30Berkeley, United States
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My self-summary
Sinners and seekers, scholars and soldiers, poets and prophets, truth-tellers and little gods, bodhisattvas of every tint — welcome! I'm R.b.. Make yourselves at home!

My Urheimat is Washington, D.C., but I went to school in Indiana and now live in the Bay Area. I spend most of my time wondering, wandering, questioning, questing, choreographing overexuberant high fives, eating sno-cones. My personality has been described as the intersection of 'university professor' and 'labradoodle.'

I'm also a humanist. I dig loving-compassion, caritas, αγάπη, חסד, मैत्री, 兼愛, whatever ya wanna call it. Humanism I understand to be a mania, rather than a belief. It just means that I have a terrible crush on the humans. They're too full of music.

I'm very serious about play. (And very play about serious.) The peculiar sacredness of play is that it's a rarefied expression of what we care about (which is what we are). We don't play for any reason other than to play; our rules and values and beliefs simply become a part of the game, freely fitted to our moment-to-moment concerns. It seems like a good way to go about existence — fully committed to every endeavor, earnestly frivolous, loving to love, living to live.
Put more concisely:

"God and I have become like two giant fat people living in a tiny boat. We keep bumping into each other and laughing."
What I’m doing with my life
(i) Career: I'm currently working at a non-profit as a philosopher-rhetor, making sense of ideas in theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. Otherwise: skill-building and alliance-building with organizations promoting critical thinking, rationalism, skepticism, and effective altruism; and researching how best I can contribute to humanity's long-term joy and beauty.

My personal aspiration is to become a teacher or some sort of spooky cursed sage.


(ii) Friendship/Romance: Attempting to cultivate more open, trusting, emotionally intimate, poetical connections with people. Hanging out with people like rubices and nightmaredash.

Top ten personality traits I seek in people:

     1. compassion, humanism, empathy
     2. authenticity, semi-radical honesty, openness to openness
     3. playfulness, eccentricity, goofiness, sass
     4. passion, motivation, drive, devotion to things
     5. curiosity, desire for new experience, intellectual promiscuity
     6. wonder at the mundane, love of life
     7. intelligence, noticing small things, spotting connections
     8. introspection, self-awareness
     9. wisdom, depth, nuance, rare insight
     10. creativity, artistic profligacy, rich self-expression


(iii) Recreation:
- Ergo, poker, Catan
- zazen
- playing with attention
- swing dance
- recreational research
- reasoning together, productive debate
I’m really good at
Mythmaking. Dreamcatching. Arbitrary joy. Cynical optimism. Logic. Irrationality. Noticing. Remembering. Switching perspectives. Replacing problems with better problems. Massage. Synthesis. Collaboration. Teaching. Learning. Merrily wandering the night.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Currently reading: Slate Star Codex

My dearest books, in order chronological, are: Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Gaiman's The Sandman, Danielewski's House of Leaves, Egger's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Wiesel's Night, the Voynich manuscript, Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Miles' God: A Biography, Sartre's Being and Nothingness, and Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

My favorite movies are Amadeus, Being John Malkovich, The Darjeeling Limited, The Fall, Metropolis, The Shawshank Redemption, Synecdoche New York, The Unknown.

Music: polkacore, balkan death folk, punk cabaret, neo-lounge, swing revival, alternative rock, delta blues, klezmericana, anti-folk, pro-folk, barbershop gospel, it has horns? yeah toss it in, psychedelic bubblegum, traditional pop, classic rock, baroque pop, what is this i dont even, showtunes, a cappella, cappella.

I'm overwhelmingly tactile. And visual. Heck, my hearing and taste are needlessly acute too; as such, I tend to best appreciate minimalistic mouth- and ear-dishes. A cacophony of elements blurs to become a drone in my sensorium. Aside from that, I uh like coconuts.
Six things I could never do without
- dissonance and disputation
- macabre doodlings
- the part of my brain that loves squirrels
- the Other
- sleeping under the stars, waking with wet grass tickling my ears
- lists that don't contain themselves
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Mainly baby sloths. But also everything else. If you have some interest, come jabber at me about it and I'll probably love it. Nothing human is foreign to me. Of late, I'm particularly fascinated by:

the really, really long run. the really, really big picture. jupiter. our place in history. drops hollowing stones.

humanizing science. why is modernity so kooky. the subjectivity of objectivity. the fact of value. the practice of theory. the meaning of nonsense.

ontology, metaphysics, metametaphysics. what exists? why would it go and do something as silly as that? determinism. eliminative physicalism and the hard problem of phenomenal consciousness. universals. abstractions. mediating quantum interpretations.

belief. religion. truth. fiction. meaning. metasemantically aberrant discourses (modality, mathematics, etc.).

how selves get built. what it's like to be human. phenomenology. evolutionary psychology. cognitive biases. why am I always wrong. why do we dream. why do we story. language. the legitimacy of the Buddhist project.

skepticism. foundations. passion. overcoming nihilism. turning atoms into poetry. what matters. what do. what if kierkegaard and schopenhauer had a tea party that would be so cute.

how to fix politics. how to save the world. how to love.
On a typical Friday night I am
reading. Which segues into a discussion that forces us all to rush to the library to find the Answers. Which segues into dissecting nihilistic aphorisms over thin-crust pizza. Which segues into thunderstorm races. Then the night always seems to end with me lost in the woods, downtown, or on a golf course, eating a banana on a bicycle at 4 a.m.

(... This is a little too accurate.)
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
“And there's nothing here but a funny little twist of amino acids, playing a marvelous game of pretend.”
You should message me if
... you have a severed corpus callosum and want to go on a double date.
... you'd care to start a heroic free-verse existentialist Calvinball cult with me.
... you word-play, or concept-drift, or theory-dance.
... you make unwarranted animal noises.
The two of us