I love surfing, but catching waves is not what I am after. Yes, it is fun to ride down, but it's the same type of fun as zigzagging on a bicycle during my commute home. I think catching a wave is just a little bait for my brain to be where the waves crash.
I think immersive environments are universally therapeutical. I found this conclusion in the research about environments that are the most conducive to learning as explained in the Learning how to learn course 🔗. This is also why I think psychedelic therapies are effective. This is my own hypothesis and it comes mostly from reading How to change your mind 🔗. It is perhaps because immersive environments are taking one away from their default mode network. Away from being eternally stuck in our egotic, repetitive, distortion-producing selves.
Alex, who practically lives on Cocles beach in Costa Rica, was teaching me surfing. It feels like the ocean touched him. He seemed like one of the calmest, yet full-of-energy people I met. It’s hard to imagine a situation that could disturb him. Alex said that if he could, he would prescribe surfing to every criminal, sad, traumatized, addicted, and depressed. Hearing this from him and after a surf session felt so obviously true.
Being where the waves crush is maybe the most immersive environment I can think of. Sitting on an ocean, that with each cycle elevates one by the volumes of buildings, on this alien, collapsible form of matter, on a surface in a constant change. And then being tumbled by this soft, yet, when adding all the particles together, overwhelming force. Being where the waves crush simplifies and untangles my head. After 1.5 hours there I don’t care about any petty problems my hunter-gatherer's brain was caught up with before.
New favs Ideas that keep coming back
Start where you are
– Pema Chödrön
Locate an animal, mimic its expression and movement for two minutes. If there are no other lives around, observe an object and be it for two minutes. Do it regularly. \
– Apichatpong Weerasethakul via Hans Urlich Obrist
The truth doesn’t lie in the middle, truth lies where it lies (original in Polish: Prawda nie leży pośrodku, prawda leży tam, gdzie leży”)
– via Władysław Bartoszewski
The world can never own a man who wants nothing
– Wu Hsin
See all Ideas that keep coming back
Lecture I loved: How change happens?
This is an excellent lecture on the unpredictability of social change and the theory of how it happens. See my summary of the findings: How change happens. From unleashing to nudging to social cascades.
Where I am currently?
Waialua, O’ahu, Hawaii. It’s a place that used to be all about sugar and now is all about surfing. I work remotely, write, and learn how to surf. The north shore of O’ahu feels like the surfing capital of the world. The stretch of beaches here is called seven miles miracle because the reef on the bottom of the ocean creates ideal surf conditions during winters of the northern hemisphere. It’s interesting to experience the gravity of the scene. It’s hard not to surf here because everything is about surfing. I live or lived with pro surfers. You go surfing to hang out with people. If I go to a cafe there are surfing videos on the wall. At one party, I realized that almost everybody is a surfer. People come to Oahu from all over the US and the world. A person in the knows told me that during winter if you are an aspiring surfer you either are here or have perhaps struggle financialcially. Out of a tight group of friends I know there is maybe one out of ten people who don’t surf. I think I identified people there who came here not because of surfing. Most of them surf a couple of times a week now. It reminds me of how Marc Andressen talks about collision spaces and the power of inserting oneself into a scene. “If you are into film go to Los Angeles, if into code San Francisco, if into arts or finance New York City” and if into surfing O’ahu, North Shore. I think it’s so true. Not in an absolutist sense. Not that it is motion everybody should follow. What’s interesting is that observing and experiencing this is such visceral evidence that we are just a socially motivated gravity-pulp. It is so much easier to be supported, excited, and skilled in these things if people around you also are.