Hope is one

I feel connected with him because we share initials, and we’re both obsessed with time. I want to talk about small scene he had in the last (or maybe 2nd to last) Avengers movie.

In one scene, he’s sitting cross-legged, levitating, and clearly calculating something with his time gifts. After a while, someone asked him what he was doing, and he says that he was assessing possible outcomes of future events. He looked at over 14,000,000 different scenarios, and only one had a positive outcome.

There was literally only one possible outcome where the universe existed as it was before, and we fans had hope.

Using the Avengers as our background, we only need one potential positive outcome to be hopeful. Or at very least, buy a movie ticket.

The question becomes what is bothering you right now? Can you imagine a scenario where it’s gone? That’s what hope is. It’s the ability to imagine a single potential positive future outcome. And the truth is, there are infinite.

I am an addict [And so are you]

Preliminary reading: Expecting Unhappiness

While I was doing my Venn Diagrams for my article about expectations, I did a set on addiction. At some point, I realized that I’ve always been an addict. 

Addict (noun) – someone that looks forward to something with expectation. That would make the opposite of addiction being fully present. Habit becomes addiction when hope becomes expectation.

I’ve been addicted to

  • fitness
  • caffeine
  • learning
  • sex
  • porn
  • food
  • social media
  • writing
  • gambling
  • fear
  • work
  • money

The tricky part is that most of these things by themselves are not inherently bad. They become bad when I start thinking about them instead of the present moment. Eating a hamburger isn’t bad, but if I’m thinking about eating hamburgers all day, I have issues.

Working out isn’t a bad thing, but thinking that my reality or happiness depends on my workouts is.

Caffeine is not a bad thing, but thinking that I need it to be myself is.

IMG_6166
If you decide you need something to be happy, you’re right.

Once you start trying incorporate things that can never be a part of you into your character, you begin to need them. To expect them. And when your reality doesn’t include them, you think about the next time that you could have a reality that could. You make plans to achieve that as soon as possible. This mindset is what an addict is. It’s not a chemical need for a drug, it’s the refusal to accept the present moment as being enough. Or refusal to accept yourself in that present moment in your current state. And when the present moment is not enough, you decide what you think would make it enough.

The chemical need comes from perceived mental want. [For more, read the Conservation of Dopamine] When your reality requires a drug, any reality without that drug increases stress. You’re basically comparing who you are right now to who you think you should be. Whether that be working out, writing, eating, or doing drugs, etc.

Suicidal thoughts come when your reality can no longer meet your expectations. Not only that, but you can’t foresee any future realities that meet your expectations. You have no hope. And the opposite of hope is despair.

  • Hope (noun) – belief that there is a chance of a future where your reality is better than now.
  • Actual needs- food, water, shelter, human contact, air, sleep
  • Perceived needs- anything else

Chances are great that you’ve never even been close to needing food or water. The human body can go days without water and over a month without food. People have lived long and healthy lives without working out. Coffee may help you function, but you do not need it to survive.

When we mentally categorize things as needs that are not needs, they become needs. Not because we actually need them, but because when we think we need them to function, we think we’re incomplete without them. We expect them, and thus our reality is incomplete without them.

Another interesting perspective on this is time: Because time does not exist in the brain, there is not a set amount of caffeine, sex, or working out that makes it an addiction. It’s the mindset. For example, if you’re addicted to food and working out, an outsider may not even know anything is wrong with you. Someone would just think you have a fast metabolism because of all the working out that you did.

Remember, we already made the spectacular claim that there is only one brain disease. That gives us the freedom to make some other observations about these addictions.

Addictions are highly correlated with ADD, ADHD, OCD, and many other mental health issues. Now our big leap of logic becomes more of a short step. Let’s define these with our new definition of addiction:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder: looking forward to the next thing
  • Obsession Compulsive Disorder: looking forward to [relative] perfection
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: looking forward to a reality that excludes a past event
  • Anxiety: looking forward to the next potential negative reality
  • Depression: looking forward to despair

So what about the medications that resolve these issues? We’ve discussed it several times in Don’t Trust Your Psychiatrist and Void Avoidance. But the short answer is really at very least, psychiatry has no idea how their drugs work. At worst, they only mask underlying issues. With our brain model, we believe that you have the ability to be happy if you’ve been happy before. With that in mind, and the fact that time doesn’t exist in the brain, the permanent addition of psychiatric drugs is terrifying. It would literally prevent you from becoming who you were designed to be. It would stop you from facing your fears, overcoming your demons, and telling your true story.

