Communication Tools and the Importance of Shared Understanding

This is an AI-assisted transcription of an audio note that I left for myself on 10 November 2023.
TL;DR ⧝ This entry explores the paradox of technological advancement: its power to unlock potential and its erosion of the nuances of non-verbal communication, underscoring the need for spaces that foster deeper human connection beyond digital realms.


Main Points

  • The speaker discusses the significance and impact of technological tools for communication and self-growth
  • They express concern over the loss of tonality and body language in digital communication channels
  • The speaker advocates for more understanding through shared experiences, using the example of the meditation group they hosted

Stories and Examples

  • The speaker's experience of running an open meditation group after their second 10-day Vipassana retreat. This group, filled with strangers who shared a desire to transcend personal suffering, created a deep and powerful connection, transcending simple social compatibility.

References and Citations

  • The speaker references the social media platforms and the limitations they present in communication, such as the loss of individuality as all text content appears in the same font and condensed form.

Potential Action Items

Explore more opportunities for creating shared spaces that highlight shared human experiences (2023-11-07)
Look into ways to better capture tonality and non-verbal cues in digital communication (2023-11-07)

Follow-Up Questions

  • How can technology be made more attuned to non-verbal cues in communication?
  • Are there other instances where shared experiences could foster better understanding?


Wow. I've been leaving audio notes for myself since 2018 and they've just kind of piled up in the nether world or the no-sphere, whatever you want to call it, the digital graveyard. I don't even know where the bulk of them are. They might still be just on my phone somewhere.

And I switched from Android to Apple around 2021. So yeah, I have no idea. Actually that makes me pretty sad because there was a lot of things. Anyway, intermittently I tried to stop listening to music and put on my audio notes and that never worked for more than one day.

But the idea was to catalyze growth through bombarding myself with my own projections in the sense of a lot of my audio notes were projections on how the day would go or what I was thinking about. And by kind of circulating within my own meaning-making, it would help me align with the through line. It would help me kind of hit the the vein of what I was about and what I was here to do. I still think it's a great idea and I'm super grateful that there have been more and more tools that have been made available to augment a system that enables this kind of self-catalyzation.

It is one of those very humbling realizations to recognize that we are products of our tools. That we are so enmeshed in a network of support and our ability to affect things or our agency leverages tools always. I think it also describes why there's been this great return, at least within my bubbles, of what can we do with our own hands. Which is a lot.

At the end of the day, anything material has been probably touched at some point of the supply chain to make it by hands. So they remain our, like, our interface. Our way of interfacing. But the way that we've leveraged our ten fingers into having so much effect in the world is really incredible and it's also really scary.

And it's very humbling because you realize that your sense of self and agency is really tied up with all the tools that we might take for granted. So anyway, I'm kind of all about leaning into tools right now and I kind of think that I'm like a child of tools. There's a lot of my expression that is relevant to today because it could only be told or it could only be activated through this incredible network of tools that other people have built. So this most recent one is taking audio notes and transcribing them and summarizing them and adding all these things like lists and arguments and whatever through GPT-4.

And I also plan on running more like meta summaries over many notes to understand direction and to pull out the actual practiced structures versus what I think I'm doing. And then to reconcile those two things which may be more of the of my work as opposed to just letting AI run and crunch all the words. And I'm excited to do that work because ultimately I'm more interested in alignment than I am in churning out content. I think one of the great developments that AI is spurring on is a return to what humans really can do that is unique versus what is actually quite mechanical.

And I think the content engine is quite mechanical because it's just kind of about remixing, regurgitating and consuming. That said, I think that I there are a few channels, a few people that have really brought in some new novel and really like powerful things into my life. Whether those are ways of working with material or ways of understanding, ways of seeing. But it's not common and those people and you don't need to consume 10 hours of that content every week because actually what they have to say is usually something you can work with for a lifetime just like they did.

