The Difference between Genius and Madness

A very fine line indeed. Both are characterized by being out of the norm, a flamboyance, a boldness, perhaps even rashness. It appears to others that the genius and the madman are both a little ‘crazy’. These conditions come with enormous psychological loads. Without the right internal support and external environment, the genius can turn mad and the mad can get even madder.

Let me try to separate the two:

Genius — perceives the truth behind reality, a secret that others do not acknowledge or care to look for
Madness — perceives patterns where there exist none, reads meaning into noise.

Genius — makes bold moves that ensure survival and success under tremendous pressure. Always honest to oneself — facing the pressure of the truth head on.
Madness — under tremendous pressure, collapses into delusion and refuses to go on, to stay, to play the game. Loses more hold on reality in attempt to assuage oneself. Lies to oneself – consciously or unconsciously – in order to escape the pressure.

Genius — self-correcting mechanism that allows one to pivot: learning from being mad in one round (e.g. ideas that are just too radical for today, poor product market fit, poor user adoption), and then attuning to reality in the next in order to manifest the vision.
Madness — insists blindly and inflexibly on implementation of its ideas, unwilling to iterate, unwilling to find solutions in the outside world that can help manifest the vision.

Genius — humble in its attitude, always self-doubting, with a double dose of confidence to even out the self-doubt. Self-doubt is used as a tool to recalibrate expectations and reality.
Madness — there is only fake confidence borne out of psychological instability. There is no humility as the madman loses touch with reality and refuses to allow himself to see how out of touch he is. He has no idea where he stands with himself. Self-doubt becomes another phenomenon to get over, but with no idea that the doubt is pointing to something. Confidence is accompanied by a sense that something is very wrong but an inability and refusal to pinpoint what it is.

Genius — ultimately manifests in works of the highest beauty and utility that brings inestimable value to all.
Madness — ultimately results in self-destruction and the misguided sense of being wronged by the rest of the world.

Madness is genius out of touch and out of control.

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blessed

it’s been a long week and a while since the last time I wrote. 2 months, I think. a lot has happened since then. ups and downs of immense proportions. denial, acceptance, cautious forward, wisdom, finding peace in the work every day, knowing when I must sprint and when I must jog.

reading Elizabeth holmes’ story today really sent me this message: do not go too fast, even when everything around you that is external seems to be letting you have your way. only do something when you are ready, and with the right foundations, or the consequences will haunt you one day. never ever build lies upon lies because they will come back to bite you. I saw the power of delusion to power someone and the people around them. and I saw similarities between this phenomenon and the cult or guru phenomenon I have been obsessed with recently. people give you want you want and your ego gets bloated and there’s no one to keep you in check, you go out of control. in some ways, kay was right. yet in some ways, she was also a conduit of that authoritarian mindset I read about today. when someone raises doubts and an actual question or argument, you do an ad hominem attack or you try to encompass it in some bigger problem, instead of actually addressing the real issue. and you reduce the doubter’s self-trust. in some ways, this is basic debating (or sophistry, depending on your perspective) 101, but coupled with an imbalance of power it becomes a tool for manipulation. you create and perpetuate the conditions for mental and spiritual surrender this way.

also I ate too much chocolate and raisins today. remind me why I do this every time? why do I feel the urge to eat so much? just writing this, I observed the feeling of satiety change into an appetite for more, a salivation in the mouth.  interesting.

from an objective standpoint, today hasn’t been that ‘productive’, but I spent a lot of time in active reflection and awareness of my self and the thoughts produced in my mind. and thinking about the future, and how I want to proceed with my future. from this perspective, it has been completely satisfying. I have strengthened my joy in the moment of work and thought and learning, while observing that inner critic that wants to just hate on my self, to impose some ‘discipline’, I have resolved to always do the best work that I can, to seek feedback when necessary, but not to overdo it and to lose my voice. I have remembered who I love and who I want to be with but I have objectively seen that it may or may not happen at all, and that is fine. I have observed my body and the sensations in my body. I am so grateful for this time of reflection, of reconciliation to the self and the world, of carving out my own path no matter what, of learning to love again – myself, and others, of just awareness. finally realizing what it means not to cling again, to good or bad. knowing that all things that I love and that I want will come in their own time, not due to some ‘god’ or some ‘secret force’, but just due to the nature of the universe and the Way things work, or to quote the dao.

