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I'm Tav, a 29yr old from London. I enjoy working on large-scale social, economic and technological systems.

Fluid & Bounded
Boris Vallejo

I am a real-time operating system. Alive in the moment. Fluid to all that happens around. But this is only possible thanks to a seemingly contradictory requirement:

I need clear boundaries.

Without clearly defined boundaries, I end up in a sea of endless possibilities and confusion. The number of possible permutations becomes too much to handle and I find myself incapacitated.

But if I can clearly define boundaries between the various shades of grey that life presents us with, I suddenly find myself liberated and able to act without having to think.

I then only have to bear in mind the single rule:

Be alive!

This is true freedom. I don't have to contemplate the consequences of my actions and can freely flow as events unfold.

I can do things like getting completely hammered on alcohol and drugs without worrying about my actions. I can trust myself with absolute confidence. I can take risks without worry. Confidence flows unhindered by pointless contemplations.

However, this isn't a perfect approach. Let me illustrate with two examples.

The first involves my principles with regards to friendship. Whilst generally friendly to all living creatures, I have clearly defined distinctions with regards to how I behave with friends and those who are not friends.

This allows me to be highly “scalable” with regards to the number and depth of the relationships I have. But one time, my rather fixed boundary put me in a rather unpleasant situation.

A friend and I met this girl on the same evening and we ended up competing for her over the following week. Normally I have no qualms competing with a guy for a girl. I can outcompete with ease.

But trying to compete with a friend just left me paralysed. My friendship boundary involves not fucking over friends. But how the hell are you meant to compete with a guy for a girl and not screw him over in some way?

Another point when my sharp boundaries caused some unpleasantness was when I once invited a friend of mine to join a girlfriend and myself in bed one night.

The night itself was rather enjoyable and pleasant. However, the next morning, my sharp boundary thing meant that he was back to being just a friend with the two of us.

Unfortunately, he saw life as shades of grey and managed to piss me off a bit by trying to be intimate with my girlfriend. Not in a sexual way, but just with physical closeness.

Now I could totally understand it from his perspective. It makes for a gentler easing out after sexual intimacy with her, but for me life operates around clear boundaries — especially around friendship, intimacy and love.

But despite occassional blips like this, the clearly defined boundaries allows me to operate in real-time and be totally fluid in how I live. I can also make extremely long-term commitments, e.g. Espia, because I know myself.

What do you all think? Does my approach make any sense? Do you have similar approaches?