The meta of doing good

Continuing from previous article.

  1. Firstly we need to have the heart that care about a problem
  2. Secondly we need to understand the core problem enough
  3. Thirdly we need to start very small that it's doable enough
  4. Do these more: empathize, be educated, execute
  5. Do these less: being selfish, ignorant, stagnant

A quote from today’s kurzgesagt video:

Climate change is a global problem and no country alone can fix it. 

Working out who’s responsible is not as simple as it seems and in a way it’s a daft question. But one that has plagued international politics for decades. In the end, it’s pretty simple. Everybody need to do the best they can and right now, we’re all not doing that. 

But we can begin today.


Global disposition

Think globally, act locally

A blanket solution to a meaningful problem risks being non-inclusive since it reduces most permutations of the problem to its lowest common denominator.

A quick solution to a meaningful problem risks being shortsighted since it ignores most dependencies of the problem and its larger scale impact.

I'm generally attracted to more fundamental problems that explains my prior involvement with the effective altruism community in the first place. But time and time again I'm reminded that all complex systems that work evolved from simpler systems that worked (Gall's Law). The winning strategy always combine both big-picture perspective and hyper-local action that evolve over time.

Thinking in queue

Back in 2012, the first time I learned how to ice skate a friend told me to “don’t think just do”

I am no stranger to the overthinking trap. But sometime, rarely, I get into a flow where I just do things without questioning it beforehand. The best mental representation to describe it is when I have a clear picture of a “queue”. It was when the only things that matter in my head is the task at hand. Like, this morning I was dreading the clean up from yesterday’s dinner, but the moment I started doing the least to scrap the rice off the plates then I entered the flow.

I washed everything in the sink, cooked some rice, swept the floor, folded some clothes, made my bed, open up mail packages, fixed a hole in the cupboard, ordered food, opened windows for ventilation, and finally, writing this post. All this without a plan beforehand. All this accomplished under half an hour.

It's a great morning.

Meaningful acquisitions

Recently I started playing a new LINE-backed game called Exos Heroes. It has interesting setting, game mechanics and from the onset it's quite well thought out compared to other ones in this genre. Then within a week I cleared most of the content and gained familiarity with the meta (e.g. what it takes to succeed in the game given the current rule).

What bothers me is how, just like any other mobile games I've played so far, track record wise I will stop playing them within months and probably even forget about it in another year. In the first place, the game industry profits the most from the surge of users at the beginning. Comparing this to console games, mobile games are just far more transient.

I started playing mobile gacha games in 2013 and have played it on/off before completely stopping recently. Titles like brave frontier, sinoalice, fire emblem heroes, granblue fantasy, pokemon go, sdorica, dragalia lost, ragnarok tactics, exos heroes (update: genshin impact) are no stranger to me. I played all these games enough to hit a considerable percentile within the game. But ultimately, just how much have I retained from playing this sort of games so far?

For one, I truly enjoyed most of the games initially. I like the dopamine rush from getting featured rare units. I respect the amount of care the developers put into them. I love the thrill from the creative challenges the game has devised. Essentially, these feelings mirror how I felt towards MMORPG pre-college. But similarly, they also took a lot of time and efforts to learn and master. On top of it these games don't actually build any real transferable skills despite how engaging they are (for the sake of comparison, console games have impacted me more in terms of their storytelling and perspectives they give).

So going back to the earlier question, have all these knowledge or skills acquired been meaningful?

Yes, it has been meaningful since it allows me to build connections to the people I care about in the past. But no, it has not been meaningful in terms of what I get to directly apply in my work or life. But if there is any silver lining to all of this, it embedded me with many models related to game theory that are immediately visible to me today.

What have you changed?

If impermanence is permanent and that the only constant is change, then how have you changed? What have you changed? What differences did you make?

  • My physical and mental state have changed
  • My direct environment have changed
  • My involvement with the people who are close to me have changed

Next, I want to bring change to things that I'm interested at and things that can affect people in fundamental ways.