Weeknotes 2023 W14:

April 3​–​9, 2023
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Happy Easter!

The RUG::B talk (see meetup page and last week’s week­notes — Week­notes 2023 W13: Dentist) went well! I’m glad that I still find it enjoyable to give talks. This one sparked good conversations as well.

It is unfortunate that nobody said the word “centrarchidae” to me (as I instructed in last week’s week­notes), but to be frank, I would have been rather confused if I anyone had.

I think the voice coaching I’ve had in the last few weeks has already paid off. I can speak without my voice tiring. My voice has presence, and it fills the room without forcing it.

I forgot to record the talk. It completely slipped my mind. I’m sorry!

I picked up work on Gex again, seeing if I can get it to the point where it’s remotely useful.

I’m approaching the type system from a different angle this time: rather than adding types first and adding inference later, I’m starting with inference and then later I suppose I’ll add explicit types where needed. (I imagine that’s the way Crystal has been doing it.)

Still, I struggle with a sense of boredom. Neither giving a talk nor developing a programming language give me the sense of satisfaction that I desire.

The main point of struggle is that it’s lonely work, and I’d like to be more socially engaged in the creative work I do. Not just having people around, but actively working with other people on shared projects. This is what I liked about playing Gamelan (it’s an orchestra), and what I miss in literally everything else. It’s what I miss in writing as well: even if I were part of a writers’ community, I still wouldn’t be collaborating with other people.

That’s not to say that I want to give up solitary work like writing, but rather that I want to complement it with something more social.

I suppose this is one big reason why people pick up sports — either team sports or group activities. I’m more interested in creative endeavors, though: I’d like to have tangible, if ephemeral, output.

My large, gorgeous dining table has become my writing table. It’s physically distant from the desk that has my laptop on it, and no electronics are allowed on my dining/writing table.

Writing without electronics around is fantastic. It’s remarkable how different old-fashioned approaches (fountain pen and paper) can be.

Even the journaling I do by hand, though it means copying (with reinterpretation) parts of the journal to the week­notes. That happens at my computer desk, because — as mentioned before — electronics, such as my laptop, do not belong on the writing table.

The writing equipment doesn’t leave the table either, unless guests are coming over. Everything remains in its proper place, which invites me to write whenever I want or need.

I’ve been putting some thought into the troubling ways in which society reveres intelligence.

Growing up, the people around me told me I was highly intelligent, and pushed me towards life/career paths that require intelligence. As if intelligence is of utmost importance in life! But that was the message that I internalized. I was told, implicitly, that I was “chosen.” I was told, implicitly, that that my intelligence would drive me towards great accomplishments for which I would be uniquely qualified and privileged to achieve.

Also importantly, the message that I received (and was, for the most part and to the best of my knowledge, sent unintentionally) was that any work that would not use my intelligence to the fullest would be “beneath me.”

All of this, in my opinion, is utter garbage. I strongly disagree with the notion that intelligence makes you a superior person, and the notion that intelligence itself is a trait that is superior to other traits.

Related to this is my dislike for the term “gifted,” as in “highly intelligent.” It is putting the assumption out there that intelligence is a gift, something that is so rare that it should be cherished and praised, and certainly not squandered. Our social contract prevents us from disposing of gifts, at least in public view, but the “gift” of intelligence is so visible that any work that doesn’t use it, would have to be done out of public view, or risk the shame of wasting the potential granted by that intelligence.

Here too, plays the nauseating notion that intelligence is an inherently superior trait: in the community where I grew up, it ended up being important to show off intelligence by picking study directions that accentuate that intelligence. For instance, studying Latin and mathematics would put you at the top of the hierarchy — a hierarchy that is made up and whose only outcome is that some people think they are superior to others. None of this is explicit, but it surely is unhealthy — if not actively harmful.

Some days, I look through my window and think “ugh, what a grey day.” On many days, this is primarily because I have not cleaned my windows in more than a year.

I’ll get to it when the weather is warmer. I promise.