Simfish/InquilineKea's Thoughts


19 September, 2010 23:10
September 19, 2010, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Due to a lack of audience here, I’ll move most of my posts to http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=100001281229599. It’s public so you don’t even need to be logged in to see it.

RSS at http://www.facebook.com/feeds/notes.php?id=100001281229599&viewer=100001281229599&key=b244e6f9dc&format=rss20

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Partial Catharsis (deeply thoughtful)
September 13, 2010, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

You can’t force change. you have to adopt it slowly over time (and when you’re not even actively thinking about it – in fact – your very resistance to change makes it very unpleasant to actively think about it). For example, I sometimes think about trying to be less reluctant to express positive emotions to other people without feeling like I’m killing myself for masking myself in an aura of dishonesty. I can’t actively think about changing myself this way – I have to unconsciously effect this change over time – so gradually that I don’t even notice it. That way, it becomes the new default state and while I’m still resistant to say that I *want* to do that – I’ve adopted a new default state that is hard to reverse, so this resistance doesn’t even matter that much anymore. Sometimes, introduction to a different environment helps, since it’s an environment where you have no history and also since you don’t have to actively think about changing yourself (since you’re new and free to construct another identity)

This is true with being a "better" person. I don’t *want* to actively think about being a better person. If I tell myself that I should be a "better" person, I get upset because I then start introducing a bunch of counterarguments about how I’m inherently misanthropic (I always tell myself that whenever I’m hurt or embarrassed since it lessens the pain by giving me the illusion that I can fight back too), about how it’s embarrassing/dishonest for me to say such things (given that I said such things in the past and didn’t really mean them since I was really trying to impress people instead), how I perceive society as unfair to me and how it doesn’t deserve better treatment from me if it’s unfair (comparisons to starving African children don’t work even if true – that’s why psychologists never use those comparisons). But anyways – I can try to do it more *subconsciously* and it can sort of become a new default state even though I hate saying that I want to be a "better" person.

Or how I finally decided not to act so Aspie anymore. I used to be so proud of being Aspie (so convinced of its merits after reading many biographies of scientists) that I wanted everyone to accept me for my idiosyncrasies and social blindness (and if they didn’t, they were "intolerant"). How did I do that? I did it insidiously (without realizing it). It really started with my interest in psychology. Once I got really into it, all human behavior became interesting, and there was then no excuse for me to be blind to human signals (since they revealed much about psychology). That, and psychology finally convinced me to do what’s most compatible with my personality (as personality is largely stable for life), which meant that I stopped trying to adopt the persona of the scientist who did nothing but study all day. It wasn’t just that, of course – social rejection also caused it as I always cared a lot about what people thought of me. Lack of self-control, too, since Urbandictionary and Encyclopedia Dramatica finally intro’ed me to much of pop culture.

Anyways, the truth is that you have to adapt after you feel like you’ve been wronged (doesn’t matter whose fault it was, but most scenarios really are partially one person’s fault and partially the other person’s fault too – simple breakdowns in communication [often a reluctance to express one's true thoughts due to fear of repercussions/judging], for example, can be the fault of both, even if not morally "wrong"). The issue many people take with adapting to a setback, of course, is that they’re not even willing to change themselves after they feel like they’ve been wronged. It feels unfair to them – to make concessions to society/people when one has already suffered from forced concessions (especially when there are people who have been "wronged" in similar ways but received more support/recovered more quickly). And that’s why this change is often so painful. It’s *especially* painful when they discuss the issue with someone else who ends up sympathizing with the other side (which can broaden the scope of one’s anger towards humanity/society) – of course, this is why counseling can often prevent incidents. Sometimes, books or forum posts can also help a lot (although their discovery is often hit and miss).

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It is true that some pain is necessary for self-development. But at the same time, the pain must not stunt self-exploration in the way that school often does. More importantly, pain is difficult to cope with when it comes from multiple dimensions at once (when that happens, people fall apart, although many can adapt by withdrawing from school for a quarter or two). Many who say that "pain is necessary for self-development" will use this argument to argue for *a lot* of unnecessary practices (especially school’s rigidity and also denying people the opportunity to explore what they’re most compatible with) that end up stunting personal growth *and* predisposing the person to depression and anxiety disorders that may permanently halt someone’s initiative and well-being. I still haven’t forgiven much of the pain I experienced from school/parents, since it was an authoritarian type of pain that didn’t do me any good (some of the pain might have been necessary, but much of it was not – an unschooled student would still face pain from many directions, but would have more freedom to find ways to creatively cope with it). Of course, different people are different, and a course that works for one person will not be optimal for another person.

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So in short, people can be incredibly weak. That still doesn’t mean that they’re impossible to deal with – that just means that creative indirect approaches must be used (combined with patience, although infinite patience does discourage change). Of course, enhanced understanding of psychology (and human nature) will help with developing the best hypotheses for getting around this – for getting around how incredibly weak a lot of people are.

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A short addendum: Sometimes, tasks giving people the illusion of control help. People break down when they feel like they cannot control anything, causing levels of stress that devastate the body as much as smoking does. The problem with such tasks, of course, is that they can be extremely addicting. Obviously, computer games are on my mind (there are alternatives, too, but computer games are easiest since they’re very immersive, involve significant learning for the first few weeks, and can be played from start by people of all skill levels). But not everyone’s equally predisposed to computer game addiction. It helps if the game has a single-player component and if it isn’t a MMORPG.