Decision-making mental states

Pretty sure most of us have deep mental states wherein significant personal decisions are made.

I am thinking especially of significant psychological decisions, life decisions, and social decisions.

An example of such a deep state might be being drunk.

Some people make important decisions about themselves and others when they are drunk.

Often those decisions are dark, even immoral. And often the drinker forgets making them though the decisions remain in effect.

In subsequent days, those decisions may seem to be obvious truths, not conclusions they reached while drunk.

This sort of psychological alcoholism—depending on the drunk state for decision-making though not otherwise alcoholic—can be very destructive because it fosters self-deceit and bad decisions.

Dark plans occur while drunk that are capably acted on while sober and unconscious of them.

This is a very effective form of self-deceit and may even be selected evolutionarily due to that.

I know someone with a strong trait like this and several others with milder versions.

OK, so that’s one thing and if you look, there is a good chance you will know someone who does this. You may even do it yourself.

Now, the second thing is I suspect there are a lot of deep decision-making mental states, not just the drunk one.

Some of them are dark and bad like the drunk one. Some are good. Some are idealistic. Some moody, some effective. Some analytical.

If you can see the drunk one, you can probably see others.

It’s interesting that we seem to reserve some mental states for deep psychological positioning or repositioning.

And like all things human some of those states are used for good, some for bad.

Some are inherently bad for making decisions (being drunk, over-confident, etc.) and some are inherently good.

The seriousness of lying shows in alcoholism

About a year ago, I posted an essay suggesting that not lying may be the most important of the five precepts of Buddhism (guidelines for lay Buddhists).

In that essay, Buddhist morality and signaling, I said that the precepts can be understood as signals coming from the mind and that as such the morality of the signals themselves is of paramount importance.

If you don’t lie, you won’t kill, steal, do sexual misconduct or use alcohol irresponsibly because breaking any of the other five precepts will cause you to conceal what you have done or lie about it.

Yesterday, I saw a meme on alcoholism entitled part of being an alcoholic is making it seem like you are drunk less often than you really are. Here’s the meme:

It’s a long, bad, slippery slope from there on. I would hate myself if I did that.

When I mentioned this meme to my partner this morning, she said that she had read about an alcoholic who started lying to her family about her drinking.

The first time, the woman said, her lie made her feel a little distant from them. Before long, she felt so far away she couldn’t even remember where they were anymore.

This illustrates the power of the mind. If you are willing and able to accurately monitor your mind and report on it truthfully to your partner, you won’t even start down a bad road like the author of the meme or the woman who chose booze over her family.

Alcoholics are notorious liars because the condition all but forces them to lie to their most intimate companions. The booze itself causes the lying. The yeast that makes alcohol is like an off-site parasite that gets food from its “hosts” by forcing them to buy the waste products of its metabolism.

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Note: I put up a fair amount of stuff on alcoholism on this site because I have witnessed the devastation of this condition up close with several friends. I also post on this subject because I know that the condition is greatly worsened by its being very hard for most people to identify during its early stages.

Alcoholism often starts in the mid to late teens, sometimes earlier or later. Normally three stages are recognized. 1) the early stage during which the future addict is just drinking a lot but may not be addicted yet; 2) the middle stage where the addict is addicted and knows it and is probably lying about it; 3) the last stage, which is the stage everyone recognizes.

In this last stage, the alcoholic typically is unhealthy, sloppy, and no longer conceals their drinking (which is less than before because their livers are damaged).

I think that if I had known more about alcoholism and how it progresses, I would have been able to help several people who were becoming alcoholic. I would also have prevented at least some of the harm they did/do to others.

I honestly feel bad about not having recognized the symptoms of early and middle stage alcoholism. I mistook it for good times and sensitive, artistic natures just going a bit too far. What I was actually witnessing was good people gradually turning into abusive drunks.

Brain optimization

Optimize your brain by optimizing broad-spectrum communication with at least one other person.

By optimizing broad-spectrum communication with at least one other person, signal sending and receiving is optimized both externally and internally.

“Broad-spectrum” communication means communication involving  a wide range of brain activities, including perception, speech associations, emotion, memory, subjectivity, narration, and so on. The only limits are what can be imagined.

When broad-spectrum signals are optimized in the brain and between that brain and another brain, the apparent structure of the mind or personality will change because clarity and depth are increased as mistakes are removed.

Many brain activities based on mistakes will cease, freeing brain energy for other tasks. At the same time, many broad-spectrum associations and functions will become clearer, allowing the brain to imagine new things.

