I am I, not Anyone Else

One of the recent Meduza.io[RU] articles was about the discussion around the emigrées from Ruᛋᛋia. And an interesting sociological survey was attached too.

At the moment I completed it, about 27 per cent of the sample responded that they associate themselves with the ‘Ruᛋᛋians who have left Ruᛋᛋia’.This supports the old saying: you can get one from Ruᛋᛋia easily, but it is very difficult to get Ruᛋᛋia from one.

That is why I tend to avoid the Russian immigrants in Armenia. The problem is that the adequate people - in Ruᛋᛋia or outside of it - can leave normally and peacefully. But if someone is psychically Ruᛋᛋian, then that one will bring Ruᛋᛋia everywhere one goes.

It is indeed a bad habit — to identify oneself with the people you don't know or approve of, be it a nation, race, sex or something like that. It is even not an animalistic tendency: an average ape cares only about its own group members, and outsiders are often met with no love (or even killed on the spot).

Collectivism, more precisely, altruism is a thoroughly human kind of poison. Something like a memetic mind-parasite that makes people harm themselves to supposedly benefit some imaginary whole distributed who are able to institutionally link themselves to that imaginary sacrifice target.

So I honestly don't get why people flock into communities that, instead of adapting to the new reality, try to make a bubble, a miniaturised version of the place they have left. If you leave a bad spot on the map, leave it completely, do not put an idealised copy of it on your back and don't try to build a model of it somewhere else, you fools.

If someone calls me a Ruᛋᛋian, it does not make me a Ruᛋᛋian. If someone calls me a Japanese, it does not make a Japanese. If someone calls me a Jew, it does not make me a Jew.

As for me, I am I. Period. And I honestly recommend everyone to apply this approach. It does not make you lonely. It does not make you like your friends and family less. It just makes you more coherent, and less bound by tangible links to quite imaginary entities used to control you in someone else's interest.

An Incentive to Study Armenian Faster

Having decided to get a decent Internet service, I found out that in order to get the service installed, I need to pay a half-a-year worth of the service fees as a deposit.

Of course, I will ask the landlord to take care of the issue through him, but the message is clear: I need to adapt faster.

Of course, the speed of studying the country's language does not affect the bureaucracy much, and I shall still need a couple more years lived in Armenia so to be able to apply for citizenship. However, the earlier and better I transition from the status of a guest to the one of a local, the higher start I have with this 'Life Reset' of mine. After all, I am not a seasonal bird: if I move somewhere, I move for a long time.

Certification Shenanigans

I found out that it is not easy to have a Microsoft Office Specialist exam in the ex-USSR countries. Ruᛋᛋia is obviously out of question and the nearest test centre is situated in Tbilisi, Georgia.

So, I have to figure out whether I could pass several MO-*00 exams in a shot succession, like an exam a day or something like that so not to get broke due to train tickets.

Nevertheless, the next 6 months will be spent on getting the Microsoft Office Expert badge no matter what.

flowchart LR subgraph ide01["MS Office Associate"] id01["MO-100 (Word)"] id02["MO-200 (Excel)"] id03["MO-300 (Power Point)"] end subgraph ide02["MS Office Expert"] id11["MO-201 (Excel)"] id12["MO-101 (Word)"] end ide01 --> ide02

Platform Independence Is Now a Must

The story with Reddit attempts to make their API paid, as well as the recent YouTube policy changes that prioritise corporations over the average users in terms of monetisation revenue show a quite clear picture: we can no longer trust the major platform-holders, since they seem to have firmly stepped into the maturity stage of their business model.

In short, it seems that the venture capital institutes are no longer going to put up with the losses incurred as the result of the ‘growth at all costs’ policies. And it is not just the end of the free cheese, it is a problem for those who have invested heavily in content-making on these platforms and now get a lot of trouble. They don't need to blame the ‘evil capitalist CEOs’ of those corporations, they need to blame those who has been inflating these corporations with money in hope to get a market share with the cheap money right from the printing press. It's like a demo version of a market bust, but small and relatively harmless. But as well as in case of a real market boom, the malinvesting venture funds and people behind the printing press going ‘brrrr’ are to blame.

Self-hosting is, of course, more expensive thing for an independent creator, but on the other hand, self-hosted and decentralised solutions allow for more freedom, especially in the situations when the illegal content becomes an increasingly minor sub-set of the content unwanted by the corporate platforms that are bent on their market share as the old Kashchey on his treasures.

The independent creators must understand that the party's over: all those who have not managed to grow to a certain level are going to lose more than they gain with Google, Reddit, Twitter or any other major and well-known platform.

