pasttime

Writing to join with the spirit and muses in the universe...

Trust and insight

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. Proverbs 3.5

Is this really the correct translation? People search the internet, libraries and travel in search of experiences to have insights. Trust in the Lord even if you sense danger? Or trust with all your heart that your sense of danger is the Lord talking to you.

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society. – St. Francis of Assisi

Set a good example so others will follow? Be a good example as actions are truer examples than words? Being holy yourself turns at least one light on in the sea of lights that can be humanity.

A long time ago in a future we have yet to see, our fresh and new insights were dawning yet again in the minds of humanity. And thus another book begins. Or perhaps another chapter in the larger book of humanity.

Am I giving up too many dopamine hits all at once?

For example:

  • computer gaming
  • sexually gratifying habits filled with novelty bias
  • eating and drinking too many calories
  • reading and talking about money, investing and real estate
  • watching video and audio content on various platforms and media
  • buying lottery tickets and gambling
  • day dreaming of being rich, powerful and sought after

Seven things being given-up at once is a lot. In fact, why not ask “Wanna bet?” The list is actually seven independent variables. If the odds of failing at giving up any one activity can be estimated at between 20 and 80% (guess an average of 50% across the eight activities) then there are two to the power of eight different combinations of success or failure across a period of time. There is only one combination that has success at each of the eight positions. All the rest of the 2 to the eight) power combinations has at least one failure. You have a one in 256 chance of success which is 0.391%.

If, further, your mental attitude is to viciously attack yourself for failure at even one “give-up”, and failure at even one indicates that “better to be lucky than good” isn’t working for you today, then you are very likely to give up trying at all of the seven when you have failed at one. In short, you have set up a game and mindset where you are almost certain to fail. Wouldn’t it be nice if you set up a game and mindset where success was more than 90% probable? If success is achieving any one of the seven goals (where each averages 50% chance of success) then the only possible combination of non-success is failure at all of them, which itself is also only 0.391%. Achieving one makes you more likely to keep going to achieve more because you are just that good and have powered through some stretches of bad luck.

A thought I wrote down on February 8, 2016 at 12:53 pm and just came across again now.

The balance is between having a relationship and having principles. If you must always be right, you will not have many successful, peaceful, happy relationships. No one likes a know it all. To keep a relationship going may require one to sacrifice principles. However, sacrificing all principles to keep a relationship means standing for nothing so you are liable to fall for anything. People with principles they feel must be upheld at all costs can resort to violence, fear and intimidation to control relationships within boundaries they can tolerate.

Observing the participants

In this world, there are people fortunate enough to be able to live as observers, perhaps occasionally commenting publicly. Others, also fortunate, are people who work hard enough with sufficient skill and luck to be able to live well. Then there are the rest, who get by, sometimes not well enough to get by for long.

This observation is not new. Generations of people through thousands of years have known and will learn this. Yet people still write it down and communicate it. Some part of them must hope to live, even if only so briefly, as observers in a sea of participants.

A solid beginning to a book.

How to behave individually? Think of a compass rose. The north is transparent; the south is secret. The east is cooperative and the west is ready and able to fight. These points of the compass can be given other names.

North can be Steve Jobs. South John D. Rockefeller. East is Mahatma Gandhi, while west is Winston Churchill.

Alternatively, there are actions for each compass point. North is a firm handshake. South is ears open, mouth shut. East is smiling. West looks you in the eye.

North confidently sets expectations for others. South is still waters running deep. East is charismatic. West is a tower of strength.

Groups can be analyzed by a similar compass rose and how good, or bad, they are at steering in any one particular direction. Northward is a group that does good work. Southward the group interacts well with others. East is a group that is fun to belong to, Westward is a group that has each others backs.

If one thinks of the book “Rapport” by the Alisons, their animal circle of the north lion, east monkey, south mouse and west T-rex drives at similar ideas. The lion is transparent and leads the group in doing good work. The mouse is quiet and listens well. The monkey is cooperative, fun, smiling and charismatic. The t-rex stands his ground for his own beliefs and has your back.

The Carl Jung compass rose model has introspection to the north; feeling to the south; extroversion to the east and introversion (recharges his batteries in private) to the west. This, if rotated ninety degrees counter clockwise, fits the animal model reasonably well.

In each of the compass roses, people can be good or bad. That sentence probably contains a fundamental attribution error. They are not inherently good or bad people. They are having good or bad days.

Good people have bad days by forgetting the gold and silver rules. Silver: don’t do unto others that which you don’t want done unto yourself. Gold: do unto others that which you want done to yourself.

The cooperative person becomes overly familiar and desperate to please at any price. The leader becomes dictator. The autonomous fighter becomes an assassin. The empathic, quiet listener becomes a spy or saboteur, hiding in the shadows.

The adaptable person knows where on the compass he is at the moment, but can deliberately steer a course in any direction. He can also accurately see where other people are on the compass. With skill, he can move them, or manipulate them, to other points.

Is it ethical or is it human hacking?

