Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Why no child is safe from the sinister cult of emo | the Daily Mail

Am I the only one who read that as "Elmo" as in Tickle-Me Elmo?

Good. Glad you're coming along with me on that.

Here's the link to the overly dramatic take:

Why no child is safe from the sinister cult of emo | the Daily Mail

Here's the callously insensitive one-line:

It's not a problem, it's a solution.

Here's the expounding:

Modern life, especially here in the western nations, tends to get a bit depersonalized and de-intellectualized. Efficiency demands that things be already worked out and require not a lot of thought. You're not encouraged to feel very emotional over a trip to the store for lettuce.

So we don't think. We don't feel. Not nearly as much and as healthily as we should. There's not a lot of catharsis and the detritus of more moments than we can remember piles up like old sneakers by the door we've replaced and never gotten around to throwing out.

We like feeling. We love to laugh, we even like to cry every so often. We need to. Emotion and logic are not remotely separate things to humans in our internal workings. People seemingly without emotion like robots still have emotions, just muted and distant. Still there though. Unavoidable. We're not computers, we're feelers. All we know or think we know is based on the sum total of states of our minds which are nothing if not ephemeral.

So charismatic movements can get people aboard because we like to feel and need to feel. Depends on the movement. Sometimes its a movement that makes us feel better about ourselves based on self-deception. Oh look at what a great person I am because I am in favor of electing people who will take money in taxes away from other people and give them to still other people. No, that's not charity as I've said before but it lets you go on feeling a little less powerless because otherwise you felt like anything you did directly out of your own pocket was a pointless gesture.

Self-deception is a psychological defense mechanism, perfectly natural, and it is a very big weakness that charismatic associations tend to count on in appealing to you. Sometimes it is ultimately not too bad a thing, like with most religious organizations. There's not a rabbi, priest, etc. who has not uttered bullshit that served the organization and not G-d. It's unavoidable because they're position holders in an organization of humans and such things come with their own affectations and aspect. One of them is to defend and serve themselves. Doesn't mean you can't have a rabbi or priest with a good heart or that most of them aren't good. To the contrary, on the  whole, they're excellent people as individuals, but as parts of a greater whole they cannot help but be saddled with the inherent limitations of the organization.

I don't care how many committees the Conservative movement has, you'll never adjust and fine tune it enough to make egalitarianism something other than a thing that individuals need to strive to practice amongst each other rather than an inherent mode. Sorry, but many have tried and all have failed and success was just never possible. G-d has a peculiar sense of humor in designing the universe to make certain things just plain logically impossible, even for Him. Something to do with free will I imagine. Maybe He needs people to have to think about the things they do, especially the good things as it's been quite correctly said that those things compelled have no value. Machines don't know chesed. Humans passing through a maze of rules don't express chesed. The human heart practices chesed.

Anyhow, emo, goth, etc. are a more or less non-hierarchical organization, very organic, but still an organization or association. You could say they were more or less a stand alone complex. A copycat phenomenon without an original. No founding angsty whiny teenager. Just a lot of like minded people.

Partly its because you know that even being human is to be part of an organization or association with its own affectations and aspects beyond your individual control. You have commonality with all the other monkeys running about. Yup. You too could be a Nazi, or a vegan, or Hare Krishna, or a gas stove repairman. Pretty much anything anyone else has the mental and emotional permutational capacity to be, so do you.

However as I mentioned before, only a little thing like a wrong turn can cause millions to die and as I keep reminding you life is what happens while you're making other plans.

Go back to the beginning where I mentioned that modern life and its efficiencies tend to lessen chances for feeling and thinking, letting your brain essentially get fat and lazy. Combine it with the other emotional effect of modernity which is to increase confusion, frustration, resentment, and generally anything else negative.

Now you present a young person with that world and give them exposure to emo and presto! A solution. While you were busy wondering what their GPA would be preparatory to sending them to college so you and the spouse could get it on more without them blundering past the bedroom door, they were looking for an outlet to gush those feelings all over and since society encourages negativity, they gush negative emotions.

Then again, people have a certain streak of positivity and need for it.

Emo gives some catharsis but not a relief. The KKK does too. Resenting other people getting help you're not getting and you need some? Join a group that will let you focus the resentment over the lack of attention on those getting it. Kind of like a support group for first born kids whose parents just had a baby. Why do they get all the attention and time and good stuff? It's just not fair.

First born here, been there, got the t-shirt, and it sucked. Glad I didn't have a cathartic organization though. Without an alternative, you're stuck.

Go look up the vanishing mediator. I'll wait.

Now look up the terms of Hegelian dialectic, which Hegel himself didn't use (much if at all, can't remember this minute), thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

Okay, now you see where this going. You get a vanishing mediator that leaves you behind stranded in limbo on the other side of that psycho-emotional chokepoint between thesis and antithesis with a dead-end synthesis.

Look around and you'll see plenty of places that happens. Sum them up as "wrong answers" if you like. Self-deception by way of being a lie of omission to yourself to make it easier to wrap yourself around it, but it's the same thing.

Emo isn't a cult of anyone but our needs and failure to provide for them for ourselves, and each other.

Why are people so hesitant to reach a hand out to a positive after choice? Something that links to the dead end synthesis and makes the other half of it like connecting two extension cords?

Well, holding on to good feelings and trippy love the world feelings isn't easy. Our lives tend to have more opportunities to result in pain than pleasure. Even sex as fantastic as it can be tends to introduce innumerable opportunities to hurt. Especially sex.

The problem isn't that we lack a follow-on to the cathartic carrier through that emotional blockage between two opposed states. The problem is we think we need one. We think there are answers. Concrete, easy as a pocket calculator answers.

There aren't and you can stop looking for them. Give up.

So you ask what you should do having given up. You have to die. You're wrong, you're misconstructed, you're in error. Like a robot that got programmed wrong, you need rebuilding.

This is the moment of realization that makes emo people and the like commit suicide. They mistake their body for them. Their mind is wholly separate. It's not your physicality that has to die, it's your psyche itself. You just have to let go, fall into the void, and rebuild yourself from the start all over again. In an instant, reconstruct all the links that make up you, seeing all the events as you did then through new eyes with new knowledge and honesty about yourself.

If you thought something completely other at every juncture throughout your life, all the way, the end result would be someone other than you.

I'm not saying you need to choose differently every time. Just modify it a bit. Retromod yourself. Rearrange the way you saw everything moving forward, change how you felt about it and assume differently. Assume positively. Realign your parts moving forward from the beginning to now. See all the good and fortunate things from then to now.

Then keep on seeing them moving forward. Your ID will still have your name and you'll still have a pulse and people will still recognize you, but you won't be you. You'll be another you. Maybe a you that you like better.

No one make someone change, but we can change ourselves. Sometimes so much we can cancel out all the emotional moments of breakage of continuity, the ones that felt like a total white-out. And when we do, we can feel better.

I do. I may get ranty and angry at times, but I am not the man I used to be. I did it and am still doing it. It's been said that since it's your life, you can remember it any way you want.

So, why do you remember it a way that makes you unhappy and frustrated?

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