The 4 tenets of meditation

When I meditate sometimes I begin not really knowing why I’m meditating, or how I want to meditate, or what I’m shooting for. When this happens remembering these 4 tenets helps.

From Doing to Observation

Let go of your agenda. Take a break from fixing things and just observe from a neutral state. Be an inward scientist. Take note of love, joy, pain, resentment, excitement, fear, and hope. Just take note. 

From Dualism to Nondualism

See outside objects as inner perceptual phenomena. See inner phenomena as objects of observation. The objective world is actually subjective, in the sense that it is reducible to mental activity. The subjective is actually objective in the sense that its existence is self-evident. 

From Seeking to Giving

Don’t ask for forgiveness, wisdom, or healing. Rather, bestow forgiveness, wisdom, and healing. Be the divine source. Love the world. Accept the world. Bless the world. Will the transformation. 

From Victimhood to Freedom

View the present moment not as a slave, doing the whim of the previous moment, but as an independent entity, free of all obligations. Classical causation is part of the story being told, not the writer of the story. Your mind is a canvas; your pencil is observation and your paint is love.

My First augmented reality creation

I built this mixed reality instrument back in 2019 I believe. Affordable AR headsets didn’t exist yet so I build my own with a VR headset from Walmart and Arduino parts.

The player sees synthesizer controls overlaying a video feed from the little camera at his third eye. He holds lights in his hands which are tracked and trigger the various controls. The software is what I call “semi-generative.” The player makes big picture musical decisions about the general direction of the music while the computer intelligently fills in the individual notes and rhythms.

New Project time: Stanislov’s Dilemma

New project time!I’m starting a new project that I’m really excited about. It’s an augmented reality tribute to Stanislov Petrov, the Soviet officer who literally saved the world from WW3 in 1983. I was already fantasizing about this project several months ago and had it on the backburner, but with the global stage being what it is, I decided the time for building it is now.

It’s going to be an interactive installation, experienced via smartphone, tethered via GPS coordinates to a particular area outside the United Nations building in New York City (you’ll also be able to “teleport” there with the app if you happen to not actually be in NY). My buddy Andrew Benson is helping with 3D modeling, I already own the metaverse real estate I plan on using, and I’m starting design work now.

I’m considering using crowdfunding to help pay for the project, it would be REALLY nice if I could physically go to New York to digitally map out the area.

The tentative name: Stanislov’s Dilemma: A tribute to Rational Thinking and Moral Courage

Stanislov’s Wiki page

Salvia without Salvia

A friend of mine suggested I make a video about simulating the Salvia experience through meditation, so here it its!

This video took about 2 months! It was technically the most challenging video I’ve ever done. I moved to the video editing software Davinchi Resolve, which is my first professional grade video editing tool. I also integrated claymation and computer animation!

Dealing with Writer’s Block

You have writer’s block my friend. That is the name of what you are struggling with right now. That’s why you can’t lock in on a video topic and why you can’t decide on a YouTube channel structure. You’re getting caught in the weeds. You’re over analyzing. Let me tell you a few things.

You’ve dealt with this before. And you know how it works. The rule is, if you’re not ready to make something good, make something bad. That is the formula for getting out of writer’s block. Writer’s block comes from one thing: It’s when your expectations, rules, and formulas for creating art are creating so many obstacles, stifling the creative process.

From my experience writer’s block is never a lack of ideas. It masquerades as a lack of ideas but you always already have ideas if you’re reasonably creative. What’s going on is that you’ve created various rules and standards regarding your work, which is good in moderation, but at some point lots of expectations become obstacles. That’s what writer’s block is.
That’s why the phrase if you can’t do anything good, make something bad, embodies the point. It provides creative drano. You have to let go of your expectations. You have to let go of your standards. Learn your craft, then forget the rules.

Why is crypto (and other stuff) Valuable?

As I learn about the metaverse, cryptocurrency, and NFTs a question which keep arising in the back of my mind is what has value? What is value? Why does something have a particular value and another thing different value?  

