Thread on Flows and the Glacial

Author: @meekaale on Twitter

Full Title: One Important Aspect Of...

Category: #tweets

URL: https://twitter.com/meekaale/status/1347445677715054592

Highlights from January 11th, 2021.

one important aspect of "flow states" seems to be that when you come to a point of having to make a decision, you have a sense of making that decision "as quickly as possible" or engaging with it immediately and realistically

so what breaks the "flow" of activity is the appearance of a question or problem that you're not willing or capable of dealing with in an immediate way — so you freeze, drift away, postpone, overanalyze, etc

I guess there's flow with positive or negative valence, depending on whether or not you feel like you're flowing in the right direction, or flowing in conflict with some values

timeboxing with pomodoros and putting on music is a clear way to inspire flow because you get into a mood of doing things almost rhythmically and if there's a decision to make it's like it feels best if you resolve it within 4 beats or something

but I also feel like the emphasis on flow is maybe lacking a restful aspect, and yeah we know flow makes you happy but it also makes artists forget to eat and talk to their families so it's also a bit compulsive and hypnotizing

it feels related to a critique I saw of how Dreyfus type models of skill acquisition associate mastery with a type of unconsciousness, so the master at work needs no conscious thought so is just flowing fluidly with the activity

the critique which I saw in the context of sports and dance studies comes from the reports of masters in sport and dance that at their peaks their consciousness feels intensely heightened, not subdued or withdrawn

maybe I am just yearning for what Sarah Perry called deep laziness, "worry-free, deep-breathing laziness" https://t.co/QREJ10cxfG https://t.co/Oun6g1VRah

maybe it's also that what is called flow is just one somewhat frantic but productive mode of a more general flow that would include the immanent flow of a peaceful lake, or the annual melting of a glacier

the glacier metaphor vibes with the top-down and bottom-up duality — it would symbolize a higher-level durable intention and motivation that steadily releases energetic movement as meltwater that feeds different rivers of flow https://t.co/911762cwFl

and "God" could be symbolized as the ontological glacier whose meltwater is the whole activity of the universe, to which we should attune so we participate wholeheartedly in this grand flow

"sins" then are like loopy disgusting tunnel systems where the flow gets stuck so it doesn't participate fully in the grand ecosystem, it's diverted into some ostensibly self-fulfilling but ultimately unsustainable and deathly pattern

some sins are more "stagnant" and some more "turbulent" but they all somehow interfere with the proper flow of life as a natural cycle with glacial goodness upstream, feeding a diverse creation of flourishing, and then returning sacrificially and gratefully to the source

orthodox sutra buddhism basically considers all worldly flowing to be "sinful" so they portray world-creating gods as deluded karmic beings and buddhas as utterly detached from the flow of samsara

the dhammapada has the simile "if, like a broken bell, you do not reverberate, then you have attained nirvana" another simile: nirvana is likened with "light that doesn't land anywhere"

the deepest contrast to orthodox sutric monastic buddhism is probably the "Calvinist work ethic" where constant productive participation in creation and causation, enlivened by the spirit of the prime mover God, is the only proof of salvation

(although probably a similar tendency exists in the Buddhism directed at laypeople rather than monastics: good productive work and householding is good karma, so at least you'll be reborn in a better situation until you become a monk and a buddha in ten thousand years)

ADHD would be a disorder of the flowing ecosystem where the flow tends to be both strong and chaotic, so you can unintentionally enter flow states that are hard to get out of noting also that narcolepsy is treated with Ritalin

for me Ritalin is useful because it helps with making decisions in a faster and more confident way, and then sustaining those decisions in a flowing way as if there's a plumbing manifold with narcoleptic tendencies that the methylphenidate keeps awake https://t.co/inGGWeTQSy

oh apparently last year there was a study where "findings indicate that ADHD and narcolepsy are genetically related, and there are possible common underlying biological mechanisms for this relationship" https://t.co/1wqCpa9WXQ

"The prevalence of ADHD in individuals with narcolepsy is ~35% higher than in the general population (~5%). Furthermore, psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate, are effective for controlling symptoms of ADHD (first-line approved treatment) and narcolepsy"

sleep as a kind of involuntary flow with similarities to hyperfocus brings up Dreyfus and his take on sleep as a divine gift in Homeric polytheism, and how we can't truly take credit for the way life flows https://t.co/JJVU5xftlr

for Dreyfus, "the most important things [...] well up and take us over, hold us for a while, and then, finally, let us go" and "in Homer's world what whooshes up is what really shines and matters most" https://t.co/mswFIJODzq

so in our world we don't think in terms of Olympic gods, but we can think with the framework of neurotransmitters https://t.co/dWWJco5SO9

so it's not that I'm not properly attuned to divine whooshing, I simply have a disorder in the biological system that regulates the flow of dopamine

noting that the most prototypical metaphor for the goal of Buddhism is "awakening" noting that Vervaeke was probably careful in choosing the title "awakening from the meaning crisis" noting Dreyfus writing that in the Iliad, sleep is the "lord of all gods and of all men"