there is still a lot of work more to do, 1) on my biology — making sure the menstrual hormones don’t affect my mood swings or my productivity, trying to isolate those depressing feelings from my biology, now that my period is at its end my mood is high, but was my bad mood weeks ago mostly due to those darned hormones? when will I stop secretly wishing to be a man and accept my body? 2) on psychology — watching my thoughts and ego-identification in the moment and moving from it with skill, trying out different reactions and responses. being more clear on myself for what I want and not letting my unconscious self-destruct me. for example, the thought to be a ‘good person’, or that there is ‘some’ benefit — nebulous in nature — from doing something I do not really want to do. of course there may be some benefit but you cannot use it for self-delusion, that’s the skill. this will only bite you in the end. (i.e. creating your own negative karma) 3) on love — working on practicing the bramavihara. 4) continue to ensure my long term financial stability of my plans, as well as residency here. but to not be obsessed with money as I was, because that is only counterproductive. money is a tool, not an end-goal. work on how to arrange my finances as part of designing my environment, not on amassing funds for the sake of a nebulous sense of ‘security’.

I feel very blessed, very lucky, to enjoy this solitude.

I miss j v much. sometimes I am so aware of the childishness, the perhaps almost delusional nature of my affections. I saw how, over the last two years, my feelings towards him have evolved and matured. it hasn’t been a straight line here, admittedly. furthermore, he hasn’t been the kindest to me at the end. hence, why my feelings may be ‘delusional’. he is still resentful, I think. and I have honestly been putting myself out there more than he has. but I saw his deep capacity to love. I saw my preoccupation with my other problems at that time blinded me to his love and caused him to feel deeply unloved and uncherished by me. but I also felt hurt by him. I loved him and he could not see it. he loved me and I could not see it too. and so I am wary of a blind belief that ‘it will all turn out well’, that we will have our happy ending. I see the future for us will have many turning points for mutual growth, if we both choose this path. we have a bad communication model right now and it will only change when we both become fully and truly ourselves with each other and can respect the other no matter what. notice I didn’t say ‘love’. god knows what ‘no matter what’ ‘love’ in this context means. I love him ‘no matter what’, like I love a stranger. that doesn’t mean allowing myself to be mistreated ‘no matter what’. but I also just love him for being him. I think, I used to love because of what I got back, that feeling of being loved, and security, and affection. that’s a very tenuous love. it is reminiscent of this craving to give your power up to a guru, to revert to that infantile state of being the center of the world, to have your needs met without trying. now I am learning to love out of my own strength and power, out of that hidden place that all of us human beings have but rarely consciously cultivate. this is a love borne out of security, self-trust, and self-love.

this is a love that is also teaching me how I can relate to others, like my parents, and people who are useless to my purposes.

coming to accept myself and my judgments, not trying to prove myself to be wrong, not trying to prove myself to be right, (these are the trappings of the ego) just acting on my judgments and then seeing if they work out to be a livable and effective map of reality. accepting my ego exists, not trying to get rid of it, not trying to strengthen it. this is the way of god, the way of nature, the way of the universe, the way itself (dao). how I wish I could spend each day of my life in service of the dao. to love, to live, to work without working, to achieve everything that I wish without striving (i.e. suffering), to enjoy the work, to achieve effortlessly through non-work. I was striving, pushing, striving, pressuring myself, relentlessly, struggling, all for nothing. everything will come on its time as I prepare. I am preparing for a harvest and I must till my land, but I must not imagine the crop arrives as I say so.

till it is time, I must protect my self, my energy, my solitude, my mind. I must cultivate my strength and my philosophy. more practically, I must cultivate my skills and my reputation, my brand, my knowledge. until the time is come to pick the ripe harvest at its peak, I must stay my hand: watch my ego, cultivate skill, learn from others’ experiences, protect my risk, protect my reputation, love the self, love the world, love others. accept myself fully and completely and achieve my goals in line with how I love myself and how I accept everything about me – neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, which are just labels to adaptations or maladaptations to an environment. cultivating love and openness and transparency, not closed systems, which ultimately lead to alienation, evil, and hatred.

So today’s turn of events has led me to a temporary fall in mood, which has led me to a couple of thoughts about decision making. Namely, what is the best way of making decisions, that will satisfy what you want in each situation, and in your overall life goals?

Trading, not trading. Losing cash and then losing market value because you make bad trades. Over the course of two days, two weeks, these may seem a lot, and you could be tempted to make decisions off on them, but you have to look long term.