Sources:

  1. https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
  2. https://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/the-connection/

 

 

Expecting Unhappiness

 

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When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have. -Stephen Hawking 

First, let’s define expectations as a set of predictions about the future. Gratitude is the opposite of expectations. We can be grateful about certain things, but not others. But it’s nearly impossible to be grateful for something that is outside of our set of expectations. As expectations approach zero, we are fully grateful. If gratitude approaches zero, we are full of unmet expectations. Expectations create a void. Gratitude is the absence of void.

Hope is not expectations. I hope that I live another forty years, but I don’t expect it. Once I expect it, anything shy of that is a disappointment. Hope is belief that there is a possibility that there will be a time where your reality [or a portion] is better than right now. Hope becomes expectations when you decide that your dream is essential to your happiness.

What is the difference between hope and expectations? Hope does not create a void. Hope is just belief that the future could be better. I hope my arm heals up or I expect my arm to heal up. Hope involves accepting the present reality. I do not need my arm to heal to be whole, but I would be very grateful if it healed. If I expect my arm to heal, my current reality is incomplete until my arm heals. I can never be fully whole without a healed arm. And the truth is there is an infinite set of realities that involve a healed arm, and an infinite set that involved an unhealed arm. If I expect my arm to heal, I cannot be completely happy with an unhealed arm.

The past is unchangeable. There is literally no hope to change it. It has been written. If you expect a life that doesn’t include your mistakes, you’re going to be unhappy, because it doesn’t exist.

What do you expect out of your life? How far are you from that right now? Let’s start with a much smaller scale. You go out to eat and you order a steak. It’s a nice restaurant, so you’re paying $30+ dollars per streak. You order it medium rare.

At this point, you’ve probably unknowingly set some expectations on the meal. [And the restaurant has placed some expectations on itself] With the price of the meal being high, and the restaurant being fancy, you automatically expect more out of this meal. You put in your order, and expect it to be right, and delicious. Maybe it’s good, and maybe it’s terrible, but expectations at this point are so high, that even a good steak make just appease you.

On the other hand, take the same meal at a dive bar with a $15 steak, and you may have people lining up down the block for it. With lowered expectations, the customer has no choice but to be impressed with a good steak.

How does this apply to the bigger picture? Imagine that fairy-tale wedding: the perfect dress, picturesque setting, and Prince Charming. Girls dream about these things when they are very young. We encourage it. They make decisions based on this ideal.

In reality, you wear a great dress, and have a great wedding in a great place to a great guy, but you may still not be happy. Because you let your dreams effect your reality.

Chances are great that you’re not a millionaire and you didn’t marry a supermodel, so how do you get out of bed every morning? Gratitude. Gratitude is the ultimate mindset in accepting what you have. It doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards making millions, but it means that you can be happy along the way.

So how do I keep moving forward without being bogged down by my expectations?I’m not saying that it’s not okay to dream. It’s important to move ourselves and society forward. But as things happen, we shouldn’t look back on our plan constantly, because it will never measure up. And if our happiness is based on how well our expectations match our realities, we will never be happy.

Don’t let other people’s expectations of you effect you. I really struggle with this. I’m pretty good at this sport, so my friends think that I’m good at this sport. But I haven’t been playing lately, so I’m not as good as they expect me to be. When my reality doesn’t match their expectations, they feel obligated to say something. If I let my current reality inherit their expectations, I’ll be unhappy with my play. But if I can accept my current reality, I can embrace each match and still have fun.

The moral of the story: dream big, expect nothing, be grateful, hope for the best, and don’t let anyone else’s expectations become your own. Every time you compare reality to expectations you will be disappointed, so just don’t do it.

Expect the world, and you’ll find disappointment. Expect the worst, and you’ll find worries. Expect nothing, and you’ll find everything.

 

 

The Literal Son of God

Preliminary Reading: Matthew 1: 18-25, Luke 1: 26-38

I’m sure that this has been done before, but here’s an theory about the conception of Jesus from biological standpoint. 

Some animals have virgin births. Including sharks, Komodo dragons, pit vipers and boa constrictors.

One percent of women claim to have virgin births. This number varies depending on what data you look at, but the point is a good amount of women claim that they have not had intercourse.

If we assume that one percent of women aren’t liars, parthenogenesis is possible in humans. 