A small lists of good replacements

Going Independent (for Now)

Having found myself outside of the confines of Russia, I started investigating different options for continuing my education. Obviously, I am no longer able to graduate from my university because I am abroad. The local options either demand a proficiency in Armenian, or are too costly to pursue at this moment in my life. All this situation, in spite of its rather morbid character, was, after all, a rather enticing starting point from which I could think outside the box.

My desire to tell stories, share ideas and collaborate with like-minded people of course implies getting a degree along the way. However, this does not mean that I cannot do all these things — as well as earning money — in some other, more tailored way.

I have tried to enroll at a university thrice, and neither of these experiences could be called productive. Going to the lessons and communicating with a lot of people simply gets me dried up by noon, and the bullshit nature of the ex-USSR education (when there are a lot of useless subjects that are showed down one's throat) kills my very ability to allocate time properly. In addition to that, the value of the higher education now and, say, 30 years ago are simply not comparable (in many cases, unfortunately, we can tell the same about its quality). So, enlisting for a university and grinding my way up for the fourth time is not the best perspective. But what then could be an alternative?

I think, I have an idea.

If I split up things that I need into three main categories, the idea becomes quite clear.

  1. Theoretical and applied knowledge can be gotten by self-study, MOOCs and paid on-line courses and seminars. I am interested in Social Sciences and especially in Sociology and Economics, and the availability of materials, as well as open data, has been improving steadily throughout the recent years. This way I can get my skills and competencies to the level I need without distraction on the mandatory distractions.
  2. Networking, should it be applied correctly, can get me published. It is obvious, that it is harder to get one's knowledge evaluated and one's works dissiminated outside the existing academic institutions. But since my ideas are not generally shared by the mainstream academics anyway, getting more familiar with think tanks and building a network of those people whom my ideas might be interesting seems to be a more reasobable way to getting published than trying things the old way.
  3. A higher market awareness, including a developed personal brand is the necesseary condition for the success, given the conditions above are met and mastered. I need to focus on story-telling and rethorics so to be able to sell my point of view to the audience.

So, for starters, I need to focus more on the MOOCs I am dealing with, and gradually earn certification in languages (Englsh, German and French). At the same time, I need to become a certified user of Microsoft Ecxel (passing the exams to become Excel Master by Microsoft classification). And the final step would be getting some certified courses in Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, which will give me the instruments for analysing data in a quantitative fashion with certainty.

After that, it all boils down to producing some interesting articles on the themes I find peculiar and trying to find a way to have them published with the help of like-minded institutions (like think tanks or research groups).

And once I have both the skills (certified by independent bodies) and connections, I can kick-start my research activity to full throtle in accordance with the public demand and my interests alike.

No one says that it will be easy, but for the next year and a half, this is the plan.

My Take on the Attention Economy

So, now I can make posts by means of e-mail. This is very convenient, since this allows to convert my Obsidian notes into blog posts with minimal editing.

It is very convenient, because it basically removes the need to open a web browser to broadcast my ideas. Which, in turn, reduces the number of times I open some web sites because of habit, not because of need.

This, in turn, allows further economy of attention, since I need it for my projects and ideas, and not for anyone else’s.

The next step would be to finalise the monitoring of the news by means of combining the RSS subscriptions and the e-mail ones: once my system gets a message, it should me marked read and put to a folder, so then I can either skim through the list at will, or search for certain topics whenever I see fit.

This may look rather old-fashioned to some of my readers, but in the long run, attention is the resource I need for myself, and I am rather tired of it being depleted by the various players on the attention economy market.

The next stage, however, will be the most difficult: I will have to establish a schedule of communication with the real people around me, so I keep them posted on myself, keep myself posted on them, and all that without bullshit small talk or other pseudo-social bullshitry.

I think I shall share the exact methods and results upon completing and testing the system.

Moving Forward Despite the Problems (and some Plans)

I have finally managed to put an end to manual note-writing due to its non-connectedness, slowness and problems with comprehension. This was quite a difficult process because I have got very used to jotting notes by hand since 2010.

So, it is time to double down on my research and optimise multiple other practices so to catch up with the time lost in depression, speaking of which…

Life in Russia seems to have much to do with my depression: this feeling of helplessness against the violent idiocy of the Russian life, where almost no one is allowed to act on one's own accord, and must comply to the party line.

From my handwritten diaries.

So, by the 1st September, 2023 I am going to leave Russia for good. So to achieve that, I need to:

  • Sell the belongings that can be sold;
  • Make sure I leave nothing of importance behind;
  • Find a university to enter to finish my Bachelor's degree.

Hopefully, I leave Russia before the crackdown on the Internet takes place.