And then I think about what it means to have faith in yourself and your decisions. i think I’ve had a harder time than most, because I am always aware of where I might fail. and the markets are not the best place to do this. I think a machine learning algorithm would do much better than me in the bitcoin cash market. But in any case, I do not have one algorithm ready. And I want to own bitcoin cash for the long term.

Which leads me to the whole temporary drop in mood today because I lost money. If I had just not done anything I would have gained today. So that will be my lesson. Always have faith in my ORIGINAL decision. Make the threshold for self-doubt really high. That is what I mean by,

(When in doubt,) only make decisions that are obvious. 

I don’t want to make this a rule, because then you start to have questions about when to apply it, when not to.

And what’s obvious to one may be 100% wrong. In which case though, what other basis do we have to act on though? If one never acts on what’s obvious to one, after doing your due diligence – ah, there’s the rub – you never have enough information, you are never 100% sure. In the short term. In the long term, I think we can have 100% certainty on what it is that we want.

Its obvious to me the price is going to drop down a bit, but I have no idea where or when its going to be, so I am not going to play God. I am actually just going to acknowledge. I DON’T KNOW how low the price is going to go back down again. So I will hold. I will hold until its obvious this investment sucks. (But it doesn’t.)

It’s hard, living with this feeling of fear. I have made bad mistakes in trading before and I did it again today. Like Jim Rogers, I am an analyst, not a trader. I don’t want to be a trader. I don’t want to live with watching the price all the time. Because I know that that is what it takes to be a great trader. You watch the price and the situation constantly, you make decisions on the fly, and you live with that. I want to live a life where I make slow, BIG decisions, and I have 100% confidence in them. The decision I made two days ago, to buy BCH when it was trading at $950 – actually, I had already decided before.

So I will live with this decision. I will live with it for one year. I felt the fear and I did it anyway. Because it was the right thing to do. I knew it deep in my heart. That fear is sometimes just disguised excitement. And I will keep only making decisions that are obvious.

Moods come and go. Happiness shows up and it disappears. Today I am beautiful, and skinny, tomorrow, ten years, who knows? It doesn’t matter. What matters to me is taking care of my dreams, my goals, my desires, my body, my self. I love myself, I will never let me down.

I have always made a mistake when I stopped trusting myself. When I stopped having confidence in myself. So, like in that dream, with Mijana, will I have confidence in myself? Will I trust myself to make the right calls? When will I stop thinking about failure? When will I stop doing things out of fear?

How do I know what is obvious? When will I trust myself to say, this is obvious, or this is not obvious?

Why do I see that at times when I am happy I delude myself into thinking this mood and this happiness will last forever, when it is clearly not the case. It is that this productivity, this vision, will last forever and will be completed in my lifetime. But I cannot promise myself that I will always be ‘happy’ no matter what. That is a lie. I can promise that my baseline level of happiness will increase, once I have finished this dream, to create the most beautiful app, this magnum opus. And in the meantime, I shall not worry about losing money, I shall not worry about become destitute. I shall press on. I don’t want to be a day or hourly trader, so I won’t delude myself anymore. I’m buying and holding bitcoin cash.

I still have lessons to learn, about faith in myself, and managing my emotions. Because at the end of the day, it’s not ‘reality’, the number in my bank account, that matters, although it does a great deal. What matters is I made a good faith effort, I always had confidence in myself, given all the information, that I never acted out of fear, that I always loved myself no matter what, that I did everything I could to fulfill my dream in this one short life.

a few revelations

today came close to a perfect day. the truly perfect day will come when I am living in a place I own and not having to report to anyone and having complete and utter freedom, taking care of myself, taking care of the things that are important to me for the world, taking care of someone I love and being loved dearly.

but today. wearing earplugs and my Bose headphones, as well as not having to evacuate for cleaners, and not having to talk to anyone, and having money coming in again, and being active and meditating and pilates every morning again … has made me happy again. I want this state to last for ever. I want to wake up every day with my ton of money in the bank and knowing that I can do anything that I wanted to.

today I saw some Singaporeans touring here. ‘the beef was very well-done’, one of them said, walking out of the Chinese restaurant. felt a strange distance to them after talking to them. they are the typical caricature of the Singaporean tourist. got lots of money but no drive, no culture, nothing. I guess I had to meet them to realize that I am really just done with that country, even if it felt bad to not have their “social approval” for my life. I am no longer ‘Singaporean’. I am me. I am American, but not really American either. I just want to live in America and have my freedom. Singapore is a country full of losers and I am ashamed to even have an association with them. the bank I worked for – losers. the whole finance industry – losers. all my prior friends – losers.

