Two monks

Two monks traveling together come to a raging river. As the monks were preparing to cross, a woman was also ready to make an attempt. The woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side. The problem was that the two monks had taken vows not to touch a woman. Without saying anything, the older monk picked up the woman and carried her across the river. Then continued on his way.

The younger monk was stunned by what had just happened. So much so, he was speechless, and let many hours pass without any words exchanged. Finally, the younger monk blurted out “We are not permitted to touch a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk simply replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”

I have also heard this parable told with a woman screaming at the monks and not saying thank you. Either way, the point still stands that our internal dialogue can be loud and take control of the driver’s seat. We have a false sense as to what is fair. But when we are wise, we can create new contexts based on the circumstances at hand. While the senior monk only carried the woman for a couple minutes, the padawan carried her for hours.

The image is powerful in the burdens we carry in a post-industrial economy. One bad interaction can indeed ruin an entire day unless we change the story we tell.

What burdens or hurt feelings can we let go to start the new year?

Convenience is deciding

Individualism is the product of convience.

Without the microwave, dishwasher, and instant brownies, we wouldn’t have the time to focus on ourselves. But without inconvenience, we begin to look for a path from what’s easy to what is the easiest.

Therefore, we demand a quick fix to complex problems because everywhere else we look we find the quick fix.

But as we slowly strip away inconvenience, we also lose the part of our lives where we find joy and meaning in the struggle. There is no personal satisfaction in heading straight to Go and collecting 200 dollars.

How many light years ahead of everyone who lived before 1983 are you just by having access to the internet?

Unknown territory

To feel “normal” we must feel like we belong to something larger than ourselves. An idea, a home, a place, a tribe, a people…something to connect us with the past and the future.

We want to be part of the journey.

We also want that space to feel safe in our same shared experiences. And so, we look to others to see, “Is this right?”

That reassurance can feel good especially when we are in unknown territory. But it also could mean when we are stepping into the void, we are on the edge of something great and daring.

That isn’t anything that we call “normal.” That is extraordinary. Most of us don’t have the guts to be on the edge of something that might not work. In this zone, there is no one to look to except yourself.

Trust thyself.

Another note about Sisyphus

Hell is not pushing a boulder up to the top of the hill only to have it fall down to the bottom over and over again.

Hell would be putting a pebble in your hand and taking the escalator to the top on repeat.

Without the struggle, what do you learn?

Without the struggle, how does one progress?

Indeed, adversity is where one can find meaning in all of this.

Science and how we interpret it

The science says this. My belief about the science says that. Two widely different perspectives. And often the cause of so much friction in our lives.

As humans, we fail to see the world as it is. Regardless of how hard we try. Our beliefs and what the science demonstrates are often not the way we were taught to see.


Our ability to jump in and out of system thinking is one of our strongest assets. It can also get us in trouble when we choose our own truths.

A sidekick

Sherlock Holmes had Dr. Watson. Batman had Robin. Mario had Luigi.

When you can define your boundaries about what it is you will tolerate from other people, it makes it easier to decide who you will let in the door.

There are eight billion people in the world today. We get to choose who we want to go on this journey with.


Mathematics is objective. The numbers don’t care about our opinions or how we interpret the data. For humans, it is impossible to be totally objective.

We carry with us our biases, prejudices, and snap judgments. We also have experienced the world through our lens.

Objectivity is avoiding a point of view. Which we cannot abandon.


I asked GPT-3 to write a guest post about the importance of connection today. In seconds, this is what the AI chatbox wrote:

Connection is a fundamental human need. We are social creatures, and we thrive when we have strong connections with others. In fact, research has shown that having strong social connections can have a number of benefits for our physical and mental health.

One of the most important benefits of connection is that it provides us with a sense of belonging and community. When we feel connected to others, we feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and this can provide us with a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Connection can also provide us with support and understanding. When we have strong connections with others, we have people in our lives who we can turn to when we need help or guidance. These connections can provide us with the emotional support we need to navigate difficult situations, and they can also help us to feel less alone and isolated.

