Recent comments

That's what I was hoping ;)

Nick Gall 2024-02-23

Commenting on: Hope

Glad to hear that you’re only condemning eternalist hope. I wasn’t sure whether your condemnation of hope was as broad as Pema Chodron’s: https://thedewdrop.org/2019/08/26/letting-go-of-hope-pema-chodron/

However, contextualizing hope on this page as not being an emotion still seems somewhat in conflict with the contextualization that ‘hope and fear are basically the same thing’, since fear is arguably a paradigm the concept of emotion. But since the page is only a placeholder, it may not be worth revising to clarify.

An eternalist ploy, not an emotion

David Chapman 2024-02-23

Commenting on: Hope

Hope, in the sense of this unwritten page, is not an emotion. It is an eternalist ploy. Since it is unwritten, nuances are missing.

Why does hope seem to be called out as especially bad?

Nick Gall 2024-02-22

Commenting on: Hope

Hi David,

Given that I am planning to position the philosophy I’m developing as a philosophy of hope, I’m trying to square the harsh criticism that hope comes in for with the relatively benign acceptance of all other emotions.

Hope:
‘Hope causes emotional stunting and childishness. It is inimical to emotional growth.’
‘I’d say that hope is never actually useful. Whatever is going to happen in the future isn’t affected by the emotions you have about it (only by what you do). Hope just creates stress, because hope and fear are basically the same thing.’

Ouch!

Other emotions (see https://vividness.live/your-self-is-not-a-spiritual-obstacle ):
‘Desire, anger, and ignorance—the Buddhist kleshas—are just fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They can be unpleasant to experience—but they can also be fun. Life’s mixed like that; it doesn’t make emotions evil.

To make the point that no emotion is wrong, tantra has greedy Buddhas, angry Buddhas, horny Buddhas, paranoid Buddhas, and idiotic Buddhas. (These are the “Five Buddha Families.”)’

If there can be angry and greedy Buddhas, why can’t there be hopeful Buddhas, since hope seems more benign and positive than anger and greed? Why can’t hope be fun? IME hope can reduce stress and can inspire noble acts. I agree that hope doesn’t affect the future, but it arguably affects someone’s motivation to pursue a particular future. I find it difficult to believe that hope is more useless than anger, greed, fear, or hatred. If “no emotion is wrong” (and “absolutely nothing [is] wrong with them”), how can hope, which is apparently just the the flip side of the emotion of fear, apparently be so deeply wrong and bad (“inimical to emotional growth”)?

I’ve noticed that even though Buddhism seems down on hope, IMO it seems to hide hope under other labels, especially “aspiration” and “resolution”. It seems a bit hair splitting to valorize the latter two while demonizing the former. For example, what’s the difference between resolute hope and resolution?

I’m not advocating for hope in the eternal, I’m again that as well. But I do think “highest hopes” whose goals are long term (but within this lifetime) and transformative can be inspiring and motivating. So I’m trying to understand where this very negative characterization of (the emotion of ) hope is coming from.

less obviously appealing

David Chapman 2024-02-15

Commenting on: Adopting, committing, accomplishing, wavering, appropriating

Thank you! I have made the change you suggested.

The emotional register of the complete stance

Nick Gall 2024-02-14

Commenting on: Adopting, committing, accomplishing, wavering, appropriating

(a) ‘The complete stances are subtle and emotionally unsatisfactory.’

This seems to be somewhat in tension with
(b) ‘The complete stance does offer emotional goods, but they are less obviously appealing. More like healthy vegetables than eternalist candy or nihilist Everclear.’
https://meaningness.com/complete-stance-obstacles

Perhaps changing “unsatisfactory” with “less obviously appealing” and linking to the page with (b) would clarify things? Or perhaps I’ve misunderstood the relationship between the complete stance and the complete stances.

A Brief History of Everything

David Chapman 2024-02-10

Commenting on: Subcultures: the diversity of meaning

I also recommend A Brief History of Everything. It’s a reasonably thin volume and I found it fairly easy and fun to read.

Thanks! Yes, I also read it, for those reasons :)

Ignorant, irrelevant, and inscrutable

David Chapman 2024-02-10

Commenting on: Pattern and Nebulosity: Deconstructing Yourself podcast

The post was “Ignorant, irrelevant, and inscrutable.” I’m not entirely happy with the ways I said what I did there, although I still agree with the general message. It was responding to particular conversations at the tim.