So there are no shortcuts and I think the hyper consumption of content is like a pretty, it's pretty bloated and gross. But anyway, see this is the problem. I could go in a million directions every time and that's why I kind of need like meta summaries to suss out the point, the points, so that I'm not just every single day trying to see the whole world or share a story of becoming. Because that's in like a linear dictation process that's impossible and it's a failed experiment before it even starts.

I guess today I'd like to just establish kind of the baseline of where I'm at. I want to, I want to think about this update section or this this series of journal entries as setting the stage for like where I sit in this world and what I'm, what I'm trying to build which may generate more interest in kind of the backstory of how I got here. But I'd like to start with what I'm trying to build and it's really in, it's really in the fashions, fuck no, forget that, it's not in the fashion space. It's really in the communication space and communication in the sense of like I, I think that we really fail at communication today because the ways that we communicate or the media through which we communicate it emphasizes or amplifies certain aspects of our subject matter but also who we are or who we're presenting as and then it obfuscates other aspects.

An example would be on social media you have people presenting many many images of how they want to be seen but anything that they write is written in the same font or let's say the font of the platform or the interface and all tonality, all body language, all the other things that could inform the fullness of their message is taken away or it is abstracted. So you end up with everyone kind of reading it through or everyone having the capacity to basically read it through their own filters without any objection and so there's so little of the person communicated and there's really just the distortion of someone reading something and kind of hearing it in their own voice, seeing it written out by their own hand and that creates a lot of like excess of words or excess of verbiage and not enough transference or real consideration for what is being said. So our systems are designed because of the incentives that built those systems in the first place and there there's also fallout which is not just a negative thing there are there's the the wake of negative and positive effects of more people communicating, more people discovering things, people finding community outside of their local area or outs

ide of their immediate vicinity. So it's never a black and white thing but what I what I do find is this tendency in general towards amplification and the almost total non-consideration of quiet spaces or like spaciousness of cadence of pauses of you know presence without verbal communication and this is I've lived long enough to recognize that this is a major theme for me and it's something that I think I can really speak to because I've been so affected by tribalism.

I don't I I kind of have this life of like wanting to fit in but never have and it's it's put me on a path of trying to create spaces where there's deeper shared there's like a deeper sense of shared service which transcends any need or any desire to like belong to the social group of those people. To give a concrete example I ran a meditation group and it was after I had done my second 10 day Vipassana retreat and the reason why I even mentioned that I did two was because after the first one I really didn't maintain any practice and so the second one I said well I'm gonna use the power of an accountability group and basically host a meditation, a weekly meditation in my apartment that is open doors policy published on Yahoo meetups and I'm going to strictly adhere to the rules of hosting a group old student Vipassana sit which is basically that you you don't practice anything that has like a specific I mean you you come in and you sit for an hour and no one is forced to talk in fact it's kind of discouraged to talk afterwards and there's like everyone kind of understands the same baseline of what the Vipassana practice is about which a big aspect of it is to to separate the interpretation from the s

ensation and so to have a space where a bunch of strangers come together who are connected through this desire to transcend suffering in themselves and then also to be able to share that in the world or bring that out in the world plus the like the the social promise of being able to create space with others that you don't necessarily get along with in a social level was really powerful for me and it was such a powerful motivator and I think everything in my life is about like how can we meet each other through share through what we share before we before we challenge each other through what we don't agree on and yeah I'm gonna leave this first message at that and see what AI does with it

Arguments and Areas for Improvement

These are potential arguments and rebuttals that other people may bring up in response to the transcript. Like every other part of this summary document, factual accuracy is not guaranteed.
  • One could argue that while digital mediums simplify communication, they do not necessarily restrict the aspects of communication the speaker discusses. Many online platforms allow for video and voice interaction, which can capture tonality and body language.
  • The creation of shared experiences and common understanding can be complex and takes resources. Some could argue that this might not be achievable on a large scale.

Related Topics

  • meditation and personal growth
  • the impact of technology on human communication
  • the role of shared spaces and experiences in fostering understanding


  • Sentiment: critical
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