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jadedog  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Happy New Year everyone!

I'm a day late, but Happy New Year to all.

Hoping that 2018 will be a good year for everyone.

It's easy to look back and criticize, but I wonder what would have happened if they hadn't zoned those areas for housing. There might have been a lot more homeless people, and there might have been more pressure to allow people to build homes there, knowing that a catastrophe could happen but also knowing that in order to avoid one big catastrophe, a lot of people would be homeless on a daily basis for years.

Affordable housing is rarely located in the most desirable locations.

    Amygdala is, to my understanding, not only about feeling fear but also about conditioning it. My bet for applications would be about allowing people to better deal with phobias or PTSD.

I don't know enough about it either, but I know that fear is a necessary response. Without fear, people would do a lot of crazy and dangerous things.

Let's say, for discussion sake, that the neuron firing technique could control excess fear. But then we'd have to discuss what is excess fear. Many people who have PTSD have gotten it as a result of going to war. It's not excessive fear to have fear of a place where you're killing people and your life is in danger all the time. Should that be removed from people? It doesn't seem like a maladaptive response. It may be that it's not working when the person is no longer at war. But there's also the possibility that if enough people had that response, more people would speak up about going to war. Taking that away may not make society better.

Another example. The opioid crisis in the US. People are taking opioids in massive quantities to alleviate their physical and emotional pain of dealing with lives that don't match what society is telling them. If the neuron technique worked, maybe people would lose this pain. But should they? Maybe the crisis is a big red flag to an issue in society that needs to be fixed, not a sign that people need to be fixed to accept things that aren't acceptable.

    But that's how most drugs and medications work already.

Yes, and to the extent that it does, it might not be such a great thing.

For some people, medication is a necessity. They have issues that need to be controlled. That's not the issue in this case.

But just like opiods, some of the medications are overused for the wrong purposes. The reason more people don't take them is because they generally wear off after a while for a lot of people and because of the side effects.

If the neuron technique does away with these issues, then even more people would rely on these methods. I'm not convinced that's such a good thing.

It may be the case that humans have complicated brain wiring for a reason. Bypassing that wiring might seem advantageous on an individual basis but might pose more problems on a more societal level.

I tend to think that when people feel pain, it's not easily dismissed. If it can be eliminated through the use of an easy technique, it might not be better for the person in the long run.

Interesting video, as usual! Thanks for sharing it.

I felt that it was very technical in the parts about how the science of it worked. I would need more science background to follow the thoughts and understand the implications. When it got to the part about the implications, the information got more vague. For instance, there was the part about how the technique could be used to control the fear center of the brain. In what ways? How would that help people?

The title itself brings up a lot of ethical considerations that just got a shrug in the whole piece. If this technology could be used to control someone's brain in ways that would change their behavior, should this technology be pursued? What are the safeguards that it won't be used for the wrong thing? What are the right things that it will be used for?

If the wrong things it can be used for outweigh the good things it can be used for, should scientists consider the ethical implications of pursuing the technology?

PBS interview with Kuttner, the author of this article. They try to explain why Bannon called him. Someone who has been covering him says that it sounds very much in character.

jadedog  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Family weirdness

I'm going to piggyback off kantos. I thought I was the only one missing something to the story.

I hope that gets sorted if it needs sorting. My apologies if I missed the piece of the story.

If you have your own plans that don't involve your father's plans, I'm happy for you. I hope they work out for you. If you're spiting your father's plans because they aren't your own, he may one day not be around to care, but you might be.

If it's frustration about something else, I hope you find some peace about it.

jadedog  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Colbert Interviews Scaramucci

Colbert has been hyping this for a few days. I've been looking forward to it.

Seth Meyers made a quick joke about Scaramucci's CNN interview with George Stephanopolous this weekend at 11:55 in this video.

The whole CNN interview was a hot mess. Then Scaramucci took questions on Facebook.

jadedog  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Is Mindfulness Meditaton BS? Yes

    I copy pasted the title.. because it was so good. Did you notice the lacking 'i' .. not mindful enough ;

I may not be mindful enough either, but that YES in your post title is not in the header that it looks like you copied. That YES is what is misleading given what the article says.

For those who are not clicking on the article, here's what I saw:

The header: "Is Mindfulness Meditaton BS?"

The title: "Going Up

Is mindfulness meditation a capitalist tool or a path to enlightenment? Yes"

The article on the question in the header:

"All of which raises a question: Is mindfulness meditation, as it’s practiced by millions of Westerners, bullshit? Not bullshit in the sense of being worthless. Even Adam Grant admits that meditation has benefits and that, for some people, it’s the best way to get them. But has meditation practice strayed so far from its Buddhist roots that we might as well just call it a therapy or a hobby?"

While I may agree with your point to an extent, that's doesn't seem to be the basic point of this article.

I tried mindfulness meditation for a couple years. It didn't work for me for a number of reasons. Everyone kept telling me that I wasn't doing it right or that I needed to give it more time. It was annoying. For a while, I wasn't a big proponent of it. I'm still not its biggest fan, or more accurately, I'm not a fan of its biggest fans. The hype for it has gone over the top.

That said, I'm considering trying it again. In some ways, it's just a different way of looking at things.

jadedog  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What is a sandwich?

There was a discussion on Reddit about this that you might have seen. In case you haven't, I'll link it here.

It's a philosophy discussion based on a professor using the discussion to teach the limits of knowledge.

Is This a Sandwich?

Teaching the Platonic Dialogues through sandwiches, by Dr. M. Ritchey, PhD

At the end of the article, there's a link to a crowdsourced discussion on the definition. It requires an e-mail address, so I haven't checked it out.

