Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity 2013-09-22T20:53:45.605Z · score: 16 (17 votes)


Comment by ilikelogic on Would Your Real Preferences Please Stand Up? · 2016-01-29T20:47:35.027Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Often in psychotherapy a person's goal is to resolve a conflict between the unconscious mind and the conscious mind in favor of the conscious mind. You may hear it called an irrational unconscious belief. Someone may unconsciously feel unworthy of respect and acceptance but they consciously believe that this is irrational. What is interesting is that psychotherapy can work exactly as desired if the logic of the unconscious belief can be made fully conscious. It will not happen through mere deduction however. It has to be done by consciously accepting the feeling that results from the unconscious belief and embracing it. Then the unconscious logic can be clarified. The conscious mind has resources to test the veracity and validity of unconscious beliefs. The unconscious itself cannot do this. So an unconscious belief will usually remain unchanged even if one is aware that it is problematic. It is the psychological equivalent of debugging faulty code. The code will not change just because the user is frustrated by it. It will only change if a programmer edits it and runs the edited version in place of the faulty version. That is the major obstacle in psychotherapy. It is getting the code into the editor, so to speak. The logical flaws in irrational unconscious beliefs are not difficult to see. They are usually obvious. What is difficult is getting them clear in consciousness. It doesn't happen naturally. That is why things like mindfulness and Gendlin's Focusing are considered very useful by many psychotherapists. The real obstacle is the making conscious of the implicit unconscious beliefs.

Comment by ilikelogic on Conservation of Expected Evidence · 2016-01-03T19:26:35.653Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can someone tell me if I understand this correctly : He is saying that we must be clear before hand what constitutes evidence for and what constitutes evidence against and what doesn't constitute evidence either way?

Because in his examples it seems that what is being changed is what counts as evidence. It seems that no matter what transpires (in the witch trials for example) it is counted as evidence for. This is not the same as changing the hypothesis to fit the facts. The hypothesis was always 'she's a witch'. Then the evidence is interpreted as supportive of the hypothesis no matter what.

Comment by ilikelogic on How to Avoid the Conflict Between Feminism and Evolutionary Psychology? · 2015-12-10T03:47:05.056Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He's a jaded cynic. He's also the most insightful and intelligent PUA writing in the blogosphere. But don't forget how cynical he is.

Comment by ilikelogic on Making Fun of Things is Easy · 2013-09-28T00:02:52.352Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I find it can be really irritating to try to make any kind of point about anything with certain people. To some there is no point in talking other than to yuk it up. I guess you just have to know your audience.

Comment by ilikelogic on Why aren't there more forum-blogs like LW? · 2013-09-27T21:51:08.042Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW blogs are like that. The main people write the main blog posts but anyone can post 'fanshots' (really short posts) or 'fanposts' (longer posts) and if the blog bosses think a fanpost is really good they can move it to the main section.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-27T21:23:43.463Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like this :

A hostile environment can increase the pain, which makes the fear reaction stronger. You get 1 unit of pain from the rejection, and perhaps 10 units of pain from people who keep mocking you for weeks. So your memory associates the event with 11 units of pain, instead of 1. This alone is enough to explain why the situation is worse.

I am suggesting that it may work a lot like this but a little bit differently. The main difference is that I'm suggesting that there is something uniquely painful and harmful about, not the mocking that follows the expression per se, but the inhibited expression of the pain that happens because of the mocking (the inhibited expression of the pain of the original insult but I suppose expression of the additional pain caused by the mocking itself will also be inhibited). Our emotions are functional. We do not have them just to make us miserable or to make us happy. They serve an evolutionary function ( is there any other kind of function in living things?). So my idea here is that when a person, (or animal for that matter) is prevented from expressing an emotion it is uniquely damaging, much more so than whatever damage the event would do if they could express it.

