Reading…

I’ve been doing a bit of reading and I’ve decided to be a bit more contemplative in this little blog entry. First – I’d have to ask myself. Why do I write and maintain a blog? Truthfully its because of a number of reasons. I’ve always found it interesting to have an insight into another person. A blog usually reveals a lot abou them – their likes/dislikes, what motivates them et al. I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s blogs and I hope that maybe people will enjoy reading mine as well. I also consider it a way of relieving stress. Often I find myself in a situation where I experience turbulent thoughts. My mind literally froths – arguments, emotions and reasoning vying for supremacy. I find that the simple act of putting my thoughts into words has the effect of calming me down and organizing my thoughts. Incidentally, this is also why I tend to be locquacious at times. Please don’t consider that as me being foolish or simply talkative – its often a way for me to organize myself. I’ve often been stressed lately and I’ve put a great deal of thought into _what_ I’m feeling and to what those emotions can be ascribed. Maybe it’s something I’ve always known, but never really admitted – but a major cause of my ‘problems’ has been the way I perceive and interact wrt time. Everyone wants more time. I’d say that I _really_ want more time. As my understanding grows and I interact with more people I’ve come to realize that there are so many things I want to do. I’d like to maintain this web page, work on KGI, work on Fresco, learn Python, learn OpenGL, improve my understanding of program/algorithm design, work on a brand new, integrated website… There’s a lot to do. In addition, I have other non-computer related activities that demand a certain portion of my time. It’s left me with a feeling of always being behind. Reading Slashdot or KernelTrap leaves me with a sense of guilt. Am I not using my time well? I just spent 20 minutes reading news when I could have been working on Fresco (or something else). At times, this leaves me – for lack of a better phrase – emotionally drained. This is a genuine problem I need to solve. I cannot work on everything and I have to balance my relaxation with my alternate activities. To be quite honest – I can’t even remember a day in the last couple of months that I’ve simply sat down and thought. How depressing. One attitude for mine that should be improved is “the grass is always greener on ther other side”. Sometimes when I’m working on an item, I immediately think – “Could I be doing something else in the same time, and more effectively?”. This of course is normal – but what is not, is the amount of energy I put into answering such a query. It also results in a much more unfulfilled feeling after an activity. After all, I haven’t enjoyed it or put all my efforts into it because I’ve been thinking “perhaps my time is better spent elsewhere”. I’ve of course taken a few steps to increase the amount of time I spend. For one thing, I’ve eliminated movie watching. Most of what I’ve seen is mediocre fare and to boot – rarely engages one’s intellect. Unfortunately, despite this, it takes a minimum of 1.5 hours to watch a movie, time I sincerely believe would be better spent doing something else. Another step I have to take is to _slow_ myself down. I’ve often joked as to how I tend to speed read now. It’s actually quite depressing. It’s a habit I’ve acquired after years of reading web pages, blogs, texts at high speed for the information I needed. The basic technique is skimming through a book (or any printed material) reading just enough that you have a general idea of what it’s all about. I’ve got to say – for someone who never read anything about speed reading I’ve done quite well for myself. The unfortunate side effect is that I speed read everything. I was shocked when I finished my last book (fiction) in 1.a matter of a few hours. This was over 400-500 pages. I considered what I’d achieved at the end. Yes I had an understanding of the plotline. But did I appreciate the subtlties of the plot? Did I revel in the atmosphere that the author created? Did I even attempt to think, to consider the impact of the authors words? Did I put down the book an allow my imagination to wander in flights of fancy based on a single phrase, an idea that presented itself to me as I had done when I was a child? In a word – no. I was too involved in finishing the story as quickly as possible so that I could move on to another activity. I am forced to consider Fady’s statement. In a recent telephone call he stated that he thought that modern technology had failed us. We were building things that worked faster but it hadn’t improved our quailty of life. What was it all for? he asked. I’m afraid that although I agreed with him I did not know the answer to this question. Make no mistake, I would love to be able to sleep less and not suffer physically, emotionally or mentally (something that is not possible now). I would love to be able to work faster, and understand new ideas immediately with blinding clarity. Unfortunately I am no longer the child who was able to do that, but am now an adult with a very clear and at times humiliating understanding of his own limits.

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