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About mwang25:

software engineer, runner, minimalist, and student of zen.

Total Cards: 251

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Profile: software engineer, runner, minimalist, and student of zen.

Total Cards: 251

Following (3): mwang25 susanw5101 synapcards

Followers (2): mwang25 synapcards

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Movies 2020

List of all the movies I saw in 2020

Published: 2020
Tags: collections
Rating: 5/5

(DVD) Pride and Prejudice (3/5): another Jane Austin book turned into movie. Felt very similar to Sense and Sensibility, but not as good.

(DVD) The Rainmaker (3/5): Matt Daemon as a young lawyer taking on giant insurance industry. Based on novel by John Grisham and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Somehow did not feel as good as Erin Brokovich.
(Streaming) Allied (4/5): WWII Brad Pitt spy thriller. In retrospect, the plot was not very surprising, but the acting and cinematography really pulled me in.

Likes: 1

Movies 2019

List of all the movies I watched in 2019

Source: mwang25
Published: 2019
Tags: collections
Rating: 5/5

(streaming) Bohemian Rhapsody: (3/5) first half was a little boring, second half and ending was better. Not able to tell what part of the movie was true and what was made up.
(DVD) Passenders: (4/5) Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt wake up early on a long starship voyage. Story was interesting and enjoyable until the last part when the writers were forced to come up with some contrived emergency action sequence. Ridiculous happy ending.
(DVD) Lego Movie 2: (3/5) Very slow and predictable start. Movie was saved by...[more]

Likes: 0

Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

A very interesting book which approaches Buddhism from a secular, evolutionary, and psychological point of view. Talks a lot about meditation, but this meditation is more like cognitive behavioral therapy where one analyzes and tries to understands one's thoughts and feelings. Main point is we are controlled by our feelings which is strongly shaped by evolution. These feelings are not applicable to the modern world, and anyways we are smarter now and can react differently to these perceived threats. When we carefully examine our feelings (through meditation), we see the real truth and free ourselves from suffering, or more precisely, unsatisfactory-ness. The final main point is that after more examination, we lose the boundary of what is myself and what is others, leading to a world wide consciousness that can lead to world peace! (Started in Aug 2019, finished April 2020).

Authors: Robert Wright
Source: book
Published: May 2018
Tags: Buddhism, philosophy, psychology
Rating: 5/5

A Note to Readers
The Buddhism in...[more]

Featured Cards:

Card: mwang25:150
Published: 11/24/2017

Different perspectives on happiness

I've been thinking a lot about happiness these days. Although I don't have the answer, these talks gave me some interesting perspectives on this topic. (Click on the title to see all the cards)

Likes: 0

Why we are unhappy -- the expectations gap

unhappiness comes from expectation gap

Authors: Nate Ware
Source: TED
Published: November 2014
Tags: TEDx Klagenfurt, happiness
Rating: 5/5

would you rather win silver or bronze? People who win bronze are happier because they got any medal, people who win silver are unhappy because they were so close to the gold. 3 sources of gaps: what we imagine it will be like vs reality. comparing to people around us. Comparing to our past (it is better to take lottery winnings as a gradually increasing amount rather than lump sum).

Likes: 0

The paradox of choice

Too many choices lead to regret and dissatisfaction, escalated expectation of outcome, blaming oneself for making the wrong choice, which leads to depression. He says this is a primary cause for increased depression in affluent/industrialized world in recent generations. People in poor countries have too few choices, so if we shift some of our wealth so we have fewer choices and they have more, everyone will become happier.

Authors: Barry Schwartz
Source: TED
Published: January 2007
Tags: TED classic, psychology, happiness
Rating: 5/5

We are innundated with choices: when should I get married, when should we have kids, should I be working at home (since we can work anytime, anywhere). Too many...[more]

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Happy Brain: How to overcome our neural predispositions to Suffering

A wandering mind creates unhappiness. Channel our mind into positive territory with thankfulness and compassion. Many other good points in the talk.

Authors: Amit Sood
Source: TED
Published: May 2015
Tags: TEDx UNI, mindfulness, happiness
Rating: 5/5

Mind is wandering 50-80% of the time (default mode). Opposite of the focused mode. Our evolution predisposes us to spot and worry about threats, causes stress. Hedonic adaptation: getting used to the goodness and focus on the bad parts. Happiness is mostly about inner state. Before getting out of the bed, think about 5 people you are thankful for. Find novelty in the people you love and already familiar with....[more]

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There's more to life than being happy

Beyond happiness, there is belonging, purpose, transcendence/flow, your own story.

Authors: Emily Esfahani Smith
Source: TED
Published: April 2017
Tags: TED classic, happiness
Rating: 4/5

The most interesting part of her talk is about how we need to create a positive story of our lives which weaves in a purpose. This allows us to achieve a higher sense of happiness. Her talk is along the lines of Martin Seligman (his excellent TED talk).