FIML practice is designed to optimize brain activity in these ways.

Listeners are different from speakers

A listener’s state of mind is different from a speaker’s.

It is more dreamy, often more visual, and has a wider range of associations in play.

For this reason, listeners often react more to their own minds than to what the speaker meant.

An example of this occurred recently.

While my partner was speaking, she referred to someone as a “douche bag.” She meant to distinguish that person from someone else with the same name (who is not a douche bag).

As she said “douche bag,” a strong image rose in my mind of the person in question being pushed into a region of darkness.

In response to that image, I protested “he is not a douche bag”; not so much to recover his honor or reputation as to keep him from being pushed further into the darkness.

She changed her wording and the conversation went on. I completely forgot the incident and the image that had arisen in my mind.

The next morning my partner brought the subject up again and explained in FIML detail why she had used “douche bag.” The memory came back to me.

It’s a good example of how a speaker’s mind differs from a listener’s.

American Pravda: The Legacy of Sydney Schanberg

I doubt if one Americans in twenty is aware that over forty years ago, his government deliberately abandoned hundreds of POWs in Vietnam, and then spent four decades desperately covering up that enormous crime, with the media being a willing co-conspirator. But even if our citizens remain ignorant of that particular dark deed, over the years they have strongly come to suspect their elites are guilty of a vast number of equally heinous offenses, some of which are plausible and others ridiculous; and who can reasonably blame them? If our entire media would willfully ignore “the story of the century” as massively documented by one of its most distinguished members, who can say what other matters might remain hidden from public view?

For years I’ve been telling my friends that unless and until our major media publications are finally willing to report Sydney Schanberg’s stunning POW expose, I simply won’t trust a word they write about anything else. And perhaps that is the most important legacy of one of America’s greatest journalists. (emphasis added)

link to original

Well-worth reading. ABN

Case closed means open books

In the Hillary email scandal, case closed means open books on the topic itself and relevant info surrounding it.

Neither Hillary nor the FBI nor anyone else can use the excuse that the “case is ongoing” or “under investigation” and thus “no comment.”

Nor can they say “that information is classified” and “cannot be released to the public at this time.”

Reporters plead for Clinton press conference after FBI announcement

It’s been seven months since [Clinton] held a press conference (for comparison it’s been less than two weeks since Donald Trump had two back-to-back…

Just a few months ago, Clinton said that she’s the “most transparent public official in modern times.”

Hillary is in a bad spot. If she comes clean, it won’t help her with the public’s perception that she has not been trustworthy because she hasn’t been. If she continues to lie, cover up, and avoid the press it won’t help with those perceptions either.

The illusion of culture

Cultures have illusory “grammars” that outline what can and cannot be said.

Culture wars, essentially, are battles over what can and cannot be said, done, signaled, thought, believed, valued, etc.

A few days ago in You can’t say what they don’t already know, I said:

Cultures demand constant authorization and reauthorization from their members. To stray from established norms is to weaken group authorizations.

That’s how it works for all cultures with more than a few members. Cultural bonding and affirmation involves nothing more than authorizing and reauthorizing the basics of the culture.

It even works that way in groups as small as two people. This because two people speaking together typically do so in a larger cultural context that is defined and accepted by both of them.

Just as most people do not make up their own words or jokes, most people do not make up the bases of their culture(s).

Even committed couples speaking in private typically do not leave their shared cultural script(s). This happens because they do not know any other way to speak to each other.

A profound and rich world of subjective insight and perception eludes them because they are afraid they might stray too far from the established script.

Culture becomes deeply illusory at this point. Its tenets are held not due to thought and insight but only to stabilize or maintain a rote communication pattern.

You can change this by using a functional communication pattern instead of rote cultural grammar that has been imported into your mind from outside.

As an experiment, try not feeling anything about the basics of your culture. Do FIML from this point of view and see what happens.

Buddha’s skull bone discovered?

A “skull bone” of the Buddha was supposedly discovered in a temple in Nanjing China, according to a livescience report: Ancient Shrine That May Hold Buddha’s Skull Bone Found in Crypt.

Here is another story with more photos: Engravings say the skull belonged to Siddhartha Gautama.

It is unlikely the bone actually belonged to the Buddha but not inconceivable.

One of the things that makes Buddhism different from many other religions is the great importance traditionally given to relics. When relics are considered to be of primary importance, the religion can be transplanted more easily than if its authenticity is based on geography.