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Endings and beginnings
a personal meaning crisis and voluntary joblessness
In a few days, I won’t have a job.
I’m going to be taking some time off of work. I’m uncertain what comes next but I imagine it will look quite different.
In the meantime, I will be writing here.
I’ve recently been working my way through John Vervaeke’s Awakening from the Meaning Crisis lectures1; a historical and cultural exploration of our current meaning crisis and the resultant nose-dive in global mental health.
My initial goal here is slightly less grandiose: I want to chronicle the personal meaning crisis I went through over the last three years: starting out as an ultramarathon-running, high-flying co-founder of a successful Bay Area startup through to divorce, depression and a lot of hard questions about what I’m doing here.
I’ll be excavating the wreckage, sharing what’s helped me to recover and thinking on what still remains. Due to my unemployment, I will at some point also run out of money. I’ll need to find new ways of working and this will be another topic I’ll explore.
With my own laundry aired, I will proceed steadfastly into speculation on how we can each bulletproof ourselves to the wider meaning crisis—how we can bring together the best of contemplative practice, philosophical thinking and a wider “ecology of practices” that allow us to build resilience through a full of appreciation of our knowing and being, in all its modes.
If you’re reading this, there’s a 95% chance I sent you here. But for the few who don’t know me, here is a highly-condensed history:
I’ve worked in tech for 12 years. I was a co-founder and Head of Engineering at Almanac and before that I built a meditation community called OpenSit which was acquired in 2017. I also run an Ethereum validator with a friend.
I’ve had a meditation practice for 15 years. I started in the Insight Meditation tradition but have moved to more Western contemplative methods over the last few years. I spend a lot of time trying to unpack what happens to a mind on meditation, without sounding like a raving mystic.
I’ve written online under an embarrassingly long list of titles. I have lots of energy for beginning writing projects and I’m terrible at seeing them through. Most recently, I wrote under the names how to human being and modern mystic. During that time, I wrote about digital minimalism, productivity, mental health & what it’s like running 100km in a day. All my historical writings now live on my personal site, but new writings will be published here. You’re in the right place.
My most popular articles of yonder years are about Huel, a meal replacement. As someone who enjoys ruminating on the meaning of life, it is a source of great irritation that these articles have garnered by far the most attention. But I do enjoy and recommend Huel.
The last thing you need to know is that I’ve just come out the ass-end of the toughest period of my life.
Which brings me to the point—I need to tell you how I ended up here, which means telling you about the last three years.
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p.s. Subscription is free and you’ll get all my posts. But there is an option to pay a small monthly fee. I have a few projects and services in the works and this will give you priority access to them, whilst showing your support for my sorry, unemployed state.