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.

Even in silence you are loved

Just reproducing this brief tweet thread as a blog post. something you realize after sharing things on social media for a while is that the number of people who are impacted by your stuff is a lot bigger than strictly the number of people who actively engage with it (likes, replies, DMs) e.g. I had a friend randomly make a remark about a post of mine that they’d read 8 months ago, and I had no idea this person had ever seen any of my writing!...

April 12, 2022

Subjectivity as a construct

(Originally written in December 2021.) In a previous post I explored some arguments about whether we have direct access to qualia. I was trying to figure out whether there are entities within our direct experience, and whether that undermines aspects of Deutsch and Popper’s philosophy, as well as whether it has implications for which beings are conscious. After writing that post, a remark by Jake Orthwein gave me a subtle but important shift in perspective....

April 1, 2022

On receiving praise: it's not about you

There are many things that are uncomfortable about writing on the internet. You’re showing vulnerability to anonymous strangers, exposing yourself to criticism, mockery, scorn, or mere silent judgement. But there’s one part of it that you would expect to be nothing but pleasant: when people tell you that they really like your work. It took me a while to even realize that I felt uncomfortable being praised for my writing, because it still is, on the whole, a great feeling....

March 12, 2022

Solving the hard problem of consciousness with metaphysics

The idea that the hard problem can be solved with metaphysics has been gelling in my mind for quite a while now. There are three threads I’m exploring that are all landing in the same place. First, there’s Bernardo Kastrup’s work. In his theory of analytical idealism, reality is ultimately made of a single, primitive, instinctive mind, and this mind dissociates into a bunch of more complex minds (these are the individual conscious beings that we’re familiar with)....

January 12, 2022

Pausing in the midst of excitement

I recently thought of a meditation prompt that is fitting in moments of excitement, and potentially in other situations too. Sometimes when I feel really excited about good things going on in my life, it’s hard to meditate.¹ I can spend my entire 20-minute session just thinking about all the good things happening, the things I’m looking forward to doing, or the people I enjoy interacting with. While on some level it’s fine to spend 20 minutes thinking good thoughts, meditating like this is unhealthy because you’re distracted the entire time....

January 3, 2022

Questions to ask in the midst of a setback

About a month ago I experienced a setback. It was of the variety trying really hard to make outcome X happen and then not having it happen – not a huge deal, but still upsetting in the moment. I wrote down this list of thoughts and questions that helped me quite a bit. Isn’t this a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how awesome you are at taking setbacks, rolling with the punches, plodding on?...

December 29, 2021

Microscopes, vision, and nebulosity

I was playing around with a handheld microscope recently and I felt like it gave me an intuitive picture of Chapman’s nebulosity idea.¹ The first thing that became obvious is how much grainier reality is than our day-to-day experience suggests. When I write on my notebook with a pen, it feels like the edges of my pen’s ink and the shapes of the letters are pretty well-defined. But upon closer look, that’s not true:...

December 28, 2021

In praise of unconscious subroutines

There’s a certain class of bodily actions that I feel especially grateful for, and that I’ve been noticing more and more recently. I’ll call them unconscious subroutines—little functions, procedures, or actions that your brain and body carry out with next to no involvement from your conscious self. I’m not talking about totally unconscious behaviors like your heartbeat, or the defenses of your immune system, although those are cool too. I’m talking about behaviors that are sort of at the boundary of the conscious and unconscious....

December 25, 2021

Do we experience anything directly?

Observation is theory-laden One of Deutsch and Popper’s oft-quoted phrases is that ‘observation is theory laden’.¹ This is a revelatory point about the nature of science: no statement that we can utter, or observation that we can record, is a pure observation statement, completely divorced of all theory. A statement like ‘there is a table over there’ assumes a whole collection of theories about tables, spatial positioning, and existence. Even a more hard-nosed statement like ‘a copper atom weighs 63....

November 28, 2021

On whether brains are embodied

This is an outgrowth of A first pass at David Chapman’s metarationality. In Abstract Reasoning as Emergent from Concrete Activity, David Chapman quotes a summary article about the “E-approaches” in the cognitive sciences: E-approaches propose that cognition depends on embodied engagements in the world. They rethink the alternative, ‘sandwich’ view of cognition as something pure that can be logically isolated from non-neural activity. Traditionally, cognition is imagined to occur wholly within the brain....

November 13, 2021