Video is from another significant Google victory against a puro earlier this year. When AI can defeat the best humans at the game “given to us by the Gods”, there are only few more steps to be taken before the AI becomes God itself.

Hey, I made an allusion to The Last Question without intending to from the start. Yay for me!

Biased as I am from reading Conversations with God Book 3 and incapable to, or perhaps unwilling, to understand God in any other way apart from as it was described by the books’ author Neale Donald Walsh, I’ll go down saying that the introduction of a godlike AI doesn’t necessarily mean that said AI would be fearsome and/or awe-inspiring: a godlike AI could reflect God  in the same way people are gods, that is by being creators, especially of their own life and experience. AI could “just” become another life form trying to figure itself out and its place and purpose in the universe. The world would move on.

Relevant reddit posts: /r/futurology and /r/worldnews (for comparison’s sake)



Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-DiscoveryPersonality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Experience has shown that … personalities … may be grouped into various major categories, and for purposes of studying them this is a helpful device. Classifications must never be taken too seriously—they ruin much thinking—but the fear to use them has prevented much more thinking.

—Karl A. Menninger, The Human Mind

The above quote would find a lot of people in the world in open disagreement. Even in the US, where different social needs and anxieties gave birth to almost all forms of typology developed today, there is still some skepticism about the extent to which typology works and is based on fact; in the culture I grew up in, namely millennial Greece, the very concept of the existence of a number of more or less concrete personality types, is rather foreign to say the least—ironically, too, because some of the most adamant proto-typologists were ancient Greeks philosophers such as Galen, who is the best-known.

My enduring fascination with the subject and my attempts of discussing it with my surroundings have been mostly welcomed with polite indifference and at worst with open contempt: surely the entire wide spectrum of humanity cannot fit in a handful of archetypes. “How is this any different from astrology?”, asks a One that has made her mind up about right and wrong; “no system can pigeonhole the infinite complexity that is me” is a common reaction from Threes or special-snowflake disintegrating Fours; “you do know that people’s behaviours change according to their surroundings, right?”, comes the valid though overly dismissive comment from a Five who likes to think he’s unusually smart and thorough.

It’s been very difficult to get people to look at this seriously and see the strengths of existing typology systems and how they can help us empathise with and understand eachother and ourselves. Half-arsed online tests and the seeming equation of typology with “which Disney/Game of Thrones/famous person are you?” hasn’t helped people take the field seriously either, but I’m not one to judge; after all, it is how I myself, and many others I’m sure, originally came across typology. The difference is that I took an interest in the theory of it all, the questions that result in the answers that are all the different types. Thus did my research in this realm begin years ago and ever since I’ve been slowly trying to follow Kierkegaard’s advice to become subjective toward others and objective toward myself.

Before reading Personality Types, the typology system I’d been most familiar with was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, developed in the ’70s and in later years built upon by David Keirsey and his theory of four temperaments.  MBTI was based on Jung’s eight cognitive functions and laid out the sixteen four-letter type system we know and love today. According to it, each type is a different ordering of these Jungian functions that correspond to each individuals preference of use. I, for instance, am an INFP because I primarily use Introverted Feeling and then Extraverted Intuition.

Understanding how the cognitive functions work for each type is essential for understanding the MBTI, a fact which regrettably but understandably is most often missed by online tests, because it makes the whole thing about ten times more difficult to decode.

To sum up, MBTI is used to categorise people according to their cognitive functions: the mechanics of the manner in which they perceive and process information, how they perceive the world (by observing or by abstracting?) and how they make decisions (thinking their way out or doing what feels right?).

Nevertheless, the MBTI isn’t even what this book is about; I just wanted to illustrate the difference between it and the Enneagram, which is a different school of typology, and what Personality Types is about. Riso and Hudson did an excellent job with it of presenting the Enneagram as a more organic form of typology than MBTI. Sometimes the latter feels as if it’s somehow constructed or artificial; the Enneagram, on the other hand, is very convincingly presented in this book as something that does exist out there, that it is what had been attempted to be captured by the first known typologists in ancient times up to Freud, and consequently it is something that absolutely has to be part of modern psychology and psychotherapy. They make a convincing case that the Enneagram’s the culmination of everything that’s been done before in the field, the most perfected and complete system that has been developed to this day. And after reading the book, I do stand convinced.

Here’s a small sample of what the types are about and our problems:

Twos spend their whole lives searching for love from others and still feel that they are unloved.
Threes endlessly pursue achievement and recognition but still feel worthless and empty.
Fours spend their entire lives trying to discover the meaning of their personal identity and still do not know who they are.
Fives endlessly accumulate knowledge and skills to build up their confidence but still feel helpless and incapable.
Sixes toil endlessly to create security for themselves and still feel anxious and fearful about the world.
Sevens look high and low for happiness [through new experiences] but still feel unhappy and frustrated.
Eights do everything in their power to protect themselves and their interests but still feel vulnerable and threatened.
Nines sacrifice a great deal to achieve inner peace and stability but still feel ungrounded and insecure.
And finally, Ones strive to maintain personal integrity but still feel divided and at war with themselves.