Follow your bliss

Follow your bliss isn't as much in fashion as once it was. If your bliss constantly changes because of novelty bias, it is only fear of missing out. Rather than Nietzsche's long obedience in a single direction; rather than consistency, habit and even less than perfect discipline, which outweighs bliss and will; you just go in circles, right back to where you began. God's grace to persevere does not require a person to like what they are doing or think their way to triumph. It requires successful action.

Misaligned incentives combined with bliss can cause harm. People can love to teach, or love to honour their family or their history. People can love to honour their country or people they admire. But if the surgeon teaches a procedure that is out-of-date or actually causes more harm than good, bliss causes harm. The surgeon can love to earn a good living or be a pillar of his community or have people look up to him. All of these ideals cause bliss but still don't help patients as much as they might, while blinding the surgeon to the need for change. Or his critics can be wrong in their data, or their opinions and their bliss of loving to criticize authority or wealth or western medicine. Ultimately, people can vote with their feet, but the herd can be wrong too.

The Grace of final perseverance

The final Rosary prayer for Wednesday, the Coronation of Our Lady, has a spiritual fruit, the grace of final perseverance. Suddenly, I realize it isn't my bad procrastination habit and lack of willpower. The solution is not solely mine.

I need to pray for the outside grace of final perseverance to be given me by God. I need to be open to receiving this grace. Perhaps it will not be the grace that will be chosen. I could realize again, still as if for the first time, that everyone has more than one Mother. And then temporarily, for another day, perseverance appears in my life once more.

Too little thinking onto too quick decisions and actions

Everything has good and bad points. Everyone is prejudiced. At some point, welcoming people becomes pandering to them. A good way to see many visions of the same scene is to ask for and accept multiple viewpoints of the “same” thing. The trick is that the views are so hostile to one another that the people holding them can’t sit in the same room without engaging in confrontation and hostility too. People are programmed to engage in survival to reproduce behaviour, not think clearly and reason well. Survival and reproduction in a situation of information overload demand use of decision-making short-cuts in the interests of rapid useful action. Common “mind-games” include dividing the world into in-groups and out-groups, assigning single “causes” and single “effects” to complicated events to close off thinking further at this level to move into planning and executing action plans.

Chapters 1 & 2 of the Kindle book on avoiding systematic thinking errors deal with over-estimating our ability to think successfully. We only hear about success. Our attention is drawn to success. Failure of identical individuals to those successful stay quietly in graveyards out of sight. Only the successful write how-to books. We see the numerator of successful rock-stars or authors everywhere, but never think much about what the denominator, successful plus unsuccessful, value is. Chapter two raises the intriguing question, especially for me as I think I’m very prone to this error, of swimmer’s body illusion. Practising swimming does not give you a swimmer’s body. Successful swimmers are born with that body type. Short, rotund people make lousy swimmers. Make-up does not make people beautiful. Beautiful people grow up that way and then apply make-up. Harvard graduates may be successful because of the qualities they are chosen for rather than the training they receive at Harvard. In short, the desired quality is present beforehand, not instilled by the process. Cheerful people, it suggests are born that way, not created by their own self-help books. They credit themselves with becoming positive when the attitude is innate. This really goes against the grain of equal-birth and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps while others are idle and frivolous.

Dec 31, 2017 Started Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow From the introduction, a recurring theme of the book is that luck plays a large role in any success story. A small change at certain points would have led to a much more mediocre outcome. I would worry though that this could lead to a nihilistic fatalism. It’s a crapshoot so why bother trying at all? The answer I think is because the world still needs and benefits from individual success even if luck is almost always involved.

Your success for example in becoming a combat pilot may be largely luck. There are many others out there that could have been one too. However physical stamina, mental intelligence and emotional mastery is required to do the job well, as it was to do many of the other jobs one was lucky enough to do on the way up to being a pilot.

Remember the McGill guy’s square box of yes-no event and yes-no result:the upper left box (yes-yes) attracts way more brain attention than the other boxes.

Winning is a form of novelty bias that never becomes old.

If the human race is to become extinct as other species all have, what is the point of even trying to preserve anything? Carpe diem always? Why do people care so deeply about winning “their right-now” game when it is irrelevant as soon as it is done? Does having a stack of chips to cash out, or not, after many games make it any more relevant? Winning is survival, at least for now, and that is all that counts. We sure like to win, even at solitaire.

Thoughts as remembered from a talking head on television.: let the losers lose and move on. Should it instead be the motto from the money box at the albergue in Granon: take what you need and leave what you can?

The definition of a con man is someone who obtains peoples' trust to convince them to believe something that isn't true. Why do others want my trust? How do I dispense it? Is it dispensed largely in an unconscious manner? How many con men do I know?

Novelty bias is pervasive. When I just want to play a game, especially if bored, that is novelty bias. Watching stocks is entertaining, at least to me, again it is novelty bias. It is being attracted, having one’s attention drawn to, what is novel in your environment, then trying to explain why it happened. It provides engagement with the world, and in older times, provided an increased chance of safety, reproduction and survival. A weakness is that this causes one to ignore the dangerously familiar and apparently unchanging. Like a frog slowly being boiled alive, a small change each day towards death or destruction is ignored amidst the confounding “entertainment” and extraneous environmental noise.