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I keep thinking about this post! I've been trying to get back into playing violin on and off, and it does a good job of describing why I've found that so hard. I stopped early on in your fourth stage, and my ear is way ahead of my ability to play anything it actually wants to listen to.

I guess once I join an orchestra I'll enjoy that enough to get some momentum, but solo playing is pretty unrewarding right now.

I’m enjoying this whole series, but this one’s extra relevant because I’m doing something similar right now in a less structured way, so I can pick up some ideas.

I’m working on being able to notice, when talking to people, that I can expand my awareness out to include my surroundings. (The idea is that this gives me space to notice what I feel and have curiosity about what they feel, rather than being locked into ‘polite conversation bot’ mode, but right now just noticing is the important bit.)

I like the noticing timeline, it fits very well with what I’m experiencing. I’m sort of between stages 2 and 3 depending on the situation, and normally either remember just after or notice some time during.

I think I’m going to experiment with an explicit marking action and a tally, and probably toy situations as well. Thanks for all the ideas!

One confusion I wrote down in advance was “I still don’t quite know how to predict that there will not be a simple mathematical apparatus that explains something. Why the motion of the planets, why the game of chance, why not the color of houses in England or the number of hairs on a man’s head?"

I think the main thing I'd look for is an unusual amount of regularity. This comes in two types:

  • Natural regularity: unusual 'spherical cow' type situations like the movement of the planets. Things that are somehow isolated, or where some particular effect strongly dominates, so that only a few variables are needed
  • Artificial regularity: a lot of the regularity we see around us is there because people engineered it. Dice and coins are good examples. Can't remember details but I think there's some interesting stuff on the history of dice, e.g. this link says that 'Only in the middle of the 15th century did it become standard to use symmetric cubes'. I think it would be hard to invent probability theory when gambling with irregularly shaped lumps.

There doesn't seem to be any particularly obvious regularity to house colours or number of hairs, they just look like your standard-issue messy situations that don't tell you much.

Thanks for the reply! I also feel like I rely heavily on the audio loop currently, hoping I can boost the visual sketchpad side.

Happened to look this post up again this morning and apparently it's review season, so here goes...

This post inspired me to play around with some very basic visualisation exercises last year. I didn't spend that long on it, but I think of myself as having a very weak visual imagination and this pushed me in the direction of thinking that I could improve this a good deal if I put the work in. It was also fascinating to surface some old visual memories.

I'd be intrigued to know if you've kept using these techniques since writing the post.

Actually this was something that I meant to talk about in the post and forgot. I wasn't expecting that anyone would want to read the resulting posts at all, and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't enjoy reading this sort of thing very much myself if someone else was producing it, but some people liked them a surprising amount. I don't fully understand what's appealing about them - maybe something about the immediacy of it?

Most of my sample of opinions is coming from twitter, which probably selects for people who can tolerate reading fragmented, disjointed stuff.

In practice it would take me longer than 15 minutes to do even a sloppy editing pass, I'm just not very quick at that sort of thing. And I don't want to add extra requirements anyway, the whole point for me is to be able to do this quickly.

I like this idea a lot. I often do pomodoros but there seems to be a lot of potential for other uses of timers while working.

My favourite version of this advice is Sarah Perry's writing graph (from the Ribbonfarm longform course, I think) - maybe that's one of the places you saw it?

I also ignore it a lot :(

I'd like to give this post a second nomination. I'm also trying various experiments in tracking down and listening to hidden/ignored emotions and find other peoples' accounts of this very helpful - it was well worth a reread. I also like the vivid real-life examples.

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