Monday, August 20, 2012

nihilism realism and good to believe

being realistic is sometimes mocked and being "nihilistic" "cynic" etc.

sometimes, being cynical and nihilistic is being coated as "realism"

reality does not care about any titles. it is there.

nihilism or sentimentalism is about emotional attitude. but people tend to mix them up.

when i told a naive teenager that having a kid means paying $100K I was telling a literal truth. the act of telling this truth may or may not have been sentimental enough.

Her cry "but it is about kids, not about money" is a mix of sentimental attitude and lack of knowledge about reality. (sentimental here is not derogatory)

Accepting that life comes about by accidents (marriage out of friends getting away, or pregnancy etc., moving countries out of completely irrelevant incidents etc.) does not equal cynicism. it is realism.

The knowledge feelings trade-off.
the "it is a different domain" is a cheap men's escape. it is different domain. but these do meet. and there is a cost of knowing the truth.

It is true that love is almost always conditional in a way. But knowing and internalizing this reality changes you, and it affects your ability to love and to experience being loved in a satisfying way.

PS. the religion of "truth" as yet another modern lunacy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ugly acceptance

there are bad things in life.
the need to work. mediocre relationships. bad health etc.

"we got to accept it" is the most terrible thing I can hear.

Psychologically - it is desirable to get peace with what we have.

But there is a much sinister attitude here

"we got to accept"

the religious belief that it is desirable to accept and be complacent with these ills.

I have no bitterness towards the slaves who accept their slavery. towards the mantally ill who are happy with their mediocre situation etc.

But when they come to me trying to force me to believe that "this is life"???
THIS I find totally unacceptable.

I am accepting the unchosen reality that I cannot live with such stupidity. I hope that until my last drop of blood, I will not "accept" the avoidable bad.

I accept that I cannot accept such nonsense. (there are other forms of nonsense that I am full of, but forgive me)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Is there a paradox of choice?

there are voices that we have too much choice. which is sometimes true. But I doubt if it is indeed so.

The famous claim that maximizers are less happy than saisfiers, is simply untrue. New and replicated research has shown that maximizing per se is not bad at all. What happened is that the "maximizing scale" includes Neuroticism Regret too much thinking etc. troublesome traits. when you test maximizing it is even good at times.

Is it agency problem? namely sellers trying to push useless stuff calling it "choice"?
Now, I went to book a low cost flight. Beleive me, the multiple annoying "do you want too....." put me off so much that I left without booking. I was so annoyed that I was even unable to remember whether I indeed have not booked....

So agents trying to push useless variety and "options" put us in a defensive position. we feel distrustful (unpleasant etc.) and confused. because we handle cheating. Gentle and "legal" cheating of course.

Which has nothing to do with "too much choice" it is about too much pollution

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The narrow gate of possibility

Many - too many options in life are forthwhile only under a very narrow set of conditions. (timing, right conditions, doing it right or other conditions)

These are great options. but they work only within this narrow corridor.

Which explains why these are many time overlooked. when we do not manage to enter the narrow corridor, we imagine it does not exist. 

Indeed, like many hidden options, it sometimes makes sense to avoid them for "you will not get everything right" which is a heuristic that is right at times, but not always. 

Another reason why some hidden options are not used.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Better social life with facebook and "weak" friends

There are two kinds of relationship, "deep" long terms etc. etc. and low maintenance "weak" realtionships of which we hold many.

Are "weak" relationships less useful? Most of us do not like these much, while some people with huge networks seem to like it very much. 

One may say that "weak" relationships Suffer from "friction" problems. It takes time to start a conversation, to get the basic update on what is up etc. 
(vs. the theory that only "deep" relationships are useful. A widespread belief, I am questionaing here)

Friction may decrease significantly with online tools like facebook etc. 

If this theory is true, then having more "shallow" facebook friends rather than a few "deep" ones, may simply be that people like it more. And the internet changed the math by reducing friction a lot. 

There is an interesting study, where resachers found that kids need very little to feel friends. Just to hang together.
It blows many myths on the "reality" of friendships, but so be it.