what separates a winner from a loser: the determination to master one’s own fate. I have yet to meet someone who truly has that determination to change the world no matter what goes into their way. it’s not even a ‘determination’. I make it sound like it’s a choice. but it’s not a choice… it’s a deep yearning that one cannot ignore. have I truly met anyone like this in my life, who has the yearning and the compulsion to change the world and make a real impact? I don’t know. it feels like everyone just wants to get along and get by. I feel like my true heroes and my true companions are those in the books.

for the rest of my life, I want to be a winner, and I want to be with winners. passionate winners who are making a real impact. this I will never stop ceasing. this is my time in incubation. I need to cut off the losers from my life. I need to be with people I care about and want to succeed and love and be with for the rest of my life. I want to be strong always and to never give up on my dreams.

thinking back on the dream I had a couple days ago, where mijana told me – I’ve been studying you for years. you know what the problem with you is? you don’t have any goddamn confidence in yourself.

I made so many jumps in my life: from a normal primary school to an elite secondary school, to an elite junior college program, to the best business school in the world, to a job in America, a great great job where I was paid highly for my efforts and to learn — where I impressed everyone — and I left it, because I wanted more, I wanted more, and then now, to jumping onto programming and living an independent life and starting a company to change the world – not knowing any one in the process, wanting to be alone, wanting to do the deep work required to make an impact. while I was making these jumps I never ever even ‘believed’ in myself. I always felt like I was living a dream, somehow. even today, I feel like I’m living a dream. but I have to keep looking forward, never backward now.

my love for art history, art, photography, books, philosophy, psychology, pilates, meditation, will never, never cease, but I need to take the time for the next 3 months to make this dream that I have a reality, to prove to myself that I can do it.

my men keep getting better and better too. Jaimin will forever be the love of my life but I think I would meet someone objectively speaking better. subjectively it is another thing. I want to set him free, free as he can be, only because I love him and I want him to be happy and independent. and I’m happy for the time we had together. even as I am embarrassed by all my stupid messages at the end of everything. I don’t know. the more avoidant I was, the more he loved me, but that wasn’t the true me he loved. I want to be the person I want to be now. not the person I *am*, or *was*, but I want to be the person that I like in myself. I want to be my best self, the one who is open and nurturing and vulnerable at times. not the one who makes men fall in love with her by holding back. not the one who goes out with men she barely likes just to see what they are like. not the one who hangs out with loser men or loser women. I want to be with others just like me, I want to keep pushing my self and my social circle and my work and my ambition to its limits.

in 5 to 7 years I will retire comfortably as a multimillionaire. I woke up last night with the number: $150mln. that will be it. I was telling my parents about it in my dream. that is the amount that is under my control. I want to take time off to study the relationship between the mind and the body and more of my academic pursuits (both science, philosophy and writing), as well as take care of my health. I will live in the United States for all my life. I will never be defined by my mistakes. I will keep pushing, keep throwing at the hoops. I will always trust my intuition. I will always love wholeheartedly. I will always accept my sensitivity and my grace. I will always accept and use my talents for the good of humanity. I will never give up on this one short life. I will make the most of everything God has blessed me with. I will make people’s lives better. I will always take care of myself along the way. God, may you give me the strength to do what I want to do for this world.

 

other revelations I had:

losers have a hierarchy too. so some losers can be more losers than others. the lesser loser denies he is a loser by identifying others that are ‘real’ losers. how many ‘friends’ I’ve had over the years that were losers (TO ME), that I knew were losers, and yet, I rationalized the fact away.

I want to study the relationship between ‘free market’ principles and having to create / choose policy anyways. free market works in the long run; policy affects today. this can be applied in so many different domains:

  • psychology (consciousness – you have the school of Syd Banks vs buddhist meditation or other forms of intervention),
  • economics,
  • life plans – if you don’t plan and you remain flexible you’re probably going to be fine (i.e., have a job and not begging for money because you’d start applying for everything and eventually get something) but is that what you really wanted ? what is what you really want?

it’s just such an interesting dichotomy to explore, because very clearly we can see the benefits of both schools of thought. over-worrying or over-planning things is clearly bad. freedom and flexibility is clearly good. yet too much freedom and too much flexibility is also not good. can we emerge from this dichotomy with a greater understanding of every action we take in this lifetime on the different scales and facets of human action (individual, societal, economic, psychological, political, etc).

