ML16.08.25 - Ritual
Today is the start of a new string of daily podcasts. Back in May or somewhere thereabouts, I was cranking one of these out every single day. It obviously gets taxing after a while to need to deliver content to the black hole of the web every 24 hours, but the exercise provided several perks. For one, it meant that I got to get out whatever I wanted to say so I wasn’t wasting time thinking about whether something was sufficiently valuable to be worth codifying (an issue that eats more of my time now than anyone would assume from the outside). For two, it kept my day in check by providing a ritual.
Rituals in specific terms don’t tend to work for me. I have an obsession with process so adopting rigid procedures for just about anything in my life lasts about a day, at which point I notice and tweak them into unrecognizability. Things can always be improved, and as soon as that stops being conveniently possible they cease to be valuable to me.
However, that doesn’t make them useless, even to me. Rituals, when chosen and heeded intelligently, free us from the mundane forms of choosing we otherwise mire ourselves in, allowing us to focus on things that actually require our attention or drive. Rituals, when chosen and heeded intelligently, keep us from making decisions that we recognize as less effective, even if the ones we make in the ritual aren’t in fact ideal (which, of course, can be remedied through judicious adaptation to circumstance). Everyone wants more time and energy to do what they want to do, and rituals help make that possible—again, when chosen and heeded intelligently.
I believe putting out a podcast every day rather once every 3 to 7 at my whim is an intelligent ritual to heed. It makes me more adventurous (see the Cultural Outreach episode), it encourages me to reach out to friends more often (see the Beercraft episode with Mitchell), and—I’ll mention it again for emphasis—it forces me to work on ideas until there was something worth sharing rather than just saying “no” which I can just as easily do out of laziness as out of a genuine appraisal of value.
Jocko Willink, a retired Navy SEAL commander who’s been making the rounds of the podcast world (who will, sadly, not be making it for this episode), frequently says that “Discipline Equals Freedom”. Those three words capture the essence of what makes ritual useful and, now that I’m coming down from my manic phase and moving into the longer transition state when I actually tend to get things done, a little more discipline will be good for me…and probably for you guys too.
That’s the Mach Log for today. If you want your voice heard—or, more specifically, if you want your words heard in my voice—there is now a much simpler and dangerous way for you to do that. At the bottom of every page on the Machination Log page, there is a form letter where you can send me things. I’ll leave the rest up to you. For now, it’s time to get Thursday rolling. Good morning, everyone.