Zen is the taste of Entropy

Probably the most incredible day in my life. And I know it won’t last forever. And that’s ok. I’m still smiling right now. I found the purpose of my life. I looked at my fat tummy. I confronted a fear so embedded in me, it made me shake and tremble to even think about it. And I said “I love every single fat cell in your body”. I decided to tell that to every single girlfriend I’ll have. Except the one I have now. She’s anorexic and doesn’t have any fat cells in her body, so it doesn’t make sense.

I can choose to feel every single thing around me. The heat from the radiator behind me. It’s been off for the last 3 hours and I felt like freezing. But now it’s on. I didn’t ‘freeze’ though. I didn’t feel cold like I usually do. The blood in my legs wasn’t circulating properly but I could look at that and focus on something else, despite the presence of the feeling. The uneasiness wasn’t there anymore.

I remember my breath constantly. The muscles of my face and my breath are my anchor. The one I constantly go back to to remember I’m here, now. I feel in so much ease in my body. As if a three-year old clutter had been removed. I feel every resistance that occurs. I feel the gratitude towards the things around me and understand deeply that this gratitude is not as deep as what I reached here. It’s a mental label. It’s a feeling. What I’m living right now is a communion with the Self. I can smile and joke without acting all buddha like or closing my eyes to meditate.

The sounds around me are clear and the feelings, thoughts and hesitancies inside as well: I can see I don’t want to use the word “I” a lot. A natural tendency of mine. I see the pipe that goes from thoughts, feelings to understanding to detachment to presence to the un-manifested or whatever this thing is. I understand the armodafinil probably has something to do with this state. The need to take it again in the coming days is clear: I see it and understand it. I’m even conscious I’m going to share this paragraph with you and dread the fact you might be concerned about me for even considering taking that pill again. But that is the nature and the depth of my current state.

There is no urgency. My patience is unlimited. My willpower is infinite. Or these concepts don’t exist anymore. I don’t exist. I understand it. This even moved out of that “un-manifested” state into thoughts. I fathom it. I don’t exist. I can trace the insight. At one moment I was looking at my hands, I saw my nails. They’re long now. I labelled the sight: “bad”. Long fingernails are bad. And it blew my mind away.

It reminded me of that spoon in “The Matrix”. Let me search for the exact quote : 

One bald child is bending spoons. He gives one spoon to Neo and says, "Do not try to bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth... there is no spoon.

What I thought of was rather: The spoon is in your mind. And my fingernails were in my mind. The thought that their length was “bad” struck me. I looked at them, thought of all what I had internalised in my lifetime and that made it so I looked at my fingernails and ‘thought’ of something relating to them or attached some mental label to them. And I looked at them once that judgement was clear and I can look at them now with the same eyes: And it’s amazing because I look and expect them to shorten or disappear at any second. And not that it’s happening, it’s not, but it ‘feels’ as if they are shortening because the two realities are equivalent. Just like the spoon bending.

When I’m in this state, I look around me and feel the world couldn’t be anyway else and that even if it was, it would be just as good. “Everything could have been anything else and it would have just as much meaning.” Tennessee Williams, quoted by Jared Leto playing Nemo Nobody in Mr. Nobody, an amazing movie. In other terms, we live in the best of worlds, like Leibniz said. And there is a slight resistance that I carry on from the my everyday state maybe, in that I involuntarily don’t take everything in. I don’t suck it all in. I don’t delve into the detail of the font on the sugar packages in the brown cup sitting on the table in front of me. And it’s a resistance. I realize it.

I know it won’t last. This won’t last. I’m crying. I’m crying with a smile. “Only time” from Enya is playing, the lady from the restaurant cam to check the radiator next to me and I could ‘see’ her hair and the skin of her forearm showing past her black work shirt. I know it won’t last. And I smile.

While in my “complete dive” - let’s call it that :) - I took out my notebook and wrote “Be more sponge”. When I wrote, just as when I just drank more of my coffee, the same happened: My mindfulness was re-ignited. The cold and the blood freezing in my veins - kess ekhto hal cafe-resto ma ken fineh le2eh ghayro :) - are actually queues to be mindful. They’re a route to enlightenment. And my ‘inner present self’ is fleshed out by the very cold conquering my fingers slowly and the small crispations in my body. But I ‘see’ them. And I could write here for a century, I could spend my life sitting here, typing a letter every month. Time is gone.

(Now, I’m going to use your trick and move the light of my focus to connect some dots regarding time)

Time is space. I understood this with my mind a long while ago. Time is only a description of the movement of space. Proof is, the pointers of a watch are there to show that time exists. And these pointers are nothing but a change in physical elements of space. Time is nothing but a notion to describe a propriety of space: Its movement, its change. More so - this came lately - time describes a very specific property of the movement of space: Its movement is uni-directional. That’s entropy. What happens in the physical space cannot un-happen. The smoke coming out of a cigarette cannot go back in. A broken egg cannot un-break. This is the arrow of time. You can disassemble a car and re-assemble it but that’s something else: You can’t get it back to the ‘exact’ state it was in before disassembling it.

Time is the sequentiality of space. It is the thing that makes it so that everything doesn’t happen at the Same Time but rather sequentially. And in space, things happen in a sequence that can’t be reversed. So time guarantees succession and separateness but also unidirectionality. This is where it gets interesting: What does “time is gone” mean? What does Tolle mean when he writes that “Presence removes time”? 

I’m going to write this very slowly: Zen is the taste of entropy. Your past cannot be undone, your future won’t come faster than it can. All there is is the now with all its inevitability and fatality. Things are as they are. And it brings me back to why I don’t exist and why it’s an amazing fact: I am the table I’m sitting at. The music I hear is the sound of my breath. Though everything doesn’t happen at the same time, all the physical elements in space exist at very sam time. How amazing is that ! I can feel your presence in Lebanon. It’s 4:49pm UK time and 6:49pm your time.

(My mind thinks I’m biasing my writing and experience by thinking of writing to you as if this was the goal of it all. But I see that feeling and I keep writing. At this stage, I can’t feel three of my left hand fingers and about two and a half in my left hand)

All space exists at the same time. And this is where this feeling of connectedness comes from. The fact I feel this purple flower on the table is ‘part of me’. The quotes around it are to express a feeling rather than a thought. Everything in existence shares the present moment at any given moment. We share the present time. It’s our common DNA.