I heard a guest on a psychology podcast that I listen to ( #321) describe how a facial tic that he'd had all his life went away after re-experiencing a car accident that he'd been in when he was a child. He hadn't connected the tic to the car accident but after re-experiencing it he understood it as a continual triggering of his initial attempt at a defensive reaction. The tic was on the same side of his face from which the other car had hit the car he was in. He believes that once he was allowed to complete his natural defensive reaction the tic went away. The reaction had been triggered over and over and over in his life but had never been allowed to complete. In one session, where he allowed it to run its course, it was gone forever and he hasn't had it since. So what is happening there? He hasn't gone out in a buch of car rides to desensitize himself. In fact in his life since the accident he'd probably ridden and/or driven cars thousands of times and it had no effect on the tic. Simple behavioral learning theory doesn't explain this. There is more going here. Something about not completing the natural reaction to the situation created a recurring problem.

I'm not exactly sure what is going on in a case like this but I'd be curious to hear anyone's theories.

I want to add that I think, and this may be obvious, that this also applies to entirely emotional reactions. I don't see any reason why emotional reactions would be subject to different rules than physical protective reactions.

Comment by ilikelogic on Ketogenic Soylent · 2013-09-27T01:32:13.247Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Have you tried it yet?

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-27T00:28:20.268Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree. But what is causing the fear? By that I mean precisely how does this fear work? I'm not sure habit is the correct word. I think it's a learned emotional response that has become automatic. So can it be unlearned? My supposition is that expressing the pain from the original rejection in an environment where the full expression of that pain can run it's natural course, will extinguish the fear. The problem would be solved. This is a big difference from a habit. Its being driven by an automatic emotional response that was acquired by a painful emotional experience (or many of them). If that emotional experience can be fully processed the emotional reaction will cease and it will not drive the behavior. I see your point about the fear conditioning the behavior. But I don't really see that as a problem once the fear is gone. The reason is that a person will not stop wanting to engage in life. Those desires will always be there. So once the fear is gone the person will jump at the opportunity to engage with people. The habit of avoidance will not overpower this inclination once the fear that was driving it is gone.

But will expressing the original pain in this way really extinguish the fear? The idea behind re-consolidation is that a disconfirming event must take place in a window of time after an emotion is activated in order to extinguish it. If a big part of the fear is not just the pain of rejection but also fear of expressing the pain, then expressing the pain in a supportive environment will extinguish the fear of expressing the pain. That will leave the pain of the rejection itself but that can also be extinguished if something disconfirms whatever the rejection was based on. If the basis of the rejection can't be disconfirmed the person will still be better off. Rejection does happen and it does hurt. A healthy fear of rejection is ok up to a point. Not if it leaves a person isolated or afraid to take chances but maybe it's the case that when the pain of rejection can be freely expressed in a supportive environment then it's not THAT scary.

Comment by ilikelogic on Intellectual insularity and productivity · 2013-09-25T00:43:18.355Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It just occurred to me in the other thread that he may have meant it more in the photographic sense of focusing a lens on an image until it becomes clear rather than in the conventional sense of concentrating.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T20:01:12.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The purpose is to elucidate the feeling in more detail. Our feelings become automatic and don't require conscious appraisal. Often, a clear conscious appreciation of exactly what our feelings are, doesn't exist. The feeling can be there but there may not be a conscious understanding of exactly what it is and what it is for.

