Comfort zones, uncertainty, judgment, danger, and Asuka from Evangelion (of course)

(This is the discussion that prompted the creation of this method of estimation.)

Everyone has some amount of phobia about uncertainty, and anything that’s outside of habit and our comfort zones introduces uncertainty.
In most everyday situations, it’s enough to break a task down to its smallest possible first step, and then just do that.
This is where confusion may play a part, because deciding the smallest possible thing to do first requires a judgment call in an area the person doesn’t understand.
There’s a real risk of failure.

Using an example from real life, Boneflour has been trying to get me to write some ad copy to sell myself.
I agree that I ought to do it and I want to want to do it.
But you put me front of a blank piece of paper and I realize I have no idea where to start.
Not even the smallest, tiniest first thing. The ideas of “writing a question at the top of the page” or “defining your customer” didn’t occur to me until just now, in retrospect.
Since this is a bad example, I’ll skip to the end and create a better, hypothetical one.
I wrote some ad copy and it was 80% cringe. Failure. But, it was an encouraging failure because I can improve on it.

Imagine someone hands you a musical instrument that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Nothing you knew about music before transfers, not even the ideas about tonality.
Then they say “teach yourself this”.
This is approximately the same as being born as a child into a world you don’t understand.
Then they say “take the tiniest first step”. So you fiddle with one of the bits and it breaks off.
The instructor screams at you that you’ve just broken an instrument worth thousands of dollars.
That’s more or less the experience of growing up in a world where the adults aren’t all entirely functional.

Evangelion really does this part of the human experience better than anything I’ve ever seen. I think that’s why it’s such a therapeutic show for people with depression/learned helplessness.
Deeply flawed adults randomly alternating between praising and screaming and you feel like there’s an overarching plot going on in the background but no one is bothering to explain it.
All the while you’re trying to get used to how your new body works and every now and then a nightmare breaks out.
There’s a great bit in the End of Evangelion where Asuka makes a psychological breakthrough where she “finally understands everything” and charges in gallantly, then gets skinned alive.
If that’s not the experience of being a 14-year-old girl, I don’t know what is.


Anyway, the point is that comfort zones are comforting for a reason, and it’s hard to make judgment calls when you’re anxious.

Yeah, basically

So if you’re inclined to not do something out of confusion, the first thing to do is decide whether you ought to do more homework first.
After all, the prospect of being skinned alive for not understanding the potential cost of taking the first step should give us a little anxiety.
Asuka may not be best girl, but she is best case study.
Here’s the scene:

If the risk of death was deemed sufficient to outweigh trying anything for the first time, we’d never leave the house

But if we never left the house, we’d never reproduce.
Thus rationality, properly understood, requires irrationality.
That Asuka scene is also a good illustration of the sort of euphoric stress response Dutton talks about.

Means can be rational, ends seldom are, when you boil it all down

Transcendent is one kind of irrational.
And, Mr. Piety argues, the correct kind of irrational.
I didn’t used to like the names mathematicians gave number sets like “real”, “transcendent”, and “imaginary”.
But I do now.
Because they make great metaphors.
Imaginary numbers are another kind of irrational, just as imaginary ends are irrational.
And, Mr. Realist would argue, not the right kind of irrational.
As the moral fable of Ms. Asuka and the Satanic Seagulls illustrates.

The euphoric stress response adds an interesting twist here
One would asusme it would reduce time until task completed
Or improve quality over the same time
Or just leaad to burnout and delays
There’s a number of fctors here that would influence how that would work

That’s Asuka’s character arcs in a nutshell.
She starts off as a prodigy then spends the last half of the show in a bathtub.
This is a good reminder to hug your children and not let them find you hangin from da batroom.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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5 Responses to Comfort zones, uncertainty, judgment, danger, and Asuka from Evangelion (of course)

  1. Big says:

    I’ve been working for awhile on explaining why people do things. I’ve got my current work on it setup here:
    I’m curious what you think!

  2. MM says:

    Vaknin at his best. Couldn’t recommend it more highly, especially considering the likely psychological profiles of those that may read this comment, and hence the utility to said people.

    (is also tangentially a response to the actual post above)

    35:30 and onwards is the particularly good shit.

    35:30 and onwards preview:

    “schizoids and narcissists have identical psychodynamics”

    “exactly like people with autism spectrum disorder type 1 (formerly known as asperger’s)
    schiziods fail to respond appropriately to social cues… they seem socially inept and self absorbed”

    “they have no emotional institutional memory”

    “walking away is the schizioids number one number two and number three coping strategy”

    “their asexuality is very close to that of the cerebral narcissist.
    He is invested, emotionally, in his asexuality.”

    “coping strategy number two: they just don’t react” (devalues person so as to facilitate ignorance of them)

    “only way to tell true schiziod from schizioid narcissist- schizoid narcissist has periods of time
    where he does try to attract people. A true schiziod never does… he wants to be alone 100 percent of the time”

    that description of schizotypal narcissists near the end… future of ‘based and redpilled’ segment of gen z? The right in general?

    “many narcissists end their lives as schizoids” (‘boomers be wildin’)

  3. Pingback: Rationality, Value, Mortification, And An Aside On Personality Constructs – True Ataraxia Radio

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