2022 02 20

A friend was telling me about how he got lost after trail running and ended up going for an unintentional long walk to get back to his car. He didn’t have headphones with him so he was left with his thoughts for an unusually long duration, and during this he had several thoughts about his research that were productive to his understanding. This inspired me in two ways: 1) I want to spend less time with my headphones in while doing otherwise idle things as a way of reducing the impact of the attention economy on my life, 2) the desire to go on a long walk and see what sort of thoughts come into my head. I think that these sorts of walks can help to uncover thoughts that want to surface but are never given the opportunity since we have so many potential distractions.

I hadn’t gone on a long walk in quite a while as I’ve been fairly preoccupied or biking in place of walking my typical routes so I thought that with clear skies it would be a good time to take such a walk. I biked down to Harvard Square to walk up to MIT and back along the Charles River (I always underestimate how far this is because of the bend in the river). I had been hoping to think about aspects of my research or future career decisions during the walk, but I was finding myself mostly drawn to other memories/thoughts that I had previously thought about while walking this route in the past. I was being reminded at certain points in the walk by certain thoughts I was having while walking by these places before as they served as spatial cues. I’m not surprised that this would be happening since this is a gist of Proust - how spatial places can store memories for us and serve as the key to unlocking them again (really strengthens my belief in extended mind theories). But what I didn’t expect was quite how overpowering these recollections would be over any possible new thoughts. I think because I have walked this route many times before it is already fairly stuffed with experiences and memories that there is not much room for more. A new thought that I did have was about how one can have a walk that stimulates new thoughts: you must walk somewhere new and unfamiliar to you otherwise your associated memories with a place will inevitably leak into your consciousness.


I watched Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters with a friend. I have read several Mishima books including the entire Tetralogy that led up to his seppuku, so I had some context going into the film that was helpful. I think the movie did a really good job protraying his obsessions in life, how they weaved into his stories and life, and especially how he tried to merge the two. It’s beautifully shot with great sets as well. Definitely a hidden gem in film, although it does seem to be very well received.

Daily Listening

Incidentally this future-funk track I’ve been liking features a still from the Mishima movie.

Daily Reading

Read a bunch more of Hagakure and again one more chapter of The Mysterious Island. The Hagakure has really helped me understand some of Mishima’s drives as well.