Joonas Pajunen

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struggle

In “Tribe”, Sebastian Junger details, via several war-related stories, how our modern society lacks the meaning and community necessary for human well-being. The camaraderie, purpose and intensity found in and around war or conflict elevate people. Psychological problems, suicide, and isolation decrease during these times. Extracting from both soldiers and civilians, there seems to be something we can derive from these experiences, and perhaps better the dullness of our daily existence.

Junger is a journalist, who never fought in a war, but visited several war-torn areas. Still, he experienced PTSD and the accompanying panic attacks. There is a dichotomy between horror and extreme belonging during a war, where people experience the worst imaginable nightmares and best possible heroics, sacrifice, friendship and community. These two experiences mesh and the bundle, and are then

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a yes is a no

Many of us have trouble not offering help to a friend apparently in need. Or trouble not participating in some mundane event. We become yes-men by default, and let others choose our activities for us. We develop a fear of missing out. But saying yes to one thing is a no to something else.

Too many projects. Too many hobbies. A todo-list for miles. Too much shit to do and too many fucks to give. Agreeing to everything suggests that prioritisation is broken. The available effort allocated with existing ventures diminishes with each new adventure.

 on prioritisation

Saying a tentative yes often can be useful. The idea is to try things out and find the most useful or fun stuff, and then continue with those. We should never lock down on things for the rest of our lives, as that leads to sunken costs. Abandon the ventures that proved less exciting you expected. But by all means, do seek

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communication between cultures

When traditional/hierarchical organisations interact with flat ones, problems arise. Both have their styles of communication and procedures for interaction. There is some hope though, as members of flat ones’ generally know about the olden ways, and flat hierarchies appear in many natural arrangements. The difficulty lies in mindset and a lack of perception.

The traditional approach is to contain the interaction mainly between managers, while the actual work is done “below” by the experts or craftsmen. The flat approach is that everyone can interact with a customer, and no one manages the communication by default. If a need arises, someone can fill the role of a communicator.

Ever so often, the greatest problem in between the traditional and the “advanced” companies, is an interaction dilemma. The worst problems I’ve seen were between companies with of hierarchical structures and the

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teams, organisations, and the like

The history of human organisations are often divided into phases, and many of us are experiencing a phase-change. Even though we have classifications and categories, the world as we know it contains all the phases in some area or group. People have the capacity to regress to primal and crude behaviour, or emerge as modern and sophisticated members of groups.

Violence and power based organisations, or rather groups and bands dictated most of human history. Militaristic, hierarchical and rule-based institutions governed most of our recorded history. Capitalistic, performance and accountability based organisations rose during and after the industrial revolution. Work of masses needed management.

Employer engagement and culture-first type of organisations are the goal for businesses these days. The next phase gives rise to a more fluid arrangement, where roles and positions come and go

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the daily mundane

There exists a disturbing desire of losing everything, and then having nothing to lose. A subconscious need of minimalism. To combat the quotidian dullness, we often develop unintelligent and sometimes dangerous behaviour patterns.

In a movie called A Scanner Darkly, with perhaps some screenwriting liberties by Richard Linklater, these words were written by Philip K. Dick, and eventually spoken by Keanu Reeves:

Bob Arctor: The pain, so unexpected and undeserved had for some reason cleared away the cobwebs. I realized I didn’t hate the cabinet door, I hated my life… My house, my family, my backyard, my power mower. Nothing would ever change; nothing new could ever be expected. It had to end, and it did. Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

They struck some

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the knowns

“There are known knowns…”, the gem made famous by Donald Rumsfeld, though in a sense originally appearing in the 50’s in the form of Johari window. I like to think these combinations as a framework for classifying information and our attitude towards gathering more of it.

 k-k (open / arena)

Known knowns are quite obvious. They are the knowledge one is aware of. However, don’t believe everything you think. The scientific method relies on rewriting or updating the current knowns. Most that were once known is now obsolete or outdated. So never get too sure or confident in your knowledge.

 u-k (blind spot)

Unknown knowns are perhaps those tacit and implicit pieces of information that lie in the subconscious. More dangerously, these might be things we refuse to accept or recognise.

Many of them are autonomous and linked to the System 1 type, instant reacting and thinking. The more one

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mma and grappling

I like to watch mixed martial arts and grappling events. MMA especially is so raw and so primal, that no other sport compares. Perhaps because of the assumption that in theory, a loss equals death, it raises deep feels.

MMA is a recent phenomenon, starting from the 80’s and 90’s In Japan, Brazil and USA, only to get more popular in late 2000’s and becoming one of the fastest growing sports in 2010’s. What most might not know, the ancient Olympics contained a contest called “pankration”. That was, in essence, MMA of the 7th century BC. Like in its current form, only the most savage and dangerous things, like eye or genital gouging and biting, were forbidden.

As in any other televised sport, MMA is part entertainment. That means some of the press happening outside the ring or cage is ridiculous and silly, though often quite entertaining. But, as from any leading professionals, there is

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maker manager both

Makers and managers, their scheduling and time management needs can be considered as opposites. A maker’s schedule is focused on producing, where the incoming, external distractions need restraint. A manager, instead, must tend to the external inputs with fervour, and delegate them to the makers. A manager is dependant on a maker, but the opposite isn’t always true. In most situations, I believe the ideal position is somewhere between these two roles, in being both and neither.

The key issue in the distinction is reactivity. A maker should build her schedules and routines so that her life requires the least amount of reacting to sudden impulses. Granted, creative work requires some input and inspiration, but it is the mundane and repetitive stimuli a maker could do without. A manager benefits from some organising, filtering, and scheduling of inputs, but not removing them. It is after

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self-help

Self-help literature gets a bad rap. I like to think most literature, and especially non-fiction, is self-help in some way or another. After all, we tend to learn real world facts and lessons from them. Or generally hope to enjoy whatever we read. Preferably both.

Self-help literature in general falls within a spectrum, and some the most blatant output is obviously in the fishy end. There is obnoxious and malignant material, and some authors seem to have lost their marbles. Finding the realistic and personally best-fitting material from the noise can be difficult.

The best self-help would be that which is not explicitly trying to explain something directly. Some examples that come to mind are the fictitious Zorba the Greek and non-fictitious Meditations. Stories, whether fact or fiction, help us to better remember entireties and relate to situations. This is because the context is

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temporary choices

We are often delusional about the temporal nature of written software. After all, nothing is more permanent than temporary piece of code. We often think software should be beautiful or clever for it to exist at all. But, (rightly so) code is only as beautiful and useful as the information it outputs.

This might be because code is considered an end result, instead of a means to an end. The business needs for refactoring a working piece of a program arises usually only when the code is too difficult to work with. The more critical the domain, the greater the risks, and more difficult to take the responsibility for fatal errors.

All this shouldn’t be a problem, at least when we don’t fool ourselves. Commitment is positive, permanence can be soothing. Though excuses about time and later refactoring hopes are plentiful. Better yet, coming to terms with good enough is liberating. Always

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