obvious epiphanies

by nBrown2 min read7th Jul 20182 comments

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Personal Blog

In her post Closer to Fine, Sarah Constantin points at a something I’m calling an obvious epiphany.

You can be intellectually aware that a thing is true, and still have strong negative feelings that contradict it … There’s a big difference between “please tell me I’m okay, for the umpteenth time” and just believing “yeah, I’m okay, that’s a fact about reality.” Getting over this last hump, for me, was mostly a matter of insights, deeply internalized.

Epiphanies are weird, because what happens in practice is that you have a lot of them, and they all sound really obvious if you say them out loud. I believe this is normal. Single epiphanies don’t change you for life, mostly, but an aggregate of many epiphanies on the same theme add up.

Things like “I can trust myself more”, “I deserve happiness”, “I am actually successful by my own standards”, “I have strong convictions and admire heroism and that is a good thing”, “I care about truth and science a lot”, “I care about peace and freedom a lot,” “I deserve to give myself credit”, “I deserve to live”, and so on, sound like mundane platitudes, but there’s an experience of grokking them deeply, recognizing that they’re not just nice things to say but in a certain sense literally true in real life, that is essential and can’t be replaced.

Here are three examples I’ve discovered: I am good at giving massages, other people don’t understand audio at 3x speed and people enjoy my company

I was giving a someone a massage and she said “You’re really good at massages”. I don’t get that many massages so I took this as: Thanks for giving me a massage, massages are great. Instead of brushing it off I asked her “really?” She replied “No seriously I’ve had massages from three other people and they’re all worse”.

I’ve taken to watch youtube videos at faster speeds. It doesn’t ruin the experience and you can get more goodness in less time. My brother remarked “How can you understand that?” It’s more taxing to watch videos at high speeds, so I took this to as: hey aren’t you tired from watching a whole lecture at that speed. Turns out speech at 2.5x-3x speed up is totally unintelligible to someone who hasn’t gradually ramped up the speed.

I was unable to make a family event and my sister remarked “We’ll miss your company” I took this as: the habitual -it's good to see you-/I'm obligated to say I want you there. Halfway through the perfunctory “yeah, yeah”, I somehow entertained the hypothetical that she meant exactly what she said. "Really?" I asked, I’d always though that I was tolerated, the awkward one that said funny things from time to time. She replied "duh, of-course I want you there. I'd feel better with you there". The hypothesis gained traction; This might be why people keep hanging out with me & act like they're enjoying my company.

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Shhh. Nobody tell him about silence-deleting podcast apps.

You've created a monster.