Hi! I’m Kasra.

💻 I build product at Asana to help teams collaborate more effectively.

📝 I share about my life and thoughts at Bits of Wonder as well as this site.

🎙 I'm organizing open conversations on all kinds of personal and intellectual topics.

🧠 I also try to spend my time learning about various things including the brain, knowledge, and math.

A commitment to writing poorly

I want to become more comfortable with publishing bad writing. What is bad writing? I’m not just talking about writing that falls short of the most stringent perfectionist standards. I’ve already been publishing pieces on this blog that fall way short of that. By “bad writing” I really mean writing that’s bad. Writing with typos, sloppy word choice, meandering tangents, weak concluding sentences. The kind of writing that, upon re-reading it a month later, you cringe a little (or a lot) on the inside....

July 27, 2021

On Finding It

For most of my life I was chasing after “it”. I always thought that I’d find “it” in what I was pursuing at the time—whether it was getting into a particular college, getting a particular job or having a particular crush like me back. What is “it”? It’s hard to put into words, but “it” refers to a feeling of significance, a feeling of having finally arrived, a feeling of deeper and more complete meaning than we tend to find in the drudgery of the everyday....

July 20, 2021

Logical Impossibility

Warning: This piece is not meant to be readable. I’m just trying to explore some ideas about the foundations of math and belief. How is it that we can imagine things that are logically impossible? I’ve always been a little perturbed by this. It was strange to me that we can imagine or even believe things that are logically impossible. It makes sense to me that we can imagine things that are physically impossible....

June 22, 2021

Reject claims of ultimate ruination

When describing the trajectories of other people’s lives, we sometimes make statements that I’ll call claims of ultimate ruination. They take the form of “X ruined his life”, where X is a very specific event or experience. Whatever X was, it changed the person’s life permanently and irredeemably. Examples of X: a breakup, a professional failure, an unsettling spiritual experience, an injury. These claims are appealing in their drama and simplicity, and terrifying in their implications....

June 9, 2021

Self-concept in dreams

I sometimes have dreams where I’m checking Twitter. This is bad news for me and my social media usage, but it offers a fascinating glimpse into how flexible our brains are. My dreams look like this: I’m interacting with the Twitter web app, clicking around between notifications and mentions, struggling to follow the information coming my way. But notably, my body isn’t there. There isn’t even a monitor and keyboard through which I’m interacting with Twitter....

June 1, 2021

On believing you will fail

Here’s something I wish I realized earlier: believing you will fail does not mean you will fail. You can succeed in spite of a lack of confidence in yourself. As a teenager and young adult I struggled to develop confidence in several areas of my life, from academics to social status to romantic relationships. I was dogged by insecurities about not being smart enough, not being interesting enough, not being attractive enough....

May 28, 2021

On collections of links

I’d like to capture some feelings I have about a pattern I’ve noticed on the internet: the tendency towards curation. There are wonderful people—newsletter writers and tweeters—who serve the role of curator: who put together long collections of links and quotes from various articles and rabbit holes on the internet, with the idea that they’re saving you time by finding the very best bits of the web. Unlike most of history, we live in an age when human-generated content (everything from books to essays to videos to tweets) is wildly overabundant....

May 27, 2021

Absurdism

The word ‘absurd’ has always held a special place in my heart. ‘Absurd’ evokes the ridiculousness of everything around us—the serendipity of our mutual existence at this place and time, the immeasurable complexity of the cells and proteins that make up our bodies, the unfathomable size of our galaxy. The moments I’m in touch with this absurdity have always been the moments I felt most alive. I’d find myself in awe that anything exists at all, and that the things which do exist happen to form this particular conscious experience of ‘me’ and ‘the world’....

May 21, 2021

Problems I'm thinking about

This is a list of philosophical questions I’m currently grappling with. Truth and objectivity I tend to be a realist, i.e. I think there are objective truths about the world, whether or not we’re aware of those truths. And for a while I’ve had the view that through science, philosophy, conjecture, reason, and error-correction, we could get closer to knowing those objective truths. (Some thoughts on objectivity here.) Recently I’ve been less sure about (1) the existence of such definite, objective facts describing the world, and (2) whether error-correction actually helps us get closer to those facts....

May 20, 2021

Life as problem-solving

A key part of happiness is understanding the role and nature of problem-solving in life. We are always solving problems. A problem can be defined as a conflict between ideas. The process of solving it requires the creation (and testing) of new ideas. Here are examples of problems: how do I relieve this back pain? how do we enable knowledge workers to collaborate more effectively? how do we reduce poverty?...

May 19, 2021