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RiKD    United States. Mar 03 2018 03:55. Posts 4899
I just finished this book and it was ok. Basically, reconnect to people, meaningful work, meaningful values, do shrooms and meditate, overcome trauma, etc. A lot of what the book was saying is that the social constructs of our world create depression and anxiety. There is a reason we are depressed and anxious and it is because of the world around us. So, it's a tough one because a lot of this stuff is kind of far fetched. One guy was miserable working in a hierarchical bike shop so he started his own bike shop collective. Everyone was happier. Stories like that are great but not always transferrable. Things like avoiding advertising or just understanding that the chase for material goods and status may only bring more depression and anxiety. Another far fetched one was shroom therapy. I would love shroom therapy and I am actually going to ask my psychiatrist about it the next time I talk to her but I am not a good candidate because of my mania unfortunately (I asked my last psychiatrist). Just going out and buying a bunch of shrooms and tripping by myself doesn't seem to have the same therapeutic value as a trip led by an expert.

It actually isn't that easy (for me) to connect with people here. I have met some cool people in AA. The thing about AA is most of those folks believe that a God is controlling their will and they can manipulate that with prayer and are pretty adamant about it. It can be kind of tough to fit in at a deeper level when I hold pretty much atheist compatibilist views. We have so much more in common than that difference but it just seems like that difference is basically the foundation of AA. I can feel the depression and the anxiety coming on a little bit as I sleep more and my days consist mostly of going to work and isolating at home. Jiu jitsu cures all (except injuries accrued through jiu jitsu).

I am getting to know the people down there at the BJJ gym. It helps that it is a smaller gym. Sometimes I worry I am losing respect as a training partner because I am so bad. One guy said we should pick up the pace but he doesn't understand I may not have that pace in my repertoire. Eh, I mean it's all ego killing. Anytime I enter the mats I am vulnerable. My ego is going to be hurt in some way. I think it is good for me.

Overcoming addiction to the self. Sometimes I get the urge to write blogs like this. Just to kind of formulate my thoughts or whatever. Looking back the practice seems a little self-obsessed but I am really just trying to get through some things, maybe grow as a person, or figure something out. I don't know if it accomplishes that or anything. I am just trying to reconnect to what I can reconnect to. Depression and anxiety is no fun. Addiction is no fun.

In AA one of the parts of the "illness" is the "spiritual malady" which in the book they basically describe as a lack of God but from my experiences that malady is basically depression and anxiety. Alcohol is an anti-depressant for as long as it works but what we need is this reconnection that Johann Hari is talking about.

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Loco   Canada. Mar 03 2018 08:15. Posts 19228

"A lot of what the book was saying is that the social constructs of our world create depression and anxiety. There is a reason we are depressed and anxious and it is because of the world around us. So, it's a tough one because a lot of this stuff is kind of far fetched."

It's really not though. That's what I meant by structural problems and why I directed you to Roderick's lectures on post-modernism. It's just painfully obvious. Only a minority of people will thrive in highly individualistic consumer capitalism because only a few can dominate and never be dominated. Society is constructed to allow them to maintain their dominance and the rest of us have to suffer the consequences, whether we are aware of it or not. My entire family is separated, living in different towns, no one sees each other except once or twice a year. No one has close friends or common hobbies. It's all about money and "stuff". Distractions. When we do meet we don't have interesting conversations. In fact, I never had a single truly interesting conversation with anyone in real life in the last decade. That's hardly a world worth living in, y'know?

I noticed very early in life that the system sets us up to have completely miserably lives. I didn't want to follow in my parents footsteps, the family, the meaningless consumerism, the loneliness in old age. That's why I became a voracious reader. I became convinced early enough that most mental illness was psychosomatic, and again caused by a society structured on hierarchies of dominance and submission. Laborit's seminal work confirmed it. From that understanding, becoming psychotic is perfectly normal. It's the only escape route left for that person. You break from reality and into the world of imagination when you've been forced into a reality that has you stuck and unable to meet your needs.