In addition to the emotional benefits of connection, research has also shown that it can have positive effects on our physical health. For example, studies have shown that people with strong social connections are less likely to develop certain diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. They are also more likely to have a stronger immune system, which can help them to fight off illness.

Connection is also important for our mental health. Having strong social connections can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and it can also help to increase our overall sense of well-being. In fact, some studies have even found that people with strong social connections are less likely to experience mental health issues than those who are more isolated.

In conclusion, connection is an essential part of being human. It provides us with a sense of belonging, support, and understanding, and it can have positive effects on both our physical and mental health. By making an effort to cultivate strong connections with others, we can improve our overall well-being and lead happier, healthier lives.

Incredible. I am just in shock at the speed at which GPT-3 could write this. This is clearly the beginning of a new era. AI is now in the hands of everyone with an internet connection.

So, what does this all mean?

It means if your job is to follow a simple set of instructions, you are in trouble. Automation has been around since the Ford era. And now it is being perfected. If your job was to create content, you need to offer more value than just putting 200 words on an email blast. GPT-3 can do it faster and with no mistakes. So, why do we need a content creator anymore?

This is clearly the end of writing emails that don’t actually say anything, the end of blogs just to fool the Google algorithm, the end of Twitter that isn’t insider information and even writing basic code. (Yup, GPT-3 can write code too.) The AI is only getting better with 175 billion parameters already in play.

It may be early to say this but this could be the end of Google too. At first, when you are using GPT-3, out of habit you treat it like Google. But its capabilities can do far more than we even realize.

This also might be the last chance we have to redefine our careers before our careers redefine us. Doors are going to start closing shut over the next decade plus. The meaningless job, the ones most human beings despise anyway, will probably be done by some kind of computer soon.

Again, what does that mean?

When the Wright Brothers built the airplane, they solved one problem but created more. You needed airports, air traffic controllers, pilots, and on, and on, and on. There are some that believe AI will be the end of these problems. I am not so sure. It is probably a bit of both. AI solves meaningless job problems but the complex problems will still be here for the foreseeable future.

Which ones?

Redefining what it means to be human after jobs go away, connection, leadership, initiating, art, climate change, world peace, nuclear disarmament…the really big and interesting problems will be left to solve.

It’s a scary world and we are really comfortable with the jobs we have. But jobs are a modern invention. Before industrialism and commerce, humans used to be hunter-gatherers. And the research shows they didn’t work that many hours. They worked a few and the rest of their time they did all the things we say we want to do. Which is to rest, spend time with our friends and families, make art, pick up more hobbies, exercise, and cook a meal. Doesn’t sound so bad once we redefine the problem.

Change is coming. I am excited about the problems that are to be solved and the ones it is going to create along the way.

The world is not normal

Culture is the invisible human operating system working overtime to get us to be compliant and to fit in. To be a cog in a machine. We have been brainwashed to believe this.

As a result, we believe the world is normal and we are not. But really, it is the other way around.

Yet, from an evolutionary standpoint, if we didn’t fit into the tribe, we would be kicked out (and likely died and not make children). Today, we don’t have to worry so much about being thrown out of the community. If one doesn’t work, we can simply choose another.

This means we have a choice. We get to choose to stand up against injustice. We can choose to speak up against inequality. Because someone else out there is doing the same thing. And we are looking for each other.

The bravest thing we can do in our day in age may not be what we can do with a gun but what we choose to say and do on a day-to-day basis.

What arrives at our doorstep?

We can predict when we hit the Buy Now Amazon button what is going to arrive at our doorstep the next day.

We can predict that the postal worker is going to show up.

What we can’t predict is the next emergency, the next fire to put out.

Here’s the thing, there is an estimated 4.59 (+/- 0.38) x1044 chess moves available. That’s a big number in a controlled environment. That is what I mean when I talk about possibilities being infinite. The world is chaotic. We have no idea how each of us is going to interact with the environment and how that trickles into each other.

The answer then is to build a more resilient system in each of our lives. Build enough slack for emergencies. Keep enough hope for possibility. Stay the course long enough to see things through.

The more times you get at bat the more opportunities to swing.