Vol.30 Maybe it's really difficult to put oneself in someone else's shoes.


October 16, 2023, Issue 30

The cover image of this issue is generated by DALL-E 3.

Due to a business trip tomorrow, this issue is being released one day early. Updates are expected to resume in November.

The following is the main content of this issue, with an estimated reading time of about 8 minutes.

1. How I Use Heptabase Journal to Assist Writing

First, during the reading process, actively seek and record inspiration, including interesting content, points that catch my attention, or parts that require further exploration.

I usually add the content I need to read to Readwise Reader, which allows me to annotate directly while reading, and they will quickly sync to the Highlights in Heptabase.

Some of these reading notes may be specific to the matter, what I read and how I feel about it. Some may diverge. Regardless of the type of note, recording is the key.

Second, inspiration does not come out of thin air, it needs to be accumulated. I treat the Journal as a draft paper, it is a springboard, a prompt to start thinking and writing.

In addition to reading notes, I also record short daily observations, facts, or thoughts in the Journal. Daily thoughts and records will give birth to many unique perspectives and ideas.

In Heptabase, it is easy to select some content and turn it into cards, so some of these records in the Journal will be rearranged and combined to form a new card, some will be updated to existing cards, and some will remain in place.

However, the content that remains in the Journal also has differences. In addition to not being easily deleted by me, they will also have more forms. For example:

  • Content that is basically mature but not enough to form a card will be marked in green 🟢
  • Content that needs further development will be marked in yellow 🟡
  • Content that encounters obstacles will be marked in red 🔴
  • And some content will be marked with strikethrough.

Finally, before starting the formal writing process, I will create a new whiteboard and drag all the cards I need into it.

Since the cards are mostly created through the Journal, I can see in the Info which day these cards are from. I will also drag these Journals into the whiteboard, perhaps there are some scattered content that I will use. This is why I have been saying not to easily delete the content in the Journal, even if it seems useless at the time.

2. I Made a Serious Mistake

In the second half of the National Day holiday, I started preparing for a new project. At the end of this month, I will shoot a short film to showcase the accessibility features of digital products for visually impaired people. However, it wasn't until last Friday noon that I suddenly realized that I had made a huge mistake—I didn't really think from the perspective of visually impaired people.

In fact, I have never really tried the accessibility features on digital products. I haven't even tried wearing a blindfold to learn and experience the life of a blind person. What I did was just standing from the perspective of a healthy person, considering everything from my own point of view, and communicating with the subjects of the shoot as if I already knew all the answers. What I did was just self-indulgence. I found some samples, contacted the subjects for shooting, and learned some basic information... but in fact, I didn't really understand their real needs and feelings.

This mistake is very serious. I used to personally experience and then communicate with the subjects of the shoot with the experiences. But this time, why didn't I do it? It's because my self-awareness is too strong, even to the point of discrimination and indifference.

And the trouble caused by this mistake is a series of issues. For example, I will view visually impaired people from the perspective of a "healthy person" and must tell a story of self-reliance to showcase their perseverance. Why should disabled people be portrayed as persevering? This perspective essentially treats them as outsiders. Another example is that I didn't really pay attention to whether they actually find the accessibility features useful, but only demanded cooperation from the subjects based on my own imagination. In this way, the short film produced may not only lack human care, but also may be based on false information.

Oringe posted a tweet on Twitter, saying:

"Empathy" is an ideal suggestion, but it is almost impossible. Everyone's perception of the world is different, how can you truly see the world from someone else's perspective? Only when the other person is willing to build a bridge for you to enter their world, and you are willing to enter, can such empathy be possible.

Indeed, it is difficult to truly empathize, and I admit my limitations and lack of compassion. But at least, I can try to understand and experience, and communicate and cooperate with the subjects of the short film with this mindset. I need to truly listen to their voices, rather than just satisfy my own ideas and opinions.

