Thursday, September 30, 2010

Unnatural strategies fir an unnatural world

Unnatural strategies (earplugs, wakeup clock for naps, following sophisticated advice, using mechanical tools to measure and guide various activities), are both unromantic (aesthetic problem) and are not part of our natural dynamic. We are wired evolutionary to a natural and Normal environment.

Actually, we live in this crazy unnatural world. With electronic connections, with big cities, availability of food etc.

There is no longer the ability to use natural for a living. We live inna distorted world. And there, maybe he best way is to use unnatural tricks.

Additionally, the default of nature as better (or less risky) is no longer there. We are out of nature love it of hate it. We can learn from nature, but in a so faraway environment and habituation of psyche, we cannot easily assume nature to be the default (althought one may think that with evolutionary psychology we have quite strong wired tedencies etc. That are there even with years of alienation from natural environment)

PS. There are claims that the last 10,000 years had much more selection of genes than before. Not sure the numbers but they say it is enormously more (pandora's seed book I now read). Thought provoking

of t nor the default that natural

The one side heuristic

In the introduction to fooled by randomness, nassim taleb handles the following question. He talks against people mistaking nose to signal, yet many times we mistake signal to noise. His answer is illuminating. Mistaking noise to signal is much more common. 

This insight is a great strategy to thinking and to deciding. Everything has two sides, making handling life confusing. But when you know where the usual mistake lies, it gives you a good heuristic to which direction you ought to generally bias your ship. 

It goes for thinking and it goes for deciding. You take it a default to move away from the common error. (as a general heuristic, though, you try to do the right thing rather than avoiding errors.....) 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Against "better solutions"

A common claim I hear when suggesting an improvement for someone is that " there is a better way" that the guy is not doing the better way either is a fact. Yet he avoids the practical improvement because he is deluding about the better way.

It has two sources. One is an excuse. The better solution is a great way to escape acting and changing. The second is a genuine thought that it is good to avoid the improvement until the better one is there. This is usually a practical mistake. The deeper source of this mistake is loss aversion, the possibility of a better way for doing instills a feeling of lose if one does the not so perefct way. And to avoid this imagined loss, one does nothing. Entirely irrational. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reatopnships are over and underestimated at once.

Because its value is extremely variable. Sometimes it is the deal of one's life, and people do not get it that it is worth everything. Other times is it entirely useless or too cpstly, yet people cling to the mistake that love is worth anything.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

multi parameter solutions

Attention! do not read while eating or if you are sensitive otherwise.

it is nice neat and simple to have a single and defined solution to a problem.

Many times, the better solution is of multiple steps and tricks.

Example. haemorhoid. it is a devastating chronical suffering for whoever got it. and there are no simple solutions.
There are varoius single parameter solutions. Like operation etc.
The actualization of the illness goes throught a long chain of steps, each of whom is controllable to a level. The kind of excersions one has (stiff etc.), the way one does his excertion, the level of stress, the kind of chair one uses then, whether one uses additional seat and foot support etc. , what one does when pain sarts (does he stops, or does he ignores the pain, thereby making damage) how one approaches the excertion act psychologically (the more stressful and lack of time the less ability to make it right), Which cleaning paper one uses, the kinds of foods one eats, etc.

one can see that there is so much control on the whole chain. Since the end results is the (nonlinear) product of the whole chain, it is clear that controlling it all to the maximum is probably a very strong and effective way to cure this devastating problem.

This strategy can be a great way to solve otherwise unsolvable problems. It can also be the best way with problems that their one route solution is either constly or not effective.

Why is this approach not used frequently? There are the negatives of the multi step way listed below. But I guess it is because the mind likes better a single solution. We find it hard and confusing to approach the complex bunch of causes. There is a lot of laziness about it. Indeed, handling all steps means getting conscious about them which is an effort. Moreover, one needs than to break out of automaticity about them all. Seeing all parts of the whole so automatic process as malable. Not just seeing, but acting upon this true and strange freedom to play with all our cards at once.

Yet it is astonishingly liberating. Give it a try (but please for a better example/ For improving life rather than for solving problems.........)

PS. the downsides of multiple parameters are there. it is easier to handle one parameter that the whole thing. The cost of tackling every step of the chain may accumulate to too much, and the stress etc. involved can also be costly. Yet many times it is the best strategy, and can even solve otherwise unsolvable problems. The most surprising point is that people avoid this angle so much.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Essentialistic fallacies

Essentialism fallacies
There is an underlying belief that we need things to be well in their essence, and that the only source of well-being is from stable and essential- true sources.

But happiness and health can come from endless directions.

We may enjoy life by fooling ourselves. Pursuing goals or by avoiding goals. We can find five seconds of fun from many sources.

We may improve life by sleeping enough no less than by getting our act together in more essentially sounding ways.

Placebo effects make people healthy. Reading health research makes me extremely sad for the waste of not using placebo to heal. Many drugs have an effect strength way below that of the placebo effect. Yet the establishment is not investing in researching placebo, nor using it, which is a very painful and sad fact. Due to the essntialism fallacy.
Most historical cultures made ample use of the placebo effects via shamans, religious rituals etc. There was no shame in using it. But nowadays stupidity dictates to avoid improving life in "religiously unapproved" means like placebo or other psychological tricks.

Nassim taleb noted that people tend to define relationships as marriage etc. as superior. But in reality we can feel connected and get the benefit of friendship from random meetings, and from connections that have other motifs, as well as many other ways of being connected (even Facebook sometimes brings value).

PS. There are clearly advantages to these so called essential sources of health and happiness. These tend to be more stable, and in aspects more comprehensible. Yet do not be fooled by these advantages. These values are not always there, and their effect can be limited. It is sometimes a mere cultural belief and mind bias.

Essentialism is natural to the human psych so has shown paul blum in many experiments. But as grown up kids, we may try to go for what is good for us, and not be totally fooled by our minds tendencies.

Sour grapes in small comforts of life

Sour grapes = the fox says that then grapes up in them vines are sour, so to not feel pain for not having them. 

Disdain to worldly pleasures, to small comforts of life, to anything positive that you do not have. 

This disdain can be aesthetic, which is above (or be,ow) criticism. Yet this doe snot make it rational. It can be a matter of priorities - I have more important goals to pursue. This is ok. But limited. Having more important things to do is not reducing the value of any other project. It merely makes you invest elsewhere. 
The last reason for devaluing is psychological. If i miss something, it feels better when i think it is worthless. This is very legitimate. Self delusion can work wonders at times. But like all self delusion it's has a price. The biggest price is the developed inability to enjoy the things you contempt. This is a curse of poverty following being poor. One is not only poor now, but he also convinces himself of the blessing in his state that he loses the ability to enjoy anything rich, or the willingness to improve his lot.

There are so many ways to enjoy and to experience life. It is stupid to neglect the ways that are not part of our own repertoire.

PS. We are naturally concentrated on some pleasures and goals, but positive concentration is it not active neglect and contempt to anything out of our focus.