10/02/2014

I took the Armodafinil pill at 6:40am UK time. I’m trying to remember what the feeling was like from last time and gather how I quickly the modafinil pill took effect on that saturday. The dosage is 150mg and funny enough the side of the box says “as indicated by psychiatrist”. Funny enough. I want to see how words will flow today. I’m writing Fantas. I wonder if I’ll be more imaginative now. I feel like Charlie Gordon. Wonder if I’ll be more mindful while writing. The characters and what they do.

6:55am: First kick. I do feel something in my head. I feel the train coming into the station like a submarine. The train is leaving very soon. It elves at 7:01am.

7:01am: I found a place on my own. I’m writing the Fanta in french and this text in English. I wonder how the first will affect the second. Effect hasn’t kicked in properly. I feel my usual mind while writing Fanta. The challenge here is that since it’s a Fanta, there are ideas to connect. I believe I’m going to log in the time every hour from now on. So let’s consolidate 7:01am and 7:05am. Words are a bit easier to find in English. I’m easier on the people judgement. I catch it faster and put it to calm. As a side note, I did replace an emerging food craving this morning by cheer mindfulness and awareness of the people and colours around me. The little feeling of sleepiness I had about 20 minutes ago is completely dissipated (it’s 7:20am). I can hear the voice of my thoughts very clearly. I feel a perfection to my posture. Rather a good posture (I can control my pride and ego and remodel adjectives). I’m writing about Aiwa Shtuga. It’s 7:40am. It’s been an hour and patience feels longer than usual. As usual I don’t feel time passing but it seems the pill makes my focus sharper in a way that flow is more accentuated. Is it because it’s the morning or is it the substance ? Has it truly kicked in. It’s 7:57am. I feel great. More mindful when discussing (I asked the ladies behind me whether we were in France already and remarked that it’s time to change sim cards with a smile). I switched from Fanta to social connecting for a moment. And it didn’t feel like a betrayal of my writing. Whether the drug has something to do, I don’t know. I do know it’s the second time De Boton’s remark about “there’s nothing wrong about you” (because you’re interested in celebrity trivia, because you’re attracted to the news, because you check Facebook compulsively on a saturday afternoon, because you feel envy towards Elon Musk, because you go on with your life despite the fact you’ve heard about bombings in Lebanon…). “There’s nothing wrong about you”. Your duty though is to be mindful of your reactions and emotions. Stop, look and go.

9:02am: We just passed the border and are now in France (hence the time change). The thought of passing the border to the UK came to mind again and the fear I usually feel, feels different. It’s more distant and less pressing or stressing. I understand it and see it better. I see my writing speeding and am able of slowing it down. I’m looking at the scenery from the window and I can see things with new eyes. As if I had a new brain. I see details on trees differently. I feel gratitude when I have a strong emotion, Vaité. I’m talking / jumping to Vaité. She said she was scared in the moments of extreme fear (when she’d be jeopardised physically or near to death) that she’d try and reach out to God. I feel I have to say thank you to God when I’m extremely grateful actually. When I was in the emergency room, I did want to pray. I felt vulnerable and was looking at myself stupidly then. I do feel silly when I want to thank Jesus for a moment of extreme joy and blissfulness. “Nothing is wrong about me” however. It’s perfectly normal to want to thank the God you’ve grown up with when in extreme joy and pray him when feeling fear. I want to share this with Vaité. I did feel a bit of uneasiness when writing a FB message to Shérif and a Whats-app message to Ziad. I did distance myself rapidly from the feeling however. I’m growing into a better understanding of these social connection moments. I need to see that the cue is 1) when leaving home in the morning 2) after lunch 3) when leaving work in the evening. Urgent matters are urgent and are dealt with with more immediacy of course (I don’t feel the same feeling of disdain toward the expression “of course” as if the drug - ? - was giving me more maturity and distance towards my feelings and judgements). What I need to understand towards these social connection moments is that the cue being one of the above, the routine is answering messages and following up on meaningful people. The reward is relaxation, social connection and distraction. The words are flowing again and I don’t even feel like drinking the coffee I just bought. I don’t want to change the hour on my watch. I want to get back to the social connection habit but it takes an effort to move my attention and my energy to it. Switch. Let’s try Switch. Switch. The habit can take the time it needs then. It simply needs to occur at the right moments (right cues) and it can take the space it needs. There’s no culpability and nothing else is being ignored because of it. Now back to Fanta. Switch. I feel extremely ready for Birdback work later in the day as well. I don’t have this urgent need of selecting the text incessantly as I usually do when I’m writing, re-reading. I’m focused. The effects are very subtle but extremely powerful. I’m less edgy, less of an excited kid towards my good ideas (such as Aiwa needs to meet and mate with Artsy). I look at them more calmly. What was the definition of maturity ? The responsibility of being oneself ? There is a tune to it. There is a music to maturity. A specific melody (the flow of words is amazing). It is unique and the ear is naturally trained to hear it. Yes. Words are flowing. I realize I’m writing some of the best Fantas I’ve ever written. My joy and gratitude are sky high. My brain is managing this flow of words and emotion reporting while also writing and improving the Fanta. “It’s nothing special” says Suzuki. Enlightenment is nothing special. I feel a beautiful yet not uneasy urge to join the ladies’ discussion, the ones sitting behind. Or even speaking to the man, already speaking on his phone. It is a flow of confidence with sympathy. Sympathy mainly. A joy from inside. And whether it’s the drug or the great writing I don’t know. “It’s nothing special” said Suzuki. Meaning once you’re there, you realize it’s not that unique. You’re not proud and boasting. You got there by using your hands and your feet and you can see the traces and the scars on your soul. These bruises are yours. The words are flowing. They are both familiar and original and the sentences have a spirit of risk and forward-thinking baked into them. I’m forgetting to drink the coffee. I can’t yawn. The yawn of the woman behind me didn’t influence me. As if this are was blocked by the drug (?). Switch.

