. . .

Genius: A self-interested obsession that becomes useful or important

That’s my one-line takeaway from PG’s essay, The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius.
A few excerpts below:
Which leads us to the second feature of this kind of obsession: there is no point. A bus ticket collector’s love is disinterested. They’re not doing it to impress us or to make themselves rich, but for its own sake.
An obsessive interest in a topic is both a proxy for ability and a substitute for determination. Unless you have sufficient mathematical aptitude, you won’t find series interesting. And when you’re obsessively interested in something, you don’t need as much determination: you don’t need to push yourself as hard when curiosity is pulling you.
So what matters? You can never be sure. It’s precisely because no one can tell in advance which paths are promising that you can discover new ideas by working on what you’re interested in.
Even Newton occasionally sensed the degree of his obsessiveness. After computing pi to 15 digits, he wrote in a letter to a friend: I am ashamed to tell you to how many figures I carried these computations, having no other business at the time.

5 Tips for Safe Winter Driving
Wednesday October 21, 2020

As the winter weather approaches, the roads will quickly become more hazardous to cars and trucks on the road. Whether you live in the alpine forests of Grand Rapids or the mountains of Albuquerque, icy pavement and flurries can make it dangerous to be out on the highway. It doesn’t take long for conditions to […]

Inspired by a Qing dynasty poem
Monday November 09, 2020

I really enjoyed reading this poem, just something about the words and the flow of it. I decided to write my own – half a literal translation, and half something else. — 万里长城万里空 张廷玉 南来北往走西东,  人生杳杳在其中; 天也来空地也空,  换了多少主人公。 夜静听得三更鼓,  翻身不觉五更钟; 从头仔细思量起,  便是南柯一梦中。 一场辛苦一场空,  死后还归泥土中。 身归泥土气随风,  一片顽皮化臭胧; 在身置得万倾田,  死后只得三步地。 埋骨何须桑梓地,  人生无处不青山。 万里长城万里空,  百世英雄百世梦; 沉舟侧畔轻帆过,  病树前头万木春! — […]

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