Arc

Data Engineer. Keeping an existential crisis at bay one dumb thought at a time.

Restlessness and Self-Improvement

I'm genuinely not surprised. Committing to a regular, scheduled task like maintaining a blog or journal has never been my strong suit. The last update came two months after my first real post, this one's coming three months after that. I swear I'm not going to wait 4 months for the next one - at least I hope not. Let's start out with an update on how things have been going for me. Going alright honestly. Can't complain, and I mean that with all sincerity. I have a good job, my family's with me, and I'm not actively dealing with any major conflict, struggle, or burden in life. A lot of people can't say that about themselves. I'm very lucky, but can't say I'm really happy. Most days, it just feels like I'm on autopilot and just being dragged along by routine, instinct, and gut reactions to things. One of the main reasons I even started this blog in the first place was to give myself a sense of balance, a place to just sit down be still, and self-reflect. So when I feel restless constantly, I can't blame anyone or anything but myself. If I had simply committed to this on a basic level, I might already be in a much better place. But that's okay. The time is always right to do what's right. I think it's time to start doing right by myself.

For one thing, I'm going to create a schedule for daily activities I can do for self-improvement. I've narrowed it down to 4 major things for now:

  • Meditation + Breathing Exercises
  • Studying philosophy
  • Studying mental health
  • This blog!

More details on all of those. The first one is mainly just to combat my restlessness. There was once a time, as early as the start of this year, where I practiced both of these daily. During those days, I remember being calmer, in the present more, and just focused. One day I just stopped, however, and all progress I made on my mental state just vanished. That's why I'm starting these back up again. My life now isn't as consistently stressful as my university days but they've been really intense some days. I mentioned getting my first job as a data engineer. Well, the first project I actually got to work on didn't go very smoothly. Things got derailed, and we fell behind. The result was sometimes weeks on end of working overtime and even weekends. It got to the point where I felt so burnt out that one day I woke up and just couldn't muster the energy to work. So I called in sick. Things have calmed down a lot now, but I don't want things to get to that point again. Making the effort to take stock of my mental state each day, calm down, and just be in the moment should do wonders in making sure I don't have to do a full reset every now and then.

I believe I mentioned two reasons in my introduction post about why I wanted to create content: simply avoiding the existence of a mindless drone, and intellectual stimulation. Well, there's nothing more intellectually stimulating than philosophy to get into. This is just one of the many fields I wanted to earnestly learn more about. The others being mental health, linguistics, and maybe art history. All of those topics have piqued my interest consistently over the years. That's why I want to devote a chunk of time every day to just sit down and learn. Not only will I be able to obtain valuable insights and wisdom, but doing this will stave off the lingering feeling I have some days where I think I wasted the day and did nothing productive.

Studying mental health is about trying to understand why exactly I'm feeling the way that I'm feeling most days. I'm not actively dealing with any diagnosed illness or condition, but that doesn't mean my mental health is at its peak either. Just like how simply not being sick or disabled doesn't mean someones' at prime physical health. If I can put a name on some of the recurring thoughts and behaviors that contribute to me feeling unhappy, that should be the first step in dealing with them right? That's the reasoning at least. The bare minimum I want to accomplish with this is just becoming more self-aware and giving myself the ability to notice when I'm experiencing certain thoughts or impulses, understand where they're coming from, and reel them back in if need be.

And I'll document my journey through all that in this blog! Reading is all well and good, but actually sitting down to gather my thoughts, condense them, and write about what I learned on a given day will do wonders in helping me absorb the material and endure that I truly comprehend it. To that end, I'm still not sure I'll be writing posts on a regular schedule, at least, I'm not making any promises. I will sit down and write when I feel like I have something to talk about, or just want to share my notes and thoughts about a reading I did. To ensure that that happens, I won't force myself to reach any kind of minimum word length for my posts. If all I have is a single sentence to write at the end of the day, I'll put that down. What matters is that I get it done at the end of the day. Although, glancing at the length of this post, I wager that I won't have too much trouble filling space any time soon.

And that's about it. A quick life update and a plan for the future. Even just laying all of this out made me really excited. I know I've practically said this before, but I plan to be around a lot more frequently in the future. To everyone that's reading this, I hope you have a good day. If not today, then tomorrow, or the day after that.

Logging off,
Arc

Procrastination and Refocusing

Welp, it's been almost two months since the last update. I genuinely didn't want to wait this long between updates but time just passed me by. I'd say there are two main reasons for this: procrastination and an unnecessary mindset towards this blog. I've been bad with time management for as long as I can remember, not cripplingly bad, but still rather terrible. Once I was well into my university days, I realized I needed to make a change and decided to adopt a simple time management system. It worked wonders for me and I felt so stress-free for the first time in my academic career. However, discipline is also something that I need to work at. I could have good time management practices every day for months, but just one off-day was enough to break my momentum and revert back to my old ways. I faced a similar situation with the blog. I originally set a goal to post every week, but without a time management system in place, I was almost guaranteed to fail.