May facebook improve our social lives, indeed?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Annoying empathy

You have barely managed to forget your problem and get relaxed and your dear friend asks (with an extremely empathetic tone) "so, how do you feel about this divorce courts?" f**k you! I am feeling very bad about it, and i am happy only when i do not think about it, now hang up.

Other friends have nothing to talk about, so capitalize on the troubles (newspapers are like that)

Others, give you such a deoressive feeling when they "empasize"
"i like you so much", (you repeated loser)
Or radiate that they are the saints that empathize you, albeit you are clearly mental. But that is what they are saints for.

Making you emotional about your pains is another curse.
Many times we are better off not feeling the pain.
but talking hotly about our troubles, can make the pain more emotionally felt, which is sometimes troubling.

Some people are obviously recording their support. And you know that sometime you will be asked to pay back. You feel that a negative balance has been drafted for the sainty empathy. Give me a break.

Others depress you by making sure you know what you should have done differently. So not only you suffer, you also get the feeling that it was all your fault.

Whereas others tell you to learn to be stupid. "you could have not acted differently". beg pardon, i was stupid, and i hope not to be stupid next time. Do you think getting stupid will console me? 

There is geniune empathy.
I express my geniune empathy for your full reading of the above diatribe

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The triad. Order, noise, acceptable disorder

Jobs are notoriousely not fun. Yet, one can be happier at the job than when watching TV. 

Freedom is good. Yet, having no limits can cause constant amble with an empty look. 

Thus, we have three ways. Order, which can be unpleasant. Yet, it still usually better than utter noise. But some form of lack of "order" is superior to the neurotic order. I cannot put it to words or a definition. But it is this lack of order that is not depressive disorder. Some form of freedom that has a taste to it. Something that is definitely worth living.

The resulting confusion

This brings a lot of confusion and opinion discontent.
Because many compare a specific order to complete noise. And show that the proposed order is superior. While true, it is usually disconcerning. Because the proposed order is inferior to the better kind of mild disorder, that kind that is not noise, but not neurotically ordered.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thew gift of not feeling secure

It is bad luck. But very useful

I once had a girlfriend who was very nice. When i was not showering
for a few days, she said i smell still wonderful. After showering she
said my hair is not that curly, discouraging me even further.

Whenever I feel secure, I - naturally enough - give no shit on social
norms. Thus making me sometimes socially bad.

I am very easy to be fooled. My natural tendency is to believe
everything I read, to imitate everyone around.

Thus, it is only my sinister suspicion against the world that keeps me
sane, and by some accounts, even a little bit smart.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The autistic problem of self help

It is the fantasy that people can be told how to live.
That people cn live out of an instructions book.

There is something autistic about it.

I call it "the great divide"

There are some things that really really can improve life.
But they are divorced from the natural/normal way people live.

An opposite example is Steve Jobs work.
Computers were an autistic thing. Useful but ugly.

Steve jobs, womehow managed to marry the useful with the human, aestehtic, natural, intuitive.

Until someone manages to marry the useful,scientific with the natural human way of going aobut life, nothing is useful.  It is theoretical scientific autistic advice that nobody utilizes.

Bridging this divide is the real challenge

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How measuring clouds the effect of multiple hidden parameters

Many things are affected by multiple parameters. (heart rate affected by mineral balance, mood, room temperature, sitting of lying down etc.)

At any given time most of the effects are hidden. But many of them act simultaneously,

Many more effects are potentials. These do not act commonly, but have the potential to affect strongly, (heart drugs etc.)

Scientific investigation will prefer the measurable parameters. And also the easily manipulable ones. Thus, a drug will take precedence is research over a frown (which clearly affect the heart rate). Any clear parameter will take precedence on the subtle ones (combinations, harder to measure, or those parameter that are not easily taken to the extreme, hence do not show strong effects in laboratory manipulations)

These biases will over time make a part of the effects scientifically known, while all other effects will not be seen. And the clouding of knowledge will be considered "scientific".
Instead of full appreciation of the variety of parameters that make things happen, we will have a focus on those measurable. Those manipulable in the lab etc.

when many things affect a single outcome the bias is much stronger.
To the exclusion of all other effects, the effects that enter easier into a scientific experiment get all visibility, and the illusion builds that these are central.

