proxy of happiness

We rightfully jump on people who say happiness is a choice.  This is because often what they mean is watering down the definition of happiness to accommodate being able to produce it on cue.  Maybe to slow burn contentment.  But what I think they are getting at is the idea that happiness is a learned response which I highly agree with.  It’s Pavlovian.  You are given a life script that you are prompted to follow by the prevailing myths of the culture along with social pressure.  For example the idea that an SO can make you happy.  I was never happier than when I was with the girl I liked.  That relationship ended but it taught me about happiness.  Modern psychology tells us that happiness is up to us, but I think it’s something we fall into when we are doing what we believe society wants us to do.

The flip side of this is when things go wrong in relationships we suffer doubly because now we have lost our proxy of happiness and our culture is expecting us to perform a certain rhythm of happiness that involves another willing partner.  But we can’t find that partner or that feeling any more.  So we take a hard look at our life script and say maybe we should decouple happiness from being in a relationship, but it’s so ingrained in us most of us have to learn the hard way by going through a messy divorce.

Redpill and Modern Psychology

Redpill is basically the main gateway to the Alt Right.  Men disaffected by the dating scene join online communities where they vent about their woes with modern women.  The mainstream media dismisses them but I wouldn’t be so quick to.  A lot of what they say is true:

Status is the most important thing.  In fact if you google that phrase you immediately get a result from the Redpill subreddit.  The “you do you” Diet Coke ads have a women as a pitch person for a reason.  Because women are punished less for expressing them self in unique ways.  Men on the other hand know it’s all about money, power, and status (even in our physical appearance less variation is tolerated). For men it’s a double whammy because we lose the ability to have guy friends as well as girl friends when we’re low status (I’d ask my closest friend from college if this were true but he wouldn’t write back because I’m too low status).

Individual virtue is the most important thing.  It’s strange that you would have to go to what is branded a hate group to find this.  Admittedly these disaffected men are saying it is women’s virtue that is the most important thing while ignoring their own lack of it.  Liberal tropes about humans being able to be educated into good just don’t work in modern society (if they ever did).

Marriage is a raw deal for men with money.  This is because women get the money whether they stay or go.  This gives them no incentive to stay when things aren’t going well.  Women won’t marry men who make a lot less money than them because they wise up when the shoe is on the other foot.

Modern psychology offers men very little.  Most men don’t want to sit in a room drinking bad coffee talking about their feelings.  Even a lot of the issues they have can’t be helped by therapy.  If your depression is connected to you being a total loser, paying someone you can’t afford to tell you you aren’t isn’t going to work.  A lot of the thinking patterns that under gird depression such as black and white thinking are logical responses to what is happening around them.  You either get the job or you don’t, the girl calls back or she doesn’t, the project gets uptake or it doesn’t.   This can be most clearly in the bull shit advice women give men, like “believe in yourself” and the like.  This is because it works for them, because women have value in and of them selves where men’s value comes only to their connection to potential or actual wealth (haha modern psychology would disagree with me but I’m right and as long as the left denies this they are going to lose men to the Alt Right).

 

 

Truth Brackets

the wave is what society says is important
the undertow is what really is important
when you’re on top
you’re moved by the wave
when you’re on the bottom
you’re sucked by the undertow

There are a lot of things that whether they are true or not depends on your place in society.  Some things:

Being virtuous generally gets you good things if you are on top but just keeps you treading water if you are on the bottom (or worse).  This is because virtue is optional for those on top so when they exhibit it they are rewarded.  Further down virtue is expected so the lack is punished.  Still further down virtue is seen as weakness and punished.  On the bottom you generally are in derelict subcultures that revolve around vices and substance abuse.  The groups that don’t involve these things are generally higher up and not accepting of those on the bottom.

If you are on top you are treated as if you have innate worth but the further down you go the more your treatment is tied to how and whether you function in society.   This is because in both cases you are being treated based on how you are valued, it’s just on top people don’t like to believe they are being treated well just on the account of what they have to offer so they made up the “innate worth” trope.  When you are on the bottom all artifice disappears and people really shine their true colors in your face.  You only really feel the weight of importance of looks, money, and status when you do not possess them.  Because when you don’t people go into “reduced functionality mode” around you, polite but curt (at best), or all the gloves come off and they insult and demean you because you have no power to fight back.

Positivity is generally a luxury for those on top.   The self-esteem movement is for those on and near the top because they are the ones who invented it so naturally it would only apply to them.  People on and near the top are controlled more by a “soft touch” because they already have most of their lives together.  People further down often need to be controlled more tightly and for this to happen negativity enters in.  There is even a survey somewhere that said how poor kids heard at least twice as much negativity as rich ones.