On AA: "Obviously God was a solution, and obviously none so satisfactory that will ever be found again." - Cioran

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (Mencken)Last edit: 03/03/2018 08:38

RiKD    United States. Mar 04 2018 02:21. Posts 4899

I didn't mean the structural problems are far fetched. I meant some of the solutions to these structural problems seem far fetched. The structural problems are very real. I think one of the keys like you said is that only a few can dominate AND NEVER BE DOMINATED. Being an alpha baboon in a time of conflict is more stressful than anything. Maybe the individualistic hierarchical society is just what we are drawn to or scammed into believing through marketing or some combination of the two. There was a great story in the book about how this neighborhood banded together over something that started with an old woman leaving a suicide note on her window that she was going to kill herself because the rent was becoming too high and she didn't know what to do and didn't wish to live anymore. It started with people stopping by to see how she was doing to protests to everyone banding together and freezing rents and getting homeless people jobs and out of psych wards and making an entire neighborhood "home."

You have to get out more man. I had a truly interesting conversation on Thursday over lunch with a new hire that is an immigrant from Venezuela. Hearing her perspective on what it truly is like down there, why she left, how she left, what she went through and how it is living here is pretty fascinating stuff. I know what you mean though and the fact that there are not many interesting conversations out there is not motivation to seek them out. You kind of have to sit through a lot of bullshit to find the diamonds in the rough. Hell, I even thought a conversation today with a co-worker of him basically detailing his drinking and asking me if I thought he had a problem was interesting.

How do you plan on overcoming the loneliness of old age? The only thing I can ever come up with is suicide. Perhaps living in some sort of co-op like they have in Denmark would suffice.

I think we are in agreement that depression and anxiety and even psychosis is a symptom of the world we live in. I was never psychotic in my life until I was 30. Until I was in such a pressure cooker. I went head to head with the alpha in the region for business and lost. My goal was to be the president of the company and live in a penthouse in the nicest area of downtown Chicago. I filled my apartment up with stuff. Nothing seemed to be working except the alcohol. I may not even need my meds. Just reconnection as Hari talks about.


Loco   Canada. Mar 04 2018 03:10. Posts 19228

I don't know if I have to "get out more" as some kind of willpower program. I manage pretty well all things considered. I want to meet people out of excitement otherwise it seems utterly pointless to me. I have plenty to stay busy with and which I'd prefer doing than listening to other people's bs. I've tried to find some interesting meetups but so far have come up empty. I'm considering trying one of those where people play table top games. I think that could be pretty cool. I don't expect to have great conversations there though.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (Mencken) 

RiKD    United States. Mar 04 2018 04:12. Posts 4899

I don't have a solution. The only way to meet people is to get out more. One has to feel that that is the right thing to do though. I mean you can just go to the same few bars all the time and eventually meet people. The quality of those interactions is up for debate. You said it about being excited to meet people and having stuff to do already. It kind of puts you in a good spot imo. You won't be putting too much stock into any one interaction or you won't care as much. That could be a good thing and a bad thing.


So, I was watching Planet Earth and re: family. The urge to procreate seems so strong. How ingrained is having status, having shiny things, and reproducing? Rationality can overcome but can it overcome a culture identity of status, shiny things, and reproduction? That is what we are indoctrinated with and marketed both. It seems like extremely powerful strings. Years of biology and years of marketing. How can we break the code? I have taken the risk. I have given up shiny things. I don't wish to reproduce. I still think I crave status in some form of social sphere. I want to be respected amongst friends and co-workers. I have basically chosen to be the "coolest" like eclectic dude that doesn't care about status or shiny things but in a way that is caring? That is when my ego pipes up. Most of the time I just want to be. I want to be a part of shroom therapy. I want to inhale a full volcano bag of chronic chronic shit and watch more Planet Earth. But, fuck Planet Earth. I want to be in nature, not watch it on my fucking tv in my fucking biomechanically fucking me over chair. But, I just want my ego to go away and to see things more clearly. I used to be one foot in the status, shiny things camp and one foot out. Now I feel like I am mostly out but I dip my toes in every now and again and get caught. I really don't know where I fit in in Charleston. I dream of "bigger and better" things: Asheville, NC, Costa Rica, Chile, Hawaii, Colorado. I know I said this feels like a good base for what I need to do and then I got injured in BJJ and I haven't exercised in over a week and it feels I am just working and passing the time. Oh well, it's on me. The injury doesn't impede going for a run.