3. Talking About Tang Poetry

Poetry is the seasoning of life, it brings richness of emotions and depth of thoughts to life, just as seasoning adds flavor to food. Last week, I had a few hours of conversation with friends about Tang poetry. I have summarized it briefly in writing.

Tang poetry has always been dominated by Li Bai, who is regarded as the "Poet Immortal," and Du Fu, who is regarded as the "Poet Saint."

The reason why people love Li Bai so much is probably because he is so "un-Chinese." Who else can say "The emperor called, but I didn't board the boat; I call myself a subject, but I am a god in the wine" (as described by Du Fu about Li Bai)? Even the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Tao Yuanming cannot do that.

This feels very much like the pre-Qin period. If Li Bai could meet Zhuangzi, the two would definitely have a lot in common. If they could meet Xu You, who came even earlier, then "when three people walk together, there must be one who can be my teacher" would probably not be said by Confucian scholars.

Du Fu, on the other hand, is too "Chinese," so he can only be a saint. Being too "Chinese" means being bound by Confucian rituals and teachings. Du Fu never escaped from the cage of Confucian rituals and teachings throughout his life.

If he had taken one more step forward during the An Lushan Rebellion, he might have become an immortal. But in the end, he couldn't. It is because of this that he wrote the most melodious poems in the entire Tang Dynasty, lamenting his own "weakness."

The wind is swift, the sky is high, the apes howl in sorrow,
The water is clear, the sand is white, the birds fly back.
Countless falling leaves rustle down,
The endless Yangtze River rolls on.
Traveling thousands of miles in autumn, always a guest,
A hundred years of illness, alone on the stage.
Difficulties and hatred, frosty temples,
Down and out, the wine cup is put down.

The brilliance of Tang poetry, in addition to Li Bai and Du Fu, is also seen in the early Tang Dynasty with Wang Bo taking the lead as one of the Four Great Talents (the Four Great Talents of the early Tang Dynasty does not refer to the excellence of their poetry, but to their parallel prose and fu). Unfortunately, Wang Bo died young and his soul was shattered in the South China Sea, giving Zhang Ruoxu the opportunity to "suppress the entire Tang Dynasty" with a single work.

Mu Xin said, "Chen Ziang is the male soprano and lead singer who sings the narrative tone of Tang Dynasty literature." Chen Ziang, as the "ancestor of Tang poetry," has a proud spirit and has made great contributions to eliminating the formalistic poetic style of Qi and Liang.

During the prosperous Tang Dynasty, there were Wang Wei and Cen Shen, one went to the pastoral and created his own style, and the other was passionate and heroic on the border. They can be considered as seizing a bit of territory from Li Bai and Du Fu.

Among the poets of the mid-Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi is the most favored by later generations, perhaps because he wrote really well. The others are like the fate of the Tang Dynasty, out of breath.

In the late Tang Dynasty, only Du Mu and Li Shangyin remained, but only Li Shangyin has a direct connection to the present, and his soul is intertwined with modern people.