Ken Wilber’s Boomeritis

Danyl Strype 2024-02-09

Commenting on: Subcultures: the diversity of meaning

Speaking of Ken Wilber, I also recommend A Brief History of Everything. It’s a reasonably thin volume and I found it fairly easy and fun to read. I was loaned a copy at a time when I was trying to reconcile the undergrad science studies I was doing at the time, with the vaguely post-rationalist perspective I’d wandered into in my late teens.

I was looking for a way to rebut materialist scientism, without jettisoning the idea of a shared, objective world, as so many of my New Age friends had done. But I’d already spent a few years playing around with metaphysics and existentialism and found it lacking, for roughly the reasons David describes in Meaningness.

Wilber’s description of everything as a “holon”, with surfaces that can be measured and depths that must be interpreted, was very helpful for this. His book also contributed to my thinking when I wrote a conference paper while working with CreativeCommons Aotearo/NZ, on their proposal to create a new CC license for protecting indigenous cultural knowledge. Particularly his concept of the Big Three (science, art, and ethics) need to be differentiated and then integrated, and the idea of every holon having an individual and a collective aspect as well as exterior and interior. At some point I want to revise and republish the paper, but there is a copy archived here;

https://web.archive.org/web/20170409134653/https://www.coactivate.org/people/strypey/paper-for-nciel-2010/

Call of Cthulhu

SusanC 2024-02-08

Commenting on: The collapse of rational certainty

I feel like a character in the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game…

“Hey, I could do a bit where I pretend Cartan’s classification of Lie algebras has something to do with the classification of finite simple groups!”

[reads book, looses SAN points]

“Hey, the dimensionality of the Leech lattice just happens to be the same as that of the transverse oscillations of the string in string theory. No connection of course, that would be totally ridiculous. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeta_function_regularization has nothing to do with Lie algebras, surely. But I could do a bit here.”

[reads another book, looses more SAN points]

String Theory

SusanC 2024-02-08

Commenting on: The collapse of rational certainty

I merely offer E8 * E8 heterotic string theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterotic_string_theory) as an example of how an initially rational inquiry can leave you feeling like you agreed to spend the night in a haunted house to win a bet, and are now regretting the decision (cf. The House on Haunted Hill, dir. William Malone, 1999).

Fortunately, not my problem

David Chapman 2024-02-07

Commenting on: The collapse of rational certainty

I am so glad not to have to think about string theory :)

String theory, 25 dimensions

SusanC 2024-02-07

Commenting on: The collapse of rational certainty

(The above was very loose and off the cuff .. IIRC, string theory is in 25 dimensions + time, because one of the spatial dimensions is along the string, leaving you with 24 dimensions orthogonal to the string for E8 Lie Algebra/Monster Group/Riemann Zeta function craziness.

The anthropic principle is something like, the constants of physics do enable life to be possible, because otherwise we would not be here to be arguing about it, even if this would seem a piori unlikely.

I am getting a sense of a different principle, along the lines that the stupidest answer often turns out to be the correct one.

Like, suppose that the Creator of the Universe could pick anything from the Atlas of Finite Simple Groups when designing the laws of physics. But which one did they pick? Go on, guess…

Lie Algebras

SusanC 2024-02-07

Commenting on: The collapse of rational certainty

I have just, suddenly, had one of those moments where mathematics seems bizarre and crazy rather than logical and rational.

It all started when out dear St Dr Rev made a joke about the classification of Lie agebras.

Now, to be clear, I know nothing about Lie algebras other than (a) they were invented by some Norwegian guy called Sophus Lie; and (b) the mention of Lie algebras marked the exact point where I decided to bail on the General Relative course in undergrad. I am sure Ruth Gregory meant well, but I am out of here.

Anyway, as someone who knows zero about Lie algebra other than the above, I read Rev saying you of course want a classification of all such algebraic objects that are in some sense simple.

Me, who knows nothing, thinks: and then you discover some stupidly complicated example, which is then conjectured to be related to the Monster Group from group theory. To be clear, this was a joke.

