divine carrot

(some writing without hesitation or editing. possibly with repetition and deviation.)

The classic reinforcement technique is carrot and stick.

Pure stick tends to breed resentment and laziness. Pure carrot breeds similarly, since you’re not doing anything.

There’s a divine carrot too: doing things because they are sacred to you. They are worthwhile.

Go work in the desert and at night, dance around on drugs and feel sacred things.

Pull your actions into the world. All of the world, including the strange bits of experience that spark curiosity.

Enough of that and the stick can fade. Genuine curiosity can take its place. Even if each moment does not spark that curiosity, a genuine desire to see the end point because you’ve never seen it before can.

Over a long enough timeline, even punishments lose their sting as long as they can be survived.

Rewards lose their luster as one acclimates.

Overdoing the desert strategy isn’t much better, since it pulls the unusual too far into ordinary experience, and diminishes the sense of awe that drives one in the first place.

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