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Juan David’s Newsletter - February 13th, 2023
Dancing to the Rhythms of Entropy
Over the past few years, I’ve followed my curious obsessions. I do so with a raging sense of urgency, pouncing on each exciting idea as quickly as possible. This has led to a plethora of creations, ranging from The UIUCFreeFood, The UIUC Talkshow, and The Internship List, to even a book on Flying.
From the outside, these may appear to be random endeavors, but they are in fact, an important part of my self-discovery journey. Someone told me once, “All these little projects and adventures are fine… but how do they fit into a larger goal?”
People have an ultimate goal to reduce uncertainty. But I’ve learned you can’t reduce uncertainty because reducing uncertainty is reducing entropy and you can’t reduce entropy.
I embrace uncertainty, serendipity, and entropy, allowing the chaos to guide me. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."
So I maximize entropy, uncertainty, and serendipity.
When I work on my projects, I feel like I am dancing to the unpredictable rhythms of entropy. It’s so entropically random I can’t even understand it. I simply dance.
I don't try to understand it, I simply allow myself to be swept up in the flow. I find beauty in the unknown and embrace the process of creation as an act of introspection. Every time I create something, whether it be code, a video, a text, or an essay, I am both creating and discovering new parts of myself.
All these projects and adventures are a process of self-discovery. Creation is introspection in its purest form.
Recently, I have started to see connections between my projects, and I am beginning to see how they all fit together. I don't know exactly where they will lead me, but I trust that they will eventually result in a greater goal - to create an exit for millions of people to pursue their passions without the constraints of a flawed system.
I am part of the half of humanity that trusts in chance, as opposed to seeking certainty. As John Perry Barlow says, "I’m a member of that half of the human race which is inclined to divide the human race into two kinds of people. My dividing line runs between the people who crave certainty and the people who trust chance."
Trusting my intuition, following my bliss, and embracing change are the key components to whatever I do with my life. Joseph Campbell once said, "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls." This is the philosophy I live by, and I encourage others to do the same.
For example, a friend of mine was interested in aerospace but was unsure if she should join the rocket club. Instead, she followed her gut and joined the racecar club, which turned out to be a pivotal decision in her journey to becoming a badass engineer and moving closer to her dream of working in the aerospace industry. She’s collecting experiences no other “rocket engineer” would ever think about doing, and it’s what will make her a genius when she works in aerospace.
I want to create a system where individuals like the professor I spoke withcan pursue their passions without having to worry about supporting their families or fitting into a rigid academic system. I am now entering phase two of my journey, where I will focus on taking my projects to the next level and see where they lead.
I want to find a way to make it possible for people like this professor to pursue ideas and flourish, and not have to worry about supporting his family, fitting into a flawed academic system, and alienating themselves in the process.
This is where phase two is coming from. I’ve created lots of projects, and I’ve gathered lots of data but I didn’t really focus on taking these projects to the harvesting stage. This is what I’ll be doing in the next few months, and it will be an exciting journey.
Earlier, I said I trust chance and, to be honest, that does not feel quite right because it’s simply an approximationof how I feel.
I trust; therefore I follow. You can only make sense once you look back. That’s why trusting your intuition, no matter how “irrelevant” it might seem, is the best thing you can do with your life.
For other people and me, following my curiosity means learning about many different ideas and concepts. But this goes against what everyone tells you to do: specialize.
Everyone thinks specialization is the way to be more successful or make more progress, but specializing is going against human nature. Humans are the least specialized being of all, we can communicate. We can swim, we can fly, we can hear, among others. We seem to forget that “geniuses” aren’t specialized experts, but rather they have the ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts. This comes with having a broad knowledge base and the ability to think deeply and creatively.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Genius means being in a state of connecting, connecting, connecting like a bad wifi connection.
“Genius consists not in making great discoveries, but in seeing the connection between small discoveries.”
But it’s hard to follow what you want and trust everything would work. It’s not how most people operate because everyone is looking for patterns of a bigger unifying goal. Just this week, someone asked me this question:
You are quite the renaissance man, having started companies, having done science research, and written a book. What interested you in to branching out into Youtube content creator [The UIUC Talkshow]? How does this fit into your overall plans/goals?
Of course, I don’t see it as becoming a YouTube content creator at all. This is the means by which we express our curiosity. I don’t know whether it fits into my goals or overall plans but I don’t care either. That’s not the question I ask myself. I actually don’t have any secret master plan.
I follow my curiosity and don’t question it wherever it takes me. That is how at any given moment, I can end up in Carbondale visiting Buckminster Fuller Dome, or flying a plane in Wonder Lake.
This quote perfectly exemplifies this feeling:
What is the nature of the search? You ask.
The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.
To become aware of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
From The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.
Will these projects and curiosity have an overarching unified theme?
I fully believe so, but I can only see how everything connects once I’m looking backward, perhaps they will lead to the creation of a new system where people can do what they love freely and boldly.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
It doesn’t matter what you trust because the act of trust is what matters.
The story of my life and, coincidentally, many people from The UIUC Talkshow is about people who are sane in a way most people are crazy.
See you next Sunday,
Juan David Campolargo
🎵 Album I listened to while writing this: Give Me The Future + Dreams Of The Past
🏛 Read past issues of the newsletter, here.
I felt this need the most during the week when I talked to a professor who felt trapped in this bullshit academic system where he was forced to be “productive” by writing peer-review papers and attending conferences. Otherwise, he would be fired. But he also has a big carrot in from of him, incentivizing him to go through the ladders of academia, and if he doesn’t pursue the ladder, he will also be fired.
This is precisely when Calculus can help us make sense of this phenomenon. Read this short essay to learn how.
Even Einstein did this when he was working on the theory of everything.
Last week, I told you I’d be teaching myself Differential Geometry. Oh boy, it’s so much fun. I love math because it’s a treasure of metaphors and analogies to understand the world.
In this case, I’ll use Differential Geometry to explain why one must follow their curiosity and not question it.
Following your curiosity is like the principal curvatures of a surface, that is, the maximum and minimum values of the curvature. The principal curvatures are not that interesting. They get fucking interesting once you take two principal curvatures and take their product, which is a new curvature that you can determine from the surface.
This is what I’ve known as the Theorema Egregian (k1 * k2 = K) by my boy Carl Friedrich Gauss.
This concept is mindblowing because you can use these two points and know what the curvature of the surface is at some point. You can use this EXACT concept(Theorema Egregian) to prove the Earth isn’t flat. Spheres have a surface of constant curvature, but many more are out there, such as the pseudosphere. If you follow this thread for long enough, you’ll encounter Gauss’s student, Riemann, and then you’d meet Einstein and the theory of general relativity.
Ok, enough background. How does it relate to following your curiosity? Following your curiosity are like those seemingly dumb points known as principal curvatures. At one point, you might end up coming up with the UIUCFreeFood, or The UIUC Talkshow, writing essays like the one you’re writing, or whatever!!!!
Most people don’t get what happens when you take the product of your curiosities. Not only is their product greater than their products (obviously), but it’s also when you take the product of two principal curvatures (or your curiosities) is a curvature (whatever purpose your life is supposed to be about). And the most beautiful thing is that you can determine this greater purpose from the surface (or by simply following your curiosity without QUESTIONING).
(big sigh). Yeah, follow your curiosity. Please? I don’t know what else to tell you. If the same math Einstein used for relativity does not convince you, I don’t know what I will do.
But don’t you worry because I will keep trying.
The same goes for belief.
No wonder everyone seems depressed because they don’t believe in ANYTHING!!!! Believing takes faith, and faith, like intuition, is an act of genius.