I’ve been thinking about this notion of an overarching aim that guides your actions. the overarching aim would be the ‘plan’ but the details would be left up to free will. in economics, we would term this free market economics but the government clearly is free marketing towards a stated aim i.e. having more innovation and research, in certain areas? yet I find it hard to think about how you would do this without defining certain aspects of the decisions…

in any case, I look back on all the tough decisions to jump that I’ve ever made in my life; I’m glad I pulled through, and I know I can do it again. this time, back to America next year. after I complete this beautiful app, my magnum opus for the world. never stop believing in myself. I hate coding sometimes, but it’s like financial modeling, but even better, because

1) it’s far more sophisticated and beautiful

2) they actually have standards and a culture around good code

3) coding is actually useful for humanity, I am making this beautiful software that will revolutionize the life of all these people all over the world.

 

I love writing; one day I will dictate (NOT WRITE!!!) a book. and maybe in my old age I will write with my own hand, for public consumption. but I want to focus the next 5-7 years on making something really really great for humanity.

 

on progress on the app, it has been slow, and I have to remind myself that such is the nature of creative work. what more, you are doing something in a completely new field. you have to tap your sources of energy now. never ever give up, keep going. I love myself no matter what!

you don’t have to choose… you can have it all. I thought I would have to choose a life of penury to be an intellectual, to be passionate. but thats patently untrue. I just have to go all in on my passion that includes a way to get RICH and make it WORK.

progress report

what I managed to do today:

reinstall bitcoind, regtest, NOT testnet, mainnet with pruning, figure out where the support for multisig + scripted transactions are : answer: NOT in the cli. I have to figure it out.

what I wished I’d done:

  • gotten more angry with parents
  • made some money
  • cooked less / ate less / exercised more
  • bought that heater
  • found the perfect place to live
  • got more work done like finish scripting a transaction
  • gotten a response from Jaimin and David and so on.
  • anger that the world is ‘not fair’ but it is and I’m going to get my just deserts for the work I am making right now
  • fear that bitcoin will go away. but it will not. it will not die because so many people are invested in it and are continuing to build out the ecosystem. this is a new technology that is going to change the world. and it is my chance to make my billion.

how I will continue tomorrow:

  • just keep going. I want to get the bitcoin script out tomorrow morning. wake up early and get it done. and do some tonight before I go to sleep
  • reply professor Kazdan and email Tiffany my ‘resume’ to reward myself when I’m done with the bitcoin scripts in bitcoind
  • tell Fle to not bother me tomorrow and tell her to leave the bathroom door open when she is done with cleaning
  • fix the goddamn fucking internet
  • not talk to anyone except Camilo from now on
  • remember to keep my eye on the big goal
  • keep plugging along in my code from now on and don’t try to do everything at once. just remember to solve the BIG problems and the little ones will go away by themselves.

what I learnt today:

  • the stress test: are you thinking about your creative work when you are brushing your teeth or are you stressing about some stupid issue?
    • so important
  • a reminder: continue to make notes, to write, proper notes for learning. I have to do this. I have never boxed myself into the ‘smart’ vs ‘not smart’ dichotomy, and that explains my intellectual accomplishments, and I’m not about to start. thinking of yourself as ‘ this is too hard for me to do ‘ is total bullshit. just do it.

anger

I’m angry. angry that people seem like they need to tell me they’re concerned for my ‘safety’.

I’m an adult and I do as I want.

I’m angry. angry that Jaimin is lost to me forever and that he won’t respond.

I’m angry that sir David and Yiyi and Tong haven’t responded to my emails.

I’m angry that it takes so much time to find good organic food here.

I’m angry these ignorant people don’t speak English.

I’m angry I don’t have all the money I wish I had.

I’m angry that my parents aren’t who I want them to be.

I’m angry that this project is taking too long.

I’m angry people are so unsophisticated.

I’m angry at the losers I’m hanging out with and I wish they’d all go away.

 

but I’ll keep going. I’ll keep going to fulfill this dream to change the world. because I can. and there is no other alternative.

there are two types of people. one analyses and lets his analysis stop him from doing what he wants. the other analyses and sees the truth but prefers to take action to change reality to what he wants.