Work in a detached way

Some stuff about meditation and work by Chiara Cokieng that I find repeatedly useful so I’m putting it here for reference.

People work because they crave. “Without craving, without attachment, how can anybody work?” Goenka’s students ask all the time.

Oh because you have not learned how to work in a detached way.


When you’re attached, you’re so tense inside, you’re so self-centered. I’m working for me. For me. For me. And once you become detached, all tension goes away. Now you work.

Oh. Is that how you do it? Work? To do it in a detached way, not because you have to do something you desire or hate, but because you decided the work is worth doing? If I can do that, will I be able to do anything I say I will do, without any angst? Is that possible?

I think I get it… If only barely.

I still believe you shouldn’t spend your life slaving on something you hate. But I do believe in training, writing this article, waking up in the morning and being a good human being

“the resilience of a system corresponds to its adaptive capacity tuned to the future.”

“While counterfactual reasoning helps restore our feeling that the world makes sense, the problem with it is that it doesn’t help us get better at avoiding or dealing with future incidents. The reason it doesn’t help is that counterfactual reasoning gives us an excuse to avoid the messy problem of understanding how we missed those obvious-in-retrospect actions and signals in the first place.”

The writings of Lorin Hochstein about resilience engineering are immensely valuable and illuminating. It’s nice to be able to read the thinking of people who are current with the cutting edge of a profession.

“But we don’t need a secret police to turn us into atomized, isolated souls. All it takes is for us to stand by while unbridled capitalism rips apart the temporal preserves that used to let us cultivate the seeds of civil society and nurture the sadly fragile shoots of affection, affinity, and solidarity.”

A roaring end to a lament on the fragmentation of work hours and as such also of society as it took place in America.

Germany still resists this trend by for instance not allowing shops to open on Sundays. I found this tremendously annoying, but I’m now starting to see the use and charm of quiet Sundays. (And now that I have kids, I manage to buy our groceries on Saturday.)

Will Larson (whose new book is lying on my desk at work) writes a welcome long view on the technology career, something we will increasingly need to think about and come to terms with.