January 30, 2024 — I have kept this blog going for 14 years, through good times and bad. One thing I've noticed, particularly recently, is that, after getting a post out, my mind feels calmer the rest of the day. I also feel like each post helps me develop some actionable insight, however small, that I can use going forward in the future.
However, I also think solo cognitive grappling might be harmful long term. I undeniably get a short term boost, but perhaps long term blogging is cognitively harmful.
Blogging is like training your own internal LLM. Having an LLM in your brain could be a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because you can indeed sometimes successfully generate words to describe the problem you feel, and then ponder over those words until you've found a solution. But it's a curse because once you've grown your model you can't shut it off, and it comes up with an endless stream of hypotheses that you feel compelled to ponder.
So blogging might be, in a sense, a trap. You think it might help your mental health, but devoting more of your brain to resolving questions also makes your brain generate more questions. You might end up opening more issues than you resolve.
Or maybe blogging is like playing the lottery. I've written a number of times about the importance of "black swans" in life: low probability, high impact events. I've generally only thought about external black swans. Small things in the real world that have big impact on society. But maybe I've neglected the impact of internal black swans. Small thoughts that can have disproportionate impact on one's internal society of mind. Perhaps enlightenment is really a thing. A thought, that if hit upon just right, has a huge impact. If that were the case, then maybe the expected value of blogging (or therapy) is higher than I thought, because it is like black swan thought hunting.
Regardless of whether blogging is a productive use of time or a narcissistic time suck, I think at this point my brain has been set to continue on. The die has been cast. I am nearly 40 and a lot of my brain is devoted to my LLM.
Now that I've thought about it, I think it is probably just a hobby. I don't do crosswords, or fish, or knit. I blog. It's a fun, open ended hobby. I never really know what puzzle I'll try next, or where I'll end up.
Anyway. I'm going to publish this one now and try and get a double post out today. Luckily blogging is like free therapy.