Why I Wrote this list

I just finished reading Sun Set at Noon by Raemon. One thing I took from it is that when you are confused you may not notice because "I Feel Confused" isn't the phrase that is said inside of your head. Instead you may say something like "huh, weird." which can be overlooked by any programs running "Notice_Confusion.bat". I call these "Confusion Phrases" (C-Phrases).

Here I give an incomplete list of C-Phrases. Things you may say in your head subconsciously or consciously that if noticed could run "Notice_Confusion.bat".

Transparency: I have used the GPT3.5 API in helping generate some of these. The first phrase in this list is generated by GPT3.5. The rest are my own. Thank you to Robert Miles for pointing out the poor quality of the initial post. I hope that I've done justice to your feedback.

List of Phrases

  1. I'm at a loss for words.
    1. The wind has been knocked out of me
  2. I'll skip this and come back to it later
    1. I'll come back to this later
    2. I keep rereading this page/paragraph
    3. (Sub-Conscious) Idk what that word means so I'm going to skip reading it.
      1. (When I was a kid I didn't know why some words in Wikipedia articles were blue. I trained myself to automatically skip those words because they were often things I was confused about anyway.)
  3. WTF?
    1. WTAF?
    2. WTAFIGOH?
    3. Lol, ok
    4. Dude, WTF?
  4. Huh, I guess I just forgot about X
    1. I don't remember X being mentioned before
    2. When did X come up before?
    3. I swear to Bayes that I remember X but everyone keeps saying Y
      1. (Refusal to acknowledge that one is how you end up believing the Mandela effect)
  5. I feel so angry at what this person is saying (note that this and it’s related points don’t necessarily mean you are confused. But are a signal to run Notice_Confusion)
    1. I feel angry at what I can see this person doing
      1. At what I can see them not doing
    2. At how this person acts
      1. Carries themselves
      2. Talks
      3. Presents themselves
        1. (This can relate directly to LGBTQ+ communities. Even though I was openly and actively Pro trans rights, I never notice the slight note of discord/disbelief I got as a teenager when somebody would tell me they were Trans until I started studying Body Integrity Dysphoria. And realised "oh, the brain can just make people feel anything actually. Oh, I wasn't really believing my friends when they told me how they feel.")
  6. I feel frustrated
    1. Trying to do this
    2. By this person
    3. By this system
    4. By my code
    5. My writing
    6. My audience
      1. (“Agh! they just don’t understand”
      2. Turns into
      3. “Agh! Why don’t they understand?”
      4. Turns into
      5. “Oh, they don’t understand. {run: Check_Confusion} Why is that?”)
  7. I’m hungry but I already ate (A bit niché but might be applicable to other situations)
    1. I’m thirsty but I drank
    2. I’m tired but I slept
    3. I’m happy but everything is falling apart
    4. I’m sad but everything seems to be ok
    5. I’m feeling x which is not normal for this time, place, and situation. I have not yet run Check_Confusion
  8. Yuck!
    1. Gross
    2. Ew
    3. (Again, not inherently confusion. But a possible misunderstanding. You know logically that it isn't true, but is there some small part of you that whispers "Cockroaches are evil and out to make opening boxes of oats slightly more scary"?)



Exercise: How many of your own C-Phrases can you list in the comments?

So What?

I propose learning these, or at least some that you believe are applicable to yourself. Then practicing TAPs such as "When I internally say (X) I will run (Notice_Confusion)"

Alternatively, I suspect these may be better learnt as little songs/rhymes that your brain can auto completes when it hears. If you're anything like me, when I say "Somebody once told me" Your brain autocompletes the next line.

Note Taking Trick

If you use a note taking system that links like a personal WIKI (I use Obsidian) You could add your own phrases as aliases that the note "I feel confused" can connect to. That way if you ever write them in your system you have an automatic helper telling you you are confused.

Further Questions to Get You Thinking

How useful do you think this is? Do you believe learning your Confusion Phrases will lead to you skipping over them more in your thinking? Will these just clog you up with more to learn? Would adding these to index/study cards be a useful practice? If you are surprised you believed something wrong that you now no longer believe. Can you pull any C-Phrases out of this? What did you say internally before you were surprised?

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New Comment
2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:53 AM

I think almost all of these are things that I'd only think after I'd already noticed confusion, and most are things I'd never say in my head anyway. A little way into the list I thought "Wait, did he just ask ChatGPT for different ways to say "I'm confused"?".

I expect there are things that pop up in my inner monologue when I'm confused about something, that I wouldn't notice, and it would be very useful to have a list of such phrases, but your list contains ~none of them.

Edit: Actually the last three are reasonable. Are they human written?

Correct guess. They were mostly generated by ChatGPT. I initially bet that it wouldn't give outputs that had any value. My prompt of "read everything I have already written then make a list based on it" I thought would be too vague. So when it generated phrases that seemed passable I think my System 1 kicked in and said "yep, they sure do sound confused.". and I was happy to have a big long list, instead of just a few quality points.

And second guess also correct. The last 4 I generated myself. Looking back now I agree that it is certainly easy to tell.

My main hope was for others to comment their own C-Phrases, which is why I think I let this slip. Though I'm not proud and must say Oop. Thank you for your quality comment that lead me to this conclusion.

I'm going to remedy this by generating as quality as I can list of my own thoughts and editing them into the post.