Just posted a short bio on my Edgeryders profile and thought it’s quite funny, so I also post it here. I made the experience that putting your life “as it is”, without elevating yourself, makes for the most cool and readable presentation style (think Cullman Liquidation – they inspired me). Self-appraisal just puts you on par with boring old commercials, but telling them how it is makes people think “Wow, he went through that all and is still an upright man. Respect!” You can also profit yourself from writing it down like that: when reading again and feeling your life reads strange enough to make for a movie, it will help you in all that suffering ;-.)

Hope you have as much fun reading as I have living this 😀

CS studies. In my computer science, I pretty much only appeared at exams (yea I know, quite solitary learning style – distance learning would be my thing, but it wasn’t widespread back then). After the finals two of my profs offered me a PhD option. Yet I declined, even without knowing what to do instead and at all. But some narrow research stuff of their choosing very probably wasn’t it.

On knowing not. So not knowing what to choose next, I simply jobbed part-time as a truck driver for a friend’s company, until after a year he lost the whole trucking contract. By then, living on just a minimal income with plenty of time to think about life, I had finally found what to do with it: “I am here to find out why I’m here”. There was no way for me to circumnavigate the meaning-of-life question. So instead it became my first passion. Here we go.

Umh, why do you call it work “life”? But even the tech monk that I was now needed to earn a living. Continuing extreme aversion to 9-5 nonsensical work left me with few options. I becamse self-employed, avoiding the 9-5, but the nonsense sticked: For a laundry shop, I built digital video surveillance that made the police happy (yikes!). For another customer, the task was to take free software captive by bundling it as a for-sale extension to their app. And I had my fair share of precarious freelance work when some fixed-price web dev projects turned out five times the original effort and got paid years late. I left freelancing in utmost frustration and now work as hopeful co-founder of a collaborative consumption startup (mintybox.com).

Heureka (thank you, economic crisis)! So this is how I stumbled into worklife, while around me, the global economic crisis was going rampant. Together, these ingredients made me think hard and I became obsessed with how to design a society that just works, and the tech to run it sustainably. That’s now my second passion and very much a work in progress, called “EarthOS”. It’s a system orchestrating all the existing free & open ideas so that all aspects of life are served by free, open, P2P tech and services only – see the EarthOS framework and equipment documents. Of course everybody here thinks I’m this crazy utopian 😀

The nomad. And I’m also getting practical with EarthOS stuff from equipment levels 1 and 2, making it the interior for my … well, home. It happened to be cheap, just what I needed at that time: 500 bucks for that freezer box body from a torn-down truck. And a year after, I found a 4×4 firefighter truck chassis from 1968 and bolted the box body to the truck. This combo is street legal now (yay!) and I’m eager to move in, to get going with my meaning-of-life expeditions and further EarthOS prototyping. (And hey, I will always be happy to stop at the door of amazing people. Welcome to drop me a line!)

So I’m unhappy with my sleep patterns and already suspected it would feel more natural to have a 26-28 hour day-night rhythm (which would make me a Non-24 guy). Then a friend pointed me to the Da Vinci sleep schedule instead. Reading back and forth on the Internet, I found euphoric posts (see comment 13 on this one 😀 ) but also a ton of failed attempts and cautious resummées (here, here, here, here). And I found no well-documented case of any person doing the Uberman (that is, Da Vinci’s 6 x 20 min) sleep pattern permanently.

So I thought, well maybe the Uberman thing is not best for me, as I doubt I will ever have the motivation to keep that strict schedule (lack of bedtime discipline is a major ingredient for Non-24 people, I suspect – so I’m one of the last ones to try Uberman).

Great sources for my and your further learning and inspiration:

And these are my sleep experiments and their outcome:

(1) Just-in-Time Sleep with REM alarm clock, for rhythm finding

I bought ElectricSleep for my Android phone, which seemed like the best sleep-phase sensitive alarm clock app to me (there are alternatives and an article on the theoretic basics, actigraphy). I intend to go to bed whenever I’m tired enough, with no need to feel bad if I miss a certain bedtime – there is no fixed one any more, no pre-fixed rhythm at all. The only difference to Non-24 is that I want to sleep for only one REM phase and want to wake up at the end of the next one. For that, I set the alarm clock to a window of +1.5 – 2.5 hours, and it will use that window to wake me during light sleep (i.e. REM sleep).

