life, how to live it.

(*NOTE purpose, reason, meaning – three words whose meaning i use quite interchangeably when it comes to talking about big, vague concepts like life. they will abbreviated here as p.r.m *)

i’m old enough to stop being naive about the world and choose my life. but first the question of what the p.r.m. of life is?

what does life really boil down to? why do we want to keep breathing to survive? what is the reason for human life? i don’t think there is any reason for life. maybe we’re just part of a larger system, part of a game. But there is really no fundamental reason for life, or for the universe in fact.
there is no reason for life, so (surviving) living becomes the reason. not only to live longer, but also to enhance the process of living. The quality of the human experience comes from exploring the full range of human emotions and going to the extremes of the universe with human knowledge. A profound statement, “the universe essentially only exists as you perceive it through what you know; therefore, if you change your perception of the universe with new knowledge, you have essentially changed the universe itself.”

And that is what life should be, one that will give us choices to explore being human.

what does it mean to live in this world?
the purpose of all living organisms is to survive, the same for humans. How do we survive? Surviving used to mean nutritious food, clean water, safe housing. But in modern society, survival also requires education, housing, healthcare. Because of technological advancement, all of that is now provided by society and we need to pay for those services. The higher the price, the better the quality of the service. That’s why our world has arranged itself economically and disproportionately rewards those who can create the most economic value. This is achieved by creating value through artificial products, explaining our evolution from primary to tertiary industries. This explains why stock traders are high valued because they make money off fictitious financial instruments, options, derivatives. The greatest wealth separator is capital gain, because it’s gain that you need to work for. Average workers end up spending all their earnings by the time they die. The only way to accumulate wealth is to invest into things that will appreciate: property, financial instruments such as stock, bonds. It’s how the world ending up being for good or for bad. This is to say that money itself is not bad because it is only a means to an end, survival; it’s bad only when it becomes the purpose. To explore being human in today’s world, that requires us to delay gratification to maximize choices in the future with money or with knowledge.

what should my life be?
i don’t want to resign to a life of creating noise. what do I mean by creating noise? It’s a frustration that many jobs I am aware of create economic value by navigating this artificial society: accountants, lawyers, bureaucrats. Sure, many of their services are integral for the functioning of our society but none of these are relatable to the human experience.

I want to give.

if you think about it, the p.r.m of science as they say is to describe systematically the natural world. But we ultimately want to apply it to our benefit which will allow the human species flourish and live longer. The same applies to knowledge; knowledge is what we exploit to allow ourselves to live longer. i think the meaningfulness of the work you’re doing ultimately derives from the size of the group whose survivability you’re trying to enhance. Scientists, doctors, aid workers, have careers of giving, don’t you think?

Research is an option I’ve never considered before. I want to help people in some capacity but research seems so far removed from the actual helping sometimes. The other problem is that giving consumes economic value instead of creating it. Ideologies don’t buy bread. It’s a fear because as I said before life is about having choices. And not having money to do certain things is a restriction.

If i end up living a life chasing ideologies, I apologize. I apologize to my unborn son and my unmet wife sine I will not be able to provide them a life as good as the one provided to me by my parents.

And who is to say just living a life is easy in today’s world ideologically or not? finding a job that makes enough money to support your family and your own life. Finding a job doing what you like and also feeds you. How many have that. Scientific discoveries is also exploited to create wealth and cause destruction in some cases, weapons. There is noise regardless of what you do, and you cannot be naive about that.

I grew up having a comfortable life with no dire need to make money to survive, and i guess that gave me the chance to be naively idealistic. it also comes from an internal idealistic compass that my elementary school principal said i had. But even if that were not the case, as a reasonably informed human of our era, how can you not do anything when you see the poor, the famished and the ones in pain?

It’s all about choice. I would like to have the choice to live many human experiences, feel all the human emotions, explore the universe with human knowledge and engage in a life of giving. I discuss the full philosophical, emotional ramifications of living now but all of us have done a fair share of living already. Living starts the moment we are born. Regardless of what our lives end up being, it’s still precious because it’s the only thing we have. Even kids know that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=armP8TfS9Is&feature=related

cs and finding jobs

via

this came up on the top visualizations of 2011 from visual.ly.

it’s really exciting to talk about all these fields and discuss how they are changing our lives with friends, but to be honest, i am still inside the center, desperately trying to learn all the pre-requisite knowledge before i can talk of being up to date.

i had a really awesome time learning about computer systems this semester under pvh. it gave me a much deeper understanding of computers, something which i’ve always wanted to learn. but a recent talk with mbwong about has led me to look into this exploding field centered around data: machine learning, comp bio, artificial intelligence. i found some information and have subsequently decided to make my own brainstorm. participation is encouraged.

http://www.mindmeister.com/maps/public_map_shell/130808206/computer-science?width=600&height=400&z=auto
and then i realized that i had always loved big data all along.

as a young kid, my favorite books were the huge ones with cross sections of buildings and structures with gorgeous illustrations explaining every part. i no longer have it on my shelf but i loved this star wars book so so much. (why don’t they make good ones anymore?) it was the perfect book, combining nerdiness and big data.

i’ve been listening to some lectures on ml-class.org, one of three classes that were offered by stanford to the public. i currently plan to take machine learning next semester but i’ll decide after the first few weeks.

the real problem is i still haven’t really decided what kind of field i want to specialize in. i’ve been watching the first lecture of  many courses on opencourseware to get a feel for each subfield inside cs but i’m still unsure.

the other thing that’s been on my mind is jobs/internships.

after getting into college, my naivety led me to believe that studying cs at a good university would  automatically give me tons of internship offers. so i haven’t really been on my game in terms of preparing myself and my resume for jobs. most of the things i’ve done have been short lived and random so it looks terrible on a cv.

but i’ve recently started to remember how many better-qualified candidates than me. the comforting thing to think is that they always say they will hire great talent as soon as they see it but the problem is becoming that great talent. with the limited knowledge i have under my belt, i don’t think i stand out as an applicant compared to many of my peers.

my uncertainty of my interest is also a concern since i don’t really know what job to apply for if i don’t know what i want to do.

i can’t decide whether for the rest of my winter break i should devote more of my time into watching lectures and learning things or looking into ways to beef up my resume? advice?