I think the answer here is that value on one hand is grounded int the subjective experience of the individual. Pizza has value to me; I like to eat it. If you have a pizza and it has absolutely no value to you at all you might just give it to me. On the other hand there’s a good chance it does have value to you, in which case you might want to keep it, or we might have to work out a deal.

That’s where currency comes in. Let’s say I like pizza and you don’t. But there’s other foods that you like. In a vacuum since the pizza has no value to you you might just give it to me but if you trade it for currency you’ll be able to trade that currency for something you value. That’s the heart of currency, currency has no value in and of itself without a relationship with other things that have value.

That gets us into cryptocurrency. Crypto is interesting because it’s very difficult to trade crypto for goods and services that you value but you can trade it in for other forms of currency such as dollars that can be traded for stuff you value. 

So we’ve got this chain reaction. I value pizza, because I value piizza I’m willing to give you some currency to get your pizza. Because you value other things, let’s say popsicles, you value the currency that I give you for your pizza. Now let’s say I’ve got some cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. I can’t very easily trade Bitcoin for pizza but I can trade Bitcoin for USD, and then trade that USD for pizza. So the value of Bitcoin is doubly separated from the pizza that I actually subjectively value. So the cryptocurrency is a layer on top of the conventional currency and the conventional currency is a layer on top of the actual goods and services that we actually value. 

And then you’ve got market forces. With market forces you have all of these feedback loops where things that don’t have bottom layer value but do have higher layer value end up gaining or losing value in chaotic patterns almost like the weather. And because they are so far removed from any bottom layer pizza that actually tastes good, they “real” value is essentially impossible to peg.

My “Opus de Salvia” YouTube video

Today I released the Salvia video I’ve been working on. I’m uncharacteristically nervous and excited about seeing how well this video does on the platform. It is the culmination of my summer project of shooting lots of salvia videos (and smoking lots of salvia obviously), as well as the last couple of months of studying YouTube and video editing and leveling up my video production game. 

What I’m nervous about is what happens if after all of this work I put into this particular video, it, like my last several videos, gets like 200 views? Now it might sound kind of pathetic to put all this expectation and ego into some arbitrary YouTube metric; one could make the argument that it’s childish. But I’ve found YouTube creation to be very rewarding, and challenging in a healthy way in the last two months. Which is why just being rewarded by a few thousand views on this particular video would be meaningful positive reinforcement for the direction I’m going creatively.

So enjoy the video, and wish me luck!

Stop Go Stop Go

Late last night, instead of sleeping I was learning about YT shorts (videos under 60 seconds long which are marketed differently by the YT algorithm) and it occurred to me that I could make short stop-motion films and publish them as shorts. I’ve been interested in stop-motion for a long time and have had an idea for a series in the back of my head for a couple years. The basic premise is a play-doh character that realizes he’s made of play-doh and runs around trying to convince everyone else that they’re made of play-doh too, which they are, but few believe him. 

So instead of going to sleep at a reasonable time I got up and made a claymation film.

Audience first art 

A few recent developments in my creative life:

For my new website I think I’m leaning toward a minimalist, black and white website design. It’s counter intuitive, flexible, and highlights the content…. and pretty easy, which is nice too. 

Second, I want to lean away from drugs in my work. Not to say I’ll hide it, or erase my old material, but I feel like I’m becoming a drug associated figure like Snoop Dog or Cheech and Chong, which isn’t where I want to be. 

Third, I ran into this YT development video where the creator started a whole new channel to see how quickly he could build a successful channel from nothing. He was crazy successful, getting like 3k subscribers in 3 months or so.

More importantly was his method. Instead of thinking “I want to make these videos, I hope someone watches them.” He first choose what audience he wanted to appeal too, then asked what videos those people want. He even developed 4, functional audience members with hopes and fears and tastes to represent his new audience. Then shot videos for that hypothetical audience. This blew me away. What a brilliant way of constructing art! 

Now I’m trying to discern not my creative identity, but the identity of my audience. I love this. I’m so tired of navel gazing, self absorbed art and this seems like a way out of that.