I then look it up … ok, so you take the 8 dimensional E8 lattice you got from the classification of Lie groups, take triples when each element of the triple is from the E8 lattice, apply a further constraint to get a 3*8=24 dimensional sphere packing known as the Leech lattice, ask yourself what the automorphism group of this lattice is, and you get the Conway group…

ok, so stupid joke is in fact true.

But wait .. some versions of string theory are in 24 dimensional spacee. But .. but .. this would not initially appear to have anything to do with the E8 Lie algebra or sporadic groups. It just comes from the Riemman Zeta function. So, you assume there is some kind of high energy cutoff on excited states, because otherwise your equation would have infinity on both sides and that would suck (renomalisation). Maybe the exact value and shape of the cutoff doesn’t matter .. in which case we can imagine it looks like the Zeta function, just to make the math easier, which gives us a factor of 12, which we are subsequently going to finesse away by postulation that our theory of quantum mechanical, special relativistic elastic bands takes place in 24 dimensional space. No E8, at least not yet.

yeah, ok, so I have some dim memory of the Monstrous Moonshine conjecture being proved by Borcherds (never having dared look at the proof). Bur the Riemann Zeta function? Come on, this is just unreasonable.

Which blog post was sort of an apology?

Nick Gall 2024-02-04

Commenting on: Pattern and Nebulosity: Deconstructing Yourself podcast

I just listened to this podcast and found it very illuminating. In the section you label “The dangers of self-diagnosing your Kegan stage”, at 1:06:30 you said:
“My most recent blog post actually is sort of an apology really on behalf of myself but also metarationality in general for a kind of snooty, sneery attitude that we call fall into. If we’re going to be helpful, we need to clear the path to metarationality and support people along the way rather than engaging in some kind of one-upmanship and making the path unnecessarily difficult.”

As you and Michael agree, this can be a real problem for anyone offering an -ism. I’m very curious about how you addressed the issue in the blog post you mention. I searched for such a blog post but came up empty. Do you recall which blog post it was?

Thanks

David Chapman 2024-01-23

Commenting on: Fundamentalism is countercultural modernism

Thanks, all interesting.

I have corrected the grammatical issue; thanks for pointing it out!

Situation, pacifist warfare and a possible typo

Danyl Strype 2024-01-22

Commenting on: Fundamentalism is countercultural modernism

In Buddhism, too, where every generation explained what the scriptures “really meant,” and it meant something different each time

If we can replace “really meant” with “means for us in our situation”, that strips the unavoidable interpretive work of its universalism and eternalism. I’ve mentioned the situationists in other comments on you work, and I suspect this is why they coined that name for their theory and practice. I could have said, it was what they “really meant”, but that would be situationism, not a situationist interpretation ; )

So I hope something can emerge that gives a constructive framework for these kind of violent impulses, especially for young guys.

Some would argue this is what contact sports are good for. The novel The Gate to Women’s Country is about a matriarchal society that comes up with its own solution to this problem.

In Aotearoa there is a network of “funists” - including partisans of ALF’s imperial Army and the Clan McGillicuddy - who proposed a practice of “pacifist warfare” to fill this gap. Since the late 70s they’ve experimented with this by staging “battles”, a kind of improvised street theatre where groups would take sides in a fictional conflict, “fighting” with paper swords and flour bombs.

Sadly, although this is great fun in its own right (I’ve been in a number of such “battles”), it hasn’t really filled the gap. More aggressive forms of medieval reenactment, involving fighting with actual weapons made from rattan or even blunt metal, might. But some of these seem to have become recruitment grounds for fundamentalists, in the same way as some video game and other fandoms. Not sure what the solution is for any of this.

FYI I think your text has a missing comma been “sex” and “violence”, distorting your intended meaning in the phrase;

sex violence and nasty noises in music

Situationists vs. "situationism"

Danyl Strype 2024-01-20

Commenting on: Vaster than ideology

Then you might try to reject all ideologies. That seems to be impossible, and also loses what is good and right in each.

It is better to retain systems’ insights, as ways of working with meaning, while letting go of their underlying eternalism

This is a point you’ve made many times. But did you know there was a whole political movement - the situationists - who were making it in the 1960s? They refused to describe their body of theory as “situationism”, in an attempt to avoid their anti-eternalist critique being distorted into yet another eternalism (an “ideology”, as they used the term).

