Discover more from The Mind Bicycle
An Exercise in Thoughts
How an unconstrained medium is better for both reader and writer
Steve Jobs once described the computer as a “Bicycle for the Mind”. This was also likely a double entendre in reference to Albert Hoffman’s famous LSD bicycle ride and Jobs’ own penchant for LSD.
Welcome to The Mind Bicycle. This substack aims to be its own bicycle for the mind – both for me, and for you.
All the common wisdom tells you that if you want to succeed as an online writer, you must pick a niche. That sounds great while you’re interested in the niche, but what happens when your interests grow, or change?
If you’ve built a blog or following around a very specific niche interest, it’s going to be hard to continue writing to that audience in the same way. If you suddenly switch up the topics, people will unsubscribe or be upset. Similarly, newcomers will see a long history of articles on a niche topic, and may simply be uninterested.
This dynamic has a negative effect on the writer though, because if I become less interested in a topic, and my only available writing outlet is within that topic, I will be pushed away from writing in general. This also has a negative effect on me, because writing is an exercise in clarity of thought. If I don’t write, I don’t get to think as well.
At the same time, with the rise of AI tools like ChatGPT to augment logic work like programming, and a large portion of writing, my intuition here is that one of the only ways to continue to retain clarity of original thought is to write completely original thoughts. The idea here is that when an AI can predict every sequence of words you’d be likely to think, maybe it’s a good idea to learn how to facilitate more unpredictable thoughts in oneself.
If I do write about whatever I’m interested in, I’m forced to flesh out ideas to their logical conclusions and see whether or not they make sense. But moreover, having an open-ended focus gives me a wider scope of ideas I get to flesh out in the same place, rather than drilling down narrowly on siloed ideas across 3 separate blogs. And if I’m interested in the topic, I’m a lot more likely to keep the content interesting.
We’re all humans, and I notice that online creators that land in a niche with success discover that they must stick to that niche for an unnaturally long time because it’s their golden goose. I more prefer creators who freely publish according to who they are as a person, and what they’re interested in at that time, rather than being permanently locked down at risk of upsetting fans. Generally, only two groups of people can really get away with this:
1) People who can write anything and not care if anyone reads it (their livelihoods are likely not tied to their writing)
2) People who have established themselves as writers who write openly and widely
My guess is the first group evolves into the second group, and I aim to be in the second group. Conversely writers who niche down and build a livelihood around that niche are very tied down, and must continue to find ways to tie a presentation personality to that niche. There’s a degree of inauthenticity, and I aim to avoid that.
But to give you an overall sense of what’s getting covered, I’ll widely be diving into computing technologies and scientific advancement, psychedelics and mindfulness, and the effects of the technological AI singularity on society.
I will usually only cover one topic at a time, but will occasionally cover the intersections of where these things converge, and try to dive deep into thought experiments around where things are heading. Ideally, you will pedal away from here with a clearer view of the future. If that all sounds good to you, go ahead and subscribe below.