 

Corporate Mindfulness

How corporates co-opted the art of mindfulness to make us bear the unbearable:

While there can be little doubt that the practice of mindfulness can lead to significant health benefits, its current prominence in corporate culture is nested within a social, cultural and political context where stress is now seen as a failure of the individual to adapt to the productivity demands of the corporation. In other words, if you’re stressed out, you’re not working hard enough on your personal focus strategy. You’re letting the team down.

Help and Those Further Down

Help is of less help to those further down in society.  Some reasons why:

Psychological help often presupposes one has the resources to make a change.  Resources like:

  • A ride to therapy, the doctor, and the pharmacy
  • Money or insurance to pay for care and medication
  • Stable housing and relationships where one has the option to get out of without losing their housing
  • A friendship group that doesn’t revolve around vices and addictions

Therapists often have a poor understanding of those whose problems are beyond their control.  This is especially true because often these people have had middle class upbringings and have never been poor.  Those on the bottom know hyper individualism well because they are on the exhaust end of it!  Hyper individualistic solutions aren’t much help for those on the bottom because in order for their needs to be met (like a ride to the food pantry) another party is going to have to perform a sacrificial act.

Therapy (particularly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) presupposes one’s negative thoughts about them self are distorted.  The further down one is the more one’s poor self image is validated by those around them.  Belief one has innate worth ends up becoming an impossible psychological burden when everywhere one goes there’re bombarded with the opposite.  Then they’re guilted for having negative thoughts about them self and goaded with the idea that somehow their life will be better if they just had a positive self image.  But positive self image is a key that unlocks the value one already has, it doesn’t create value in and of itself.  For example a pretty person has a lot to gain from going from poor to good self image but the improvement in self image isn’t giving the person anything extra, it’s just causing their good looks to shine more brightly.  This is because the expression of positive self image is charisma and charisma disproportionately helps those who are young and attractive.  If you are male, 45, and making minimum wage, more charisma isn’t going to get you dates or guy friends.

Therapy doesn’t work as well on those brought up in a disciplinarian environment (like many of those further down are).  It takes a good (translation: expensive) therapist to reparent a person who had a harsh upbringing.  Therapy has a different way of seeing things than someone brought up in a disciplinarian environment so a lot of times things that could help end up going over one’s head.  When one is brought up with the idea that everyone is basically evil and needs correction and punishment to set them straight and then they go to a therapist who says people do good because they know it’s the right and healthy thing, not out of fear of punishment it is bewildering.  It would be a good thing to have therapists that had extensive training on shepherding people who hold a disciplinarian world view (while not trying to change it) for those brought up in disciplinarian environments because many of these people are never going to change their ingrained views.

One must realize that in therapy for those further down often the bond with the therapist is more important than whether they are disseminated the precepts of psychology.  That’s the only thing that ever worked for me.

Penguins

Great post on loving yourself:

Telling someone who hates themselves that their life will be better if they learn self-love is about as helpful as telling a penguin it can fly if it just flaps its wings. Sure it sounds good, but no matter how hard a penguin flaps, its feet will never leave the ground. Just as there are birds that can’t fly, there are people who can’t love themselves. But, if you told that penguin to jump in the water and flap its wings, that little guy would be swimming circles around you. I’m not saying that self-love isn’t important, only that it is not the only way to feel whole as a person.

Football Advice

If football advice were given out like therapeutic advice blog posts (like this one on emotional intelligence):

It’s more healthy to gain yardage than to lose it
Running the football forward and passing it forward gains you yards.  You want to do this.  When the quarterback or running back gets sacked that is bad because you lose yardage.  Sometimes players run in the opposite direction by mistake into their own end zone.  That will cost you two points and the ball.  Don’t do that.

You’ll want to score more points than the other team
You should try to get touch downs and field goals.  When you get more points than the other team and the game time clock runs out, you win the game.  The more games you win the better because then you can get in the playoffs and if you keep winning you could get in the Superbowl.

Being good at catching a football is important
When a quarterback throws a ball to his receivers, it’s important that they catch it.  Being good at catching takes a lot of practice and you should really learn to do it well.  If you are on the opposing team but not a receiver it’s nice to be good at catching as well as you can intercept the ball so your team gets to have it.  Dropping the football is really bad, you shouldn’t do that.  The other team could recover it.

A football is different
A football is not a basketball, it is oblong and has pointy ends.  Throwing, catching, and running with it is different than other sports.  Footballs have been inflated to their optimal level.  It would be wise not to walk in on them being inflated or tamper with them yourself.  You could even lose playing time for doing so.

 

Culpable for My Stress

I had an appointment down at the indigent clinic and one of the things on the TV is most stress is caused by our reaction to stressors, not the stressors themselves.  While this is true some of the times (like taking things out of proportion in relationships) I wouldn’t say it is the majority.  All this tells me is I’m culpable for my stress if I am unable to play cognitive tricks and take pills that make handling all the shit thrown my way survivable.