There is an assumption implied by this whole post that, at least sometimes, our feelings are not appropriate to the situation. Why would I want to get rid of an emotional reaction that is entirely appropriate? If it is serving me well then I would want to keep it. So, yes, there is an assumption that the feelings in question, the ones that I want to be rid of, are not appropriate. Bringing a feeling into clear conscious focus can sometimes make it immediately obvious that that feeling is not needed anymore, at which point it will vanish. That is the point of focusing. A public speaking fear, such as you describe, would certainly not go unnoticed. But that doesn't mean that the person is fully aware, in detail, of what they are afraid of and why. But focusing can bring that awareness. And often the fear is unreasonable and will vanish when that is realized. But if the feeling is not brought into clearer focus this will not happen. I want to emphasize this point. You can make a very rational airtight argument to yourself that it is irrational and unnecessary to be insecure in that situation. If you haven't brought a clear picture of the fear into conscious awareness it will not turn off the fear. But if you do bring that clear, detailed picture of the fear and its reasons, and you realize that the reasons are not valid, the fear will vanish. But you have to get that clear picture first or you can't change it. That is the point of it. The feelings may be irrational but they will not change unless they are brought into clear conscious focus. Perhaps that is why it is called 'focusing'. The name seems to work better as an analogy to focusing a camera on some particular area than in the common every day sense of 'focus' meaning to concentrate.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T16:19:46.363Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No, that's it too. You keep looking for words to decribe it and check whether they fit. In another book you are supposed to ask the feeling (which to me is goofy) what its about and see what comes. The release of tension happens when you get the description to match the feeling.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T05:00:44.504Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've done a very little bit of insight meditation and a fair amount of focusing and they are very similar. I'd say the biggest differences are 1) focusing is not as wide open. You are trying to 'work on' some troublesome feeling and 2) while you do stay detached somewhat from the feeling and are an observer, you don't just let if float away. You have an interest in it and you stay with it. You are supposed to ask it ( I hate that anthropomorphizing of it but that's what they say) what it wants and stuff like that until you get a 'shift' where you have a sort of epiphany which is marked by an unmistakable release of tension. It really does feel an awful lot like mindfulness meditation.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T04:48:29.390Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm considering therapy. I was in therapy for several years many years ago. Not primal therapy. I tried doing that on my own, with some transient success as I said in the post. The more conventional therapy had its moments too but ultimately it was a disappointment. I was still insecure after several years. But these new feeling-centered experiential therapies have become more and more popular the last few years. They've actually only come onto my radar in the last four months. I had pretty much given up on the project but was encouraged again when I came across them and started reading about them. It's in reading about them that I realize that they've been gaining in popularity. It probably has a lot to do with neuroscience findings being more supportive of them than of heavily cognitive therapies.

And, the neuroscience findings support your assertion that empathy will do more than intellectual rigor (check out 'The Polyvagal Theory' by Stephen Porges - I'm slogging through it now - its very technical but so far very fascinating). But I have to defend myself on that. I didn't mean intellectual rigor in the process of working out these problems. I meant intellectual rigor in figuring out what is the best way to go about working out these problems. And if the rational analysis suggests that an empathetic relationship is the way, well, then that's the way.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T04:37:04.092Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree. I am 'mis-calibrated' to put it one way. I'm sure these reactions were, at one time, adaptive. Considering your examples the interesting phenomenon is that they can persist long after they have ceased to be adaptive. But it seems that a particular type of experience can eradicate them. A logical argument that they are no longer adaptive, convincing as it may be doesn't seem sufficient to accomplish the feat. I agree that the learned emotional reactions that are sapping the joy from life were most likely adaptive at one point. But they don't just go away on their own once they cease to be adaptive and they don't even go away once you start to believe that they are maladaptive. But, the theory I'm operating under right now is that a particular type of experience, not an argument (although an argument can be a part of it) can unlearn them. Obviously I have not accomplished this yet. So, yes, I agree I am mis-calibrated. I need to re-calibate. I have to figure out how to do it.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T04:17:47.106Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There may be some descriptions on Art Janov's blog:

I just want to reiterate that I don't find his theory very coherent or well stated. Its just that, again, I have a strong intuitive sense that we have an evolutionarily derived capacity to heal from the types of experiences or 'primals' that he tries to elicit.So please don't come back and tell me how goofy his theory is - I know it already. I think you have to read him generously.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T04:08:16.526Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