4. Night Voyage


  • Research related to social media has always been a focus of my attention, and last week three articles caught my attention.
    • The first article explores how social media algorithms distort the way people learn from each other. The article points out that people's daily interactions with online algorithms influence how they learn from others. This has negative effects on social cognition, including social misunderstandings and similar issues. On social media platforms, algorithms are mainly designed to amplify information that can sustain user engagement, meaning they encourage people to continue clicking and consuming content. While this may provide some entertainment and engagement, it can distort people's learning and cognition, as these algorithms may only emphasize or display one side of information while neglecting other important perspectives.
    • The second article has an eye-catching title, If you want to be a creator, delete all social media platforms. The article argues that social media platforms recommend creators to publish content on multiple platforms, but this actually wastes your time. The suggestion is to keep only two platforms that you are best at and enjoy the most, so that you can focus your energy on these two platforms.
    • The social networks we are familiar with, the places where we consume posts and interact with others, seem to have lost their former appeal. Why Isn't the Internet Fun Anymore? The decline of platforms like Twitter heralds a new era of the internet, an era with less fun, where a few giant social networks homogenize our experiences. Although today's internet is filled with more content than ever before, it feels more empty, no longer casually providing information as it used to. The decrease in recommended traffic disrupts the business model of media and further reduces the quality of online original content.
  • "Is Heptabase a Better Note-Taking Software? We've Been Asking the Wrong Question" is an article discussing the choice of note-taking software. The article points out that the common questions we ask are "Should I switch software?" or "What features does this software have?", but these questions are too limited. The article mentions that what is truly important is the "ability to develop a deep understanding of complex things," and note-taking software is just one tool. The article explains the importance of the "ability to develop a deep understanding of complex things" and points out that this ability is not innate, but requires the use of tools and thinking and organizing. Finally, the article reminds us not to treat note-taking software as the end point, but to think about how to better understand information.
  • "Coding was hard until I learned these 2 things" mainly introduces the author's experience of initially finding programming difficult and later successfully finding a job with two key points: 1. Cultivating a growth mindset. This means seeing one's programming skills as something that can be improved through effort, rather than something innate or nonexistent. When faced with difficulties, it should be seen as a learning opportunity rather than self-doubt. 2. Making programming a daily habit. By setting specific times and places, such as studying programming in a café every day at 4 p.m., to ensure daily practice. Combining learning programming with things one enjoys, such as only allowing oneself to drink coffee when studying programming, can help cultivate this habit.
  • Thinking tools are an emerging field aimed at developing and improving tools that enhance human thinking and productivity. According to Andy Matuschak's introduction, the characteristics of this field are a series of activities, including identifying powerful insights, building systems to express these insights, observing their use in real environments, and extracting generalizable insights from these observations. However, many individuals and tech companies interested in thinking tools have not effectively executed all of these steps, resulting in slow progress in this field. The author suggests that research on thinking tools should strive to generate heuristic statements that connect theoretical claims, design methods, and expected outcomes. The article emphasizes several contemporary projects that embody the full cycle of thinking tool work.
  • Are cats perfect? Do you agree with this view? Evolutionary biologist Anjali Goswami believes that from domestic cats to tigers, felids are perfect in an evolutionary sense. She explains that despite differences in fur color, the basic features of cats, such as their round heads, remain the same throughout their lives. This is because cats are highly specialized predators and have retained only the necessary teeth for cutting meat. Cats achieve evolutionary success by excelling in specific ecological niches, while other groups of mammals that try to imitate cats cannot compete. Goswami also points out that compared to other mammals, cats have a slower rate of evolution.
  • Career Advice is an article that provides career advice to young people seeking employment guidance. The author warns that work can change a person and advises observing older colleagues for insights into possible future paths. The author also suggests stepping out of support structures, challenging oneself, and making choices not just for the sake of making money. The author encourages pursuing uncomfortable but meaningful experiences outside of work.

5. Living Elsewhere

  • In my spare time, with the help of pkmgeek, I deployed the Node.js version of TiddlyWiki on a VPS. Now, you can view my Evergreen Notes at this website.
  • I have been studying a concept called "Cognitive Dissonance Theory" recently and have gained some insights that can be combined with PIM and PKM.
  • The network connection and debugging tool Surge now supports the Hysteria2 protocol, and there is a tutorial on how to set it up. Liu also wrote a blog post specifically introducing congestion control algorithms and ECN. I haven't had time to try it yet, maybe because snell 4 is too good.
  • The news of real-name registration for self-media front-end on the entire internet has been basically confirmed, and it will be gradually implemented based on certification and number of followers.
  • The recommended readings in this issue have been made into bilingual PDFs through immersive translation. You can read and download them at the File Gallery.
  • If you would like to support me, please consider purchasing my paid column. Thank you.


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