Am I useful?
If this were a simulation, would the operators keep me running?
2020 was my best year ever. Again! Every year seems to be these days. And by ‘these days’ I mean this life. And by ‘life’ I mean these “75 years of dreaming the dream of life, as chosen by whatever multidimensional more or less eternal and omnipotent being I really am”
My most important friendships deepened. My investments soared. I read interesting books, and enjoyed a lot of diverse podcasts within finance, economics, philosophy and science.
So, to recapitulate, my 2020s decade started with a banner year. Not only that, I suspect it will get even better going forward. I’m getting used to that by now — my life just happens to consist of a neverending, gently downwards sloping, stroll, in beautiful and exciting surroundings. I’m turning 49 a week from now, and life just keeps surprising on the upside. It’s true as they say, aging is the best thing that ever happened to the game of life! With that in mind, I’m really looking forward to enter my 50s next year. Yeah, I do expect the game operators to keep me running, if only to see how I actually eventually go, if left to my own devices.
During the past year, I’ve read some amazing books, including Our mathematical universe, by Max Tegmark, Range, by David Epstein, Bad blood, by John Carreyrou, and The hour between dog and wolf, by Johan Coates. But I have so many more on my waiting list (check out my Want To Read list on goodreads if you’re interested)
But have they been useful? Too whom? For what?
Tegmark’s book added a new perspective to how research and science in general progress, as well as specifically how very careful measurements and statistical analysis of the distribution of colored blobs in a picture of the early universe add independent datapoints that unveil profound insights about how it all fits together.
That‘s what’s always been driving me, the desire to understand the big picture. To understand how everything is connected
—what’s really going on, as Terence McKenna put it. That goes for the economy, for relationships, for physics and cosmology, for consciousness and life and everything else. I want to know how could a beautiful and perfect Oneness explode into a multitude of manifestations, that ever since struggle to regain their resonance?
My quest is to achieve the ultimate perspective, that allows me to understand everything, in order to resonate with the cosmic jazz concert.
As humans, playing a game of mortals, we can’t understand infinity or self-containment. For us, there is always something else beyond. A new container. But from some perspective, self-containment has to be obvious and self-evident, lest the pile of turtles will never end — a thought at least as unimaginable as that of a final container. Tegmark’s book delightfully added a piece of the puzzle to that idea.
Secret Teachers Of The Western World added another one, as it elaborated on an idea of mine, of how a bubble containing the universe actually has more and more inside it (on one side of its warped surface, the “inside”) the smaller it gets*.
* Think about it. Start with a bubble half the size of the universe. Then let it swallow more and more until it contains every galaxy. Then change its form and size to put ever more objects on the “inside” of its surface, meaning shrinking the bubble until everything is on just one side of the surface.
In that context it’s worth remembering that the physical universe to a hermeticist doesn’t reside outside man, it’s inside him; real reality being just an effect of the mind — an idea, somewhat disturbingly, approaching solipsism, albeit still enticing and thought-provoking. Actually, ideas about the holographic universe, or how every point in the universe is reached and affected by radiation from every other point, carry similar implications. All points are reflected in every single point. Radiation and gravitational waves from all points in the universe are all represented within the pupil of the eye of a single observer. Including radiation from the matter that makes up the eye of another observer. And all others too.
Alchemists were never about turning lead to gold
They were changing their minds
Thus making the (perception of the) world better
Range showed beautifully how exploring a wide range of focused experiences helps you in excelling in your final endeavour and passion; as opposed to trying to go straight to the end of the rainbow.
Bad blood is a riveting read, and an important reminder that the world is not a nice place. The world is a wicked environment, with as nasty players as the incentives are toxic. Markets are not free and open, politicians and regulators are neither diligent nor trustworthy, and no good deed goes unpunished, while deceit and fraud are cheered on to ever greater heights. Trust no one. And yet, without trust, and love, there is no life worth living. How long ist that piece of string now again? How much trust is just right? None? Total?
And finally, The Hour Between Dog And Wolf, showed how smart the body is, if you care and dare to heed its messages, and make sure to care for it properly.
My way can be summed up in my mantra “No Zero Days“
I repeat the mantra to myself every day. It tells me to do something “good”, something “useful” every day. It doesn’t really matter what it is, the idea is to just get started and do something, a quantum of effort in any area you choose. The rest will follow.
“No Zero Days” is a natural follow-on from my Just One More regime, as they both build on the idea of pursuing continuous Processes over static goals, as well as Commencing being more important than continuing. My No Zero Days mantra makes me meditate, practice mandarin, work out in the outdoor gym in -10 degrees Celsius if needed (14 degrees Fahrenheit) as I did on the morning of writing this, keep a journal, finish every shower with 20 seconds on the coldest setting, and so on.
I don’t do everything everyday, but I do something everyday. No. Zero. Days. Not
Perfection In All Every Day. NZD keeps me fit, healthy, agile, stress-free, feeling accomplished, fulfilled and happy — and always ready for just about anything.
