Daily, snackable writings and podcasts to spur changes in thinking.
Building a blueprint for a better brain by tinkering with the code.
August 28th, 2019
Today, Tinkered Thinking releases it’s 500th episode . . .
So what’s the point?
Episode 499 kind of answered that.
So another question is: how?
First a little background: A little under two years ago the question arose in the mind: is it possible to write everyday about the same thing? That ‘thing’ was a simple sentence, the title of a non-existent book.
A creative writing assignment that is sometimes prescribed is: think of a book title that you can imagine seeing on a book shelf, or on the New York Times bestseller list. Something like that.
The next day, when you come in with your title(s), the new assignment is: ok, now write the book.
Pondering this assignment as a thought experiment was also compounded with a steady intake of Seth Godin’s blog. He has been writing and posting everyday for an immense amount of time. Something like 17 years if memory serves well.
The name of a book was easy enough to come up with. But the idea of sitting down to write everyday was more tantalizing, if only for the reason that prior reasons to write had succumbed as casualties to a large intellectual shift.
A couple months later, there was a word document with about 50,000 words. As a casual coding exercise, this writing was tossed onto the web and shown in passing to a few friends.
Some interest grew and it seemed reasonable to build it out a little. Since people do not seem to have the time they used to for reading, the podcast element was added and is l a b o r i o u s l y maintained. The thinking here is that reading is a paralyzing activity: you simply can’t do anything else while your eyes are occupied with text. Podcasts, on the other hand, afford a freedom from such paralysis. You can wash dishes while listening, or fold clothing, or drive to work, or go to the gym, or draw, paint, sculpt, ride your bike, et cetera, et cetera.
The dreamy ideal is that Tinkered Thinking can be that morning mind-snack to jog the brain to action while a listener waits for a cup of coffee to take effect. (And delightfully enough, that’s what it’s become for some people)
The long term reality is that Tinkered Thinking in it’s current incarnation is a scratchpad, a drawing board of sorts:
A place to brainstorm, ponder, question and wonder out loud.
Tinkered Thinking claims no certainty, but rather tries to describe things while feeling around in the dark, while trying different things.
While this strategy was launched with the basic aim of writing about a single sentence – i.e. that imagined book title mentioned at the beginning – the fuel that has kept this project aloft was a curiosity about what might arise -and subsequently- a genuine surprise about what’s turned up.
For one, that original book title that was imagined has faded into the background and what has emerged is a new structure, a more foundational one which will be the focus of Tinkered Thinking’s first non-fiction book, estimated to be fully fleshed out and available sometime in 2021. This book represents a structure of thought that has emerged unexpectedly from the practice and execution of Tinkered Thinking.
In the meantime, the platform has already produced a book of sorts, and nearly by accident. As dedicated listeners and readers will know, Tinkered Thinking releases a ‘Lucilius Parable’ every Sunday which seeks to reimagine the material of Tinkered Thinking in the form of a narrative. A year of Lucilius Parables has produced enough material to justify a book, which is in the works and will be available to purchase within the next couple months. And to be sure, all of this material is free on Tinkered Thinking, and through the podcast, however, the printed book will be fully edited, including rewrites and each parable will be accompanied by an original illustration.
This first book, which will be Volume I of the Lucilius Parables, is a good example of Tinkered Thinking’s strategy yielding unexpected things. The whole book arose from a simple question:
What if there were a narrative portion to Tinkered Thinking?
(The inspiration for this was primarily Taleb’s use of the character ‘Nero’)
The exercise harks of a larger tenant of Tinkered Thinking: exploring principles in multiple contexts allows us to discern what is truly useful and glean it from what is simply the product of a quaint conceptual realm. Language is a double-edged instrument, and what sounds like it makes sense might not actually be practical or even useful. Luckily, it seems the Lucilius Parables are consistent favorites among readers and listeners
Boiled down to it’s most basic springboard, the strategy of Tinkered Thinking is: What if?
What if there’s a post every day?
What if there’s a podcast episode every day?
What if there’s a narrative episode every Sunday?
What if there’s a book available for purchase?
What if there’s a twitter component to distill ideas into smaller units?
What if there’s a way for listeners and readers to support the work?
What if Tinkered Thinking shoots for a million words?
What if there’s over a thousand episodes?
What if Tinkered Thinking became an ocean of thought. . . .
What might arise from the deep?
This question of ‘what if’ spurs all sorts of different plans to test against reality and that becomes the ‘how?’ of the Tinkered Thinking strategy.
Posting everyday has yielded the realization that quantity is more important for the creator than quality, which is counter to the traditional wisdom. Of course, if our endeavors actually resulted in a binary choice, we should all choose quality over quantity, but this is often unrealistic. What traditional thought fails to realize is that
quantity is a part of the process that eventually yields quality.
This too is part of the strategy that has extended from ‘what if’, and it’s left to the reader and listener to decide how that has turned out.
To be sure, Tinkered Thinking has many possible avenues and plans it would like to explore, but of course there is a limit to the amount of time and energy that can be poured into the platform.
And on that note: Tinkered Thinking is supported by listeners and readers. How much Tinkered Thinking grows is directly related to those who follow the material and particularly, those who support the platform.
This platform has no ads, and this is an important part of the philosophy behind Tinkered Thinking when it comes to attention, and how we direct it, parse it, and fill it.
Tinkered Thinking seeks to be an exercising influence. Like catfish that nip at cod to keep them active, These podcasts and posts increasingly seek to nip at your brain, to ask questions that might poke monsters of thought.
So. If you have found any value in Tinkered Thinking, please consider becoming a supporter through the support page at tinkeredthinking.com. Every new supporter enables a little more time and a little more energy to go into this platform.
Of course, you can always show your support by spreading the word. Mention it to family, email the link of a favorite post to a few friends. A text, a tweet is all it takes to help other people discover this platform.
Lastly, a humble thank you to the listeners and readers who already support this platform. It is an honor to try and rise to the challenge you present everyday.
Tinkered Thinking isn’t going anywhere for the time being.
So until tomorrow:
Be careful of the context.
donating = loving
If you appreciate the work of Tinkered Thinking, please consider lending support. This platform can only continue and flourish with the support of readers and listeners like you.
Appreciation can be more than a feeling. Toss something in the jar if you find your thinking delightfully tinkered.