10:00am: I have enough courage and patience. Strike that. Courage is my OS. I have enough stamina to pursue any task for as long as possible. The drug is extending my capacity to take on work. I don’t look at the end of a task. I look at the pleasure I’m getting out of it and enjoy it fully. I am deeply grateful to Cristo, to God, to all the pills left in my bag. Less to the pills. I feel the moment is over-arching and all-powerful. I am extremely happy. And I feel and understand as well that none of this all is “special”. This is the way things are. I can hear every single sound. I just noticed that if I’m trying to be mindful and aware about everything around me, I can single out every single sound and melody in my environment. I don’t want this Eurostar trip to ever end. But I do understand it will and it doesn’t hurt me deeply that it will. I feel the continuing movement and I see the rest of my day as a logical and precise flow. I will buy a table the second I get to the fifth precinct. It is “nothing special”. It is the way things are. And I stop. And I see the train speeding on the rails, blazing through nature, and I realize I am here in the universe. In the middle of universe I wrote at first. Not out of solipsism but rather due to my perception of things. The stars feel nearby. Tyson’s quote about the ego comes to mind. His expressions and his childlike way of being emotional. Words flow well. Switch.

Between 10am and 12:16pm: (Written on my phone). Extreme patience towards people in the train. no insulting thoughts towards their slowness or the like. Heightened order and discipline.

The black man opens a door without a smile then let's me through while disregarding my smile. i catch my overdone smile first but i also catch my feeling towards his indifference and this emotion is between my fingers. as if i could bin it. the old concept of riding passing thoughts is exactly that: old.

Sweaty armpits like last time, like in every fasting productive morning as well.

No delusions. My cold isn't gone for example, though it’s a bit calmer now in the train station. drug isn't making me delusional, thinking it does more than what it does. passing lady speaking alone. i spot the emerging judgement and bin it. or maybe let it pass so quickly it's gone. it's deep non-attachment to thoughts. as if there'd be a profusion and there's no need to get attached.

i am noting everything systematically. i do feel i can move on. all noises are present. the constant thought that “this is something else”. the fleeting thought that i'd like to write all of this down in french so it ends up in a Fanta. The rediscovery of the common. suddenly i see every letter in the word “Fanta”. The sound, the uniqueness, the flow of the word. at one moment walking in the station i did feel like a reminiscence of coke. side note, taking the pill today, this experience, these pills will not be shared with anyone. i can see the anatomy of a decision. i'm thinking aiwa's decisions should have colours or specific physiques. there is a hint of perfectionism as i want to fix words' ortography such as physique above and feel the need to indicate what was the original mistake. what if i resist ? i need to tell the girl the exit is on this side. as if i want to fix the entire world.

Profusion of thoughts. back to the link with coke when i'm walking. i didn’t walk the last time. it's this speediness to thoughts and movements. amphetamines.

i feel i can't lose a thought. there i feel i have lost one. i was looking at dr john (a commercial in the train for a singer). now i'm not. how different is this from my clacking teeth when i was on coke. let's try and take a decision and move. simple the cue will be the word we've been using. switch.

il est midi moins 3 minutes. et je pleure je pleure je pleure que mes pensées ne puissent pas aller à une vitesse supérieure à celle des mots. ils glissent lorsque je les récite et je ne peux les arrêter sur la pente verglacée de l'oublie. je dois je dois je dois écrire. je dois retenir ces pensées. comme une bille qu'on arrête sur le trottoir glacé. je dois maintenir la puissance du souvenir.

12:30pm: 3 separate episodes. The first one on the way home. I walked into the drawing store for the first time. I asked her about material for serigraphy. I was confident and nice and smiling. I wonder what her perception was. The second one is at the “quincaillerie” where I bought a table and negotiated its price down from 39 euros to 30 euros while smiling and conniving him I’ll be a returning client. The table is perfect btw and my back is straight.

I also talked to Charif in a very calm and focused manner. I didn’t see any confused expression on his face and I wasn’t judging, and still am resistant to doing so, his reactions to my comments. I didn’t even write “speed of reactions” as this seemed as a judgement in itself. Writing it this way in a separate sentence however removes it one-fold and hence takes away the feeling of judgement. It is a genuine resistance to judgement however. I do want to keep note of my feelings and thoughts however.

A call with Arun went very well. I could recall every single detail regarding our clients and connections, was proactive and could retrieve all the information from my mind in a precise and quick manner. I’m giving myself until 12:40am before switching to work. I’m giving myself room to write down feelings, emotions and behaviour.

Ego, Mindfulness, Empathy. How are these doing under the drug? I believe ego is a big word here. I do have confidence but am wary and mindful of the impact on people my words have. I react in real-time with a personality aligned with my inner values. Words are flowing. I still have 3 minutes. Perfectionism, respect of deadlines. Discipline. I did feel self-celebratory after lowering the price for the table. However, the feeling was subdued. The big distinctive point of my state is that of utter non-attachment. Ego is hence a passing feeling. Mindfulness is present. I can’t feel my body, physically much. I can feel some cold in my fingers. I can see my fingers extremely differently from how I usually do. So it is a sense of change in my brain much more than in my senses. I can see my fingers differently because my brain analyses the input differently. Let’s try and see for touching. Yes, if I focus on how I’m interpreting the caress of my Mac, it is quite unique.

The anatomy of decisions is an interesting concept. I was about to write “great idea” but censored myself as I’m mindful of self-congratulating. Auto-censorship is an interesting point. To finish up before switching : Empathy. I do feel the presence of other people. I know they are there. I’m extremely mindful of not judging. The feeling of non-attachement is also present in my interactions an perception of others.

4:25pm: Effect completely worn off. Probably an hour or more ago. Especially felt when I started eating lunch and afterwards

18/02/2014

The high speeding mind on Modafinil.
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At night, I dreamt about this american actor from abc always be closing along with the bad guy scientist from spiderman, getting ready to catch a thief coming to their house. scientist is naked chest and training in front of the mirror with black pants. the abc guy is fatter than usual, dressed a bit like the fat guy in big Lebowsky. there's a glass door between scientist and the pool. thief comes, and quickly it feels like mad scientist has kicked him or led him into the kitchen sink. as if he made his feet disappear. abc guy has a big knife and it looks he is about to open up the thief.

me and patrick and small people are in a new apartment. it looks like one of these paradise organic houses. actually a lot like what Gehry's famous fountain house would look like from the inside. there's a lot of dark wood, then there is a tribe outside of small people sitting around on black rocks. patrick comes with one of them. i come into the place, patrick has something white and yellow. i feel a bit unease around him.

there is a Chinese man that looks a bit like Rodriguez and eats very very hot food watching the scene with the american actors. somebody points at him when i ask what's happening, saying this guy is responsible for what's happening here. when i speak to him, his face is inflated like a meme cartoon. he is crying but keep speaking normally as if the super spicy food he's eating doesn't affect him that much.

there are Chinese sculptures that all look alike, bouncing around in a dance / war kind of movement. they have the face of the bloodied boy that Chinese artist sculpts. some are grey. all are fat. most have armours on. as if they were a mix of the full-metal alchemist’s brother and these red boys. the scene is happening in a large desert where spicy crying Rodriguez is sitting in the background eating his spicy food. the whole land is a bit like a dragon-ball desert and maybe that is why the fat guys are a bit like fat boo.

