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Memores acti prudentes futuri


I want to be wrong, but
no one here wants to fight me
A few words
"When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."
~ D.H. Lawrence

"Is the meaning of life defined by its duration? Or does life have a purpose so large that it doesn't have to be prolonged at any cost to preserve its meaning?"

"Living is not good, but living well. The wise man, therefore, lives as well as he should, not as long as he can... He will always think of life in terms of quality not quantity... Dying early or late is of no relevance, dying well or ill is... even if it is true that while there is life there is hope, life is not to be bought at any cost."
~ Seneca

"People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world's about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don't need to last forever to be perfect."
~ Daydream Nation

"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realized the real problem with stories-- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death."
~ The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

"The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me - not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience - that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good. It was a pleasant diaphragmal melting, with elements of diffused tactility, all this enhanced by the thought that nothing could be nearer to the elimination of basic physical laws than deliberately driving on the wrong site of the road."
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
~ William Blake
TICoSME
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Stress clouds
Friday, November 10, 2017
I started reading a fascinating blog post series about System Justification theory yesterday night. It's an eight part series, so I haven't finished it yet, but the second post in the series reminded me of something:

Under stress, we tend to default to heuristic thinking.

As a reminder, heuristics are just mental shortcuts, easy cognitive patterns that we use to make quick judgements. That's not always a bad thing, as in most cases, they will do well enough. It does become harmful though when we're presented with a lot of complex information which requires more nuance in thought in order to comprehend fully (or at least, more fully).

Anyway, I mention this because Fro recently asked if anybody had ever pointed out that I engage in a lot of black and white thinking. This isn't a typical critique that people level at me, but yes, I have been told that before. However, I think it's important to qualify that statement; I engage in a lot of black and white thinking some of the time. It's not evenly spread out by any means, at least as not as far as I can tell. To the extent that I'm self-aware, my usage of it spikes when I'm, surprise surprise, depressed (or under a lot of stress). And hey, that makes sense. Black and white thinking is a kind of cognitive laziness. It's easier to say something is either/or than to try to tease out its subtleties and multiple facets. In a state of depression or stress, you don't necessarily have the cognitive resources available to think as thoroughly as you would in a more positive mood state.

I feel like it's also important to flesh out the context of Fro's comment and my feelings about it. I was talking to her about someone I had a bad experience with, and my negative feelings about that-- primarily focusing on the things I disliked about the situation. I think that, given the information she had to work with, what she said wasn't unreasonable, but I think she didn't completely grasp my process for handling these things.

When something goes badly between me and a person, ending our friendship, then I tend to view them very negatively for a short period of time. Maybe even all negatively. It helps me distance myself from the situation, and with some distance, I can scale it back a notch and be a bit more forgiving. Not everybody is willing to deal with that, and that's okay. I didn't talk to Kyle or Trevor for a year after we had our respective falling outs, and felt pretty negatively towards both of them, but the feelings faded with time and then we were able to reconnect. I think the distance and time was necessary. The strong negative feelings surrounding the fall outs might not have been necessary, but I think they did help move along the process by encouraging me to cut off contact. Otherwise... I think it's possible that things would have kept going, but there would have been this slow-burning resentment that could have eventually killed any desire I had to be friends. I usually swing back from those short intense bouts of emotion, but not from the long slow burns.

So yeah, black and white thinking is kind of like the rough draft of an essay for me... Start out with very large dichotomous categorization, whittle things down and separate them out into grey zones from there. I always imagine it like a pendulum swinging back and forth, with smaller arcs each time.

I guess I feel like the important part of this is that even if I start by making things seem black and white, they don't stay that way to me. "Black and white thinking" has a very strong implication that you don't break down your dichotomies any further, which I don't believe completely applies to me. Those big categories are just a jumping off point, because well... you have to start with something.

Still pretty sick at the moment. Was up past 5 AM because I couldn't stop coughing long enough to fall asleep. It sucks, but at the same time... I'm strangely not tired? This is, weirdly enough, the most energetic I've been in quite a long time. Too bad I can't actually do anything because I'm sick...

---Edit---

Whoops. It's almost 2:30 AM now and apparently my parents can hear my coughing through the wall and it's keeping them up. >.> I guess last night they went to bed early enough that they were already asleep before the coughing got really bad, but they weren't so lucky tonight. My mom came out and asked if I was using the humidifier... I told her that I brought it out but there was mold inside because whoever used it last didn't dry it out before storing it, and that I clean it thoroughly enough tonight to use it, so we put it in a bucket with some diluted bleach and hopefully that sorts things out. For now, my dad put a basin in my room with hot water to hopefully get some steam into the air. Not sure if it will work but I suppose it's better than not trying anything. Still not tired enough or able to stop coughing long enough to sleep, but... I'm making progress on my essay? So that's good?

Sure wish the doctor had prescribed me the codeine cough syrup I used to have instead of these little benzonatate capsules. I don't think they're working at all. :
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