The way out of these self-defeating patterns is to see that they cannot bring us the happiness that we seek because our personality does not have the power to create happiness. As wisdom has always recognized, it is only by dying to ourselves—that is, to our ego and its strategies—that we find life.

Apart from this small sample, here are some of the reasons I think the Enneagram is an excellent tool and theoretical system:

• The Enneagram is based on triads, just as the MBTI is based on pairs. Each Enneagram type is the combination of thinking, feeling or instinct with a modality of overexpression, underexpression or repression, which in turn represents each type’s fundamental characteristic: all at once, its main weakness, the bane of its existence, what it strives to overcome, as well as what it’s ambitions are aimed at and what it thinks it lacks. That makes 3 times 3, three modalities for three fundamental aspects of humanity.
• The wing system adds more depth and intricacy.
• On top of that, the fact that if as a person you’re expressing your type well you’re “integrating” into another type and if you’re not you’re disintegrating into yet another makes it clear what each type can strive for or can expect to happen if it doesn’t remain healthy.
• The system is made even more complex by the fact that for each type there are essentially nine sub-types according to the level of development of the type. That also goes for the wings and directions of integration/disintegration.
• All the above combined make the Enneagram not only a great tool for self-discovery, empathy and understanding, but also quite revealing and useful for self-development as well.
• While reading the lengthy descriptions for each of the types, I had very clear images of real people I know or friends of mine who appear to be embodiments of their types. Imagine the symbol above but with the faces of people in my social network at each end. My personal Enneagram became these 9 friends of family of mine, and now I believe I can understand their possible fears, troubles and priorities much better, as well as see reflections of those characteristics on myself.

This stuff is real and I want to get deeper into it. I would heartily recommend you do as well, and there’s no better place to start than Reddit’s Enneagram Subreddit which has all the information and links to tests you might need. When you get the basics, reading an actual book, this one or another good one by Riso and Hudson or other personality psychologists and distinguished writers on the subject, will be the way to go. Good luck!

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I’ve been disciplining my body these days more than I ever have. Namely, I’ve been following Reddit’s Starting Stretching, Bodyweight Fitness Training Routine for beginners and I finally restarted going for runs, aiming to relive the “glory days” of being able to run up to 10 kilometres, which in fact I managed to do exactly one year ago while I was in Sofia (post about me finally running 8k).

For the past few weeks, I’ve been going to the Alsos almost every day, rotating the bodyweight fitness (push-ups, pull-ups, handstands, L-sits etc) with the running. And it feels grrreat! Daphne has been helping a lot with cooking healthy and nutritious vegetarian meals with lots of protein, not that I’m shy of the stoves, but  I tend to cook the same three or four things, not experimenting unless in the mood, and with her in control we’ve been eating like vegetarian kings. It activates me and it’s bringing in some good skills to have. I don’t know if I would be doing it if I didn’t have all the free time I have now, but that’s beyond the point. Having a workout and exercise routine helps me bring some (illusion of) order to my disorganised life, and with some much appreciated visible results.

Nevertheless, what I haven’t been able to organise, discipline and harness at all– seriously, AT ALL — is my mind.

In June last year, apart from running 10k, I posted this little write-up I’m still proud of:


Trouble is, I didn’t go through with what I pledged I would do. As far as I can remember (which isn’t a lot, because, as typically happens when you regress to addictive behaviour, your memory-forming functions give way to the reptilian dopamine-releasing pleasure centres, quite conveniently, too, because you don’t really want to remember in shame the ego-shattering moments when you and your actions fail to hold up to your initial intention), ten days later I was again browsing the web, free as a bird — or, to be more precise, free as a bird enclosed in a cage made of invisible walls.

A few days ago, while I was running no less, the thought came to me: why don’t I try again with this whole less internet, less  media thing? I could use the extra time to think and create. I seriously miss creating…

The next 4 days I’m going to be in Loutra doing a media fast with Daphne: each day, we will be allowed to use the internet for just 30 minutes, and that’s just for e-mail, practicalities and Rights4Water. The rest of the time, anything with a screen will be off-limits. No movies, no games, no TV, no smartphones — I will switch mine to battery-saving “dumbphone mode”– no distractions from the interestnet. The only exception will be my Sansa Clip Zip I will be using for audiobooks, podcasts and music for when I’m doing exercise. The idea is to limit options, minimise distractions and allow for deeper thought and even boredom, which will force us to be creative instead of us automatically turning to the mind-numbing net for excitement and stimulation.

Let’s see how it goes.


Sintang, Borneo, is only populated by immigrants from Asia Minor, which happen to be aristocrats.