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i felt extremely stressed yesterday towards the end of the day. a mix of fatigue and unexplainable hunger. the exact blend that should signal it's time for sleep. most of the time it's sleep and rest you crave not food when you're tired. sleep. i took an Armodafinil pill yesterday and travelled with my mind into interesting fields. putting my bingeing self on trial as if i pulled him out of my body. same for my snob self and same for my lazy self who can't learn spanish.

there is a space for learning in the morning however now. i will use that for programming and learning spanish. it will be a life-long process as i want to reach 30 and be fluent for example and from there on start reading books in spanish. verbalise. you have a fear in your tummy at the prospect of future. it's an absurd one. this will allow you to travel and meet spanish girls. speak the language of the locals. discuss with spanish friends. understand what people are saying. same for portuguese.

belief, purpose, ground floor consciousness are clear. the power of choice is very present. one can direct his mind and his self. this doesn’t mean that in moments of crisis one can still do it. In moments like these, old habits and instincts can take over. The trick to tackling them os to be prepared by having an alternative route of action. A fixed institutional routine. E.g. : Any time you feel like bingeing, head to sleep. Sleep is amazing. I feel the joy within. It’s inside and independent of the wants and the needs. Be it food or work. I can start to touch it and understand it better.

8/03/2014

I took the pill at 12:24AM. I want to have a reflection about yesterday night’s incident. I’d like to see later, in retrospect, how my thinking has evolved regarding over-eating and bingeing.

1pm - Either my veins are overly salient today or the Armodafinil is making me aware of them and they’re always like that. 1:11pm welcome to the Mod World :) 1:50pm Here comes something else.

2:15pm - And food, social connection stop mattering. Very aware of what’s around me when I choose to pay attention. Every noise, my presence. Yet the feeling of presence is different. My mind is a bit removed from where it is usually when it dives in the present. Let me try and be extremely mindful (...). This works amazingly well. I close my eyes and hear every single noise around. I feel my body and emotions. And suddenly I fall in a sort of self-hypnotism where I know I could get out of my state of presence and actually write down what I’m thinking and the feeling is pressing. I don’t however. Just like when I was hypnotised. The amazing bit and the true “next level” of mindfulness is when the sounds around Become my thoughts and my mind goes blank. Pure bliss.

0 distraction. It’s impossible. I’m laser focused. I landed on Youtube, I don’t want to look at the video of Tim Ferris. Two things : 1) obsessiveness with detail as if time seemed infinite and you could write everything you feel and think forever 2) A certain frustration about switching from a task to another (writing here for example is super-enjoyable), there’s a small pang when I switch back to blogging. But here you go: It’s about deciding :)

Sweaty armpits and super-increased presence. I can expect the crash. And it does feel like coke without the edgy side of it. I do feel invincible. But I look at the feeling and drop it. I feel well and light. I’m surprised I’m not flying.

24/02/2014

8:00am - pill taken

11:10am - effects kicking in. is Armodafinil the best time to form new habits ? I feel calm and conscious. I felt the pain-body of my hate and anger today when I spoke to Charif and I was finally able to have a normal conversation. A real one where I felt unbiased by other emotions. I’m coming out from the Armodafinil now (it’s 1pm). Eating doesn’t help the effect to stay at all. I haven’t slept properly since I got from Budapest. I slept the entire time in the plane. I also slept on the way to the airport. A sleeping head all the way. Accept. Don’t act. Watch. Don’t judge. Words. The truth can be wielded without words. No judgement.

17/02/2014

6:00 AM - I took the Armodafinil pill at 6:17 after a coffee. Before diving into work, I'll spend time on fanta. i'm on an airplane to berlin and already feel quite good.

7:00 AM - It has started. I can feel the effect kicking in. And slowly it feels like my hands are taking form in a time that is slowing down. Soon, I’ll be completely immersed. Back in the land of impossible speed.

i'm starting to read the power of now. I want to leave a mark here as it feels like a powerful book. Some books take over a person and I want to check a thing or two and make clear here and to myself that there are foundations or points that are dear to me whatever I learn from this book. reading is a core activity. it is the ever-improving process of the self and mind. I do understand the importance of now. happiness is now and nowhere else. courage is the one belief we have. It is the core value. Our purpose is others and reaching courage constantly. Our directions are dictated by who we are.

9:00 AM - It's now 9:16am and the effect has fully kicked in. I look at my hand and a distance appears. I want to put words on it. Consciousness is taking, as it usually does an interesting turn. I make the link between Susan Sontag's "consciousness harnessed into flesh" and "the power of now's" inner body. another dot is drawn first between bacon's meat as described by Kundera and Suzuki's "It's nothing special". enlightenment is nothing special. Interesting that the power of now starts by outlining a purpose. we are important to the universe. I think the meat and universal consciousness are both stories. Both built on top of something. Out of a need maybe. But both are stories. I don't even have an ultimate truth I realize. i would've said choice or consciousness or courage but all these are constructions as well. At the depth of it all is no truth to discover. There is an empty hole. The words are preceding consciousness. I haven't felt the nothingness yet but i am writing it. There is a beautiful german girl to my right. My courage is interesting. This is interesting. I can hear and smell. I can touch. I'm connecting dots. remembering I wanted to write down that thoughts don't attach that well on modafinil. This is crazy. After the kids, a couple of old persons are pushed on wheelchairs into the bus. It's a travel through ages. Rabelais writing himself on the bus ride to Hermanplatz. Old people pushing old people like dead people sustaining each other.

I can clearly see and feel the thoughts slipping through. i can stop thinking in this state. the old people just went off. Let me guess, soon it'll be the kids and the age chapter will be closed. I can stop my thoughts, cancel out the noise and feel strongly there is something deeper than the mind. No appetite as usual. a calm travel this time between a silent mind and an active one. i can feel the touch of the screen against my fingers by focusing on it. the kids just went off the bus. the chapter is closed.

