Thursday, May 6, 2010

some stuff about guilt

You deserve to be loved, respected, admired, and even a little feared (but only by those with malice in their heart).

What you need to develop, if I might be so brash and prescriptive, is the habit of recognizing when someone is not treating you well, and the consistent discipline to respond to their treatment in kind, all the while communicating your policy. You hit me with a cruise missile I hit you with a cruise missile. You raise your voice at me I raise my voice at you. You open yourself to me, I open myself to you.

Trusting someone comes from comparing their stated intentions to their actions and seeing a consistently high overlap.

Abusers feel safe when they know they can trust the other person not to retaliate or break the connection.

If someone is sending you viruses it's time to cut the hard line. The first packet of malicious data should be evaluated against the total value of the data in your downloads folder. Trust can be built or eroded. No matter how long the account has been open, if the balance hits zero something is wrong and inaction will not be productive.

This is the hostile-environment policy for developing peace. In more friendly relations, the calculus does not need to have such high precision.

Refusing to accept data/input/interactions which are harmful/stressful/damaging/disparaging is a form of security.

Self-respect is the state of recognizing and fully believing that you are fully in the right to uphold such a firewall. "Fully in the right" means that by upholding such a policy you are NOT accruing guilt, neither societally-recognized guilt, nor psychologically-felt guilt.

Guilt builds up. You deserve none, but when others abuse you it is guilt which weakens your defenses. Unconscious pheremone-driven intermonkey justice-instinct guilt. Some of it comes from not defending yourself when you should have.

A zen master once told me "Luke, if somebody hits you, hit them back." I think what he meant was that was the absolute fastest way to cancel whatever karma was generated in the initial attack.

Zen and other spiritual/religious practices have among their intended outcomes an ongoing reduction of negative karma. Guilt, anger, resentment, mistrust, and relationships who use these as their glue, are all forms of negative karma.

Watching people's faces light up, and knowing you are responsible, is the unconscious monkey-pheremone way to cancel guilt.

Reading Ayn Rand is the conscious human-meme way to nullify guilt. I recommend (a) reading some Ayn Rand, and (b) going against everything Ayn Rand stood for and put in some time tutoring little kids or better yet handing food to hungry people at a homeless shelter.

Your psychological health is not something you should entrust to a field whose progress is rate-limited by technology's ability to form mathematical model/parameterization of a biological, memetic, social, chaotic system such as yourself.

If Sergei Brin had been forced to prove his model before he simply let his code loose on real-world data, Google would be a failed rough draft of a research paper instead of the world's newest nuclear power.

Something I said deserves clarification:
I said "Guilt builds up. You deserve none, but when others abuse you it is guilt which weakens your defenses."

I should have said:

Guilt builds up like cigarette tar in your being (body/mind/soul). Its presence weakens you and reduces your sense of entitlement. Chronic acceptance and generation of guilt leads to a large stock of guilt being contained in different manifestations in these vessels.

When a person attacks you, the energy with which you defend and retaliate will be inversely proportional to the amount of guilt you carry. For example, if you accrue enough guilt you will stoop and accept any beating without raising a finger.

Methods of reducing and eliminating guilt are varied in effectiveness and strategy. Manifestations of this thing called 'guilt' are different in different realms. Guilt does not always accrue or dissolve by the means you might think necessary.

For example, accepting an attack without retaliating is actually a means of accruing guilt. This is, I believe, explainable by the theory of cognitive dissonance. If two competing realities exist (a) "I am worth defending" and (b) "I just neglected to defend myself", cognitive dissonance theory predicts your next step is either to start defending yourself or to stop believing you are worth defending. Because of the heavy cultural conditioning we have to NOT defend ourselves when attacked (which actually manifests as our being convinced that it is the act of defense which accrues guilt), most often people will go with the other route and instead (subconsciously) believe they deserved it. In other words, instead of continuing to believe they let an injustice happen, they believe they disciplined themselves to not interfere with justice.

Justice is not merely a meme which originated in the fertile crescent. It is a biologically-supported instinctual behavior which tends to reduce the payoff of aggression and hence strengthen groups.

That's why when you hurt one of your friends as a child, the "free hit" you give them actually makes you feel better, even if your jaw hurts a little afterward. Your animal brain knows it no longer owes animal pain to the other animal, and it lets your animal pride keep flowing.

Other people stealing free hits on you, however, does not build up animal pride but, by cognitive dissonance, leads to ever-increasing subconscious self-schema as a "villain".

We're all villains to some degree or another, and as privacy slowly disappears we're all going to need to learn to accept ever-increasing awareness of others' sins.

Um, I think I totally forgot what I was trying to say originally. Hope this helps

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