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About jonathanconway

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  • Birthday 01/30/1987

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    Saving money, investing, lifestyle design, design in general, music, philosophy, social movements, the future of work and society.

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    Business partners, people with shared interests & goals
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  • Experience with Objectivism
    Beginner. Read/heard ITOE, many of Ayn Rand's lectures and parts of OPAR and DIM.
  • School or University
    University of Sydney
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    Interface Developer

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  1. jonathanconway

    Classical music

    For my part, I can't resist chipping in a mini-eulogy to my favourite composer of all time, Anton Bruckner. (Much as I love so many of the composers mentioned in this thread, including Rachmaninoff, whose Piano Concerto 2 I have playing as I write this...) Bruckner's work has really added to my life perhaps almost as much as Ayn Rand's. All of his symphonies, for me, express emotions of glory, grandeur, awe and exultation. They all contain adagios which express a kind of sad wandering and yearning, but which gradually and inexorably build up and transform into crashing waves of ecstasy and resolution. They all contain scherzos bordered by the relentless energy of 19th century industrialisation, contrasted with inner islands of carefree melody. They always culminate in a massive monumental coda, always ending in a blazing major key, in an atmosphere of celebration and joy. In every moment of the music, there seems to be something greater being expressed. There is a pervasive "largeness", a sense of a greater unity that can only be appreciated after many listenings, when the music has finally surrendered all of its secrets, and all that's left is to marvel at a lifetime of driven, dedicated handiwork. The last 5 symphonies especially exhibit a cyclic, integrated design, in which elements of every part of the symphony interact throughout the work, and are finally brought together in the finale. The coda of the 8th Symphony does this in a particularly impressive and moving way. The guy spent his whole life studying and writing music. Clearly he had a passion for the work, and wasn't just trying to be popular or rich. He also spent a significant portion of his life in the Sankt Florian cathedral, an immense, beautifully ornamented structure, one which must have given him inspiration every day. He surely had traits Rand (and I) would disapprove of, particularly belief in God and a bit of an obsession for teenage girls. That said, I think the idea he was humble or self-doubting is a complete myth. The many alterations he made to his symphonies, rather than humility, seem to evidence a passion and love for the craft and a desire to constantly improve and strive toward perfection. They also offer a fascinating and enjoyable experience in their own right. How many other composers can give you glimpse into two or even three slightly alternative visions of how a single work might have been realised? I find it enriching to see the master reveal some of his process, not just the end result. I must also add a word of praise for a female composer who I think doesn't get enough attention: Lili Boulanger. The 'Old Buddhist Prayer' in particular strikes me as most exultant and uplifting. Obviously the reference to 'Gods' is a bit suss. But I do love lyrics like: "Let all those beings which exist -- without enemies, without obstacles, overcoming their grief and attaining happiness, be able to move freely, each in the path destined for them". That's the kind of feeling I like to have in my head when I wake up in the morning. I guess what I get most from both composers is the sense of a world that is large, awe inspiring and full of endless potential.
  2. jonathanconway

    When to take time off

    Hi everyone. I want to ask for any career and life advice you might want to offer. For the past 10 years or so I have been working as a software developer for various companies. During this time, I have generally focussed on maximising income and minimising expenses, in order to save as much money as possible. My ultimate goal is to have enough money that I can quit full-time work, live very cheaply and minimally, and spend my time on creative projects that don't necessarily pay off in monetary terms, but would be hugely enjoyable and give me a lot of life satisfaction. Essentially, projects that I can die feeling happy and proud about. These projects include musical work (I want to compose a symphony), technological experimentation (involving software, sensors, smartphones, decentralised systems, etc) and social design experiments (designing various kinds of structured communities, organisations, etc and finding ways to try them out). I don't necessarily dislike my current job as a software developer. I enjoy the creative/problem-solving challenges, the people are nice and easy to get on with, the pay is excellent, and there's a sense of progress and forward movement as new technologies and frameworks keep being born. (Reactive programming is fascinating!) At the same time, it can be frustrating having all my creative energy confined to a relatively narrow set of concerns that benefit my clients, in exchange for a fee. The tricky thing is - when do I jump off the conveyor belt of full-time regular work? On the one hand, I only have a finite amount of time left to live. I assume I'll live until 70-80, so that's about another 50 years, which I suppose is a fair amount of time. But still. On the other hand, I'm blessed to have such an awesome job and career in software development, and I don't want to totally lose that. I also don't want to risk running out of money for some unforeseen reason, and then be forced to go back into work after a long break, and perhaps not be ready for it. Have any of you faced similar decision-points in life? Do you have any words of advice? Many thanks in advance!