 Last edit: 04/03/2018 15:38

Stroggoz   New Zealand. Mar 05 2018 07:09. Posts 3983

If your a voracious reader and find those books you read interesting, then you will probably find the authors interesting enough to have an intellectual conversation with them. Why not reach out to them? Assuming they havnt been dead for 200 years. Better yet you could stalk phd candidates with similar interests and ask them, since they typically actually have more free time and are similar age.

I'f you've read so much why not try writing a thesis or dissertation about a topic your interested in and see if anyone likes it? That is what im gona do after i have enough money from poker to semi retire.

I was GTO in 2007 -wobbly_auLast edit: 05/03/2018 07:19

RiKD    United States. Mar 05 2018 17:05. Posts 4899

That's what I have said in the past. I am sure there are enough PhD candidates in Montreal that it might not be too weird to seek them out. Find out when they have office hours or the professors and drop in and see what happens? Ask them out for a coffee, lunch, or drink and see what happens? It's kind of a new level of putting yourself out there but it may be worth a shot who knows.

I would read a Loco thesis or dissertation.

I don't know enough about you Stroggoz. Depending on the topic I would read a Stroggoz thesis or dissertation.


cariadon   Estonia. Mar 05 2018 17:38. Posts 4005

When i used to lose connection with the old 56.6K modem what i would try and do is reconnect.


Stroggoz   New Zealand. Mar 05 2018 17:49. Posts 3983

my research topic that im interested in further exploring is on universal moral grammar theory, it approaches understanding moral judgement drawing on methodology done in linguistics over the past half a century. I Havn't found any experiments to conduct yet and not too sure what i could discover at this point, with no lab and only my mind. Plus im full time poker atm so it's on hold.

There are about 5-10 philosophers or cognitive psychologists who work on this topic and john mikhail has done the best work, which can be summarized in his book 'elements of moral cognition'. Noam chomsky had a side interest in this topic but never wrote on it, and most of the experiments on this topic were done at harvard/MIT in the 1990's and 2000s.

I wouldn't go to a professors office hours, just send them an email with your work, and see if they find it interesting. Most likely even if they find it interesting they will be very busy so prob wont respond. I have often got zero response. That's why i'd go for phd students with similar interests, and they are younger and have more passion usually. They arn't focused on doing mundane lectures and repsonding to 100's of emails every day.

I was GTO in 2007 -wobbly_auLast edit: 05/03/2018 20:31

Loco   Canada. Mar 05 2018 23:02. Posts 19228


  On March 05 2018 06:09 Stroggoz wrote:
If your a voracious reader and find those books you read interesting, then you will probably find the authors interesting enough to have an intellectual conversation with them. Why not reach out to them? Assuming they havnt been dead for 200 years. Better yet you could stalk phd candidates with similar interests and ask them, since they typically actually have more free time and are similar age.

I'f you've read so much why not try writing a thesis or dissertation about a topic your interested in and see if anyone likes it? That is what im gona do after i have enough money from poker to semi retire.



Quite simply because I'm too eclectic for that. In the world we live in, you have no chance of producing a thesis people would be interested in unless you are hyperspecialized. What I'm really interested in is studying different levels of organization and developing a global perspective. I don't know a lot about one field of study in particular, I'm always jumping from one to the other. I suspect over time my interests will become slightly less broad but still not be narrow enough to contribute to a field.