Can i read ? Can i decide to take a book and read it ? It is the same impression i had under hypnosis. I don't want to come out of this state. I wonder whether i keep writing to avoid the waste. i can see the me and the self. The driven and the observant. Fascinating. like a diver looking at a wild shark (i was about to add angry before shark but took it out). my need to write out every single detail and event quite present. i can hear noises very well. there's a layer of gas and thin glass between my consciousness and everything else but it feels like a distinct feeling. reflexes like raising my head to see who entered the bus are still here.

i'm looking at my observant self, wondering what he is doing. and this discussion with Fadi dating from my first year in university comes out. can there be more than just an observant and a self ? can there be an observant that will look at both ? i wonder what will happen if i put this brain in its current state on hacking the soul and mind. On life os. on business and birdback as well.

back to the selves. i see the diver looking at the shark. it represents a feeling however. the second i add another human being. i feel i'm picturing things. the feeling isn't that authentic. for instance, i can see a "me" standing in the water on the ground next to the diver and the shark. now they're both in an aquarium (i'm running out of battery - no exclamation, no craziness, no why or what or nasty words - they wouldn't match the tune that's playing in my mind right now). a third me is outside the aquarium watching. and the whole thing is a painting on a wall that i'm looking at. the only feeling here that i 'feel' is the diver looking at the shark. it represents my observation. i remember the word Switch. switch.

i didn't read. i did come out of a thought vortex where i let my mind loose connecting thought to thought and jumping from one to the other without any control. i'm trying to see the landscape of my mind. there are valleys in some places. deep points like Li or, surprisingly, our neighbours upstairs from back in Lebanon. is this hate anywhere related to what i feel towards Charif today ?

Note ajoutée à Fanta - la 'faction' - (not really Joy, plutôt duke) un groupe de personnes qui va aider d'autres personnes au point de sur-manger, au point de déprimer, au point de boire jusqu'a se saouler … et leur dit que ce n'est pas eux. que cette personne, cette chose, ce comportement n'est pas Eux. leur personne et cette chose sont distinctes.

Et je sens un calme et un courage en regardant le moi qui sur-mange dans les yeux. ce n'est pas moi. c'est un autre moi. il a le biscuit lu dans la main et un bocal de Nutella. il se tient à deux pas. et en même temps ils est loin. je tremble à l'idée de nous voir séparés et distincts ainsi mais je le vois clairement. ce n'est pas mon cerveau modafinil qui regarde uniquement. c'est moi. c'est l'homme qui médite, qui se choisit. le poète qui voyage. je comprends qu'il est autre. je sens mon corps et sa faim mais je vois l'autre partie, l'obsession comme un être distant. c'est clair. c'est autre. et où que se dirige ce bus, je sais que je vais chez moi.

i did the trial of my bingeing self, my ego self and my lazy self. the latter is the one unable to start learning spanish. i could see them, each of them standing in front of me. i then turned the flesh that looked like me into a piece of glass then a colour came to tint that glass.

before the words of Tolle get to me, this is a reminder that we know consciousness comes first. it is from that perpetual prudence and realisation of the word that next steps stem. but first is a state of effective stop (not from Something mind you). then you look and go.

i am not 'searching' for anything. i have It. i have everything i need. my joy is in being. in the moment and my purpose is the motion towards a belief i value. courage. towards giving to others as well. to be fully in the self and the world.

 

Sandbox Application under Modafinil

8:44 am Working title - "Applying to Sandbox under Modafinil"

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 8.49.52 AM.png

12:40 Afterthought - I'm writing this after re-reading the entire text below. 4 hours later. One. Hell. Of a ride. I'm a bit more calm and slowly the usual thoughts are coming back and a normal state of focus is re-settling. This was my first Modafinil pill. The text conveys why I'd be a great Sandboxer not only through the content but by virtue of the state it was written under. It's performance art though it's a bit boastful to frame it this way. The content is very honest and quite personal at times. I was expecting that last bit and while writing I was under the impression it was going to be a mess. It isn't. I've put the very few paragraphs I've changed afterwards between two £ signs. The text below is still a pure translation of the Modafinil effect and it is truthful to the experience but some parts got really messy and unclear, hence the few £ signs. It's interesting as it shows where the "circuits" overheated in a way.

12:52 Afterthought - Regarding feelings per se, frustration is actually very hard to feel under Modafinil. I tried to upload the picture above 8 times without a single trace of annoyance. Patience is very strong. Looking at my to-do list, I clearly feel I can blaze through anything. I spoke to Anais after the text was over and I felt much more focused and calm than usual, despite being afraid I couldn't handle a discussion under Mdfnl. She's now working beside me and while others presence can affect one's behaviour sometimes, it doesn't while I'm under Mdfnl.

And now, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and hope it (even) qualifies as a Sandbox application.


Why #1 - I took a Modafinil pill at 8:39am. It is now 8:44am. We are the 28th of September. It's a Saturday. For my WOW (nickname for sandbox applications), I wanted to create something that would express more than a single facet of who I am. I am a published writer but I'm also a body hacker. Writing about body hacking wouldn't cut it. Reciting poems on the fly during a workout isn't well perceived in the gym. So my latest acquisition came as an epiphany: I just got hold of a barely legal Modafinil pill. It's nearly impossible to buy it without a prescription and even then nothing comes near what I was lucky to get. Modafinil is the "smart drug" par excellence. At first, it was devised as a compound to remedy ADHD. But Silicon Valley CEOs and Ivy league students got a hold of it (Ritalin in the latter's case actually), having noticed it increases one's focus.

8:48 Update - It's been 9 minutes since I took the pill. I'll use the "Update" sections to take a step back and observe myself.  It's been reported that people under Modafinil go into deep focus mode, forget to eat (I was advised to put an alarm to remember eating, I didn't ...)

 Modalert - Quite a potent version of Modafinil

Modalert - Quite a potent version of Modafinil

8:52 Update - I just uploaded a picture and felt "something" is happening. I feel a tingling in my brain.