There’s a 1975 pamphlet called Revolutionary Self-Theory that offers a good intro to their ideas;

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/larry-law-revolutionary-self-theory

Anarchism and stages

David Chapman 2024-01-19

Commenting on: Tribal, systematic, and fluid political understanding

Thanks, Danyl, that is all interesting and makes sense!

Anarchist understanding evolves with the anarchist

Danyl Strype 2024-01-18

Commenting on: Tribal, systematic, and fluid political understanding

David, you say;

Systematic, “rational” reasoning about political structures usually ends up in a simplistic, totalizing vision that is logically elegant but ignores obvious practicalities, and which would be a disaster if implemented. Communism, anarchism, and idealized laissez-faire capitalism are typical examples.

Then later, you give what I consider an excellent description of how an anarchist sees society;

Stage 5 sees society as an assemblage of transient, contingent systems, which have relative functional value but no ultimate justification. It sees conflicts between groups with different interests as inevitable, and ultimately as non-problematic, even if sometimes harmful in the short run.

Which gets me to thinking; as each anarchist progresses though each of Kegan’s stages, our interpretation of what anarchism is and what it requires of us changes. This matches my experience over about 30 years of arguing with other anarchists, both in person and online.

Stage 3 anarchism takes forms like anarcho-punk and antifa. Other anarchists are our tribe, who can be recognised by the symbols and slogans on the patches and t-shirts we wear, the zines and pamhplets we distribute, and in the lyrics in the agit-prop music we listen to. The correct political line is whatever keeps us in harmony with the majority of the tribe.

Stage 4 anarchism looks more like anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism or platformism. It posits that there is an ideal, stateless, marketless form of society, that can only be discovered by the “self-activity of the working class”, not designed in advance. So it rejects Marxist mass parties.

Yet paradoxically, it also believes that large-scale coordinating structures are necessary to protect “self-activity of the working class”, or however they describe the spontaneous development of the ideal social structure. So they expend huge amounts of energy trying to build huge systems - federations or industrial unions - that have essentially the same purpose and facilitate the same kinds of activities as Marxist parties.

A stage 5 anarchist, in theory, would understand that people will spend time in each of these stages. They would find ways to work constructively with anarchists at earlier stages, at least some of which support transitions between stages. Not all of what they say or do would make any sense to stage 3 or 4 anarchists, to whom it would seem like either a lack of loyalty to The Movement(TM) or The Cause (TM); stage 3, or a dangerously incoherent pluralism; stage 4.

In this respect, anarchism is like what you say about Buddhism. It’s inherited traditions often have more to do with the stage of cognitive development its practitioners are at, than the insights and techniques its more advanced practitioners are trying to propagate.

A note on lorazepam for treating catatonia

Jackson 2024-01-11

Commenting on: What is it like to be a nihilist?

I’m a licensed clinical therapist, and I worked as a clinical manager at a hospital for a while. Lorazepam is absolutely effective as an urgent, short-term treatment for catatonia. Once catatonia is lifted, one is often treated with antipsychotic medication (since catatonia is largely seen in patients with schizophrenia). I did not personally witness patients admitted for catatonia associated with depression without psychosis. Excited catatonia often followed true catatonia during the treatment episode, usually as the lorazepam started really working.

My only contention with your description of the treatment is that it need not be intravenous. It is more often administered via intramuscular injection. Needles are involved either way, of course, but this difference is quite relevant in inpatient treatment settings.

Financialization of everything

Sami 2023-12-27

Commenting on: Atomization: the kaleidoscope of meaning

Let’s assume totally consistent systems are possible. What are the choices that have to made on all levels in order to create and support such systems that value health of everything and everyone including nature and the planet over all else (a completely and utterly transparent totalitarian system that is governed by such logic).

Instead of totally consistent systems we have instead chosen to create systems of financial personal chaos, and corporate stability, covered up with rhetoric in order to enrich shareholders, or parasitic nation states that use capital for personal gain (and a small amount of capital at that). The logos is and was always meant to be such a consistent system.

But in human hubris and financial capitalism where you are working for invisible shareholders who are allocating capital to control the system in favor of their personal arbitrary agenda with a consistent lack of any sort of morality or any oversight and judgement of their morality over them.

