Books I read 2017 - Part 1. Relationships, Learning

Yes. Since 2017, I stopped reviewing. I still read more books but I felt a shift to "seeing the shape of the elephant" and felt comfortable with not writing about them.

I shifted the way I read to more letting the information wash over me and letting the ways that information needs to integrate with my being, self organise.

This year I read less but still about 50 books a year. My maximum was 130 books a year. My topics have shifted to psychology, therapy and business books. You can see my newer book list on my google doc here -

Prior years are linked. Best books are bold.

People who lie about how much they eat are jerks

Dieting is more about therapeutically soothing one's self.  The black box CICO is a good foundation but people eat because their emotions, cognition and somatic experience tell them they need to.  Dieting is one of the hardest things people do because it's a long effort process, however I believe there's ways to do it easier.  I haven't solved the dieting problem completely for myself but I feel like I am close.

I'd suggest people now to look at the immunity to change process in the book "right weight, right mind" and also do therapy with a therapist you trust on the issue if it remains significant and a battle.

Attacking enlightenment

I initiated, saidA did not reply.

What are examples of Rationalist fable-like stories?

Story of Richard hamming:

Richard hamming used to work at Bell labs, where he would befriend someone new in the cafeteria and talk to them about their field.

The next day he would ask them about the most prominent and important problems in their field.

And in the third day he would ask, "why aren't you working on the most important problem?"

On day 4 he would have to find a new friend to annoy at lunch time.

He inspires us to ask each other, "what is the most important problem in your life?" and "why aren't you working on it?"

"Mild Hallucination" Test

S1 knows a lot of things. Some examples include "gut feel", that can usually be inquired about and led back to a memory.

Example: I was once playing Blood on the Clocktower, a group party game. I used my gut to suspect someone, when I asked it why, A moment of the person looking down in a particular way after saying something came to mind. Turns out I was right and we killed the evil person on the first turn. Something that's supposed to take all game.

S1 knows how to ski better than S2. When I went skiing a few years ago, people would ski for a bit while watching what their s1 was doing, then stop to explain which way to lean or how to ski and repeat for a few instructions (lean to the left, put the weight to the right). Skiing has some counter-lean behaviours which are hard to insist via s2 first.

The same thing applies for juggling, or learning how to juggle, riding a bike, swimming, dancing, and most physical skills.

S1 also handles emotions better, where s2 would like to cognitively soothe via intellectual justification, s1 can usually declare, "I feel bad", and soothe via self validation of emotion in a way that s2 can only narrative about how I feel bad and why.

"Mild Hallucination" Test

Looks like from a rational perspective we can notice that our sensors are fallible.

Breathing walls seems to be the whole body/heart beat throwing the visual field out of lock. Usually counteracted by the brain in normal processing of the vision.

Visual snow is the noise in the visual field if it's too sensitive and after image is literally after image in the proteins in the back of the eye.

The gap between the sensor bug, brain compensation mechanism and imaginary mental "control" of a kasina after image is a pretty slim one.

It is interesting to explore that and hopefully can help break people out of perfect trust in what they have of their sensory apparatuses and brain interpretation mechanisms

Some people have it more than others.

From a non rational and mystical perspective, as the distinction between map and territory becomes blurred and the white noise can organise itself into information, there are interesting things to be learned about the way that s1 "knows" things that system 2 does not explicitly know until it self inquires.

Scope Insensitivity Judo

There's something like a mental motion that I'd call "escalation". A sudden leap from zero to "aaaaaaah". you seem to be pointing to the way that brains sometimes escalate in unimportant situations (and build a narrative around what's going on and why escalation is the self justified behaviour).

I'm currently exploring causal chains. To use one of your examples,

I asked if I could bring a cushion from home for a retreat. I was told yes. I brought it. The cushion was orange, the zendo's cushions were black, it stuck out, and I was told I couldn't use my cushion.
I complied, but I was immediately caught by thoughts like "but you told me I could use my cushion" and "now my meditation will be worse because I'll be less comfortable" and "I'm not as good a zen student as I thought".
I felt embarrassed, defensive, let down, and defeated. I felt like a failure, like I was 2nd grade Gordy again getting in trouble for being weird.

At the moment of being told, the thought stream built a causal chain like:

1. Ask permission

2. Receive permission

3. time passes, events happen

4. told something that reverses the permission

5. feel "embarrassed, defensive, let down, and defeated. "

6. I felt like a failure, (Narrative) like I was 2nd grade Gordy again getting in trouble for being weird.

My current interest is in tracking these causal reasoning chains and noticing the moment of 5 that makes the link to 6. Often is feels like 1-4 are agency actions (my choices), but 5 happens to me, (and 6 follows naturally).

Do you have any thoughts on that?

Alleviating Bipolar with meditation

No medication. I have no symptoms any more either.

Tara Brach is good yes.

Open Thread July 2019

take it seriously?

That's up to you. I've got a lot of value from the structure he outlines. It's a lot more reasoned than some of the other mysterious odd things I read.

If there is something wrong with the theory and the way it maps to the practice, is it better to read more theory or do more practice and make new theories? I would suggest it depends on the person and what they have found to work in the past. And also with an awareness to the loops of bad habits - "sharpen the saw" type problems. Sometimes it's more valuable to stop sharpening the saw, and start cutting down the tree. (rationality frame of thinking loves to sharpen more and cut less)

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