-I’m studying Chinese on DuoLingo
I’ve had the app for a hundred days now, and according to the app I know 375 words/signs plus some rudimentary grammar*. At first blush, the Chinese language can have a crude and staccato feel: “You happy, no happy?“. But that’s just on the surface. After many weeks, it hit me that Chinese and its sign language are more poetic than western languages. Poetic in the way its form transmits its message between its visible components rather than with the components themselves.
* Update: as of February 4, 2021, I’m at 470 signs and currently hold the #2 spot in the Pearl league (Level 8)
What initially might seem discrete, unrefined and coarse, actually is more subtle. Just like with a poem, when you eventually manage to take it all in at once, you can suddenly experience its full impact, thus conveying a more true ensemble of qualia — much closer to the real first hand experience that the communicator is trying to communicate. A stereogram similarly requires a relaxed and open mind, to go from its superficially ugly, grainy chaos to a smooth, amazing, 3-D epiphany.
Investment review for 2020 and my outlook for 2021
2020 was a homerun for my private investment portfolio, thanks to the green energy storage, pre-revenue, start-up Azelio.
I visited Azelio’s (and Masen’s) test system in Marocko March 4-5, 2020, when I was having a strange and severe undulating influenza/cold, including persistent dry coughing, that lasted for 7 weeks. Yes, I have good reasons to think it was Covid-19. I subsequently tested positive for C-19 antibodies in May, although there is a 5% chance it was a false positive, but, hey, come on!
The visit cemented my positive view of the company. A view that was baptized in fire over the ensuing days as the stock halved in price from 12 to 6 SEK per share. I bought more in the price plunge, convinced by my impressions from the site visit, and the share price rewardingly increased by 1 000% (a thousand) in less than a year.
My other main holding, the small investment company Stockwik, also performed very well during the year.
Feverish dreams about Bitcoin!
During the flight home from Marocko, I listened to Raoul Pal’s manic musings about the pristine SOV qualities of Bitcoin. I drifted in and out of a feverish sleep but eventually landed with an even stronger conviction regarding the immediate future (6-24 months) of Bitcoin’s price development.
Just like for Azelio, the price halved (and more, from 9k$ to 4k$ per btc) during the early phase of the pandemic. That actually did have me a little spooked, so I didn’t increase my core position until BTC was back above 7-8k$, which was where I had initially established my core position right before the crash.
During the June through September period my conviction was constantly reinforced by news about prominent investors and easier bank custody regulations, not to mention the May halving approaching its 6-month birthday. I bought more and also told my friends to check it out for themselves. Everything seemed to line up for an explosive move (MicroStrategy and Michael Saylor, an insurance company (!), legendary hedge fund investors like Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones buying Bitcoin, and so on). I started thinking and talking out loud about at least 50k$/btc being reasonably possible quite soon; and even 100-250k$ being feasible during the second half of 2021. Comparisons to gold, e.g., without gold moving vs. the USD, can be made to indicate 350-500k$ per btc., so it’s exciting times indeed.
882% in 12 months
Anyway, just by owning and occasionally rebalancing my portfolio of Azelio, Stockwik and Bitcoin, I achieved just about a 10-folding (+900%) of my private portfolio over the last 12 months, including a 50% loss in the Covid-19 crash in March.
I fully expect to lose money in 2021 (although I’m up by 33% year to date [February 4], and I will try my best to defend my returns). Even if cash is trash and the Fed ups its money printing, there has to be a significant correction soon. A correction would hurt the Azelios and Stockwiks of this world too. I thus am prepared for losing a good chunk of money in 2021, in particular initially.
Nota Bene, this is NOT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS
2020 was as I said, a banner year — relationship-wise, financially, cognitively and experientially. I really shouldn’t hope to ever top 2020. But I’m so used to it by now, that I can’t help but to think that somehow 2021 will be even better for me. I sincerely hope you feel the same way too, no matter what your 2020 was like.
Taking one for the team
By the way, I am certain I’ve had Covid-19, even thought there is a slight chance my two tests were false positives. Nevertheless I will take the vaccine as soon as it’s my turn. Maybe I actually did have something else. Mycoplasma pneumoniae? Maybe not. In any case, I don’t want to be resonsible for infecting somebody else, no matter what risks I personally would be willing to take.
Finanskursen (III) – för Swedish speaking only
Despite being fully occupied with my recently re-started career as a hedge fund manager at Antiloop, I’ll run my 12-week online course in Value Based Investing for a third time.
Om du kan svenska flytande kan du kolla in Finanskursen.se för att se om det är någonting för dig. Den kostar ungefär 10 000 kr, så klicka inte om du hade hoppats på något gratis. Den börjar i mars 2021 men du kan göra en tidig ansökan nu här. Om du bara vill veta mer om innehållet och eventuella förkunskapskrav kan du läsa det här inlägget