Why #2 - Looking at several Sandbox applications, most were great creations (some organise exhibitions, some create info-graphics, some do sculptures ...). I do have a craft and that is my writing. However, I wanted it to be more than just a text. So I thought about a 'super-text'. And for a 'super-text', I needed a super-brain. Hence Modafinil. In what follows, I want to avoid bragging so let me get rid of that right now and make sure it won't happen: At 24, I'm a 3 times published writer, launched my own data product design company in France, have talked at 4 TEDx conferences and dropped to 7% body fat ... once. Some might not be too proud about that last one. To me, it was an amazing experience.

9:02 Update - My brain is a bit "cold". As if something was spreading through it. Strange as I have some understanding of how Modafinil works but still imagine that it's 'spreading' like a solution through my head.

Why #3 - So I didn't want my application to be about what I did. But rather about who I am. I wanted to create a setting where I could actually express what I was all about. The very fact I'm writing this text under the effect of a potent drug conveys three aspects of myself:

  1. I'm a risk taker: In and by itself Modafinil is not 'dangerous'. Quite the contrary. However because of the deep focus it entails, one forgets essentials such as eating and sleeping and bad health effects ensue. That is a long-term drawback however and unlikely to happen if you can structure your supplementation around your life. Still, it's not a legal drug, no lab experiment has deemed it 'safe' yet and its effects were only reported by the few experimenters in the body hacking community. I consider it a risk to swallow this.
  2. I'm a systemic thinker: I like to create processes. One example is how I turn dreams into projects and projects into tasks and habits. My company's ambition and my vision for a product is an "OS for life". I deeply believe there is room for communicating, teaching and helping people adopt a complete system to drive their life forward by pushing the right behavioural levers at the right moment. More on that in what follows as my passion for this product spans throughout my life.
  3. I'm a dot connector: The risk taker part is the boost to "knock down doors". The systemic part is to understand how to "knock down doors". And the dot connection, prior to both, is to figure out which door to knock down.

9:13 Update - It's very different from other Saturdays. I always write on Saturdays. Usually, the "observant self' is much more present. Here, it's as if he faded in the background. My nose is dripping a bit but I don't care. Hunger is completely absent and my mind will simply not move away from the strain of thought I'm focused on. In my head right now, there is only this text and nothing else. Not a single other thought is entering my "focus centre". Barbara, my house mate, just walked past me and the way I noticed that is different from how I do usually. There is a small change in how we, or I at least, react to other people's presence : A small variation in behaviour due to sheer awareness. It is completely absent right now. I wonder how awareness and focus are related. Ok. Back to why.

Why #4 - Ok. I'm supposed to write about why I'm great for Sandbox. I'll get back to that. I think. But wait a second. This is amazing. I know I'm supposed to write about 'how I feel' in the 'Update' section. These are the rules I set at first. But this is something else. My mind is racing right now. I don't know if my fingers can keep up. A gazillion ideas are coming to the front. But my mind is sifting through them at a speed I've never experienced before.

9:20 Update - How long has it been ? I took the pill at 8:48. That's 32 minutes. Interesting. It took me longer than usual to do the math here. The stimulated brain area could be different ? My fingers are cold but it's the least of my concerns. Is it because of the warehouse I live in right now ? The rest of my body is ok. Back to why. 

Why #5 - I've broken personal goals down to 5 aspects. Personal improvement is the pursuit of a higher personal health. Health in its wider definition of course. Consider this framework : Mental, Spiritual, Emotional, Financial, Physical. Improving one's health is precisely about creating processes to sustain and move oneself forward an upward in each of these. Hence, my Sandbox application isn't a listing of my accomplishments. My greatest accomplishment cannot be blogged about, it cannot be photographed, it can't be put in a CV or even bragged about. In and by itself it seems like the most natural thing to most. My biggest accomplishment and the reason why I'd be a great Sandbox member is §

9:27 Update - Sweaty armpits. Interesting.  So I'm trying to formulate this idea in a very clear way but my mind is not 'delivering' here. It's interesting. Normally I find words much faster and reading some phrases above, my style is less elegant than usual. It feels as if 'Modafinil focus' is a trail blazer. To be confirmed.

Why #6My biggest accomplishment and the reason why I'd be a great Sandbox member is : An upgraded life. Why is this an accomplishment ? "You're just living, like everyone else". Let me ask some more questions in response to this question : Do you feel you have blind spots ? You know you do. Conceptually, you realize that the person you are right now is not completely aware of everything it is and isn't. Your subconscious is partly responsible here but mainly it's due to the way we remember and perceive ourselves. Memory is a construction. Remembrance is an effort. We don't remember things down to the atom and the tiniest detail but rather our minds grab and store some 'pointers' for later use.

9:33 Update - I should go to the toilet but it's not really important. It's interesting that the "state" in itself is now a "given". This is who I am. It feels as if the drug didn't 'change' me but rather melded into my being. This sounds extremely un-scientific. I wonder if I should amend this text later.

Why #7 - So if our conception of ourselves is a constant construction, an effort really, if it isn't a 100% accurate process, if we don't really know who we are exactly at any given moment, and we still want to improve, how can we make sure we're actually improving. If we want to make A better but the subject before us is A*, it's impossible to improve A. Remember Alain de Botton wrote how unhappiness stems from the fact that we don't know ourselves well enough. The reason why you end up buying clothes that dissatisfy you or choose a career that doesn't fulfil ° you is not because of disillusion or surprise down the road. It's because, upfront, when the decision was made, you didn't have the right elements at hand. You were thinking this would be perfect for A, but it was A* you were asking for feedback. At any given moment, when you make a decision, you're not connected to yourself but to a proxy of yourself. That is the § very source of unhappiness.

9:42 Update - This is good ! I like that last paragraph. Lacks elegance but it's proper insight. I think it was hanging around in my head but it just materialised. Correction then : Modafinil is good for dot connection. But not in the traditional sense. Usually, I connect dots by sifting through a lot of material I've encountered °. I draw a map and I see how Senegal relates to Moscow ° (metaphor, metaphor). Now it's different. It's a bit like someone cleaning a room at high speed § and finding out there are things that belonged to a same group.

9:44 Update - Barbara ° dropped something in the kitchen. Quite a noise. And though it wasn't different in volume from a natural perception, it's as if it happened 'somewhere else'. Barbara is now working next to me on her photography project. She doesn't know I'm working on this. It feels as if she's 'somewhere else'. Same for the train passing in front of me (the warehouse is just next to train tracks ... I know, lovely). The train is 'somewhere else'. 