Gangnam style is calling out posers of a certain place who emulate higher classes at a cost to themselves and their financial well-being and health.

Everything is fixed by an external principle which is the health and the survival of the planet and the living things on it for as long as possible. Financialism is not a good system of governance over the planet. It’s fine if all financial aspects of things are done in outer space, in space where there is no life, that the products of such systems be scrutinized for their effects on the nature, planet, and society before importing them into the earth’s atmosphere. That all social and economic externalities are internalized yielding a system with absolutely no growth, no profit, and slowly tested and marshalled changed. That systems are created to reduce only and only the financial suffering of the organisms living inside of them rather than increase it to increase the amount of debt slaves that can be mined for capital.

possible name for the sociopaths

Daniel McQueen 2023-12-22

Commenting on: Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution

Thanks for this article. It made my experience make much more sense. You put some words to it and it also makes sense why I am so protective of my community. I think sociopath is apt, even in the clinical sense, for the extreme cases. Maybe “Grifter” would be a good word for them too…

I have a psychedelic therapy training program and we assess for this sort of thing as well as we can before we accept folks into our program. They can be so damaging. I appreciate what you said about becoming more like them as a defense mechanism… Jung called shadow work (owning all your parts) an Inoculation against evil. It helps to have choice through being able to discern what is happening and not be naive.

Ufo light?

Tricia 2023-12-14

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

someone up above commented on UFO lights. my ceiling in my living room is quite low (8 feet, i was surprised to find out). I have no overhead lighting in the main part of the room. for the kitchen/office area i got two FEIT bulbs that are super bright. but it just serves to make the rest of the room very dark. Would a ufo light be too much? Or is there a better way. the main living area is about 15 x 12.

Dragonlights

Duncan Winters 2023-12-14

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

I’ve bought many Dragonlights bulbs but they are not providing what the seller is saying. The 100w versions are using 65watt and the 50watt versions are using 28watt. So that is 35% to over 40% less bright than advertised :(

Diffuser follow-up

Brian 2023-12-08

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

Thanks for the thoughts. I placed my 230W corn light on top of a tall bookcase in my office and that’s made things a lot better. There’s still a very bright spot off in the upper corner of my vision that I feel like I can’t look towards, but it’s much less of a nuisance than when the light is lower down. It’s kind of like having a mini-sun hanging low on the horizon. I felt a subtle dull ache in my eyes the first couple of days of using this light, but had it on again this morning with no discomfort.

I might still consider setting up a diffuser, but it’s less of a priority now. Some surface research on youtube suggests that cheap materials like a bed sheet or shower curtain would work just about as well as more professional grade materials at a substantial discount. If I do try this, I’ll just erect a rectangular sheet of the material across the top of the bookcase rather than my more complicated initial idea of wrapping diffuser material around a clear cylinder. That would be sufficient to block the light from direct view and there’s enough space and open air up there that heat ventilation shouldn’t be a problem.

Pendant light cord

i_am_lamp 2023-12-06

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

FYI, there’s also this pendant light cord version of the lamp base, which would be more convenient for most people: https://www.amazon.com/AdiyZ-Pendant-Light-Cord-Chandelier/dp/B0C69JPY5S?ref_=ast_sto_dp&th=1

Diffuser

David Chapman 2023-12-06

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

Hi, glad it’s working for you (except for the glare).

I don’t have any experience with diffusion materials. Maybe someone else reading this does, and can help?

I guess the questions would be (1) how much of the light does it block, vs diffuse? and (2) will it stand the heat?

FWIW, seems like wrapping it around the outside of the tube would be better. It says it’s heat-resistant, but not how much; the outside would be cooler.

If you can arrange the tube so there’s an air gap at the bottom, you’d get a nice chimney effect, and probably it wouldn’t get hot much at all.

All that said, my experience (and apparently that of many others) is that if you get the light up near the ceiling, it doesn’t seem glare-y. Is there a high shelf you could put it on? Or else maybe you could get a tall compact corner shelving unit and put it at the top of that.

(Also, yes, you definitely don’t want to look directly at it, even briefly. Not dangerous, unless maybe you stare for long periods, but quite unpleasant!)

Any further thoughts on light diffusers?

