XX Things I’ve Learned in 90 Days of Retirement

In November 2015 I moved on from my jobby job and decided to take my time off seriously. That is, I decided to devote 120% of my time to doing art, philosophy and learning as much shit as I could to ensure in my 40s I was a relevant as possible. Re-invention is always my approach to life.

Image for post
Image for post

Here’s a partial list of new learnings, maybe learnings, and re-learnings. Some are science/tech things, some philosophy, some life learnings, some art, some just how to get shit done.

  1. Time Is The Currency — Free spacetime is critical to well being, creating value and generally becoming interesting. PROTECT TIME ABOVE ALL.
  2. DO NOT DO Meetings — Meetings of all types are an administrative waste especially with today’s technology. Only meet to SELL/TRANSACT or MAKE STUFF. I only do workshops. Hands on. Program or Paint or Write, but never ever meet to make lists.
  3. Share everything, especially a STUDIO — everything is an experiment and a process. the process is the point. so I share in the process and share the process. Obviously I share all stages of work and the work online as much as possible. But, the bigger thing was making sure I share my creative workspace with someone else creating. It changes the game entirely when someone else is 100% making shit along side you.
  4. Make Stuff All The Time — the first 3 learnings set the table for this, but really Make Stuff Always. In making stuff I think better, i figure more out, i have more content to share and engage over, I get better with the skills and materials. Making ensures new stories, new conversations, new synthesis. I don’t worry about whether the result is amazing or not, as long as the process is effortful making.
  5. Accidents Matter — Relearning this exponentially. Interestingness in visual art comes from accidents. Business opportunities are from your own accidents or the accidents of others they don’t notice. Accidents are the learning. The things done on purpose were already learned and integrated.
  6. Practice and Muscle Memory Explain How To Be Good at Everything — do everything until your hands bleed or you go mad. Practice is the source of all quality. Moving through forms and ideas and process until your whole body just does it without thought. Once that happens you reclaim time, the key to currency. I’m not yet great at everything I want to be great at, but holy crap am i way better at things I thought would take me years. Turns out with 12–15 days of making shit you can get decent pretty quickly.
  7. Cheap Paints (materials) are Cheap for a Reason — obvious but often overlooked… materials like paints are 1000s of years old materials that are priced the way they are because people have learned. Cheap paints produce worse visual art. They simply don’t have the physical and chemical virtues of the really good paints. it matters even on some of the simplest work. Practice with shitty paint, but when you’re ready to do something you care about get the good stuff. It will create Happy Little Accidents of Great Quality.
  8. Walk — I walk 5 miles a day now. No expectations other than walk until i’ve seen enough interesting stuff and then turn around and look at it from the other direction. Walking reorganizes my ideas and helps my vision and gets the blood flowing without destroying my ligaments. Walking is the source of everything useful idea I’ve ever had. i think my feet somehow suck the ideas out of the earth and shove them into my body.
  9. If You Can’t Draw People No One Will Like Your Art — humans understand one subject deeper and better than anything (maybe the iphone is catching up): The Human Body. We all are a human body, we all come from one, we all were fed from one, we all lust for them, we stare at them endlessly. There’s just NO POINT TO ART if you can’t slap the human body and face on it. 90% of a humans day is spent analyzing faces (this is also why facebook is already a General Artificial Intelligence) (online, watching TV, watching each other IRL, driving, etc) I thought I was ok at it and then I started taking a Life Drawing class. Boy did I not really get it. So glad to be relearning it now.
  10. If You Can’t See Color and/or Light Gradiations No One Will Like Your Art — if you don’t train your senses (and it’s all of em) to be ultra sensitive to light you will not produce enjoyable art (music, writing, sculpture or anything). It’s not about colorblindness or not, it’s about noticing compositions of forms and how lines are imaginative objects of dramatic changes in forms. It’s just impossible to purposefully construct an artwork without imbuing it with a struggle of color and light. I don’t know how to better describe this other than the lightbulb will go off and you’ll not what I mean if you study color and light with your entire body for 90 days+
  11. Linux does all the hard computing still but no one likes to use it — Most development platforms publish runtimes for linux and all the server stuff for linux but still mobile and VR dev with GUI front ends on linux are dead, experimental or non-existent. The precious creatives that platforms need as first adopters simply don’t use Linux… they are mac… and sometimes windows.
  12. Unity3D is the defacto standard for almost all VR, AI interfaces, and data visualizations — there isn’t a tech project or language that isn’t dropping libraries and sdks for Unity. Welcome to the Physics of the Future folks — it’s unity.
  13. Everything in the universe is in Contingency — literally the most fundamental of all principles is that everything is contingent. Please! someone find me a phenomena or system that is non-contingent. Otherwise, I’m going to keep writing about this fundamental theory of everything and deriving value from its implementation.
  14. Artificial Intelligence Is Marketing — the progress deep learning has made is more a function of data storage and collection than any theoretical progress. Big Data+Machine Learning got called Deep Learning which is now being called AI. It’s all marketing, which is fine. But our understanding of actual Learning Theory/Learning isn’t that far removed from the stuff in the 1950s. Only now have our digital systems been able to scale up in CPUs, working memory and raw storage to handle the amount of data and graph links required for Massive Search Spaces, Training Sets and Probably Approximately Correct feedback loops to work. It should surprise no one that Google Search is now headed up by their AI guy… Search and AI are the same thing. But marketing being marketing Search isn’t worth what it used to be… only intelligent things get the Big Bucks.
  15. Socialism is Marketing — almost anyone talking about socialism, for or against has no idea what they are talking about and that’s because the term is now so overloaded it can be used for anything you might be for or against. Yup, that’s good marketing!
  16. What Art Is — no one knows what art is. no one ever will. I’ve spent more time doing art, looking at art, and researching art in the last 90 days than I did in the first 39 years of my life. Let me tell you… no one has a clue. and that’s what makes it art. Art is all the shit we have no idea yet what to do with, how to classify it nor how to value it. It has nothing to do with purpose, intent, skill, validation. It literally is unknown. Go watch Art of the Steal to get a grand sense of how nuts it is.
  17. All Theories and Explanations are The Same Theory — yup. and so is this list. just part of the same damn theory… information theory. i still have no idea what it means, but that’s the fun.
  18. To That Point… art, media, content, AI… All Are Contingent — every single thing ever is contingent and in network relationships. All things are shaped by schedules of reinforcement. Intelligence is the result of hyper-connectivity and thus hyper contingency. All networks have “tipping points” of criticality where information propagates widely. For tiny networks this is of no consequence, but for large networks, say like that of an online community, this is key. Whether we’re dealing with memes, ideas, advertisements, computer viruses, biological viruses, cultural ideas, traditions, politics, laws, etc. All of them flow through contingency networks. If a particular quanta of information never trips the tipping point of a network it will extinguish. Cancer is the result of tripping network tipping points, a runaway successful ad campaign is also a network tipping point, as is betting in vegas, the pricing in art and car markets is too and so on. The implications here are that if you are using a model or method of research or computer system that doesn’t take this as its core assumption you’re not going to get anywhere with it.
  19. 18, Therefore the first 17 things resulted. QED.

Written by

I be doing stuff. and other stuff. More stuff. http://www.worksonbecoming.com/about/ I believe in infinite regression of doing stuff.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store