By insecurity I just mean it in the everyday sense of someone worrying a lot about how other people feel towards them and being afraid of being rejected, excluded, ostracized etc.. I suppose it was not quite correct to say that inhibition of feelings of disappointment/loss is what insecurity is. I think its more that's what causes someone to be insecure. My thinking on this is that if someone is not afraid to feel disappointment or loss they won't be insecure. Let me distinguish between loss itself and the feelings that result from it. Loss is always undesirable and its normal and inevitable to fear loss. What I'm suggesting is that it is not inevitable to fear the feelings that result from loss after the loss is incurred. We didn't evolve the feeling of sadness (really I should switch to sadness from here on to avoid confusion) to deal with loss to make ourselves worse off. I think the evolutionary design is to fear loss but not to fear the resulting sadness. I believe that the sadness has a restorative function. I should read up on the best evolutionary theories on the actual function of sadness but for here its enough to say that it is serving a positive purpose and its not in our nature to be averse to our own feelings. But if someone has developed a fear of sadness, perhaps because it was not met with the comforting that it is probably designed by evolution to elicit but rather with some negative reaction, a person can develop a fear of sadness. The idea is that they then may come to not only fear rejection but to fear the sadness that comes with it. My hunch here is that if they don't develop this fear then they will not be insecure. They'll fear the negative outcome but not so much that they are unwilling to take the risk. That's the idea I'm getting at.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T03:50:08.083Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like those techniques and I've used variations of them myself in the past. They can definitely make the worry vanish if you hit the right note. I'm really after something more though. I've got this idea that the worries in the first place are the result of learned automatic emotional responses that can be unlearned. I'm not trying to force this idea on anyone but the desire to discuss this possibility is what motivated this post. If a particular worry is the result of a learned automatic emotional response and that response can be unlearned then they won't have to do any of those things. Not that those aren't good techniqes - they are.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T03:44:00.382Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think the question is why someone is a perfectionist in the first place. I think the answer is that the perfectionist is afraid to be less than perfect because he is already afraid that he won't be accepted. And I think that he is afraid that he won't be accepted because he has been rejected in the past and never really 'got over it'. What exactly it means to 'get over it' needs to be expanded but I do think we have an innate process for 'getting over it'.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T03:36:46.090Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm actually not a big fan of the positive psychology movement which takes the emphasis off of mental illness and pathology and places it on psychological health and flourishing. I think they mostly had it right in the first place. I think that feeling good is mostly about not feeling bad.

I suspect the difference between security and insecurity is basically expected value of acting-

I suppose some calculation like this is going on unconsciously but I think a large part of figuring the expected value is quick comparisons of the current situation to past situations, especially to see whether it resembles any past situations that resulted in painful outcome. Implicit emotional memory isn't very analytical.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T02:07:46.248Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When one's insecurity centers around self-esteem / self-image, the defense mechanism is to try to avoid admitting certain things about yourself to yourself which might contradict a proud self-image. It's a form of self-deception, similar to belief in belief

This may be correct. However my supposition is that it keeps one from resolving the problem. It keeps one from potentially unlearning the emotional response. It may be, and I'm hypothesizing here, that it takes a fully uninhibited experience of the fear to unlearn it. That is what I'm suggesting. It may not be so, however.

The idea behind these therapies is that we do indeed do something very similar to what you've described (hide our insecurity from ourself), maybe exactly what you've described and eventually it becomes habitual and automatic but to effectively unlearn the emotional response we have to somehow not react to it that way and then have a disconfirming experience.

The types of insecurities that don't involve self-deception are probably well-founded. I don't think it would be desirable to be without the well-founded and reasonable insecurities. But they are probably not the ones that sap the joy from life as much.

Also, another possibility for why we form a habitual reaction to a feeling that is different than a straightforward expression of it is that a straightforward expression of the feeling may have had a very painful result. It may be self-deception or it may be self-protection. The motive may have been to avoid the kind of reaction from others that was so painful rather than an effort to avoid signalling an undesirable trait.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T01:47:21.653Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not a fan of congitive therapy. I tried it for a while and it worked ok at times but I believe that it is impractical in the long run. Its using your cognitive mind to 'fight' against conditioned emotional responses. It can work as long as you spend a lot of cognitive effort on the cause. Eventually I grew tired of the effort and it wasn't really all that effective. My goal is to discover how to decondition the learned emotional responses.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-24T01:44:49.802Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. Activation is the key. The synapses that code the learned emotional responses have a period after which they have been activated during which they can be changed. If no disconfirming or contradictory experience takes place they will be re-consolidated. But if a disconfirm experience takes place in that window they will not. That is the theory and there is some good animal research to support it.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-22T21:32:01.057Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Does that look right? There is no font selection in the editor. I just had to remove it completely and paste it in again from my text editor. The editor is not exactly commercial word-processor level.

