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.

Facing fears in a dream

My dream this morning looked like this: I was with a group of people, we were stuck in a classroom-like place, and some authority was keeping us trapped there. We wanted to escape, but leaving the room meant entering the hall, and in the hall we could be shot. So we ran out and kept ducking into corridors and doorways to avoid being in the line of fire. I remember waiting anxiously in a doorway, figuring out what I should do, seeing friends jumping in and getting hurt....

April 18, 2021

Salon on Knowledge

I hosted a conversation yesterday about knowledge and epistemology. I opened the convo with this presentation, covering: (i) the justified-true-belief view of knowledge, (ii) Popper’s/Deutsch’s alternative framing of knowledge, and (iii) defining a few words like skepticism, rationalism, empiricism, and relativism. Consciousness and knowing One of the first things that came up was a question about consciousness and whether conscious truths are the only truths we can be “sure” about....

April 16, 2021

Things to learn: a journal post

Sometimes I dream about taking a few years away from everything and reading 40 textbooks and trying to understand how everything works. This is something I felt deeply in high school, and then lost at some point in college, and in the time after college it’s come back with overwhelming force. The thing about this curiosity is that it’s something you need to feed in order to keep it alive; you need to keep setting aside time to learn about the things that fascinate you....

March 3, 2021

measures of my wellbeing

an ongoing list. how easily I can feel wonder from looking up at the sky how much of an urge I feel to check notifications in the morning how at ease I feel going to bed whether my news feed makes me happy or anxious how often I remember that it’s not obvious that there should be a universe at all whether I spend more than an hour in the day reading how comfortable I feel with something I share getting zero reactions how fearful I am of the prospect of something going wrong how patient I am in my interactions with others how vividly I feel the love I have for my parents and brother and friends what about you?...

February 28, 2021

Meditation: Everyone in Ten Years

This is a little mental exercise that I included in my most recent newsletter. Hope you enjoy. Photo: Tomasz Frankowski on Unplash. – Think about someone you find inspiring. Take a minute to visualize their face and their presence and all the things that make them awesome. What will that person be like in ten years? You know they’ll be doing something incredible, but you have no idea what. The same applies to all the other wonderful people you know....

February 21, 2021

Homing in on Consciousness: Notes

I read this paper in late 2020 as part of my ongoing study of our neuroscientific understanding of consciousness. These are the notes I took. The full title of the paper is Homing in on consciousness in the nervous system: An action-based synthesis, by Morsella et al, and it can be accessed for free here. Thesis: passive frame theory of consciousness Passive frame theory proposes that the primary function of consciousness is well circumscribed, serving the somatic nervous system....

February 10, 2021

In Love With the World: Notes

Overall: 2/5 stars. Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a Tibetan monk who goes on a 4 year wandering retreat in his thirties. What is a wandering retreat, you ask? It’s when a monk leaves their monastery to spend several years alone, stumbling around without aim and essentially living the life of a beggar. Monks already live an ascetic lifestyle (hours of meditation a day, no central temperature control), but these retreats really take it to the next level....

February 8, 2021

If Beale Street Could Talk: Notes

Overall: 4/5 stars. If Beale Street Could Talk is a love story told from the point of view of Tish Rivers, about her life and her lover Fonny Hunt, who is wrongly imprisoned soon after Tish becomes pregnant with his child. Tish has to persevere and work together with her family and Fonny’s to do all they can to get Fonny out of prison. They have no choice but to keep their spirits and resolve in tact in the midst of an unjust system and society....

February 8, 2021

What they don't tell you when you're applying to college

If you’ve grown up in an environment that values prestige and extrinsic accomplishments, applying to college is a major milestone. It’s the culminating event for years of effort: AP exams, extracurriculars, impressing your teachers for reference letters. All for a shot at getting that coveted acceptance letter in the mail. My own experience with college applications was as stressful as you’d expect. I was surrounded by peers who were thirsting for admission to a prestigious university and who felt the pressure to succeed from all directions....

January 31, 2021

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue: Notes

Warning: includes spoilers! Overall: 4/5 stars. What would life be like if no one could remember who you are? If after every interaction, the other person’s memory of you was completely erased. This is the life of Addie LaRue. She made a deal with an evil god that gave her “freedom”, except freedom means that no one ever remembers meeting you. She’s also immortal. Also, it’s not just that people can’t remember you, but objects can’t either....

January 17, 2021