navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • logarithmic scales in life

    Walk inside on a sunny day and you generally can see indoors without too much fuss (unless there is something wrong with your eyes).  This is because your pupils dilate.  The scale of light is actually logarithmic.  There is orders of magnitude more light outside than there is in a closed off room inside.  This can be most clearly seen by taking a picture indoors that has a window to the outside.  The outdoor portions wash out in white.

    I feel there are other things that operate on a logarithmic scale, chief among them suffering.  A lot of us experience a lot of slow burn misery when our lives are not actually very bad at all.  What makes things bad is we are living inside of our head and reading about the nation which is in a slow motion train wreck.  However once a tragedy strikes or we are sick or experience distressing physical pain suddenly our life is orders of magnitude worse but we often don’t feel that all the way.  I have in my life been under pretty serious physical pain which led to an eventual psychotic break.  My life was much worse then than it is now but my mood was only somewhat worse.  Of course some of this has to do with the fact that when you are in a lot of pain your stress response kicks in so you don’t feel as bad during it but the bill eventually comes later.

    The second thing I think works on a logarithmic scale is status (particularly for males).  The (now former) friends of mine that are high status have orders of magnitude more than me (CEO’s and senior engineers verses me fighting for scraps on the informal economy).  Another proof that the status curve is logarithmic is the Redpill trope that women are going after the top 10 or 20 percent of men and ignoring the bottom 50 percent entirely.  If what made men desirable wasn’t distributed logarithmically I don’t think you would see this so pronounced.

  • Autism in Love film and status

    I highly recommend a PBS Independent Lens documentary called Autism in Love (you can watch it online).  It follows a few people on the spectrum who (like pretty much all of us) are looking for love.  Some of them are in relationships, others are not.  Even for the ones who were successful by society’s standards it was a lot of effort to keep communication lines open and make the relationship work.

    The person I identified with the most was the lower functioning young man who was unsuccessful in finding love.  In one part of the film he was keenly aware of his low social status, raising his palm saying “they’re up here” and lowering it down and saying “I’m down here”.  Which brings me to a truth about a lot of people on the spectrum.  On a micro level we might not be aware of everything going on (as we generally have a poor ability at picking up on social cues) but on a macro level, specifically with things that pertain directly to us, very little escapes us.  This is because macro level things are drilled into our heads over and over again so even if we miss 95% of the social cues, the 5% we do catch we catch again and again.  To go back to the example in the film, those of us with low status (of whom I am one) are overly aware of it.

  • no happy medium for work

    Article on the wellness culture and overwork:

    We’re working longer hours than ever before, and as our employment conditions continue to worsen, they’re simply repackaged into a new version of normal in an effort to make the truly pathological state of many of our workplaces appear acceptable. And despite the fact that the very best evidence we have about the causes of work stress and burnout point to factors present in the workplace rather than in us, the stress reduction industry and the helping professions’ focus on individual self-care strategies is at an all-time high.

    An intractable problem for me has been never getting over my closest friend from college dropping out of my life due to me being low status.  It’s strange how most of the thoughts of things in my past have lost their teeth (ability to harm me) but this one hasn’t.  I can’t work 70 hours a week like John.  And because of this I’m relegated to spotty consulting that doesn’t “count” as work with John or anyone else who is working full time (which supposedly means 40 hours per week but in practice means 60 or 70).

    All the bullshit and cognitive tricks in the world won’t make this go away.  Of course it is the strongest when I’m doing work that doesn’t “count” as work because it isn’t in an office.

    time heals some wounds
    but infects others

  • charity case – circling thoughts

    I was called a charity case today by the most successful member of my family.  In jest.  But unfortunately there was a lot of truth in said jest.

    I find it painfully ironic that the people who could most easily hook you up with a job are the ones who are the most scornful of you for not having one.

    It’s also interesting to me that when I confront people about ignoring me for not having a job, they ignore said communication (talk about dereferencing a null pointer)!  It’s the same as happens in an abusive situation, where telling people about it gets you more abuse.


  • Scab!

    There is this type of worker they call a scab.  These are workers that offer to work in the vacancy left over from striking workers.  Naturally they aren’t liked by regular unionized workers because they hurt the union’s bargaining power and drive down wages.

    Something similar happens with high status people who ignore low status people.  If a high status person were to engage a low status person like they were a human it would send a message that lifestyles besides working yourself into the ground were OK.  But very few people would work themselves into the ground if our culture decoupled your worth as a person from how much money and status you had.