The advantage is that, without a monolithic block of sleep, atypical sleep patterns are more compatible with society.

Note however, that this initial experiment is just to find out a “natural” 24-hour polyphasic sleep rhythm for me. Because in the long term, a sleep rhythm not aligned to nature’s day-and-night cycle can be hazardous by causing cancer. This seems associated to the suppression of melatonin production during disruptions of the circadian rhythm. As it was studied among nurses working night-shifts, it seems that the “disruption” refers to the transition periods at the start and end of a night-shift period, while within it and within a day-shift period, the circadian rhythm would function properly and melatonin production would work normally [source]. The contributing scientists compares animal experiments where animals’ circadian rhythms were disrupted by exposing them to light at night [source]; so it seems that melatonin production is blocked by exposition to light [confirmation]. However, right within a night shift people would have a rhythm where they are only exposed to light for a part of the day (darkening the room for sleeping during the day), so the circadian disruptions would be indeed the “hazardous” times, confirming my above supposition.

However, I will have to look that up more exactly in the original source. But if this assumption turns out true, a circadian rhythm of any kind should not be carcinogenous if it is indeed a rhythm (maybe even a non-24 rhythm, using artificial lights, or a polyphasic sleep rhythm). It is explicitly said that “[a] number of studies have concluded that a short period of sleep during the day, a power-nap, does not have any measurable effect on normal circadian rhythms, but can decrease stress and improve productivity.” [source]. Only not having a rhythm at all in sleep/wake times would equal to constant disruptions of having a rhythm and therefore to potentially increased risk for cancer, and potentially other risks. And maybe a polyphasic sleep technique without one “main” block of sleep might have adverse effects on the circadian rhythm  / melatonin production [TODO].

(2) My natural polyphasic sleep pattern?

I woul be glad if it turns out from the last experiment that the napping technique of the Italian Air Force is my natural sleep pattern, maybe a bit modified to make one block of sleep the main one (as a precaution against disturbing melatonin production):

04:00 – 08:00 main sleep

08:00 – 18:00 main wake time

18:00 – 19:30 sleep

19:30 – 23:00 wake

23:00 – 0:30 sleep

0:30 – 04:00 wake

It is shocking to see that adults are damned to stay as they are. Only children are supported to learn something new, but once they threw you into the world of the adults to go out and earn your own money, all support is gone. It seems they just intended to educate you as far as you need to earn tax payers’ money for paying taxes and buying commercial crap. But they do not support you to become a mature personality.

Of course there is self-education, but that is limited to technical things (electronics, computing, …) and does not help to overcome social problems (because of fear to learn what one wants to learn).

And of course, there is experience, but that does not help you to learn social things either, as they only allow you to gather experience (on the job) in areas where you already have some qualifications so that they can hire you. Also people will fear to accept a job that they fear to fail in (as it is about something they need, and maybe want, to learn yet).

And also, there are adult education services, but that is expensive, totally inefficient, and people do not have the time for it. Instead, education must be integrated into daily life.

Might this be a solution: we need hackerspaces for education in technology, and intentional communities for education in social and self governance skills, both with a semi-formal mentoring and evaluation program.

Today’s new verbalization for my life vision is: “The integrated lifestyle that I want to achieve and have permanently while I am on earth is three integrated elements:

  1. Xpedition community, a mobile, travelling, resilient, autarkic, effectively sovereign, powerful community of Christians and non-Christians, men and women, poor and rich alike, cross-secting races, cultures and languages, but only with special (nerdy, geeky etc.) persons who “want to live right”; also including some learning, vulnerable persons. The community is about the things that my own life is about then. Which is:
  2. international university teaching and research (esp. in developing regions) about such autarkic, sovereign, resilient communities, to help everybody achieve the same. And
  3. evangelizing: research and teaching about God in an authentic truth-seeking and truth abiding, hope-giving manner.”

This is such a beautiful, integrated vision, both technically, socially and financially doable 🙂 … in contrast to many versions before.

We hope to start living that way from 2015-01-01 on. Time will tell who will be “we”, the community.

Just made a strange experience … at two o’clock in the night, but nothing to frighten you. Read on. The background is, that I used the the last two days mainly for “tidying up my thoughts”. Most people will think this is a strange activity, and that my flat would need it more. Anyway. Practically it is, sorting through my mindmaps that contain all the “operational” information and decisions in my life. They are sort of an externalized part of my brain’s memory, slower but more precise. When tidying it up, I write down some latent decisions and re-structure stuff into life components, projects, tasks and journals. And I finish some blog post drafts with thoughts that troubled me lately … hence the several posts here today.