If parthenogenesis is possible in humans, the offspring is always female. There is no male DNA contributed to the offspring. The resulting baby is called a parthenogen, and because it results from the inheritance of only a single sex chromosome from the mother, it will always be female in animals where two like chromosomes determine the female sex (the XY sex-determination system), and always male in animals where two like chromosomes make for a male (the ZW sex-determination system, where WZ is female, ZZ is male and WW is inviable).

So if Mary actually had a virgin birth, how did she give birth to a boy? The natural [or supernatural, rather] explanation would be that God was the father of the child, meaning half of Jesus’ DNA was literally God’s, making him quite literally the Son of God.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/virgin-births-claimed-by-1-percent-of-us-moms-study/
  2. http://theconversation.com/is-virgin-birth-possible-yes-unless-you-are-a-mammal-52379
  3. http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151216-virgin-births-are-happening-everywhere
  4. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217210542.htm
  5. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-strange-science-behind-virgin-births?ref=scroll
  6. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-health-virgins/claims-of-virgin-births-in-u-s-near-1-percent-study-idUSBRE9BG1F020131217

 

Don’t Move the Line Back

If you want to change the game, change the value of the shot.

The problem is not how good the players are getting at threes. Is how lopsided the valuation of the shots is. A good shooter makes 50% of their twos. To make the expected value the same, a three point shooter needs to shoot 33%. Which isn’t even a good number, nowadays.

For a shot that’s only 17% percent harder, it’s valued 50% more. It was only a matter of time until shooters were going to spread the court and light it up.

So to fix the problem, I’d suggest addressing the point value. While it would be a mess on paper, value the old 3’s at 2.34 points. You don’t have to repaint anything, and you naturally shift the game back to what it used to be. Too much post play at that number? Bump it to 2.5.

The scoreboard may get messy, but it may be worth it. Plus, you can keep the game style steady by adjusting the points as needed before the start of season.

Finding Right Now

Alternate Title: The Caffeine/Exercise Time Shift

I don’t think anyone wants to argue about the health benefits of caffeine or exercise. The big question is why are they so beneficial? Everyone seems to have a theory, but the jury is still out.

Here’s my theory on it. I call it time-shifting.

By increasing the stress in the current moment, these two stressors force the subject to be more present right now.

If you’re a worrier like me, your mind may automatically wander to the next big event, the next crucial moment in your life. Basically, I’ll find something to worry about. And you will too.

For example, there is no reason to worry about something that may or may not happen in a month, when you’ve made right now an important situation chemically or physically. You’ve essentially tricked yourself into being present.

The question naturally becomes, can we be this present without either of these external stressors. I think the answer is yes, although I’m not sure how. For better understanding, we need to ask the people who are happy and healthy, and don’t drink coffee or workout. These people have the ability to focus on the present moment without any assistance. Because we always want to be present, but the next run or espresso shot may be hours away. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.caffeineinformer.com/top-10-caffeine-health-benefits
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html

The Evolution of Decisions

I like to look at human consciousness as a computer operating system, where you write the logic. You write the logic based on what you’ve experienced and what you’ve learned. Over the course of your life, your logic set has evolved based on your life. Think of a kid sticking their finger in a light socket, learning that is not something that leads to a good outcome. You get several hundred thousand iterations at decisions, you start learning which lead to good outcomes. 

So when you are faced with many decisions, you already know right or wrong, without even thinking. You may not have been in this exact situation before, but you can probably apply your knowledge or past experience to come to a logical conclusion. 

So as you learn and grow, your code evolves and you develop character. These tendencies protect you from future mistakes. When you stray, you write new code to help safeguard against that in the future, if you can realize that you’ve strayed. 

Your decisions can only be as good as the code that you write, and you decide which logic is sound. But just because you have a system that helps you make decisions, doesn’t mean that you cannot deviate from it. The deviations are what helped you establish your character in the first place, and it’s what helps you evolve further.

Predicting Longevity

There is a non-zero chance you die today.

Let’s say you have the ability to live to be 120 if everything goes as planned. That is 43,800 days. So if you’re 37, you’re chance of dying is 1/30,295. Every day you are alive, the denomination of that fraction goes down, and the likelihood of your death goes up.

We’ll say it’s 1/30,295-1, 1/30,295-2, and so on.

But that’s assuming you live to be 120. The truth is, it’s unlikely you live to be 100. And even scarier, you don’t know how long you’re going to live. So the equation looks more like this:

1/x-n

where x is the number of days you have left

We are aware of the fact that n is going up. But it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that x is stationary. Maybe it’s not. 

Let’s say that every day you workout, you increase x by 0.25. And every day you eat healthy, you increase x by 0.25. So you can slow down your demise, but you can’t stop it.

