Monthly Archives: April 2015

less is more

One of my friends is a computer programmer. He recently made me the gift of a fitness watch, saying that he would experiment with writing apps for it via an API. I forgot about it for a few days, and when I remembered it, thought I should look at some reviews online to decide whether I should invest the time to learn how to use it.

The reviews I saw showed some features that duplicate features that I already have on my phone. The reviewers were also not particularly in shape. I recognized myself of having been cured of some technomania and consumerism. Technomania and consumerism is when one desires an end result, which requires a certain bit of conscientious time and effort to achieve. Instead of putting in the conscientious time and effort, one buys a piece of technology in order to instantly feel that one has done something, without actually changing any habits.

I was speaking with a friend of mine about this and he offered the example of a co-worker with high blood pressure, to whom the doctor offered two choices: “either change your diet, or start taking medication.” His friend said, “I don’t want to change my diet, so I’d like you to prescribe me medication.” In taking meds, he’s exposing himself to all sorts of side-effects that will compound his bad health, instead of changing his habits to address the root cause.

Technology is harmful when used as a psychological crutch. When this happens, you get better results without it.

Advertisements

The Expanding Frontier of Experience

I had told him to enter into the form, by leading him with my body. In so entering, he would be moving with good posture and extended arms, and be controlling my center of gravity through my elbow. I had told him not to pull. I had told him three times. The third time, I became frustrated.

“If you pull, then I feel like I want to go where you are pulling.” I said, whereupon I stood up with good posture and advanced my body, connecting with his and shoving him backward. He fell back several steps and placed a hand by his cheek.

“What happened?” I asked.
“I bit my tongue.” He said.
“Is there blood?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Show me.”
He stuck his tongue out. No blood.
“Ok. Fine. Rest for awhile.” I said.

I felt remorse. Maybe I had been too insistent. Maybe there was another way to teach the technique. Yet, I couldn’t tell him not be aggressive with pushing and pulling because that’s how I learned. I did a lot of pushing and pulling before discovering it was much easier to do things in a relaxed way.

Then, I the lesson to learn came to me. I told him: “When practicing, keep your teeth in contact with each other and your tongue against the roof of your mouth. I have bitten my tongue, too. That’s how I learned.”

We want to protect those in our care. We want them to learn faster, and not have to go through the same pain that we did. Yet I have often remembered when I was a child, that I would often hear the words “I told you so,” or “I told you to be careful” and thought that it was not much use to have been told. I have been cut, burned, I have fallen, I have done innumerable stupid things that I had to learn through experience.

Moving to Taiwan has given me all the more opportunity to do stupid things. I have been working through different cultural assumptions. People in Taiwan are simply not paying attention to their environment to the degree that Japanese people are. Ten years in Japan has led to certain habits that manifest as opportunities for disappointment or danger. Slowly, I am learning to cover up vulnerabilities, not to depend so much on others paying attention, both on the road, on the job, and in my day-to-day life.

We cannot learn for other people, we cannot teach, we can only provide the opportunity to learn. We ourselves cannot learn much past the slowly expanding frontier of our experience. I am continuing to discover how to learn in a relaxed way, to make the cost of failure low, to get more feedback, and to be more sensitive to feedback as it comes. I previously wrote (in Japanese) about how, in the rain, I almost got hit by a man on a motorcycle. Since then I’ve taken a good look at the people on motorcycle when it rains. Their helmet visors are down, and often fogged with condensation. They must be uncomfortable and in a rush. Now, I pay special attention to traffic when I’m walking in the rain, but I had to have that close call in order to know.

Though we may read or study to get ahead, though society constructs maxims to pass down knowledge, to a large extent, we have to start from the beginning. Each generation must reinvent effective technique. When we are receptive, it is said that we are young, or young at heart. When our rules calcify, we are said to be old, or old before our years.

Let our learning be quick, and the cost of learning low. Let us be relaxed and aware of what is going on. Let people around us not suffer for any carelessness on our part.

安利

今天有人請我去參加登陽明山去摘海芋的旅行。都是安利的人或他們的朋友。
我不是安利的代理商,也沒有想當。參加這些活動只是想同人交流,這次也可以看個未去過的地方。其實很多對話會轉向介紹安利的產品怎樣使人生活過得更好。
此樣時我都會把話題轉向別個方向。

第二次和他們見面時,是一個聚餐。
餐後,有人準備濾水器。一面說台北水中氯超標等等,一面向水裏加食物色彩,再加氯,色彩淡了所以再加更多色彩,再加墨水,然後開綠水器出水自己飲一口。大家感嘆。再為大家各個人準備一杯水喝。那時是吃完一餐大家都未飲東西。我也口渴。但是我不想喝那個水。
我說「我跟你講一個故事啊。有一次我有一個防水手表。防水到10米。我把它放在一個碗裏的水看看。結果呢,有水跑進去的誒!我跟我爸爸說。他就跟我講:你就不用去試它吧!」
大家都笑,而且沒人喝。