Brian 2023-12-06

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

I tried out the basic 230W corn light setup in my small office and it’s great! I’m already feeling a difference; thanks for all the info here.

However, I do find the glare to be pretty intense. I have to place it in a spot on the floor where I can’t see it directly from my desk, and also have to be careful not to glance over when I get up. You mentioned the possibility of setting up a light diffuser in your post but didn’t go into much detail, and there didn’t seem to be much discussion in the comments either. Any thoughts on best practices?

I was thinking e.g. getting a light diffuser sheet like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Diffusion-15-7x19-6inches-Lighting-Diffuser-Photography/dp/B08PTCGTX9

and lining the inside of a plastic or glass tube with, and placing the lamp inside the tube. I’d try to find a tube with a generous width and an open top to allow heat from the 230W lamp to escape.

I suppose my main concerns are (1) that it’s safe, (2) that it would be effective at reducing the glare, (3) that it wouldn’t be so effective that it would significantly reduce the benefits of the strong lighting. The above is my first stab at a way of trying to do that, but it’d be nice to have some informed opinions on whether that’s a good approach or not, or if there are better ways to do it.

UK/EU suppliers

Andrew 2023-12-06

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

If anybody has had any luck finding 100W rated lamp bases in the UK or the EU… corn lights I can find a plenty but bases to fit them into… drawing a total blank.

thanks for your post

Tricia 2023-12-03

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

What ufo light did you get?

This post changed my life (and a few of my friends' lives, too)

vgm 2023-12-03

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

This post changed my life! One January, about six years ago, I simply couldn’t function in my west-facing room. I just felt nauseous. I ended up driving fifteen minutes every morning to sit on an east-facing park bench for an hour or two. (It occurs to me now that, before then, my habit for years had been to sit on an east-facing stairwell for an hour or two.)

Then I came across your site and bought a corn bulb and problem solved!

Last July, I was in a dark apartment and after a week, didn’t have enough executive function to figure out how to un-stuck myself.

Then I bought a UFO light and problem solved!

I’ve recommended this solution to a few people and their response has been very gratifying.

I’ve since found that, in addition to a sufficiently bright light, going for a walk first thing in the morning, even for a few minutes, really helps me. The later I wake, the more I viscerally crave being outdoors. Also, if I don’t go for a walk when the sun is low in the sky, I feel a little disregulated come sleep time.

Finally, I find my heart rate nadir is very consistently 2:00 - 2:30 AM. I wonder if the timing (mean and variance) could serve as a useful proxy for individual differences in sensitivity. Then again, the interventions here are so cheap that this might be more interesting than useful.

a tiny intuition to add to the 2nd footnote

Malcolm Ocean 2023-11-24

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

I would add to the footnote about Kelvin a remark about how you can think of it intuitively via noticing how it’s the same as how embers glow red but when you really get a fire going it becomes both hotter and puts off a much whiter light.

what gets taken for granted

Mike Jones 2023-11-24

Commenting on: Spam from God

You also take the hegemony of English for granted. When are you going to learn Esperanto?

Not exactly

Marko 2023-11-23

Commenting on: YOU NEED MORE LUX

Well, though I said that, I actually do like the idea for the health benefits during a dreary winter. Today I have my ceiling light on, and I am expecting to get the corn bulb stuff set up tomorrow because I have ordered it. I am not sure about if I will stick with it though, because I have already tried a really crappy method: buying a $5 plant-grow bulb from the hardware store and putting it in a desk lamp. It does work, but I have experienced problems like losing the veracity of reality at work. Like, I process something a certain way, and then see that it was wrong later. That got better once I stopped, but on the other hand being in a dim room or the dark ends up making me feel totally listless, so I’m trying the corn bulbs.

Up from 22 watts

David Chapman 2023-11-23

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

I have my lights on torchieres on either end of my desk so they are just barely in the top corners of my peripheral vision.

That sounds very good!

“100,000 lumen for a small office”

Actually, I said 100,000 for a medium-sized room. I think the two 240s might well be enough for me in a small office. Note also that we don’t (yet) have a good sense of how variable people’s light needs are; so what’s good for me might be overkill for you, or insufficient.

the sun has about 10,000 lumens per square foot, which is insane

Yes, this can’t be right. Setting aside the actual number, the units are wrong.