If your normal x was 60 years. You have 21,900 days. Exercise could theoretically increase your x by 5475 days or 15 years. Eating healthy could add another 15 years. So you could stretch things out 30 years. You could live to be 90. That’s theoretically, and if you exercised and ate healthy every single day.

But every day does not do the same amount of damage. N does not always equal 1. If you stayed out all night drinking, n=2. If you didn’t sleep well, n=1.5. If you were stressed all day at work, n=1.5. If you are overtraining, n=1.25.

So as you can see, if your x was 21,900 days, you could live to be 90 if you worked out and ate healthy every single day. But if you didn’t sleep well, overtrained, or any other number of things, you could manage to do more than a day’s worth of damage to your body in any one-day span. Let’s say that you struggle every other night sleeping for ten years. That would cost you 7.5 years of life in our model. You’d live to be 82.5.

Control what you can to maximize x and minimize n, because no one knows what their x is. Create an infinite series that you can live with, because like it or not, that’s what you’re doing.

It’s Never Too Late

  1. If eyesight is reversible in me, it is reversible in everyone. Or rather, if Bates proved that all cases are reversible without glasses.
  2. If eyesight is reversible, it is not a physical impairment, it is a brain condition, or sub optimal mental state.
  3. If my brain condition is reversible, other brain conditions may be reversible.
  4. If a brain condition has been reversed in one individual, it is reversible in anyone.
  5. If brain conditions can be reversed without medicine in one in individual, all individuals with that condition can be reversed without medicine.
  6. If all individuals with these conditions can be resolved without medicine, our mental wellness can be achieved without medicine. And when time does not exist, it does not matter the age of the afflicted individual. Healing is always possible.
  7. If our mental wellness is obtainable without medicine, we were created to be mentally well.
  8. If mental wellness can be achieved without pharmaceutical assistance, we were made in the image of something greater.
  9. If we were created in the image of something greater to be well, we have a purpose.
  10. If it is never too late to be healed, it is never to late to find our purpose.

An Unpopular Approach to Homosexuality

Homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. Here’s why I think we should put it back. 

It’s a choice, in the same way glasses are a choice. I know what you’re thinking: glasses are not a choice. I only wear glasses because I need them to see. But if I told you that it was possible to see without glasses, what would you say? We’ve proven this over and over again. William Bates did all the work in the 1920s. So if it is possible for you to see without glasses, yet you use them, that is a choice. And that choice is causing your brain to operate at a less than optimal level.

We all have our issues. But the difference here is the ability to identify them as issues. When society begins to accept or even embrace it, the fine line between right and wrong becomes blurred.

Some correlations with homosexuality:

  • Higher rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and substance use or dependence in lesbian and gay youth.
  • Higher rates of recurrent major depression among gay men.
  • A fourfold increase of the likelihood of suicide in LBGT youth.
  • Higher rates of anxiety, mood and substance use disorders, and suicidal thoughts among people ages 15 to 54 with same-sex partners.
  • Higher use of mental health services in men and women reporting same-sex partners.

If being gay is correlated with negative mental health, why are people gay? Because society and culture have told them that they were born that way. They have forgotten how to piece apart what’s right and what’s wrong in this perspective. If your group of friends was based on the worst thing that you did, who would you hang out with?

If we view being gay as a suboptimal mental state, it would make sense to be associated with disorders associated with suboptimal mental states. Remember: There is Only One Brain Disease.

While obviously frowned upon by most realms of contemporary ethics, there have been multiple case studies to show that homosexuality is reversible. That’s important, because with our view of the brain, that means it’s always reversible. By what mechanism, I don’t know.

In looking at past research in homosexuality, here are the flaws I see in the logic: if we don’t know why it’s wrong, it must be right. If we don’t know how to reverse it, it must be irreversible, and thus something that we must accept.

If being homosexual is operating in a sub-optimal mental state, it is impossible to become your best self without challenging the deep-rooted logic that has become part of your being. When you begin to doubt the feelings that society has told you to embrace, you will start to rediscover your true self.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4887282/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/mental-health.htm
  3. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/LGBTQ_MentalHealth_OnePager.pdf
  4. https://www.apa.org/monitor/feb02/newdata
  5. https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_therapy
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/12/lgbt-mental-health-sexuality-gender-identity
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4936529/
  9. https://www.hrc.org/blog/flashbackfriday-today-in-1973-the-apa-removed-homosexuality-from-list-of-me