Second, This advice does not support the research on job satisfaction. People who have satisfying careers often do something that does not match their interests.
The path to passion is usually complex. It's rare to find a case where an individual knew what they wanted early on, then they went after it, got it, and had a satisfying career.
In Steve Jobs' case, if we go back to his high school and college years, there was nothing that showed he had a specific passion for technology. He went to a liberal arts college, dropped out, lived very poor for a while, bummed food and what-not off other students, got a night shift job at Atari briefly, went to India, moved to the west coast to student Eastern mysticism etc. etc. This is a portrait of a person who is seeking, and not someone who has a specific passion for something and they're running after it. How he ended up creating a business of selling personal computers was very opportunistic. He didn't go to college to study electrical engineering, or entrepreneurship etc. The way he ended up in the business of selling personal computers was chaotic.
If following your passion doesn't work, then what should you do? Newport uses the case of Bill McKibben, which he thinks is an ideal case for obtaining a career that you love. McKibben is the author of The End of Nature, possibly the first book written for a general audience on global warming. In his life, he went to Harvard, and got involved with the student newspaper. He worked hard there, became an editor, and he used that to land himself a job at The New Yorker. He didn't stay at this job for very long, he actually quit, moved to a cabin in Vermont, and he wrote End of Nature.
Newport's main point is that it doesn't matter what McKibben would have done with his life. McKibben isn't happy with his life because he's a freelance writer that writes about environmental issues. He's happy because what he does contains general traits that he likes. For example autonomy and doing something that impacts the world.
He is able to have a career that has these traits, because he traded it for a rare and valuable skill that he built up over time.
What Cal Newport is saying here seems very similar in spirit to all the things I've read from other people at Reddit's discipline community. People end up on that board all the time who are usually 18-25 years old and they don't know what to do with their life or how to motivate themselves.
"How do I find my passion?"
"Where does motivation come from?"
"Is it possible to develop passion?"
"I'm a 25 year old loser/failure neckbeard and I still live in my parents' basement. Please help."
The general advice from older members and people who have a good sense of what they're doing is, motivation comes after discipline. You have to just establish some kind of goal, and then do it with great intensity. This sets up a dynamic in your life that causes you to gravitate toward bigger and better things. Most people need certain experiences before they get a sense of identity. And these experiences are very often only possible with a high amount of discipline. You have to just do stuff, whether you want to or not. People often don't end up where they planned, that's rare (especially if you're a teen or in your 20s).
I really like Cal Newport's advice, because it's practical and realistic, but optimistic that career/work satisfaction is simple.
The reality is that we all live in society, so we have to work with it. To survive, we all need income, so we can trade it for food and shelter. If you don't agree with this, you can move to the Alaskan wilderness and live off the land.
If you want a job that has these often rare and appealing traits, you have to trade your rare and valuable skill to get that. People who are successful and happy with their work often worked very hard to build themselves up. Later, they traded this for a job that possesses more general traits that match their wants.
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Michio added a topic in ExploreWhy do people hate math?Well that's unfortunate. I wrote a long post, posted it, and it successfully posted.
Then I edited it to add something, and it worked... Then I view the thread again a few minutes later, and everything is gone.
Shit happens I guess. Needa start saving posts to notepad.
At least I was able to organize my thoughts a little by writing it out.
I wrote about the following video:
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