It was also that I set pretty lofty aspirations for this blog - for no reason at all. I mentioned wanted to stop being a mindless consumer of media and actually contribute something - which I still want to do! It's just that I realized that ideas and inspiration came very rarely and the act of finding them felt like work, which I absolutely don't want this to become. Writing this blog should be relaxing and fun. A way to condense, and materialize the streams of incoherent thoughts in my mind into one cohesive statement. I just think doing that weekly is something I have to work towards. Forcing myself to write will only produce the exact opposite results of what O want. To that end, I've also started reading more. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't just the quantity of media I was consuming that was a problem - but the quality as well. I've had some interest in political theory for a while and purchased a few books that interest me on that topic. Who knows? Maybe I'll make a post on that soon!

Other than that, I didn't really have anything planned for this post. It was mainly to break the cycle of procrastination that I've enabled and get back into writing. I've additionally decided that I'll write about more casual topics, such as events that happened in my daily life here and then. I think the initial seriousness of all the posts I had planned played a big factor in me putting this off day after day. For instance, I got a job! I was really lucky and got a sweet DE job right after graduation. I'm still very new but hopefully, I'll have interesting stories to talk about that on that front eventually. It really felt good to get this off my chest and actually post. Now I just need to make sure I don't wait another month or two to update. Wish me luck.

Signing off!

Moral Relativism

I didn't intend for the first real post to come so late, but better late than never I suppose. I've wanted to explore the idea of moral relativism for a long time now. By explore, I mean to go beyond the simple definition of it. In simplest terms, moral relativism can be defined as the idea there is no universal or absolute set of moral principles. Let's briefly talk about this definition first. While I understand what many mean when they say this, I don't fully agree. It's true that what one culture may deem "right" or correct may seem wrong to another, but this distinction only shows up once you start discussing specific actions or principles. One culture or nation may be completely supportive of recreational drug use for example, while another punishes it by law - sometimes harshly. However, I do think there can be a set of abstract moral principles that can most certainly be universal. A part of being a doctor is taking the Hippocratic Oath, and as a result, vowing to do no harm. This principle has existed for centuries, and I doubt any group, culture, or nation had any serious qualms with it. The extent to which this principle was practiced however, and the extent to which it was followed throughout history, is another question entirely. Regardless, I do think abstract moral principles such as "treat others like you wish to be treated", or honesty can be considered universal. At the very least, I'm not aware of any serious debate or controversy around whether these principles are worth upholding to some degree anywhere in the world.

My main point of interest isn't in the definition, at least not directly. It's more so a focus on how it could be practiced uncontroversially. The social media age has generated a lot of talk around censorship, free speech, and what it means to be considered a "good person". Also, just to get it out of the way, the concept of "cancel culture" has definitely influenced my desire to write this blog. I'm not touching that topic though! But it did get me thinking about what it means to be objectively "virtuous", if that's even possible. Looking back on certain actions of people even a few years ago and finding them appalling or abhorrent is genuinely a good thing. It means we've grown as humans enough to understand how these actions can do harm. However, there has to be a point where you cannot fault a person for a certain action or behavior, simply because it's unreasonable to do so. We've all heard the phrase, "so-and-so was a person of their time". I think people need to start taking this idea more seriously. There is no sense in getting upset or angry at someone for something when you reasonably cannot expect them to know better. This is most obviously the case if they grew up and matured in an era where a certain action was completely normalized. As such, judging them from the perspective of an era where it has been denormalized is not productive, or useful. This attitude also seems to imply a philosophy that is rather unsettling to me. By this token, people assume that human beings have always possessed perfect moral compasses. As such, any perceived failure to abide by that compass throughout history is thought of as a sin and an example of humans falling short of themselves. This is extremely cynical and pessimistic, to say the least. Human beings began as savages, and the vast majority of our emotional and spiritual growth as a species was filtering out - at an excruciatingly slow pace - the kind, compassionate from the base, and animalistic. This is not to say that you should expect people from a certain era to behave a certain way. Rather, there's simply no reason to be surprised, shocked, or outraged when they do.

I genuinely hope this didn't come across as preachy. This was very close to a stream of consciousness, all things considered. These were just some of the main points I wanted to cover around this topic. If I ever come up with more, I'll make it clear that this is part of a series. But until then, signing off!

A Brief Introduction

I'm actually quite surprised at how excited I was at the idea of a blog. While I would say I'm a writer, it's safe to say I've never actually produced too much work - outside of academic courses anyways. I've long since felt a strange nostalgia for the golden days of Blogger and Blogspot. During then, I would browse through their frontpages and stumble upon a post from someone recounting their latest vacation. For some reason, I found these oddly entertaining.

Despite being called "micro-blogging" platforms, I've never seen, or used, Tumblr or Twitter in that way. I never really understood Tumblr, first of all, and there really isn't any criticism about Twitter as a platform that hasn't been screamed a million times already. Either way, there was a void that was never really filled for me. That may be just my ignorance though. Can't say I've ever really gone out of my way to find a replacement.

Another reason I wanted to start writing is a rather blunt one - I simply consume too much media. Mindlessly, at that. It feels like I'm constantly just reacting to things without ever taking the time to reflect and understand what I really think or care about. With this blog, I hopefully plan to change that. I want to take some of the seemingly random ideas that get stuck in my head for weeks, sit down, and just write. At the very least, it will be therapeutic. At most? Intellectually stimulating and modestly insightful.

It wasn't a complete joke when I said these would be dumb thoughts. If I produce a rambly, incoherent mess that's just a product of my ignorance and/or ego, I simply hope that any who reads it will find it somewhat amusing. So, hello! My name is Arc. Hope to be around again very soon.