navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Trust

    According to a Pew survey millennials are not trusting:

    Millennials are less trusting of others than older Americans are. Asked a long-standing social science survey question, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people,” just 19% of Millennials say most people can be trusted, compared with 31% of Gen Xers, 37% of Silents and 40% of Boomers.

    I think this mistrust informs our perception of value.  Pretend you are in a casino at a poker table.  But you don’t trust that the poker chips can be cashed out so you don’t bother playing.  For a lot of us, a thing’s value isn’t derived from what it is claimed, it is derived from how easily it can be cashed out.  Think of the “you have innate worth” trope that gets trotted out time and time again in modern psychology.  We ask, why can’t our supposed “worth” be cashed out anywhere but the therapist’s office.  Why can’t it be cashed out at the job interview or in church or at the club?  And if it can’t be is this worth worth anything in the first place?

    When there is mistrust in the financial markets everyone flocks to gold.  When there is mistrust present in a generation people flock to things that can be seen and felt.  We flock to pets, platonic relationships and nature.  Religion, marriage, and political parties not so much.  The bigger of a group of people involved in something generally the worse the results.  As I wrote in my other blog, trusting is deferring to a person or institution with power with a best case scenario of breaking even.



  • humility

    I tend to regularly rail against western religion here but I will give it credit where it is due.  It has a failure management mechanism that isn’t half bad.  Basically modern psychology tells people to double down on their pride after they fail.  But Judeo-Christian faith asks people to see these experiences as humbling us and calls us to embrace humility.

    I look at the Democratic party, defeat after defeat, and still thinking ignoring the most passionate half of their constituents is a good way to run a political party.  I get it that the young people have figured out you’re in the pocket of of the oligarchs and you don’t like it.  You’ll have to get over this.  The Republicans embraced their outsider and you spurned him, look who’s winning.



  • The Myth of Disability ‘Sob Stories’

    Insightful post on disability:

    But most people with disabilities will not be remembered by history. They are usually living challenging lives with little to show for it: Unemployment rates are disturbingly high, health care costs are often debilitating, and the emotional toll of living with an “aberration” can rend families apart. The only thing that a fidelity to positive stereotypes accomplishes, then, is to absolve society of maintaining commitments to the disabled, like making places more accessible, since it would be ridiculous to aid people who already have a leg up with added perks.



  • our words are aggregated instead of illuminated

    For a poetry Facebook I experimented with combining programming code with poetry, in this case JavaScript, JQuery, and (for grabbing the Twitter and Yahoo feeds) some server side code.

    I started out with a poem that does random lines and progressed to one that modified the text size as things went up.   And then one about time wearing on that pulls data from various calculations and places.   And who could forget about a national debt poem.

    Finally I did a poem for Easter that contains The Beatitudes interspersed with tweets from someone you’ll just have to guess.

    PLEASE NOTE: If you are viewing these on a phone you may have to press the Run button in the top left to have them show.



  • On Grunge

    Piece on grunge and the death of Chris Cornell:

    You might think grunge is about anger, but that’s not completely true. Yes, it can sound that way, but it’s really about depression and cynicism. Those two go hand-in-hand, along with their nasty little sister, anxiety. When the three of them get going, they just eat hope as quickly as it can be summoned. That leaves despair and despair is exhausting, not just for those who experience it, but for the people around it as well. So we keep it to ourselves because we don’t want to be a burden. And then it gets to be too much. Doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a mom, an accountant or a rock star. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written about it your entire life as a means of keeping it at bay. It doesn’t matter if the music you made about it brought in fame, respect and millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if your entire generation has suffered from it. Depression makes you feel totally alone. You hit the breaking point, and then, like Chris Cornell, you die alone in the bathroom.



  • Lights

    I think the best thing you can do at a restaurant as an aspie is take their feedback surveys and complain about the things that bother you.  For example the radio bothered me because it was too loud.  Most NT’s don’t like the radio loud either but it isn’t a deal breaker for them.

    And my latest halfbakery, basically a tip of the hat to Jeff Raskin, an indicator light for whether an OS is patched, a patch is pending, or it isn’t in the patch pipeline at all and thus insecure and dead in the water.



  • Accurate Self Assesment

    In 2004 I was offered a church janitor job.  At the time I thought I was way above it.  But this was because I had incomplete information.  I didn’t know I was dead on arrival in interview situations due to my thick glasses.  Giving me accurate information about myself would have been useful in this situation.  Yes it would have lowered my self-esteem and given me poorer self-image.  But sometimes an accurate assessment of ones self is a necessary thing even if it causes more emotional pain in the short run.



  • Brain as Computer Revisited

    I think modern psychology has latched on to the brain as computer model of the brain and do their detriment.  It’s an easy thing to fall into.  A computer has an operating system, files, and programs.  As long as everyone has the same operating system, programs will work seamlessly on any computer you try to run them on.  Therapies seem to presuppose this brain uniformity and when one doesn’t have a brain like this they’re left not knowing what to do.  For example some therapies try to strengthen one’s positive voice in their inner monologue.  But what if they don’t have a positive voice to begin with?  Therapies claim to work seamlessly on all brains (at least ones acculturated to western values).  But the brain is messy, there is no operating system/programs/files trifecta.  I know my experience has been just tearing apart the things therapists tell me, clearly seeing them as false.  But for some people believing what makes them feel good is preferable to believing what is factual.  But my brain doesn’t play that way, especially because eventually wishful thinking will bite you in the butt.  There is some understanding in the psychology profession that therapies aren’t supercultural and that’s a good start.  But even within western culture there is such variation from brain to brain.

    I actually think the brain is more organized like a regime.  Depending on where in the world you go there can be many types of regimes.  Democracies, dictatorships, failed states, tribal power sharing arrangements, etc..  sometimes it’s better to work with the patterns of thinking that are already there than try to go full on and try to throw them all out.  Just like it’s not a good idea to forcibly change regimes in the Middle East.

    See original post



  • psychology

    If it weren’t for psychology America would be much less religious.  A lot of the millennials’ move away from Christianity can be seen as a result of them being resistant to strains of psychology that worked on the older generation.  We are in touch with our thought processes so when someone tries to get us all emotional about God it’s harder for us to believe there is an actual entity besides us involved.  “Your feelings are from you”, we’ve been told.  God just seems contrived to us, as if someone projected their fantasy upon an infinite slate.  But anything we make up is going to comprise our greatest fantasies as well as our worst fears.  But things that impose themselves violently on our senses are a lot more mundane and boring.