navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • 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.



  • hope is social

    One of the things that will offend your pastor and especially your therapist is the idea that hope is social.  The proof for this is how people draw away from those without hope (that’s been the story of almost all my interaction with the church).  The thing the modern psychology hates about hope being social is it posits that the more hyper individualistic a society is, the less hope there is in it (particularly for those at the bottom).  This remains true controlling for other things that make people happy such as wealth.  The second problem with hope being social is it asks something of us, to take a hit on our personal happiness in the name of collective happiness of the community.  That’s not something modern psychology is keen on.

    We can view this by contrasting the help people need verses the help modern psychology offers.  Not to knock modern psychology, people really benefit from it, but its help becomes so limited in furnishing a hopeful future.

    “hope is social” help modern psychology’s help
    a ride to the store
    a hot, home cooked meal
    community
    a friend
    several hours of company
    imperative to love and be loved by others
    ability to think for oneself
    a path to virtue
    solidarity
    feel loved
    expression of our shared sorrow
    someone visiting you in the hospital
    reasons to live
    pills
    training on playing cognitive tricks
    forced autonomy
    itinerat counsel
    company until the 45 minutes is up
    imperitive to love yourself
    ability to think one is thinking for themself
    navel gazing self interest
    indepenence
    get “healthy”
    expression of our personal depression
    hospitalization for unclear thinking
    suicide prevention


  • numbness and detachment

    The events of the last six months have kind of gotten me jammed to silence.  Kind of like those old 80’s synthesizer keyboards, if you maxed out their polyphony—playing more notes than they could output at a time—you just got silence.  I just feel numb and I really shouldn’t, there are millions of people in Africa and Yemen on the cusp of starving to death in addition to everything the news makes you aware of.  I think the Buddhist notion of compassion with detachment is a feat.  Not something I can muster, maybe because of my neurophysiology I don’t know.  Detachment for me doesn’t come without the consummate numbness.

    Therapy is supposed to give you access to all kinds of extra tools and emotional experiences, kind of like being an organist and getting an upgraded organ that has twice as many registers.  Perhaps the psychologically healthy person can be compassionate and detached.  But I don’t get how that changes things in the realm of observable action.  Our actions are often an answer to pain or discomfort.  For example getting something to eat because you’re hungry.  If one is detached that takes the “pain” of the compassion which is the thing that would goad a person to action.  Because love is so often borne out of pain.



  • Privilege and Virtue

    The further you are away from privilege the more virtue you have to exhibit to get the same amount of reward of one of privilege.  Just image if Trump would have been black and exhibited the same (at least to Christians) immoral behavior.  He would not have had a shot in hell at getting elected.

    It’s bad growing up as well. Virtuous people treat you worse the further you are away from privilege (at least that’s been my and many others experience).  The friendship groups that are accepting often revolve around vices like drinking or drugs.



  • Autism and the Burden of Reciprocity

    Scientists did a study and found that people on the spectrum were rated more poorly by children and adults:

    In other words, Autistic people can’t take all the blame for underdeveloped social skills because non-autistic people actually are actively avoiding us, limiting our access to opportunities to practice being social in real-world situations. The study authors found that Autistic people have every bit as much desire for friendship and human contact as non-autistic people and our UCLA loneliness scores were significantly higher than non-autistic people’s, but our ability to socialize is limited every bit as much by social ostracization from others as it is by our own neurology and the challenges to socialization it can present for us.

    The studies repeatedly underlined the importance of first impressions. A negative first impression held true no matter how much further exposure a person was given to reassess that first impression. But there was one scenario in which the Autistic people left a positive first impression: when people read a transcript of their words instead of seeing and hearing the Autistic people saying those words, observers rated them as more likable and more intelligent. In fact, in the scenario where observers just read the written words of Autistic and non-autistic people, they rated both groups the same. For non-autistic people, the written transcripts were their lowest-rated mode of communication, although only by a small amount. For Autistic people, the written transcripts were their highest-rated mode of communication by a very significant margin.

    I always thought the first impression stuck, I’m glad researchers found this to be true too.  I have a physical disability which makes me look different so that tends to net me bad first impressions in and of itself.