Weekly I/O #29

Weekly I/O is a project where I share my learning Input/Output. Every Sunday, I write an email newsletter with five things I discovered and learned that week.

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The below is extracted from the email sent on Jun 27, 2021

Here’s a list of what I’m exploring and pondering this week.

1. To have more immersive memory and relive the experience, have some camera-free time and document the experience with your brain only.

Video: How to Remember Your Life

When we pull out our camera to take a photo, our brain will start recording less of the non-visual sensations around us. We will capture less of the sound, the smell, the breeze, and the immersive experience of being in a place.

After taking pictures of a place or an experience we want to remember, we can put our camera away intentionally and let our brain do the document. We have the visual information saved in the photos. Then it’s time for our brain to capture other sensory information.

2. How to remember life? Delete photos.

Video: How to Remember Your Life

The solution is not just taking a lot of photos. Get used to explore the photo again and delete the photo often. Delete most of the photos we take and only keep the one that sparks the memory and joy for us.

I really like how Johnny Harris told stories. Also check out his Why New York City is so Huge and My Favorite Places on Earth in 2019 (Yes, he got Taiwan)!

3. The world makes progress by lurching from one extreme to another while overcompensating for previous mistakes.

Book: Great Thinkers

This belief is from Georg Hegel, the 18th-century German philosopher. Nowadays, this is a pretty obvious phenomenon like what we can see in Politics. However, it’s still pretty interesting to know that there’s an observation from 200 years ago stating the same thing. Maybe that’s why Hegel declared that “every era can be looked at as a repository of a particular kind of wisdom.”

Hegel proposed that, in general, it takes three moves before the right balance, a process that he named the ‘dialectic’.

In his time, the example he pointed out is the improvement of governance, from the inherited traditional monarchy to the emergence of Napoleon, and finally to the modern ‘balanced constitution’ where popular representation balanced up with the rights of minorities and proper centralized authority.

In our times, the example in the books is our sensible attitude to sex. People in the Victorian era might impose too much repression, whereas the 1960s may have turned out to be too liberal. And maybe for these decades, we are finding the right balance between the extremes.

4. For ideas to be active and effective, a lot more (like art) is needed than their correctness.

Book: Great Thinkers

This is also from Georg Hegel, who rejected the idea of “art for art’s sake”. He stated that arts like painting, music, and literature all have a major job to make important insights more powerful and effective in our lives. In other words, “Art is the sensuous presentation of ideas.”

Just knowing the fact leaves us cold. In principle, we know we should care more about the environment. However, in reality, we are still too lazy to carrying own sustainable cutlery set.

This also reminds me how technology like VR can be used as a medium to produce the sensuous presentation of ideas. In theory, we believe the conflict in Syria is of importance. Yet, in practice, we can’t feel the pain as the refugees and get numb by the news. Therefore, virtual reality experiences like The Key may achieve what Hegel wants art to do by making people experience the feeling in an immersive way and get the idea more effectively.

5. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” — Bob Marley


This also reminds me about the classic way to form habits: creating a new identity. To develop a lasting habit, we have to be in an identity that all our behaviors are just a reflection of our identity. When identifying myself as a voracious learner, learning new stuff will naturally be the only choice I have. Or for The No Phone On Bed Rule I mentioned in Weekly I/O #20, telling my roommate that I will be a person who doesn’t use my phone on bed also have “not using my phone on bed” became my only choice.

You can also find this habit-forming method in Atomic Habits.

That’s it. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy it. If you would like to receive the content every Sunday, sign up below 😎



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Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

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