What is the purpose of life?

To love. To care and cater to others. To give out the effort required to do this until it becomes effortless. To give yourself out until there’s no more “I” left.

But why? This seems so unnatural. “I” is the only thing “I” knows.

Because everything else (please note: everything) is, or will shortly become dull and boring and unfulfilling. Everything you do for yourself is great and should be done. Just don’t expect any of it to keep on making you happy on the long run.

Identity

Inner balance requires at least this: you must know who you are and where (in the largest sense) you are. The rest, all the way to happiness, is simply a matter of maintaining this awareness at all times. Knowing who you are, and where you are is the sine qua non basis for becoming someone else, somewhere else, should you want it — and you usually do.

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Pleasure delaying vs instant gratification

I’m tempted to say this can be reduced to the “old vs new” issue, but I know this is, in fact, only a quantitative thing. It’s not at all like the old generation was all for pleasure delaying and vehemently against instant gratification. As a matter of fact, it is the older generation that willingly devolved its taste towards instant gratification. This shift in taste is not an overnight invention of the very young, it’s just their heritage, what’s being left to them. It is our fault.

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Sony MDR V150 headphones – a bargain

My two year old shitty Creative headset finally gave in, after going through a “mono period” (yes, I had to rewire it following breakage of the right driver, and it came out nice, but mono). It was a mic-headphones combo one would use for instant messaging and some gaming, but would be ashamed to admit to actually listening to music through it. May it RIP.

The audiophile and amateur musician within myself organized a subsequent inner insurrection, demanding that I buy them a pair o decent headsets, once in this lifetime, for God’s sake! Naturally, I set my mind on a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50 studio monitors, thinking they would be great for my mini-studio, also. Well, they most certainly would. Just two things: they can barely be called portable, and they’re rather expensive (over £130).

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Enjoy life

Truism time! Enjoy life, for it is extremely short.

The moments of such revelation are seldom, perhaps you get one every year or so, and they are almost instantly negated or, worse, dismissed out of misguided cynicism. This is probably the only revelation worth living by. Yet we almost never do, even after being blessed with it, more than once.

Enjoy life, for it is absurdly short if you don’t. Plus, it’s sometimes shorter than expected.

Love and hate

There are only two ways of looking at things, two lenses: love and hatred. Craving and aversion, in Buddhist teachings. Indifference is not the middle ground, it is merely a way of not looking at things, and it’s mostly worse than either love, or hatred.

You must try and see everything through the lens of love, first. Sadly, if things still appear distorted, they sometimes look much better when seen through the bloody lens of hatred. But there are, really, very few things that require this. Most everyday mundane affairs (and these are what fills our lives, not big, heroic decisions or events) can be approached with love.

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Age of doubt

“Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” Groucho Marx

“Thou shalt not entertain any firm beliefs.” Good or bad, that’s not important. Intuitive, or based on the best science, it doesn’t matter either. What seems to matter now is that you should never be certain of anything.

This age demands that you remain ignorant, despite the unprecedented amount of knowledge this age amassed. No matter how much you know (or feel) is right, you should not base your confidence on your certainty. “You must never be certain”, is what is asked of you. And it prepares the ground for “every opinion is valid.” Coupled with “anyone is entitled to their opinion on anything”, this heralds the end of civilization.

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Hashing

Hashing provides one-way encryption. This means there is absolutely no way of recovering the original string that was hashed, from the hash string. Hashing has a significant ammount of mathematical theory behind it, most of which you needn’t know. However, I encourage you to have a read of the relevant Wikipedia articles.

Hashes are used for two main purposes:

  1. to uniquely identify some information: this is achieved by hashing that information into a string that is unique within the key-space of the hashing algorithm. This is how you can quickly compare two files, for instance – by hashing their contents, then comparing the hashes. If they match, the files are identical. With one caveat: collision risk, meaning that a certain (usually very small) percent of non-identical information will yield an identical hash. This is, apparently, mathematical inevitability, it is algorithm dependent, and can be used in attacks attempting to break the algorithm. With a strong enough hash algorithm, this should not be a concern for most problems.
  2. to obscure information: this is why we use them for password storage, where uniqueness is not the problem.

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