9:46 Update - My fingers are speeding again. There's a paragraph I didn't finish up there and I should get back to it. Klaus did tell me that there would be misspelling problems when I take this. Clearly. I'm thinking of leaving it as is.  

9:47 Update - Ok it's a bit frustrating here. My fingers aren't going fast enough. I want to continue the thought. Barbara just asked me something. I just said 'yes'. I have no idea what it was. Interesting. Ok let me finish the paragraphs up there and get back here. I'll put a ° next to the words that were misspelled °. I'll put a § before the sentences that weren't finished right away because I had to jump and start another paragraph.

Why #8 - This is amazing. And it actually relates to my last "Why #7" and my last point there. Knowing oneself. So let me sum this up and go forward and let's not forget I'm still applying for Sandbox here. I was saying in Why #7 that we can't know ourselves. I've read Osho when I was younger. Paulo Coelho incidentally as well. A book about personal magnetism also. I spent the 11th and 12th year of my life consciously asking myself several times a day "who are you ?" envisioning I'd be able to figure it out and avoid the 40-something break down people experience later in their life by tackling and solving my existential questions early on. So. It's hard to know oneself. It takes a lot of time. It's essential however if one wants a shot at happiness. Happiness is all about gearing your end goal to what you truly are and want. It is a project that stems from something deep inside you. If it doesn't, you're heading to Rome when you should be going to San Fran. Hence the way an "upgraded life" (apologies for such a pompous term, it's just to put words on a concept) helps accomplish happiness is by § putting in place a system to make sure you're constantly gearing your everyday life according to your inner self. Just like a company needs day-to-day operations to be fulfilling a long-term strategy, milestones and goals: same for oneself. I treat myself like a public company. My shares fall if I fuck up. It's fun.

9:58 Update - Just finished my coffee. It was freezing. Very bad taste.  I really don't care about going to the toilet. I need to remind myself constantly of the actual thread that I'm trying to develop. My mind is a bit jumpy. Ok. I need to go to the toilet. let's see how it feels to move.

10:04 Update - Waw. It's complete absence and complete presence. Let me italicise ° the word 'and'. What I mean is I noticed my hands just now like I never did before. I don't want to compare to other drugs but just there and then, it felt my hands are extremely 'present'. Still, when I flushed the toilet, this warehouse being what it is, a terrific noise goes off each time water comes to refill the flush. Amazing. The sound was just as I remembered it from the hundredth of times I had heard it but it was in a different dimension, on a different frequency, 'somewhere else' than usually. It's hard to put in words to someone reading and has never experienced all of this. But it's an interesting challenge. Read this then close your eyes. I'm struggling to convey the experience here. You're at a club and the music is loud. You go to the toilets in ° the club and you still hear the music. It's quite loud but when you close the toilet door the music is different. It's still there. It's still playing. It's still loud but there's a door. And you hear it. You still experience it. Very differently however.

Why #9 - Where were we ? Wait that's interesting. How quickly do I remember where I was ? It took a bit less time than usual. So I'm back to saying why I'm a good fit for Sandbox. Actually no. I'm saying why I can actually bring something to the group. I think it needs edge in all honesty. I think it needs to take more risks. I think it needs to bang more doors and question more status quo's. You're putting 30 great under 30s in a room and then what ? Asking them to chat ! So you concentrate all this potential in a room and just look at it instead of putting constraints on creation to spur § I think such an organisation needs to be goal-driven. But I digress. Back to my biggest accomplishment. £ The one I believe makes me a great Sandboxer : How I've come to know myself better and strived for a higher state of happiness by implementing a system. £ This is science btw. Why ? Because it's replicable. So the steps are the following : §

10:13 Update - It's interesting. I'm still censoring myself a bit. I wonder when I'm going to stop. This could go on for hours. I opened another window in my browser as I have notes about the system I'm describing and it felt amazing to open a new window. I'm 'experiencing' my browser differently. My style is gaining a bit of elegance as I go along from what I sense.

Why #10 - The steps:

  1. Understand who you are (Alain de Botton) 
  2. Fix a goal
  3. Make sure you're using your own scale (Alain de Botton + Barry Schwartz) 
  4. Make sure your scale is appropriate : not too high, not too speedy, not too limiting, challenging enough ... flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) 
  5. Enjoy the process / the journey (Srikumar Rao) 

It's a tinkering, tweaking process. Happiness is hackable. My CTO said "nothing is un-hackable" yesterday. Amazing. Now, the system up there is void if it doesn't translate into actionable steps. £ Steps to draw your dreams from yourself, turn these into accomplishable goals and constantly make sure you're on track both when it comes to being truthful to yourself and being efficient from an execution point of view. £ Things you actually do on a daily basis to ensure you're on track. We all have good resolutions. We're all good people. What we lack is a system to follow through. So:

    • Every second of my week is planned. I have an agenda describing exactly what I do every second of the day. Before I go into details, you might think it's stressing but I also schedule relaxation in there. The goal of planning your life down to the hour is avoiding decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is a surefire way to dissolve willpower. Willpower is a finite resource. It's a thruster °. You have a big boost once in a while, better make the best of it and use that as the fuel to write down a plan.

    OS for life - Starts with the calendar

    • One can see in the week up there how mornings are dedicated either to Workout and Research or to Research and Nanominded (the name of my company). On days where Nanominded occurs very early in the morning, the activity is not aimed at business development but rather to personal development. These are the mornings where I'm learning a new skill. Lately "becoming a growth hacker", "creating great wireframes", "executing a great hand stand" and "becoming a better negotiator" have landed on my next to-acquire skills.
    • Break_Day is a time of the day dedicated to passive meditation. That ° goes from "doing nothing" which is crucial (Inspired by Bertrand ° Russel's "In praise of idleness" and Seneca's "On the shortness of life"). Break_Night is about active meditation, offline reading, events and meeting people. These are activities defined in advance.

    "Isn't it an OCD approach to life ?" The "obsession" per se can be useful if managed properly, obsession could bring about perfection. It's the "compulsion" part that needs to stay under control § And that's where Saturdays come in. On Saturdays, I write. Only writing means more to me than blogging. Words are transformative. Writing is always a re-writing of a fragment of yourself. It's memory made ink or pixels. Memory manifested. That effort, that construction I mentioned earlier is a conscious process now. That's where the "dockyard" part comes in.