In fact, there are many causes. Many of whom are subtle and not easy to see and measure.

Also, many effects are usually minor. But become large when artificially enlarged. See my piece extreme and special cases and causes

To sum up. We have complex phenomenons that are affected by multiple small and big, clear and subtle effects. Scientific enquiries will concentrate to those that are: easy to measure and Easy to take to the extreme. Creating the illusion that those are the central causes to the exclusion of all else and of complexity.

See also the academic bias. This article is a special case of the academic bias

Thursday, January 26, 2012

News and the delusion of relevance

I told a friend I am not following the news.

the moron says I am "detached from reality"
Now almost all news are of zero relevance to my life. Reading the news is living in a fantasy world, where irelevant things take center stage.

besides news makes me unhappy, and stupid. I am not doing stupid things no matter what "reality" and other nonsense are invoked to justify it.

I suspect that reading the news is a weakness for most. The rest is justifications 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why fine tuninng works. And why nonody gets it right

Fine tuning is what is usually played in ICU (intensive care). You manipulate every bodily parameter in every possible way. And it works wonders in critical cases.

Common sense suggests, that without any new theoretical advance, similar forms of fine tuning should work. But they need caful parametrization, adherence and lots of experimentation and rigorously studying the data all along.

In a less sophisticated way, but i guess successful case, i think this lady managed to treat various maladies with endless play of supplements. She seems to check all the time the effects, and she did it for twelve years. So lots of data, lots of fine tuning.

Every success case here cannot be generalized.
This is probably why most grand scale supplement studies failed to show effects, while for people with specific conditions we have a lot of successful randomly controlled studies. these games are not generalizable. (beside the need for combinations etc.)

But the public is blind. polarized poinions prevail.
either one believes in complementary medicine and (to whatever level) scorns rigor. placebo effects never occur. etc. 

Or, he is a technical believer in institutional experiments. Anything that is not completely done under the umbrela of the full protocol is irelevant. 
An example to this blindness is the selenium experiment for cancer prevention (SELECT). it found no effect. 
Supporters of selenium claimed that selenium helps to those with baseline deficiet in selenium. 

makes sense. no? the author of the selenium trial has not even bothered to check the data for this. He has all the data. and the idea that selenium works for those with baseline deficiet is the most expected possibility (its a priori reasonableness is even higher than that of flat supplementation works!).
But he only said like "the trial showed negative results" and refused to carry even the simple test for which he had ALL the data on hand! dismissing it as secondary analysis

We need rigorous thinking even when outside the formal experimental design!

And fine tuning seems a very very lucrative route that is highly ignored, but which can ameliorate many ails when done correctly

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nested vs. Unnested thinking

Nested thoughts assumes stage one enforces the possibilities on stage two. It brings illogical behavior. I generally assume that with sleeping more i will have more energy. But when i slept little, assuming that game is over is depressive, and may not be smart. It is locking oneself into the assumptions of stage one. The delressive..... The use now. First, the assumptions of stage one use the average expected value of the stage one plan. I must sleep enough, because on average my theory is that I am functioning better with enough sleep. Once i have not slept, we are now, where i need to see if now i am exhausted, not if i should have been tired. Nested thinking locks you in the theoretical generalized thinking of stage one. Closed mindedness. Nested thinking does not accept new possibilities. Now, even if i Am tired, i may find comoletely new plans. Nested and unnested thinking are two different models to assess the world. Both have realistic aspects. Somehow, nested thinking is delressive. And i suspect is how more depressed people think. I like more unnested thinking. But i hope i am not overdoing it with stupid openmindedness. But the reason i am thinking that way, is because i am very irrational, and was always much better with getting out of trouble than in not entering it. I also found outting a line osuk costs a major aspect of rationality. Hence nested thinking is not good for me. More to the point i hate it. I would leave the meitculous utilitarian calculation of which way is more "rational" to those that can bear self forcing via rationality.