Category Archives: personal

Confabulation, Math, and Self-Knowledge

Education, ethics, personal, philosophy, psychology Leave a reply

As with many other people, I often find myself denigrating things that I consider ridiculous, and on my best days I’ll catch myself and ask myself ‘ok, but *why* is that ridiculous…?’. There’s that weird experience of being in two places at once, the Brian that’s experiencing the ridiculous and seeing it as the silliness that it is, and the second Brian that’s seeing the first and trying to understand their thought process.

Even though I have the advantage of being able to access the thought process of the first Brian, which I completely lack when dealing with the people who dwell outside of my head, those thought processes can still suffer from the problem of unintentionally making up explanations after the thought has occurred, rather than an actual explanation for the thought (confabulation). We all experience this (please pay attention to the “unintentionally” part of the definition), so this adds an additional layer of difficulty: not only do I not have access to the thoughts of other people, we oftentimes don’t have accurate access to our OWN thoughts.

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Objection to the George Wainborn Park Ireland Canada Monument

culture, History, personal, politics, Rhetoric Leave a reply

It’s come to my attention that there’s an organization pushing for a monument to be raised here in Vancouver, in George Wainborn Park, “for the sole purpose of providing recognition to the significant contribution of Irish Canadians and Canadians of Irish descent to Canada”.

I object to this (and yes, I’m Irish) for a number of reasons that I’ve outlined in an email to that organization. I’ve included it below.

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The Writing of Philosophy

personal, philosophy Leave a reply

I’ve been thinking about the writing of philosophy, whose writing I enjoy the most, whose style I most wish to emulate, and I think that there isn’t just one philosopher who’s style I love. (all of the names that follow will be white and male, as I’ve been slowly going beyond what was available in my undergrad, but have not yet read enough of others to make a fair comparison)

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Shower Thoughts

health, Mental Health, personal Leave a reply

love showers. Hot showers. Just one tiny turn off from pain, so it’s just hitting the edge. Because when the shower hits that point, my brain has to focus on the most prominent pain, and turns off the rest, so it’s only in the shower that my body stops hurting. It’s glorious.

It also lets me get a sense of what else is going on in my body, like the near-constant flutter of butterflies-in-my-stomach. And my mind jumps back 25 years……

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Anxiety, an Internal Struggle

Mental Health, personal Leave a reply

I wish I understood the mechanisms of anxiety, at least within myself. I believe, perhaps mistakenly, that understanding these mechanisms would make it easier to resolve them, to overcome them. So that they’d stop ruling my life.

I had intended to leave my apartment about 5 hours ago to go get a haircut. It still hasn’t happened. Or, more accurately, I still haven’t gotten up and left.

It’s a bizarre feeling. It’s like that if I “decide” to do something, that decision gets consciously processed in the usual way and then….. nothing happens. I don’t rise out of my chair. My legs don’t move into position to lift me up. But if my legs are uncomfortable in their current position, I can move them just fine.

I can decide to type, or not to type, or to think about pretty much anything, but once I start thinking about “going outside”, suddenly there’s a *crowd* of other thoughts that urgently need my attention. Like I should take a shower. Or I should check my email. Or read an article. Or just play 15min of a game.

Looking at the door doesn’t cause me any consternation or fear. I’ve opened the door several times today to step out to get some air. That’s a non-issue. But once I decide that this move is to leave? Nope, nothing happens. Or, more accurately, something that *isn’t* me getting up to leave happens. E.g. this article.

There’s no obvious cause in my consciousness for this, no “nope, let’s do something else”-thought, I’m just suddenly flipping through twitter, or facebook, or doing a random search for details on my insurance, or….. So there’s nothing to discuss or argue against, to make my case in favour of a months-overdue haircut. The haircut is cheap, so the cost isn’t an issue.

And I am on edge, anxious. And I know that the moment I decide “ok, fine, not today”, I’ll feel my entire body relax, as if it were bracing for a massive burst of muscle-energy that is now no longer needed.

And it’ll be another day without a haircut. And if I can’t handle going outside, 100m from my home, for that, what fucking hope does the rest of my life have?

The Dangerous Seductiveness of Rage

Mental Health, personal, psychology Leave a reply

I’ve spent most of my life dealing with ‘rage’ issues. I’ve never been physically violent, but verbal vitriol, especially online, has been an issue in the past (and something that I continue to work on, of course). So I know of what I speak when I talk about the seductiveness of rage, and the appeal of anger, and the problems that can accompany them.

For the skimmers: if you conclude from this article that I believe that one should never feel or act on anger, then you have not read this article correctly.

In retrospect, I spent much of my teenage years and early twenties in a mild depression. The why of that is not pertinent to this article, but it’s important to understand that depression doesn’t simply mean ‘feeling sad’. Oftentimes there’s no feeling at all: feeling sad would be a positive change of affairs, because then I would have actually felt *something*.

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Trump DOES Represent American Values

culture, History, personal, politics Leave a reply

This video is intended for Americans (and only Americans) expressing the sentiment that ‘this is not the America I know’ or that ‘Trump does not represent American values’. To the Americans expressing these sentiments: where have you been all your life?

Why only Americans? Because they should be familiar with the history of their country, far more than those of us outside of it.

 

LGBTQ Identity and Me

personal Leave a reply

It’s currently Vancouver Pride weekend here, and that’s as good a time as any for self-reflection, especially with regards to self-identity and orientation. This article is entirely about me and how I see myself with regards to the LGBTQ labels, and no opinion about how I do (or do not) see other people should be inferred.

Moreover, this article deals with my sex-life, so if that’s not something you’re interested in stop reading here.

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Anxiety and Hunger

Mental Health, personal, psychology Leave a reply

Here’s a thing that I attribute to my anxiety, but perhaps other people (not suffering from anxiety) deal with it too.

I’ll get engrossed in reading articles/playing games that time passes and I get hungry. Not “omfg, I’m going to die if I don’t eat”-hungry, but the pangs aren’t minor. Noticing them, bringing them into attention, is uncomfortable.

So I’ll go back to reading articles/playing games “for just a couple more minutes”, moving the hunger back out of awareness such that I don’t feel the pangs anymore. Then I’ll think about getting some food, and the cycle continues.

This can mean that sometimes (on a day off) I don’t eat from the moment I wake up for 10+ hours, until I finally suck up the wherewithal to just go make something to eat. Or if I’ve made the mistake of doing this for several days in a row, such that I keep failing to go for groceries, I end up ordering food (which is, of course, expensive, but I can do it through the computer, so I can avoid thinking about it some more…..).

This is one of the many shitty things that anxiety does, and contributes to me not showing up places (because I’ve put off eating, which requires me to get groceries, and oh look, I’m supposed to be at x in 20 minutes…..), and wiping out my money.

(Posting this as a way of motivating myself to get to the grocery store before in closes in 75min. No suggestions/advice sought)