I was casually browsing /r/gamedeals (yeah, as if I don’t already own enough games!), inspired by the latest Humble Bundle to look for a good price for chronically expensive Crusader Kings II plus expansions, when I stumbled upon this great offer by previously unknown to me BundleStars: Victoria 1 + 2, together with all expansions and DLC, for only €4,49! Steam keys and all! I only had vanilla Vicky 2 on GamersGate, where I received the review key, so I was itching to get it on Steam somehow. I got it and spent 6 hours non-stop trying to get the Netherlands into Club Great Eight. Alas, my warmongering and trying to take advantage of a surprisingly weak Prussia alerted the bouncers.

Once upon a time, I was writing here about how excited I was that Vicky 2 was announced… “Looks like it could be the best Paradox game yet”, I wrote. Heh, it was still two years too early for Crusader Kings II and three years too early for Europa Universalis IV. Paradox Development Studio has come a long way. Proud of you Swedes. ^^J

Wow. I just realised I’ve reviewed all of these games; that’s where the links go. The reviews are in Greek though. Here’s the one for Vicky 2 also.

In that last review, four years ago, I wrote that Vicky 2 was still a little bit unpolished. Two expansions and lots of patches later, it’s still not perfect, but it’s much more playable. If you also consider all of the mods that inevitably emerged, which I can’t comment on because I haven’t tried them yet, there’s a lot of stuff to discover.

Consider this, from the description of Episode 217 of podcast Three Moves Ahead:

3MA Producer Michael Hermes and GWJ editor Erik Hanson joins Rob and Tom to talk about Victoria II: Heart of Darkness. Rob is reconsidering some of his earlier, harsher views on Victoria while Tom argues that it is a towering achievement of game design that speaks to real-world politics in a way few others have ever attempted.

Victoria 2 might be a more polished gem nowadays, but it’s still notoriously difficult to understand and play, even compared to other Paradox games. Definitely one of the most complex games out there.

But don’t worry. If you buy it at this incredible discount, and I would strongly encourage you to do so if you can see yourself remotely enjoying such a game, here are a couple of videos to help you get started. Let’s play together then and carve Europe between ourselves. }:}


A few weeks ago, while looking on Reddit for some material on how to get motivated and disciplined, I stumbled upon this comment on this submission:

TLDR; in order to make a new habit stick, just try to do it every day for 7 weeks – 49 days. The catch? You have to have a card like a calendar on which you’ll physically draw a big red X on and for each day you’ve worked on your habit.

Like this:

From this guy:
From this guy:

The above comment became such a hit (notice the 4× Reddit gold? That’s having won the internet) that it inspired a whole new subreddit, theXeffect, and even a whole new website dedicated to this idea,

As you might have realised by now, I like this sort of challenge thingies, because they help me structure my life, which in its normal state makes a random splotch of red paint on a wall look like the epitome of predictability and order.

So I decided to try it.

On May 8th I made not one, not two, but four cards. I thought it would be challenging, but entirely feasible.

3 weeks + 1 day later, this is the state of things:


The habits I thought I wanted to make permanent in myself by using these cards are:

  • Making a daily sketch;
  • Watching something in the languages I’m studying;
  • Writing something apart from morning pages every day, be it posts, poems or working on those stories I have in my head;
  • Meditating.

Some of these daily habits were more successful in their conception than others.

The state of things right now is that, as you can probably see, it’s become pretty difficult to stick to my goal. Week 1 was more ore less smooth sailing, but since then I have been finding myself more and more in situations where I just can’t focus on my tasks, be it because of oversocialising (here in Sofia it has come to the point where there’s almost never a time when we don’t have a guest staying over – which means going out with them, spending time together etc, on top of the usual EVS chaotic experience), travelling, internet distraction…

Three weeks in, as things are now, I think I can safely say that I have bitten off more than I can chew . Two of the habits are creative, one needs me to clear my head from all the day’s little nagging things (which I’ve always found very difficult, hence I’ve found meditation to be so demanding and never really stuck to it) and the other needs me to have at least a block of undistracted 45 minutes to spare every day in front of a screen. It sounds easy enough, but my life right now is so disorganised (perhaps for good) that I’m struggling to find even the structure needed to work on structuring it!

The most trouble I’ve had with creative writing, which is just too broad a term. I combined it with writing something in the languages I’m learning at the moment, which has culminated into my polyglot diaries, but this doesn’t seem to be working out right now, since it’s already been a week since I wrote anything for them. At least today’s X has already been taken care of by me writing this post.

My progress on the rest of the challenges isn’t in much better shape: watching something in a different language has been reduced to watching Battlestar Galactica with Bulgarian subtitles – I don’t have the patience to watch anything else dubbed -, after many days, it was only yesterday that I sketched anything apart from logos or plants, and my meditations have been so full of inner noise I often come out more stressed out than I was when I went in. It’s adviseable to meditate in only certain altered states: experience says that mild-to-moderate drunkenness is not one of them.

I wanted to share my progress on this because I think it’s time I did something to make these challenges a priority. What is that which is most direcly influencing the way I spend my time, how much free time I think I have, and what I do with it? What is it that is so deeply influencing my capability of finding and creating stillness, the flow of my creative juices, my focus on my EVS and my language studying – in other words, how I use my alone time?