My favorite imaginary dialogues

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to pick your favorite imaginary dialogues, what would they be?”

“The following, in no particular order [they are all links]:

Collective Creativity [<short read]
Collector [<very short read]
On Magic and Models [<medium read]
On Writing: The Blank Page [<medium read]
The Beautiful Game 2 [<medium read]
The Joy of Writing [<very short read]

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Nameless Movements

The best kind of movement is nameless.

Named movements can become traps. They make you forget there’s a whole universe of movement out there to explore.

See all named movements not as an end but as a starting point, as a staging ground for playful exploration.

The ultimate goal of movement practice is to transcend the box of named movements.

The Homecoming Game

I see my life as a Game. I call it The Beautiful Game, and it’s made up of a myriad life-games.

What is the most important life-game?

Many people claim to have achieved ‘enlightenment’, some kind of profound insight into the nature of reality. I haven’t, so I don’t know what they’re talking about.

But we’ve all had many ‘mini-enlightenments’ throughout our life, blessed moments when our most beautiful self shines through. I like to think of that precious state of being as Home.

Home is in your own heart.

The most important life-game is The Homecoming Game. The never-ending game of finding your way back to yourself.

The Game of Wisdom

The most important games are life-games – games that make you a better human being.

The highest-order life-game is the Game of Wisdom.

Both games and wisdom are essentially about solving problems.

Games: solving game problems
Wisdom: solving fundamental life problems (FLP)

FLP are orders of magnitude more important than game problems (and infinitely more rewarding to solve).

Appreciation Checklist

I see appreciation as a ‘maximization practice’ – a practice where you seek to maximize practice time over the course of a day.

The biggest obstacle to any practice is forgetfulness – like in Nolan’s film Memento, we can’t help forgetting what’s important and we need to metaphorically tattoo our body with it.

One way to remember and structure the practice is to create a checklist made up of appreciation prompts – the most powerful things you can appreciate moment to moment.

In practice, it can look something like this:

It’s a sticky note I have on the desktop of my computer. Based on what I want to focus on at any moment, I make the corresponding appreciation prompts bold to make them stand out.

Carpe Diem

The end of the year is a social fiction. Your well-meaning intentions aren’t more likely to come to fruition just because you crossed some magical threshold.

We can metaphorically think of the timeframes of life as levels of magnification:

Year
Month
Week
Day

While useful to strategically zoom out from time to time, the fruits of the year are the compounded effect of 365 precious days – that’s where the magic is.

The Epitaph Exercise

This is a powerful exercise to gain clarity on your life purpose.

What do you want to have written on your tombstone?

Express it as identities.

Example (my epitaph):

Here lies Dani, the Ever-Playful.
(The name of my Superhero identity)

Life-Artist
(How I choose to engage with life)

Master Teacher
(What I want to playfully master over a lifetime)

Use your epitaph as a guiding star throughout your life and as a mantra to recover balance.

Playing Magic (the Gathering) while not playing Magic

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I love Magic the Gathering. It’s been part of my life for 20 years now.

If so, how come you no longer play it?

I don’t… and I do.

I’ve deconstructed the game and identified what I love about it. I’ve distilled it to two principles: modularity and synergy.

Modularity: Magic is a modular game like Lego, made up of numerous interlocking pieces.

Synergy: Some pieces when combined are more powerful than the individual pieces (an instance of emergence); in Magic’s terminology, this is called a “combo”. The joy of the game for me is discovering hidden synergies.

In identifying the principles, I have transcended the game. 

Language, for instance, is a modular structure, like Magic. Just like playing Magic, I love playing with language to discover hidden synergies.

I’m now playing Magic while not playing Magic.”

On Practicing Gratitude

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

At the end of the day, express gratitude for three things.

Why only at the end of the day?
And why three?

To me, telling someone to express gratitude only once a day sounds like telling someone to brush only one tooth. The goal is to express gratitude as much as possible throughout the day. You can practice gratitude anywhere, at any time.

Like… now.

To me, three here sounds like an arbitrary number – aesthetic, but meaningless. The goal is to experience the feeling of gratitude. Express gratitude for as many things as necessary until you feel grateful. Everything beyond that can have an amplifying, ’emotional flooding’ effect.

Perpetual Motion Machine 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I want to never be sedentary for longer than 15-20 minutes. So I take a little movement break every 15-20 minutes.”

“Why the interval?”

“15 is the floor, 20 is the ceiling. So it’s a 5-minute buffer.”

“Does taking breaks so often not take you out of Flow?”

“A sub-skill of Flow is getting into the state as quickly as possible.

It also depends on the activity. Creative Flow – my favorite kind – is both the on and the off. It’s an oscillation. The magic happens during the off, not the on.”

On understanding

Each of us lives in a micro reality.

Reality is too complex for us to grasp. We’re like ants trying to understand the vast realm that is their little corner of the backyard.

So we simplify reality, put it into little linguistic boxes, and proudly declare it known.

But our understanding is like the crude drawings of a child. Two people arguing about the world are like two children bickering over whose drawing is bestest.