Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Model of suffering

Or maybe not "suffering", per se. That's a weird word for me, especially as I get more used to being okay with higher and higher level problems. But there's this tension that isn't exactly pleasant, even if you're comfortable with having it. And the magnitude of that tension is what I'm interested in here - separately from how you choose to relate to it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Confidence is overrated

Everyone seems to be pushing confidence. In the world of hypnosis and in life in general. It gets people so focused on projecting that they know what they're doing that they try to delude themselves into believing it. "fake it until you make it". That can actually be helpful in some cases, but in other cases it either doesn't work or worse. I've even seen it go as far as posting on the hypnosis forums about how amazing you are in misplaced hopes that it would give you the confidence to succeed - though I somewhat doubt the kid ever even tried. There's definitely something important there, but "confidence" misses the mark.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You crazy

For real. You are. We all are. It's a human thing.

I don't mean in the "involuntarily committed"/"diagnosable with mental illness" sense, of course. Not only is that a binary classification where the territory is not, but it sneaks in connotations about the problem being all about "bad genes" and/or "chemical imbalances". Not to say that genes/chemicals are irrelevant, but that's not the lens which is all that helpful when you're stuck with your genes and drugs are such crude tools.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Solved on some level

When I'm working on some psychological problem, there's a sense of when it's "solved". I talk about "inner conflicts" a lot, but "completely devoid of inner conflicts" and even "completely devoid of inter conflicts with respect to this subject" is often too high a bar. The sense of "my work here is done" comes before that.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Understanding the need for control

There's a kind of person that hypnotists label as "analytical" who tend to be more difficult to hypnotize. "Analytical" people tend to see the alternative being a "ignore reason and listen to your feelings" kind of person. The thing is, this "analytical" thing is also a failure mode.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When to bury your head in the sand

One of the things that used to irk me a lot (and still sometimes does) is when people metaphorically stick their head in the sand and avoid mere awareness of stuff that is important. I think it irks a lot of us "aspiring rationalists" - that ostriching thing is just about completely antithetical to the core tenets of rationality.
And yet, it feels so darn compelling to so many people. Every decision you disagree with, yours or others, is a Chesterton's fence. One of my huge heuristics lately is that you don't plow over Chesterton's fences when you don't understand their function well enough to pass the ideological turing test. Partly because it's hard to do, partly because it would actually be unwise to do. It really is important to empathize before giving advice.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thinking for yourself

Everyone says you should "think for yourself". It's become an applause light. Everyone knows you should "think for yourself". And yet everyone knows that the vast majority of people are sheeple that don't "think for themselves". Yeah, part of the explanation is the tired old "motivated cognition" thing - who really wants to admit "No one thinks for themselves and I don't either!"? But I think there's actually more to this one. I think people really don't get it.
There's a very particular look people get when they're about to make a profound realization. You can see the curiosity. You can see the attention focused inwards as the face goes blank. Not taking in or spitting out anything of interest. You can see the testing new and never before tested beliefs in the twitching facial expressions. You can mirror the look and get a feel for what they're going through. If you've spent some time giving people realizations, it's very recognizable. I like to call this "actually thinking", but people never understand when I do. People don't seem to have a name for it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Generalized qualia

Mary's room is a philosophical thought experiment intended to prove the existence of "non-physical" knowledge. That's a crock of shit, of course, but the solution is interesting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On provoking the impossible

If you want a certain outcome with someone, the most straight forward approach is to just ask for it. Please pass the milk. Okay. But you don't always get it. Sometimes you'll hear "I can't just stop thinking about it!" or "I don't know how to subconsciously twitch my finger!". Hypnotists have all sorts of tricks here - I won't even start to go into all of them.
So say I told you, right now, subconsciously twitch your finger. If you're an experienced hypnotic subject, you can probably do it. The rest of you won't. Why not? Maybe you don't know how. But I can explain it and I can break it down into easier to follow steps, and then consciously focusing your mind on it will easily lead to the desired option. Not only that, but all the alternatives of "I don't know how" are no longer lit up. All of a sudden, it's not so impossible. This works, but its not the only option.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Breaking through

Anything you can do with hypnosis, you can do without hypnosis by talking through the changes as if they are just the natural extension of the everyday - nudging the envelope of the possible out, one bit at a time. But, it's quicker to just do the "impossible" and jump outside that envelope altogether - just cross the line into the "hypnosis" envelope, which tends to include more powers. Or better yet, jump past the "hypnosis" envelope. Without anticipations to guide them, they can't really reject suggestions.