Just some stuff I want to get off my chest. I think I’m in a mental place now where I can expand on them on reader request, but I’m not sure.
1. Maybe I should start committing thoughtcrime without a pseudonym.
I was actually considering this for a couple of days, when the cognitive dissonance was really building up. I write to stay sane (see below), and I’ve been going quite insane by neglecting this blog. So figured I to myself, “I can’t fall any further in the world. What’s the harm in letting my freak flag fly from the bottom of the ladder?” (Admittedly, I’m at the bottom in a 1st-world superpower, which aside from persistent virginity isn’t so bad.)
Having finally verbalized this argument, I was able to answer it in the obvious practical way. And a little self-censorship is part of healthy development, and encouraged in Christianity. Maybe it’s good in general that “someone” wonders about the comorbidity of sexual fetishes and race, but it’s not good Aeoli Pera that “Aeoli Pera” wonders about that. Pera’s a freak.
So I wrote down a bunch of truly abhorrent ideas and the idea went away.
2. I now know which habits keep my neuroses under control.
It’s a definite list at this point. From most important to least important,
I wish I could report that something Christian factors in there, but that would be describing my wishes rather than the reality I’ve observed. Apparently, my neuroses are not a spiritual malady.
It’s also noteworthy that each element begets the next on the list. Sleep kicks my creativity into high gear, which motivates me to consume new ideas, which drives me to exercise (an idea worth expanding upon).
3. Psychopathy is a cognitive underdevelopment, and therefore its genesis is strongly environmental (weakly genetic)
4. Write down your ideas so they don’t destroy you
I’m conjuring an overwhelming (literal) number of writing ideas. Hence the change of format.
Creativity is definitely more of a curse than a blessing, speaking as someone with creativity coming out of my bloody ears. It only seems like a good thing because of the historical reporting bias. Sure, maybe all of classical mathematics was created by a handful of geniuses, but what did most of them have in common? Sinecure. Tenure. Money. Some freakin’ wiggle room.
If your job is essentially not to get fired- that’s most of us, yes, even you- creativity is bad. You stand out and that always offends someone for some reason. The music busily improvising itself in your head distracts you and you make mistakes. I could go on, but I’m already losing too much time on this little idea.
This is the solution I preach to people who start “having a lot of good ideas”: Write them down. Even one idea begging for your attention can destroy your life. So get them out of your system. The more ideas you have, the less you can focus. Sure, dedicate a small fraction of time to realizing the potential for one or two of them. Give a couple of them immortality and the others will stop clamoring for attention.
My youngest brother recently started “having good ideas”. I had to explain this to him, because he dreams of starting businesses based on them (his ideas are more pragmatic than mine, in theory). Focus on one or two ideas at a time and write the others down. Maybe their number will come up someday.
My dreams can dream their own dreams. I’m a busy guy and I can’t afford to be in the clouds all freakin’ day.
See, this is what I’m talking about. Look how long that one got! And that was a summary! Now I have to skip my workout.
4. Network empathy should be measurable
Network empathy is a neologism referring to our ability to displace emotions over groups. E.g. One baby cries in a maternity ward, a bunch of others start crying.
Well, they’re already in the maternity ward. Might as well start taking data on the volume and length of the crying and apply some multivariate regression. Is the crying dependent mostly on distance from the original crier? What other variables might be involved?
By repeating this observation many times, we can rule out the individual differences and find general laws. Then we can look at how different babies vary from those laws, and assign each an empathy coefficient.
Notice that this maternity ward thing is just an example of network empathy, as noted in P1. Generalize the statistical analysis at your pleasure.
5. What is a psychological “disorder”, anyway?
There’s a longstanding war of ideas about what constitutes a disorder, and what is merely abnormal behavior or cognition. I think I have a definition to end that war.
A “disorder” does not change after Pavlovian conditioning. Put another way, the behavior exists independent of the rewards and punishments applied by the environment or the experimenter.
One potential confound is the information and tools available to the person. If a person has never learned the elementary math required to balance a checkbook, then that behavior will not change if their bank punishes them with fees.
Example 1: Psychopathic personality (or whatever they’re calling it this week)
When a psychopath hears a tone and then a shock is applied, and this is repeated, they do not learn from the experience. They do not learn to fear the punishment, as shown by unusual lack of stimulation when the tone is played. This learning impairment is a disorder.
Example 2: Attention deficit disorder (ADHD, inattentive subtype)
Is ADHD a disorder? According to my definition, it is certainly a disorder if the behavior persists even when a person’s life is obviously falling apart, and they do not lack the ability to perform the individual tasks. This situation (generally disordered life) is a real-world, impersonal punishment, from which the person is not learning to adjust behavior.
Other cases can be treated this way. It is possible that a lazy person could feign ADHD to avoid work or responsibility (negative punishment) or a student could feign ADHD to be prescribed Adderall (positive reward). In these cases, the attention problem is not a disorder.