    • Sat and Sun are for "Write + Dockyards". Dockyard is where ships stop to refuel and Sat and Sun are exactly that. Besides writing °, which in other terms, is a self-reconstruction, Dockyards allow to review, evaluate and fix the 5 health aspects mentioned above, the goal being to ensure that each aspect is ok and improving. It is also a time to make sure one is on track, that the process, the OS for life, or put simply the agenda, is actually bringing one that much closer to goal completion. It's the time to review your goal-tracking record. I use "Smarter goals" to track Spiritual health by recording "3 blessings" every day and my physical health ° by tracking every day whether I was on track or not regarding my nutrition and workouts (loss of strength ° or not ...).

     10:40 Update - I'm looking at my hands for a moment. They still look 'different'. It's an amazing way to figure out if the effect is still kicking.

    Why #11 - Other elements in the OS for life :

    • Regarding the dockyard, I also evaluate financial health by looking at my financial spreadsheet. Emotional and mental are extremely important. Saturday is a day to think about how emotional relationships with others are going. It breaks down into : romance, friends, family, business partners) §.
    • The mental aspect concerns the skills I'm developing. It's an evaluation of whether I'm effectively becoming better at said skill.  
    • The small stuff such as errands, syncing the Fitbit, recharging machines, laundry ... are also scheduled in. It simply takes the wondering out of the equation. You don't need to think about it 3 times a week anymore. You know you need to do it on Saturday.  Worrying about these tasks would be a drain on precious willpower and decision making capital during a given week. §

    11:07 Update - Barbara called. It's about that thing she asked for earlier °. While taking the call, I was extremely conscious of the phone against my ear, her voice which felt very new and my ear itself which was touching the phone lightly. Touching the phone to end the call also felt like a new experience. I can still feel the pressure against my finger.

    Why #12Data is binary in tracking the Spiritual and Physical side of things. Accomplishment in the Physical instance is about compliance. If you stick to it, you'll reach your goal. Same for all the other aspects of health I'd say and my physical journey has been a transformation in that regard : "You are what you repeatedly do, hence excellence is a habit". Each of us has a master quote in his life. I believe that's mine.

    11:13 Update - I'm not sure if the effect is waring of. I doubt it as my mind's filter is still very acute and no thoughts besides the OS for life, the Sandbox application and observing the effect of Modafinil on me are arising. I'm not worried about anything else. Hunger is completely absent. There are moments where I look outside the window and an amazing clarity sets in. I'm not searching for meaning or admiring beauty. The scenery looks like an overlay on top of my thoughts that are now sitting outside. It's interesting as it relates to § I jumped to another paragraph and forgot what I was writing. I have a fear of looking up actually. I feel it's disturbing. I haven't looked around for the last 2 hours. It feels like a fight against oneself which brings me back to Why.

    Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 11.58.36 AM.png

     

    Why #13 - Why I'm experimenting and writing under Modafinil + Why I've developed an OCD-ish system for my life + Why I'd a legendary Sandboxer are interrelated § To explain why, let me mix a couple of insightful quotes : "Change is the only constant in life" + "Be like water". The former is by Heraclitus, the latter is from Bruce Lee. Let me bullet point this: 

    • If the only certainty there is, is that there is no certainty, one needs to be infinitely adaptable. Hence, one needs to be like water.
    • If, despite the wild randomness that surrounds one's existence, one still wants to make progress, like the sailor on a rocking boat in a perfect storm, one needs to hang on.
    • This equates to resilience. One needs to "keep at it". And what better metaphor that the ultimate destroyer : "water". Water will destroy anything. Provided it is given enough time.  In the long run, water will always win. let me find a picture.
    erosion.jpg
    • Darwin mentions it in a quote about the power of small creatures and time :
    “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” ― Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
    Einstein refers to this in another way in his wildly misunderstood quote :
    "Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it."
    The idea here is that however lame a notion it might be, repetition is a master force of the universe. It is the right arm, the execution director of Time itself. It is the way the ongoing clock of the universe imposes its view of things and its master plan.
    • This is where the OS for life and that crazy detailed calendar fits in. It is the custodian of repetition in one's life. Modafinil experimentation is the personal knack to break through barriers just like water shapes ° things through sheer stubbornness and resilience. My application to Sandbox in all of this ?

    11:32 Update - My other housemate Dan just woke up. I didn't say hello. I really should. But it feels he's 'somewhere else' and even if I turn and see him and say hello, I won't actually find him § so I turned. And I saw him. And indeed, it felt like he's 'somewhere else'. I have no idea what to do now. Back to work. § I have pictures and documents hanging around on my desktop, which I don't like but I can't get myself to stop and organise it. This is clearly a different level of focus.

    11:40 Update - In that last "Why #13" paragraph, it hinged on poetry and I felt I found my style again only tinted by the strange focus layer of Modafinil. 

    Why ° #14My application to Sandbox in all of this ? I should be wrapping up now. This has been going on for 3 hours straight. Ok. So Modafinil is not fading away. My back is hurting but I don't really care or truly realize the pain. It's just there and I'm busy with something else. It's as if you had someone you dislike nagging you and thinking he's putting a dent in your mood ° whereas you're actually completely indifferent. So. My application to Sandbox in all of this ? I'm not looking for a network. I'm looking for a tangled bank. Funny how quoting Darwin once brings back all of Darwin. A tangled bank is the ideal meeting / mating environment for ideas. I want that. It's full of microbes and small resilient, stubborn creatures who despite themselves, and because of their eagerness to survive will end up changing the shape of the shore's rocks. And survival is not as selfish as it's said to be. Survival in its purest form is a positive sum game. These microbes created the perfect environment for other creatures to evolve. We owe them a lot. Same for Sandboxers. I'm £ actively £ not looking for networking opportunities. I'm looking for a tangled bank. Somewhere I can bring my edgy self and push things forward. Accelerate 'survival'. If not and the ambition of the community is not of "compound interest" then ... the Modafinil has been / still is a great ride and my hands are looking amazing still. Unto some more writing.

    11:50 Update - I really don't feel like re-reading this. I feel like moving unto something else. I'll put an afterthought up there at the beginning afterwards. I'm a bit less afraid of looking up. Looking left and right feels a bit weird. As if I'm in an un-familiar place (the place where I've lived ° for the last 6 months).