I've contacted a few scholars in the past to ask them questions about their work but I never felt the need to try to have a conversation with them. It would be too one-sided at this point. I'm still just in sponge-mode, I don't have any great insights/challenges for them, I'm content with sitting back and learning as much as I can.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (Mencken)Last edit: 05/03/2018 23:18

Stroggoz   New Zealand. Mar 06 2018 05:05. Posts 3983

what is 'different levels of organization and developing a global perspective'? Whats the actual topic? If it's highly inter-disciplinary work perhaps you can translate it to the layman and write about it on the internet. I'm no friend of the specialization because it enforces a disconnect between academia and the public and results in this kind of atomization of society your talking about.

I feel like there are a lot more people that feel isolated in our society than one realizes, by isolated i mean specifically from consumerist and highly individualistic selfish culture. You can see the evidence in things like OWS. So perhaps reaching out to scholars might be ineffective but you can reach out to other people your own age, and talk to them about politics and stuff. I mean people are hungry to hear what people like chomsky and other scholars giving articulate criticisms of capitalism are talking about it, and they ask to talk to him every day. So there is that.

I was GTO in 2007 -wobbly_auLast edit: 06/03/2018 05:05

Loco   Canada. Mar 06 2018 10:15. Posts 19228

The broad discipline is systems theory and more specifically the study of complex systems. A background in philosophy is also necessary.

Levels or organization in biology (short read): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_organisation#Levels
In biology and philosophy (in depth read): https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/levels-org-biology/

"Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, social and economic organizations (like cities), an ecosystem, a living cell, and ultimately the entire universe." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_system

Basically trying to understand how all systems work at every level and how they relate to or encompass each other. Systems thinking is considered interdisciplinary work, but because the work I'm studying doesn't just involve transfer of methods from one discipline to the other, it's more appropriately considered trandisciplinary. "Transdisciplinarity concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond each individual discipline. Its goal is the understanding of the present world, of which one of the imperatives is the overarching unity of knowledge."

So, broadly speaking, I've been studying physics, biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, politics, philosophy (philosophy of science, ethics and epistemology for the most part) and I'm also strongly interested in media ecology, literature, music and poetry. I'm just starting to dip my toes into economics and history which are my big holes. Linguistics will come later. I'm not picking and choosing willy-nilly from these disciplines, I'm studying them through this philosophical/systems perspective and there's only a few thinkers who specialized in those fields and who were philosophers and systems thinkers as well, so I am studying them and the scientists they are drawing from. One person in particular, Edgar Morin, has done the greatest job of synthesizing all of this work and building upon it. His magnum opus, "Method" (6 volumes) is my main guide and influence. I only know one professional Morin scholar who teaches in my province. Morin is famous in various parts of Europe and Latin America but he is not well known here in Quebec, so I can't get a reading group going or anything like that which sucks.

I could reach out to talk to people about politics and I'm sure I could learn quite a bit but we have such a different background that soon enough that relationship would exhaust itself. What I'd like to participate in is a kind of monthly open discussion in a circle with people that have different specializations but also something that unites all of them (for me that would ideally be a certain non-conforming/revolutionary spirit and a genuine desire to exchange and learn). Unfortunately non-conformists and revolutionaries tend to be polarized between extremely well read (and therefore too busy to do this kind of thing) or not very well read at all in my experience. If I had the financial means I would probably try to set up something like this at some point.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (Mencken)Last edit: 06/03/2018 10:30

Stroggoz   New Zealand. Mar 06 2018 17:51. Posts 3983

cool, i've never ventured into that topic. It sounds very complex but an interesting perspective of how to study the natural world for sure.

I had a friend i'd talk to about in politics every week over lunch and eventually I started inviting people from my class and graduate students in the philosophy department to try introduce them to perspectives on politics from the radical left. I was initially afraid that people would see me as a lunatic, but people liked my presentations although I think a lot of people didn't quite get it.

I was GTO in 2007 -wobbly_au 

 





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