Comment by ilikelogic on Hoping to start a discussion about overcoming insecurity · 2013-09-22T21:08:48.160Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No problem. I have to figure it out 1st though. Give me a few minutes.

Comment by ilikelogic on [LINK] Behind the Shock Machine: book reexamining Milgram obedience experiments · 2013-09-21T18:19:21.351Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree it is an interesting result but it isn't really the way the study has been portrayed. The takeaway, before hearing about this, was that anyone with power will start to abuse it, on their own, if just left to their own devices. But this is not, it now seems, what really happened in the Zimbardo prison guard experiments. So just like with the Milgram shock experiments, important information was missing causing the results to imply a more negative picture of human nature.

Comment by ilikelogic on Instinctive Frequentists, the Outside View, and de-Biasing · 2013-09-21T18:12:56.351Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think that conveying more information, such as with the statement "Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement" subtly suggests a greater familiarity with or knowledge of the subject (in this case Linda) and so seems more authoritative. I believe that is what is happening here. If you included even more information it would create that impression even more strongly. For example "Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement and she is dating Fred and lives near the train station and her phone number is 555-3213" sounds like its her best friend talking and who knows more about Linda? Her best friend or someone who only knows that she is a bank teller? I think the extra information pulls on an intuition that someone who knows a lot about something is very familiar with it and likely to be correct.

Comment by ilikelogic on [LINK] Behind the Shock Machine: book reexamining Milgram obedience experiments · 2013-09-20T02:39:43.325Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In an episode of the Freakonomics podcast they talked about similar skepticism about Phillip Zimbardo's Stanford prison guard experiments. The 'guards' felt subtly encouraged to become abusive to the 'prisoners'.

Comment by ilikelogic on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-08-11T07:14:24.199Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Pratchett and Gaiman co-authored a book called 'Good Omens'. I highly recommend it.

Comment by ilikelogic on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-08-11T06:14:01.945Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I follow sabermetrics and its children. I was really into Bill James back in the day and still had a subscription to (this post is half-drunk so excuse typos please). My 2 favorie sports are hockey and baseball. Baseball analytics made its biggest advances years ago - now it seems like they are just refining but hockey is in the initial stages. I've been into possession stats for hockey more than any baseball stats for the past couple of years although I still wander on to baseballprospectus and fangraphs and read some of the posts every 2 or 3 weeks.. I'm not a big hoops fan but I really like the advanced stats they have and footballoutsiders is great too although I havent really gone into depth there. I'm also interested in the performance stuff. I .listen to superhumanradio regularly. He has really good interviews with scientists on a regular basis.

Comment by ilikelogic on Open thread, July 29-August 4, 2013 · 2013-08-10T16:36:51.202Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's an interesting thought. Maybe I do think that it is better to make everyone a little bit worse off materially to make the distribution more equal. I don't think this is pathological. In somewhat of a paradox what matters most to absolute well-being is our relative material wealth not our absolute wealth. Now, of course, when looked at as a ranking nothing can be done about the fact that some will have more wealth than others. Nothing short of trying to make everyone equal (and no one wants that). But the ranking is not the only thing that matters. There has always been a distribution of wealth but the those at the top have not always had so much more than the median. Making everyone a little worse off materially to make the distribution a bit narrower may make the absolute well-being greater.

Also I wonder if right wingers would support a distributionist policy to help the poor and oppressed even if such a policy were certain to be effective. My hunch is that they would not because they are opposed, in principle, to any redistribution.

Comment by ilikelogic on Interesting new Pew Research study on American opinions about radical life extension · 2013-08-10T02:13:26.568Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was just about to say almost the same thing but I decided I'd check the other replies to see if anyone else had already said it. Just to emphasize and agree with you - I think most people imagine the 1st scenario when they are answering these questions. Its just too hard for people to imagine 40yr olds that are like 30yr olds, 60yr olds that are like 45yr olds, 80yr olds that are like 60yr olds etc... That is not what I think they are imagining when they are answering.