No, not really. I'm not seeing the point of it.

    I am my hands, they are within the ven diagram of me. I'm accountable for their good behavior and health an maintenance. I'm more than my hands but I'm certainly not not my hands. My hands might screw me with their clumsiness or betray my nervousness, sometimes they might even be too weak for the task which I am asking them to perform, but they are my hands. Same damn thing with my brain. I do my best to nudge it toward flexibility, objectivity and just compassion but I sometimes fail. It's still my brain.

You're conflating brain and thoughts. One is tangible, the other is not. It's trivially true to say that you own your body parts. It would be different to say that you own your thoughts. Until thoughtcrime is illegal, you're not responsible for every stray thought that flashes through your mind. People are responsible for their actions, including communicating their thoughts, but they're not responsible solely for their thoughts.

That's like saying that you own a book, so you're responsible for taking care of the book. But that's different from owning every idea and concept within the pages of the book.

You seem to imply these ideas are scams. They are if you paid for them. But these ideas about meditation and witnessing thoughts are as old as Buddhism.

I've never read Eckhart Tolle. I've watched a couple youtube videos he was on. He did give me a slimy feeling, telling people not to worry about money as he sat there making millions from his books. But he sure didn't originate these concepts.

Thanks for your response. I do agree with you that the blog posts are overly simplistic. However, I don't agree they're completely without meaning.

    To what degree do you thing perception and reality have no relation?

Well, that's sort of the point. One can't know that. I can make a percentage that I believe, but that's about it. It would be just a thought about my belief. No one can actually know.

On the one extreme, we could all be in The Matrix, having a shared experience not based on reality. (Fair disclosure: I haven't actually watched the Matrix. It's just often the example given.) On the other extreme, a single individual could be having a certain experience not shared with anyone else that they are certain is reality, if they were say, a paranoid schizophrenic or having some other type of hallucination or delusion. From their perspective, they can't know how much reality and perception are correlated.

As a practical matter, people generally agree that our perceptions through our senses are real, even if the interpretation is not always accurate.

    Many things that we pretend are objective are very subjective. it's an area where perception and reality must often part ways, but to say they have no relation is silly.

My bad for using an example that led so far away from the context of the article. The context of the article was within the bounds of when someone is feeling emotional pain. When someone is feeling emotional pain, {almost} all thoughts that lead to the emotional pain are subjective. That's where moving more to the absolute has some meaning.

When people are in emotional pain, their thoughts on it are largely subjective. In that context, perception (of the reasons for the emotional pain) and the reality (of the situation) are often (or maybe always) not (necessarily) related.

One could argue, as many have, that the same event can cause some people to feel emotional pain and others to feel emotional joy, so the relationship between the event (reality) and their perception of it is not necessarily correlated.

Here's why it matters. If you believe that the event (reality) caused the emotional pain, then you have no power to change the pain you're in since you can't change the event. If you believe that your perception causes your emotional pain, then you can change your perception (belief about how you're interpreting it), regardless of the event. If perception and reality were the same, you'd be stuck with the emotional pain.

    Not being your thoughts must be great self help advice, it's flies off the shelf. Seems like a bunch of mystic double talk self victimization rationalizing to me. Comforting but I suspect that it's of dubious practical value.

When people say 'you are not your thoughts', it's generally shorthand for you don't control every thought that goes through your mind. At the same time, you do have responsibility for the actions you take with those thoughts.

Saying that you are not your thoughts and you have responsibility for your actions together simultaneously is not conflicting.

As for its practical value, it probably has more value for those people who have reached the end of their ability to will themselves to change or it was taken from them. It's been said, if you can't change your reality, you have to change your beliefs. If one thinks that their beliefs and their reality are the same, and they can't change their reality, that can leave them in a bad situation.

You might do this intuitively.

For example, if someone was a pro athlete and believed that their only source of success and value is from being a pro athlete, if they somehow became paralyzed, they'd have to change their belief. If they had the persistent thought that their only value was from being a pro athlete, despite being unable to do it anymore, it might be practical for them to know that they are not that thought.

    He [Krishnamurti] was diametrically opposed to the don't think and it's not your brain crowd. If I've said anything absolutist it's only in that I totally oppose the "you are not you mind, you are not your thoughts," absolutist.

I tried looking for some quotes to see if I could verify this. I found this quote, which goes in the other direction.

    Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong, but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching, you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti

Being able to be aware of every thought and not "be" every thought says that you are not your thoughts. There has to be a you who is the observer. Is that the same guy?

    A world where perception has no relation to reality is one where your self improvement post has no truth or purpose what so ever.

While I agree that the perception statement may be written too absolutely, I agree with the statement to a degree.

As an example, if 5 people see an accident, there are likely to be 5 different accounts of the event. If perception and reality were correlated 100%, then there would either have to be 5 different realities or the accounts would have to match 100% every single time.

What people perceive can become their reality as they see it, but it's not necessarily objective reality as others see it.

    have fun living in a world of inexplicable valueless nothing where you have no agency over your own mind.

Here you're creating an absolute where one may not have existed in the earlier piece. Being able to watch one's thoughts doesn't mean that people have NO control over their thoughts. But it also doesn't mean they have 100% control over their thoughts.

Here's an experiment if you feel you have 100% control over your thoughts.

Don't think of this video ever again. Mana mana. You might not even need to click on it. But if you do, mana mana, definitely don't think of this video ever again.

Also, if you have total control over your thoughts, you'd be able to eliminate any negative thoughts, worries or thoughts that bring any emotional pain since that wouldn't be very useful.

I'd be dubious if you claimed you had complete control over your thoughts. Even Jesus and Buddha didn't claim that.

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