My Intellectual Progress, 2010–2019

Since it’s not just Scott Alexander doing it.

A brief timeline

In 2010, I had been in college already for three years (though, because I was still working through the ramifications of a magnificently flubbed first semester, I would remain in college for another four). I continued the kind of heavy book learning that one can do when one has no major responsibilities (reading thick books on unfamiliar subjects for the hell of it, and finishing them in a few days because there’s nothing better to do for hours at a time) for only another year, at which point I got my first job. In short order, I also got into my first serious adult relationship, lost my virginity, started disposing of all my new disposable income, and got the opportunity to work with one of my long-time idols. Then, in 2013, I lost my job & got it back six months later. In 2014, I rented a house with a friend & my girlfriend moved in, & later the mental state of my girlfriend deteriorated and I went deep into debt and deep into burn-out. I inherited a house, slowly dragged myself back out of debt, got another girlfriend in 2016 (for only six weeks), & a few years later got into debt again. In 2018 I self-published a book & in early 2019 I published a video game on Steam. Right now, my life seems to be evening off: my life hasn’t really had any major new components since 2017, & things seem to be getting better for me in an incremental way (although they are, and always have been, a long way from ideal or even palatable).

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Intellectual and personality transitions

Working in my chosen industry disabused me of a lot of romantic notions about quality control that I had gotten from my education: actually-existing computer systems are, across the board, mostly piles of shit, and nobody is willing to budget much time to fixing them so long as they work well enough — in other words, well enough to avoid foreseeable catastrophes, though no effort is really made to guard against unforeseeable ones or to look very hard for potential catastrophe material.

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Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash
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Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash
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Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash
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Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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