I did this “thought cleaning” a few times already, with the gap of some months in between. After it, mostly I have a good impression of the current state of my life. The same happened now, and the impression came just yet, after reading through my blogroll’s posts since long.

The crazy thing is, for the first time in life my mind feels both free and complete at the same time. Let me explain.

Most of my life, I had oriented myself towards a doctrinal system (a form of Christian fundamentalism) to feel “safe and complete” in mind about my conception of the world. Then, practical problems and critical thinking made this system more and more unliveable; that was around 2005-02. It coincides with my entry to the blogosphere, meant to think out loudly my critical thoughts and questions.

Since then, I felt more and more free in my thought life because I left more and more human authorities alone. But I did not feel complete at all, there were all these nagging questions and doubts. There are more than 200 blog posts since then, most of them detailing an aspect of this stuff, and together they document some hundred hours of reading and discussing. Nearly driving some of my friends mad with all my bugging questions 🙂

Ok, and what’s different now? In the last weeks, I found my position regarding a few of the most heavy questions (see posts “Why God might be silent“, “Deriving joy from meaning“, “Helping this world at system level?“). These answers also granted me a better basic mood and new motivation. And even better, these were the last bits to complete my position to the basic questions in life. Not that all this is necessarily true (it will develop), but for the first time, I feel “complete” in mind again. That feels good.

And now, looking through all those philosophical and theological blogs that had a huge influence on my thoughts before, I noticed that I got independent of them since my last visit. I still value most of them, but I have my own position now, for the first time a complete one. Which allows me to be independent.

I really don’t want to seem proud. I rather view this as a normal development: everyone, when becoming an adult, finds his or her own and complete position. This position is the  basic set of answers that they will use for the years to come. It may be logical or not, well-founded or clumsy: because it’s complete, because it’s a closed system, it can be defended. Adults normally don’t leave that position, as there’s no force that makes this necessary. Except for crisis experiences.

Now that I found my own position, only God can correct me. (I hope he will if necessary, as he did in 2004/2005.) I cannot see big problems in defending my position against people’s logic. This part of my adolescence is now about 10 years too late, but in compensation, very detailed and, as I think, well founded. And, as a special but unintended attribute, it’s a “free” (in the sense of “unique”) position: I have yet to find somebody else who holds a like set of answers regarding the basic questions of life. I seem to be a free thinker, but not as an end in itself: I just searched the answers.

With this part of “adolescence” finally finished, it seems that the next step is ahead: applying it, and teaching it. Also a normal development: every adult should be self-confident enough to teach his position to growing-ups, and to discuss it with other adults to publicly display its quality. There’s even an idea in my head how to apply and teach this stuff in a style that concords with the actual content (see also the post “Adult loneliness“): founding a mobile, high-power, educational-transformational community with native people in a developing country.

Of course, it feels good that these hard times of troubling myself with questions of all sorts are now over, for the most part. And I’m grateful to God for this!! But also, I fear that, if I err in an important issue, I am uncorrectable now. Which I really do not want to be … so if you think I am in error, talk to me and use good logic, and I will hopefully be able to see my error also and change … again.

Other people do sports, cook for themselves, maintain their health and beauty, keep their house clean and well-equipped, call and meet people, and work more than I do (so earning more money), and even watch TV and do games. I ave nearly no time for all that, on average.

Means my time goes somewhere instead. I finally find out where: thinking about things (includes blogging, mindmapping, idea management, authoring in general), sleeping (1-2 hours a day), perfectionism (being more exact in all I do than people are on average), and helping people. In that order.

Mmmh. I’d like to exchange sleeping and some perfectness and even some thinking for sports, socializing, a better household and better food, I think. In that order.

It is said that people in their late 20s undergo a crisis because they realize that they are not able to change the world. Me thinks, I am currently in an acute phase of that time. It actually drives me crazy to see dictators and / or aristocrats in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Europe, basically all around the globe, misuse their might for their own advantage while the population is held captive, in unfree conditions, poor, ill, or else. Or, more precisely, it drives me nuts that I’m not able to change that to any meaningful degree (which means, 1% or more).