Comment by ilikelogic on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-08-10T02:01:15.250Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hi. I'm a 42yr old male, from the US and I've been aware of LessWrong for a few years now, stumbling across links to posts on LessWrong here and there in my web surfing travels. I've always been more or less a rationalist. I've been a self-identified atheist since high school. I've been a fan of Daniel Dennett for many years. I read 'Consciousness Explained' when it first came out many years ago and I've kept up reading interesting philosophy and science books since then. I've always enjoyed books that made sense out of previously mysterious phenomena. My feedly list has hundreds of blogs mostly in nutrition/psychology/economics and some sports (I'm a big sports fan, but prefer an analytical approach to that as well). In essence I'm the type of guy who likes this stuff.

I remember reading on here a few years ago some posts about a rationalist approach to self-help. I'm especially interested in that. I've always been an anxious and insecure person and if I can solve that problem the quality of my life will skyrocket. Having spent a fair amount of time reading the comment threads at LessWrong I'm pretty optimistic that I can find some folks here who are interested in discussing these things in the same way that I am. Frankly I take a much more reductionist approach to personal problems than most others and this seems like a place where I may find some people who may think similarly. Barring that I think I'll just enjoy reading and commenting here every so often.

Comment by ilikelogic on Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature · 2013-08-09T06:12:20.942Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This post reminds me of ADHD. Here is a quote from a 2009 Washington Post article :

According to the theory, the trouble is a lack of motivation as well as a deficit of attention: People with the disorder can't generate the same degree of enthusiasm as other people for activities they don't automatically find appealing.

ADHD has long been assumed to have something to do with low dopamine. So perhaps something to raise dopamine levels would be helpful. Some people claim that taking L-tyrosine, a dopamine precursor, can raise dopamine levels and help people pay attention to things that would otherwise not hold their attention.

Comment by ilikelogic on Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts · 2013-08-09T05:34:17.902Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've never attempted a commitment contract but I don't really care for them in principle. I don't really want to find a way to force myself to do things that I don't want to do. What I really want much more than that is to figure out how to become comfortable doing the things that I'm not comfortable doing.

To take your example, if you are uncomfortable socially it is because you have an underlying belief that these social situations could be very harmful or painful for you. That belief is most likely due to stuff that really did happen to you. You probably were rejected in your past and it was painful. I think the answer is not to find a way to force yourself to interact despite the fear but rather to find a way to reassure yourself so that you can interact without forcing yourself through fear. To add one more thing, I don't think it should be anyone's goal to be impervious to the pain of rejection. Rather I think its better to aspire to be someone who is confident that they can bear rejection and bounce back from it and learn from it. It is supposed to be painful but it should not be so painful that you become paralyzed with fear forever more. I have much more to say about it but this is a pretty good summary of my feelings on the matter.

Comment by ilikelogic on How to Be Happy · 2013-07-24T21:05:15.687Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a proponent of introspection. That's how you figure out what is really going on with yourself. Psychotherapy may be helpful in your case as you may need someone to call your attention to self-deception. We are all guilty of it so dont take that as a criticism. I'm not sure exactly why your introspection is not bearing any fruit. If you are brave and honest with yourself but also forgiving and understanding with yourself your introspection should lead to greater self-understanding and a clear picture of where you are and how you got there. I hope that helps.

Comment by ilikelogic on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism · 2013-07-21T15:32:34.117Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think maybe I'd prefer to maximize my personal satisfaction in my charitable efforts. The knowledge that I may do more good some other way won't substitute for the charitable action that will leave me feeling most satisfied based on my normal human emotions, irrational though they may be.

Comment by ilikelogic on Writing Style and the Typical Mind Fallacy · 2013-07-21T14:59:13.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree, I think a good writer has a sense when a particular part of his argument is tricky or more difficult to grasp so he may add additional explanations or examples even though he has already made the point.

Comment by ilikelogic on Writing Style and the Typical Mind Fallacy · 2013-07-21T14:52:37.674Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Personally I usually prefer your style, mostly, I think, because I am impatient. I want to know what the writer's point is right away and then I like to get right into his supporting arguments so I can determine whether he's made the case well enough to convince me. There are other times, when I'm more more relaxed and have more time when I may enjoy his style but they are the exception.