see if you can catch the barbie

outside text

so uh in retrospect this was in fact supposed to be a formal writing, but in the end it became much more informal and exposed less well-formed thoughts. I think though that it’s been long enough since my last post that I should put something out there, so here it is.



So I always get stuck when it comes to the beginning of writing formally. I have lots of thoughts in my head but they never actually pertain to the topic at hand. Either they’re too meta or too focused on what’s actually around me. Like for instance I heard the beginnings of a dodie song I recognize but almost barely just before this.

But now that that’s flushed out maybe I can focus on the subject at hand, and edit the previous out later.

I enjoyed the vibes of the movie. It made me feel manic. It gave doing vibes, ESPR and Kairos vibes. It did of course warn what those kinds of vibes could unleash on the world. It’s entirely foreign to me that people would work to uphold things like jealousy or pride or prejudice, that some political/science figures had that kind of slack in their lives. Personally it seems like if I was in that situation I’d just be trying to prove that I’d got something to show. But maybe that’s what comes with seniority in teaching or job experience. Once people start listening to you you actually have to make moral/influential decisions, and there’s lots of leeway in that. And often there isn’t a higher barrier to entry for making these kinds of decisions other than sticking with the job/company for long enough and getting promoted. And if this has worked so far in bureaucracy, who’s to say a similar barrier to entry for ability to create weapons of mass destruction in science won’t work as well? Make all of the teachings endlessly complicated until at the end students are like “well that isn’t fair you could have made it so much easier”, as we all complain now with harsh teachers, but then the teachers are like “ah yes but do you really want the uncommitted ones to have the knowledge you have now?” and it’s a self-perpetuating kind of thing. obviously this is not foolproof. but there are easier ways to target the world than by climbing up the ranks in one particular company, so maybe it’s the same with science.

although people actually do do espionage when it comes to influential groups of people like countries. but then again like would be more prevalent without the many layers of separation.

i wonder how much i’m going to edit this.

i really do enjoy the tortured genius part of this, but it saddens me that the community of top researchers in physics (and even logic math godel!!!) were so familiar with each other, but we couldn’t possibly have the same thing happening now because everyone’s a top in something. well okay not true but too many people are top in things. like i think i’m like medium-acquainted w ai safety research but like there are still so many names that i see on papers that i read or blogposts that i’m like who the hell, but cas and people seem to know them, so it’s like, just how.

and if i feel the beauty and kinship in being tortured by a high dimensional problem you’re on the verge of solving, then so must so many people. are we all tortured geniuses? we certainly have enough wealth to be something of that status back in the day.

did oppenheimer eat so little because he knew he wasn’t working out and wanted to stay fit?? actor: “You sleep for a few hours, get up, bang it again. I was running on crazy energy – I went over a threshold to where I was not worrying about food or anything. I was so in it, a state of hyper… hyper something. “But it was good because the character was like that. He never ate.”

can i be like this?

i mean, i really need to sleep my sleep and i don’t often stay up thinking about something in particular. maybe it’s because i have no aim and nothing i believe in enough to do this… maybe that has to do with confronting my limitations as well. that i can’t learn quantum in a day or absorb all of the ml literature in one sitting. it takes time and effort to even BELIEVE in something that you can spend your time on. that it is worthwhile for you in particular to spend your time on.

and… i’m sure everyone wants this but it’s not something that can be handed to you. no one hands you your life. you have to have enough energy to find it.

it’s so unsettling to me that all of the people i look up to in the dreamer department, all of the beautiful/brilliant/struggling minds… will probably fall into the silent part of history. they’re not worse. the world is just too big now, and random events are all the more snowballing.

which is probably like the biggest part of my thoughts on oppenheimer. the way everything seems so retroactively easy to judge… the way the proceedings of the hearing were overlayed between the scenes of Alamos for foreshadowing of all of the mistakes that were made. as taleb says, it’s disingenuous to how it felt for them. as bill wurtz’s character 1 says in ‘perfect’, you want to know when a moment is going to be the Past so you can analyze it more carefully. but you don’t know which moments to analyze carefully while they’re happening. (graph streaming!!!) what should i be paying attention to right now? absolutely no clue. when did people realize oppenheimer would be a name they would have to start paying attention to? certainly not when he was a “depressed” and “socially awkward” teen.

do i even want to be seen? if influencing history is a matter of immense grit and luck, i have to be careful what i wish for, even if it seems romantic from the outside.

going back to the present; i’m here and anguished, right? working through my thoughts on being healthy and running and stuff and that’s completely opposite of oppenheimer’s like, lack of concern for his own health and general manicness. combined with barbie’s depiction of aging, like, i do want to be healthy. aesthetics matter more for me in particular because of lack of any particular genius or output on my end… a benefit of the doubt type thing would do me well. maybe if i were a man i’d have better metabolism or people would take me more seriously, but probably that’s also a 20th century thing, and also came with lots of family money.

and through all of the walking around and spitting out thoughts and gesturing that helps me put them on the page, i wonder… how much of it is performative? it hurts me to entertain the idea, but i have to. i’m in an empty room with just me right now, but i am talking to you and voicing these things, right? and i just used focusmate to help me start writing, but i should be able to do the same thing with a place like wework or a cafe with people keeping each other focused there too. what then? would i have the leisure to walk around frustrated as i do here? or would it be more performative? i wish it weren’t because i’d also do this on my own. but i want the accountability, just none of the being seen. but that is where the accountability comes from.

i went back and read the thing and made a few additions but i’m too tired to edit it. it wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive and easily understandable guide to my feelings on the movie anyway, and there’s the same barrier to entry thing i want for the last two paragraphs, because they’re the more vulnerable parts of the writing. but in particular i want to pay attention to the kind of “make a difference” sentiment i seem to be expressing here. i don’t want power and i don’t think any of this was meant in a power seeking tone. i think it’s the i feel like my life or my time is more valuable when i feel justified in throwing it towards a worthy cause. a cause that would see no difference because of my working on it is probaby not a cause i should be participating in. i don’t know what exactly it is that i wish for. what ambition it is in me that oppenheimer speaks to. because normally i’m a pretty detached theory kind of person, but the vibes of the movie really are romantic in a way, but what is it? maybe it’s the shared delusion of everyone working on the project, and the way the delusion is shared makes it real and earthly and tangible. maybe i want to be part of a shared delusion that is so strong it manifests in something worldly. i don’t know.

uncensored thoughts, feel free to tell me if i’m being cringe :)