This is an excellent book about philosophy as a practice. I read it when I was in college. I remember asking someone did he actually practice various ethical practices suggested by philosophers – like Kant’s Categorical Imperative. He looked aghast – “Of course not!” But why not? I feel like we live in a time where the notion of practice and habit is at the forefront. Where everyone is on a mission to “optimize” their lives. But what I think is interesting is not “optimization” but “transformation”. What would Ovid’s Metamorphosis look like if instead of transforming the characters optimized. Maybe that is the mythology of our time, but it does not seem particularly transformative. It just seems to reinforce the echo chamber that our communication practices have created for us.
However – I personally have a bunch of practices. A yoga practice, a meditation practice, a work out practice, a journaling practice, a guitar playing practice, this could go on. I also have practices that I will probably never have again, such as a tai chi practice, or a yoga practice.
I go through periods where I do all these practices, some of them, or eeek, none of them. I am not trying to optimize myself, I am trying to transform myself. I dont see life as a process of optimization but of transformation.
Mine though, as you might imagine, is not a life hacking type of perspective, it is more the perspective that to even maintain and transform yourself you must “keep in shape”. You must practice. It is also through practice or practices that you transform and learn new things.
One of my great loves is programming but I do not have a programming practice. I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when I spoke with a “programming coach.” This is one of the things I have been working on developing while at Recurse. I have spoken a bit about this in previous blog posts. But as my time at RC draws to a close I am trying to think of the practices that will continue the transformation or growth.
I am very interested in this idea of alternate education, and the motto of RC is never graduate. BUT what does it mean to “Never Graduate”? How do you continue to learn, on your own and with other people?
Someone at RC mentioned that posting to the alumni checkins on zulip is a good “practice.” I like this idea. In terms of a programming practice I am going to try and cycle through different types of problems hopefully on a daily basis, but probably on a weekly basis. I am also going to experiment with the idea of a weekly deep dive. This is where I pick some topic that interests me every week and just geek out on it. This is not so much a programming practice but a never graduate practice.
What are some good never graduate practices?? I feel like this could be an app.