Your point about monitor brightness is a good one. That’s usually measured in “nits,” or candelas/m^2, which are the same thing. I looked yours up, and it’s 350 nits. Mine is 375. With all the lights turned on, it’s fully readable and not a problem, but it does look somewhat washed-out, and I’m wishing for a brighter one. It will be a criterion when I buy my next one. Generally it seems brighter ones are more expensive, but not always enormously so.

240W dragonlights

Chris 2023-11-23

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

Thanks for the recommendation! I initially didn’t want to spend $200 on the lights, so I opted for a cheaper pair that was $100 for a pair of 200 watt bulbs. Once I turned them on it was game over, though. I ordered a pair of those dragon lights, and I’m excited to see how they do! I’ll post again once I get them to give you my impression. Thanks for writing all this up, I’ve been pretty annoyed at the misleading marketing of SAD lights for a while.

In case you were curious, I am lighting a small office of around 120 square feet. I have my lights on torchieres on either end of my desk so they are just barely in the top corners of my peripheral vision. I’m not sure I’ll go beyond two, but we’ll see. I’m already going from 56,000 lumens to 74,800 lumens by upgrading to the 240 watt dragon lights.

Another thing I was curious about is if you have done any normalization of your desired “100,000 lumen for a small office” down to “lumens per square foot”. A cursory google search says the sun has about 10,000 lumens per square foot, which is insane - that would mean I would need 1,200,000 lumens in my office to emulate the sun. That’s 37 dragon lights in my 10’x12’ office, clocking in at 8,880 watts!! Compare that to what I’m going to be putting in my office which is 74,800 lumens, which is about 6% as much light as I would get if I just didn’t have a roof.

This is coming from having a single 4 watt bulb in my ceiling fan, combined with three 6 watt bulbs in a 3-bulb lamp post. I think I was getting around 2200 lumens before discovering high-watt LED bulbs.

All that to say that perhaps our desire to see indoor lighting increased by a factor of 10 (or more) is not actually crazy given the exponential range our eyes are built to see in, not to mention the neural circuitry inextricably linked to existing in spaces with lots of light.

And to continue rambling, if you are considering doing something similar to all the fine folks on this page, I would highly recommend considering your monitor’s peak brightness. I have an Aorus FI32U, which has a fairly high peak brightness, and I have to turn it all the way up just to be able to use it when these lights are on. You will want to make sure that you will still be able to actually work in the space after you light it up if this is for an office.

Silent corn bulbs

David Chapman 2023-11-23

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

Oh, great, I’m glad they work for you!

I didn’t know they still made noisy corn bulbs! The first ones I bought, in 2015, are noisy, but all the subsequent ones have been silent.

I’d recommend the 240W DragonLight ones, which are passively cooled (no fan), yet don’t get very hot (the aluminum housing acts as a heat sink, and the whole thing is flow-through for chimney effect). I’ve had three of them, and they’ve been reliable.

Loud 200 watt corn bulb alternatives

Chris 2023-11-23

Commenting on: Seriously bright light vs. winter blahs

So I bit the bullet and purchased a couple torchieres and a pair of 200 watt corn bulbs on amazon. They arrived and work exactly as i want them to. I don’t think I can go back at this point. However they are quite loud with their active cooling fan. At this point I’d be willing to pay a premium to get quieter light… what are your suggestions?

Liking a dim ambient light

David Chapman 2023-11-23

Commenting on: YOU NEED MORE LUX

Yup! As a footnote in the post said, this is also common. Bright light supplementation is definitely not for everyone, and apparently not for you.

Answer to Questions

Marko 2023-11-23

Commenting on: YOU NEED MORE LUX

“What happens for you when it’s been a few overcast winter days in a row, and then suddenly the sun comes out early one afternoon? “

It doesn’t make a difference to me.

“In winter, do you turn on all the lights, even when you don’t need them to see what you are doing? And maybe housemates wonder why? And maybe you secretly wish there were a few more lights you could put on?”

No. Actually, I like a dim ambient light in my room.

“Do you try to fly somewhere sunny for as much winter vacation as you can get, every year? When you first step outside at your destination, do you feel an immediate sense of enjoyment and relief?”

I don’t actually try to fly to somewhere sunny, but when I do get a break, it does feel really good.