又有人說感冒時吃安利的營養補助品很快就好。我就說,嗯我也不喜歡感冒時看醫生,自己喝茶多睡點很怏就好了。
後來覺得那樣有點在欺負人。破壞他們的夢想。其實這些人和我同年代,愛玩,吃,工作努力,有夢想。有一個二十幾歲的在作兩個工作,回家也會健身。將來要開自己的店。他有向夢想闖的勢力。所以我和他們在一起可以得到精神。
但有一個人較持續要賣我東西,而開始企圖向我引起恐懼或羞恥的感情。那我也玩玩。

吃完午飯後,他說「你有沒有想過你跟你的長輩學,想要超越他們的感情,在你下面的人也一樣。有沒有想過哪時候你被超越而公司不需要你,要怎樣保護自己?」他要提安利的賺錢的可能性。
我答「我覺得這種東西不必想的」桌子還有一人,他笑了笑。「像電視台一樣。想法可換來換去。我幫幫長輩,他幫幫我。我幫幫後代,他幫幫我。大家都幸福了。」
「如果大家跟你一樣想法就好了。」
「其實像電視台,這些東西都在。只是你可以選要看哪一台。」
他去別個地方聊天。

還有一次我和一個代理商和個一般參與人在講話。他差入,和我地在講話的安利代理商要口香噴霧。一般參與人問那是什麼?
「是業務不可缺的。要見客顧之前啊,剛吃大蒜啊,要去見美女啊,開會想要打瞌睡啊。」
我說「哦,日本人也喜口袋裏帶一盒留蘭香糖。我也是,要打瞌睡的時候真的有效。」
非代理商的問我「是什麼品牌呢?」我跟他講。
差入的人看了看我。「我跟你們講個笑話。歐巴馬和普津在談話。普津說我今天要做兩件事。一個是在車臣殺十萬人。」
我問「車臣是什麼?」
「在東歐的地方。」
「哦, Chechnya。你不是意思是烏哥蘭?」
「之類的地方。」
我心裏想正打戰的不是車臣,是烏哥蘭。但也繼續聽笑話吧。「好。」
「那歐巴馬問第二件事是什麼。普津回答我要擉破一個氣球。」
我以為我聽錯了。「你說氣球嗎?」
「是,歐巴馬也這麼問。普津就向他的書記說:你看,大家都不顧那10萬個人。」
我等了等。他繼續解譯。
「人們都很容易看不到重點。你們兩個現在對安利也一樣。有很多東西你們不了解,但是你們一直看那些不了解的東西,看不到重點。」
些時我卻覺得很有趣。先是差入我們的對話以推銷,再是搞錯地理又說個無聊的笑話,再是要說我們是看不到重點。我們本來是四個人形成四方形在站著講話。在我對面那角是無聊人,我右邊是一位代理商,左邊是一般參與人。一般參與人稍為轉了身体把肩朝著無聊人。我右邊的代理顯出尷尬的臉。無聊人繼續。
「那樣就像去上教堂學英語。」
一般人斜眼看他。「不憧。」
「教堂也可以學英語嘛。」
「我不知道,沒上過教堂。」
我說「我沒上過教堂學英語,但是我有上過教堂學日語。」
一般人問「學日語啞?」
「嗯,在日本。我也那樣認識了一些好人。」
那個人就說不下去了。
我也轉身正面朝正面和那一般人聊一些工作上的事,再和他要聯絡方式。不久,解撒的時間也到了。

幾日後將有學煮油飯的聚餐。向來大家說是當朋友,不要買也沒關係,我也想學煮油飯,只是顯得有人開始對我不耐煩了。

Reset

A (cardiac) defibrillator works by delivering the equivalent of a punch to the chest. For example, if someone fell down just now, you could punch them in the chest in hopes that you hit the right part of the electrical cycle, you’ll cause his heart to reset [draws imaginary EKG with fibrillation, which then flatlines and resets]. The trick is hitting it at the right time. If it doesn’t work your could try it again. That’s how AEDs work. They read the electrical cycle and punch at the right time.

But if you have an EKG, we just read it and punch. We trust our eyes more than we trust the algorithm…

And if the patient is going to be stationary for awhile we usually just attach electrodes. Then we can push a button to deliver the pulse. Using the pads can be awkward, and what if you were to bump into somebody?

(By my friend the heart surgeon over tea today.)

Cool! Now, where is our emotional reset button, how do we punch it, and how do we know when to punch it?

武與舞

今朝夜裏去練習合氣道以後、到銅猴子跳舞、還認得一個從上海來個女子、搭伊講一眼上海閒話、邪氣開心。是阿拉兩個嘞台灣第一趟講個。我也是交關晨光无沒搭自己個屋裏人講個。講個老親切個感情。嘞台灣勿只是以武會友、也是以舞會友。十分幸虧。