Happy Saturday! I’m really happy to have you here.
I’m hoping to use Generally Speaking as a place to share original thoughts, questions, news, and some personal updates. I want to ask questions and hopefully spark interesting conversations!
The format will vary - today I want to talk about randonauting and existentialism. It’s a quick, 3 minute read.
I would love to hear any random thoughts or feedback you have! Reply!
intro to randonauting
In June, my friends and I got into this thing called Randonauting, which I think got popular originally through a series of TikTok. Here’s how it works.
If the world is deterministic (there is no free will), most of what we do in life is largely predictable and there is a clear path set forward for us, right? What Randonauting offers is a way out of your set path, by giving you (almost) completely random locations to visit. By adding a factor of randomness to your life, you are 1. exploring new, interesting places and 2. fundamentally altering your life through a domino effect - you're presenting yourself to new stimulus, going somewhere new, and altering every decision you make moving forward.
Now, that's how I understand Randonauting. There's a lot of "science" around it, but I've kind of interpreted it as I prefer, to be honest. It’s just more fun.
An additional layer added by Randonauts is the option to set an intention before getting a coordinate. What you can do is ask the universe for something specific, like unity, your future, something scary, or the number 12.
Now this is where hyper-logical folks (me) tend to go "oh but isn't that just confirmation bias, blah blah.." Yeah it is. But also it's just fun to explore the world and your mind!
I've been thinking about it almost like a geographical tarot reading, astrology, or palm reading. You might not get anything that interesting or accurate, but it's just fun to explore.
my randonauting adventures
I started this with a few friends a month or so ago. We decided to ask the Randonautica app for two points, our intention being "the future" (we all just graduated and are desperate for guidance).
The point we got was in a park behind a house, in a neighborhood we sort of knew. We tried seeing the point from the front of the house to no avail. Instead, we decided to explore it from the park behind it, which is a huge forest with a single trail.
At one point, the weirdly steep trail turned a sharp left. But our destination was straight ahead. Somehow, there was a small hidden path where we needed to go. We marched on. Eventually we lost the trail. We went down a hill, up a steeper one, and then we were moderately trespassing.
One of my friends kept going and ended up on someone's driveway. They came out on their lawn & saw her, so she had to go find a different path to meet back up with us - a mildly spooky moment. There was no huge sign for us, other than maybe the future was not going to be as straight forward as we thought.
After that, we headed to our second point, which happened to be a Buddhist temple and community. Monks were chilling in front of their homes as we walked to the temple, hoping to go inside and explore. Unfortunately, we were shooed away. But as a fan of meditation, this was a cool sign - maybe I should re-focus on my practice. While less exciting, the second point was still fun! I had no idea this place existed.
A few days later, my girlfriend was about to head home to LA and I knew I'd be at home with no clear plans for a couple months at least. I turned to Randonautica to give me an answer - what next? The question has become a recurring theme in my life and I thought maybe this could be the time I figure it out. [Narrator: it wasn't.]
On my drive back to the airport, in a part of the Seattle area I'm less familiar with, I asked for a point and headed over. On my way, I saw a "Lovers" store - maybe the universe was telling me to focus on my relationship. An indoor skydiving place - maybe the universe was telling me to take more risks. A shelter - maybe I should focus on helping others.
I got to my point, between two houses in a very normal, average neighborhood. Being unfamiliar with the area, I didn't feel comfortable walking around, so I just slowly drove by once. I didn't see anything that I caught my eye at first. I drove slowly again, and saw literally nothing of interest. I headed home.
The existentialist in me began to chuckle. The universe had done it again. There was nothing. This random coordinate generator was never going to tell me what to do with my life.
Yet again, I had looked for SOMETHING to tell me what to do, how to live, what my purpose should be. And once again, I was reminded that only I could figure that out for myself.
I recommend randonauting, but remember - you still have to create your own meaning. There are no shortcuts.
For if indeed existence precedes essence, one will never be able to explain one’s action by reference to a given and specific human nature; in other words, there is no determinism – man is free, man is freedom. [...] We are left alone, without excuse. That is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does.
- Jean-Paul Sartre
Have a great week-end!