Do you know how your computer works? Decades after I first asked myself that question, I find it increasingly difficult to answer: there are more levels of abstraction involved than ever. Whilst every layer that’s been introduced reduced the level of complexity for those working locally on that layer, it had the side effect of increasing the complexity of the overall system.
Today, in 2022, with the number of devices, drivers, languages, frameworks, runtimes, protocols and standards ever increasing, can anyone honestly say that they fully understand how their computer works?
Handling information overload is a key skill of the modern age. Be it technology, medicine, physics, or any number of different disciplines, the corpus of knowledge is too vast to understand it all. Mastery takes 10,000 hours, said Gladwell. Tell that to the academics and practitioners who spend half a day, every day, skimming scientific papers & digests from their configured aggregators.
Remaining comfortable and effective amidst overwhelming uncertainty is key. Here, systems thinking plays a key role. If you can grasp the bigger picture, you don’t need to know all the detail. If you can become adept at traversing the abstraction tree – zooming in when necessary, and zooming out when not – all the while curating that holistic understanding of how the system as a whole behaves, then you can remain effective in this modern ocean of information.
From understanding computers, to understanding health – this was my second fascination. Why wasn’t I healthy; how could I become healthy? What is health, anyway? So many scientific disciplines are involved in answering these questions, one can’t learn them all. Systems thinking is required.
From understanding health, to understanding life – this was my third ponderance. Questions of philosophy date back to humans first gazing up at the stars, and more text has been written on this topic than one could read in a lifetime. What for an effective philosophy of life?
Trails begin in our minds as thoughts; concrete questions, perhaps, or whimsical daydreams. Whatever their form, thoughts are vitally important, because thoughts precede actions: mental trails precede physical trails.
I developed a passion for running in 2016, born of a need to improve fitness. It started with road running, where one learns the basics of gait, speed, nutrition. But road running soon transitioned to trail running, and this is where the role of running in my life broadened. Trails are where training plans are replaced by exploration, where civilization is replaced by nature; where one’s mind can truly run free.
Are the trails physical, or mental? Are they a place of cogitation, or meditation?
Explore your trails with open eyes and an open mind. See where they take you.
The Trail Explorer
- UTMB – 174th
- WW100 – 1st
- SDW100 – 5th
- Camino Lea Valley 50km – 3rd
- MK Marathon 3h Pacer
- Arc of Attrition – 40th
- Dragon’s Back – 69th
- Val d’Aran by UTMB – 35th
- Grand Trail du Saint Jacques by UTMB – 23rd
- Hatfield Broad Oak 10k – 10th
- Enigma Week at the Knees (7-in-7) – 1st, CR
- Arc of Attrition – 31st
- Escape from Meriden – 9th
- Metropolis – 1st
- Cotswold Way Century – 9th
- UTMB CCC – 227th
- SDW100 – 61st
- Classic Quarter – 20th
- North Downs Ridge 50k – 18th
- Dusk ’til Dawn – 6th
- Chiltern Challenge – 11th
- Marathon – 2:48:52 (London)
- 10K – 36:24 (Lee Valley Run Fest)
- 5K – 17:32 (Kempton Park Reunion)