Saturday, June 27, 2009

Global life management vs. various good tricks

managing life on the whole is complex, cognitively and emotionally costly, and alienating at times. (it is good at times, too. I am just noticing the negatives.....)
The problem is that getting one's whole life into a rubric and so on is unnatural, and is not necessarily positive.

But there are localized tricks. When you say that sleeping well is very good for the good life, you are not entangled in the whole math of life. It will surely have to be done with care and in the right context. But the change (i.e. sleeping more) is not inherently dependent on the right calculation about one's whole life.

It is probably good in that context to find the tricks that are very efficient. things where the value of change is high relative to the status quo. I believe in the idea of doing extremely profitable things.

The cost of knowing there are more options

I went to the sea. Thought about the many hidden tricks there is that have a potential to make life even better.

Then realized that those wandering in the water having fun.
Are they losing for not looking for more tricks? Certainly not. They have fun. Even if there are theoretical ways to improve life over what they do, they maybe better of without thinking about that.

Ultimately it is the cost of thinking and how much latent potential there is and how practical it is (in reality of doing it, not in theory)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why do not we sleep more?

Most Westerns seem to be sleep deprived.

Being tired is negative for many aspects of life.
It makes feeling worse, reduces working and living effectiveness and more.

Are people that stupid?

I have an escape. As I find it hard to fall asleep on command, I cannot be accused for not going to sleep on time. I have relatively less control on it (I still may do tricks, but forgive me, I am superhuman with intelligent excuses)

1) Too "low" in value and salience?
Many see life in terms of their larger goals, namely, their paychecks, social status, family, philosophical ruminations, etc.
Having more sleep is too human, and low level to consider a central goal to fight about. (if something is not important enough, is has lower chance to get throught)
This is compatible with research by Danny Kahneman about moment to moment happiness.
When you ask people "how happy are you?" the response is not very correlated with how much sleep they get.
If you track their day by the hour, however, you will find that sleep has a strong effect.
Sleep affects our actual experience moment to moment. But it does not reflect in our general evaluation of our live (then we look at our paycheck, family status etc.).

2) Another problem is self-control. It takes quite some willpower to put oneself to sleep when an interesting book, TV, or simple laziness whispers us to stay awake.

Controlling oneself is far from simple, or easy.

3) Personal time.
Not all hours in a day are made equal.
A 9 hours worker who spends the first 12 hours of the day in waking up, preparing, commuting, etc. etc. may be free to himself only after 12-13 hours. Then one may even take some time to relax and get some energy and focus.
Ultimately, the last hour he stole from sleep, may have increase his free time from 4 to five hours, or maybe even from 2 to 3. Which is a huge change.

It is arguable how much do we value the experience at work, etc. etc. But the point is true.

4) The complexity of emotional energy, and getting relaxed.
For some people it may take some time or activities inorer to get into a sleep mood and phisiological relaxation.
These procedures are complex and for many unconscious.
So when deciding "I go to sleep on 11 pm". Most will not take it as staying at home from 9 pm on to relax. But rather in an appointment style, meaning that at 11:00 they will say to themselves "now sleep". As if one can go to sleep in an instant.

5) What do we want form life?
While it seems intuitive that people want to feel good, it is not clear that this is what we are inclined to do naturally.
Our evolutionary heritage may have programmed us towards wanting power, status, sex. Not necessarily towards happiness.
If our life is geared towards these other goals, it is no wonder if we fail to sleep enough. It is simply not on the agenda.

Monday, June 8, 2009

aircondition story

Hot over here. The air condition remote control can easily switch to "fan" mode giving a false impression of working.

I stay in bed, cannot sleep. Try to handle my thoughts, my emotions, my body.. for no avail.

Only after of wandering and ultimately falling asleep, I discovered it.

Go talk about mistakes in causation.....

sixteen years ago. A few days I felt unable to clear my mind, and felt strange physically. Then, a friend muttered then, "how hot it is now!, how are you able to cope with that?". I looked at him in amazement. and he was even more amazed at my puzzled look......

Take home: actions and outer circumstances can be key in life. The trick is how to mange the whole cacophony. Next post about that.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Management of life with many goals, and why sceintists may get it wrong

Life is complex with multiple goals.

Most humans handle simultenously, money, relationships, friends, physical state (food, sleep, exercise), and other goals.

Much of the problems of life management, are related to the overload of various goals.
Some would find it possible to be quite rational if they got only one goal in life. But there are many, and juggling all balls at once is much of the problem.

Science may contribute to this misunderstanding. By accident, actually.

Much of research is done by isolating a single problem and either finding extreme cases, or creating extreme situations experimentally.

Now as I explained, the inference from extreme case to the regular is not always reliable.
But in the general management of life it is much worse. If much of the problem is how to juggle all balls at once, how can we even start talking about isolated things?
We can learn about the mechanisms, we can learn tricks. But we much admit That much of the management problems is in the whole rather than the parts.