I have no reason to write. I had no preconception of what I “wanted” to write about. I’m basically forcing myself to write this. Why? It’s like a message in a bottle (good song by the Police), I’m just writing because…nothing? Writing is good? Writing in and of itself is a good thing. Writing is the equivalent of conscious thought and thought, even meandering or nonsensical, is good? I added the question marks because I’m not certain that just any writing is “good writing.” I actually think that most of life is sifting through the massive amounts of TRASH thought in order to find (if lucky) the good thinking or the “correct” thinking. What is good or correct? At the very least it could be logical thinking (1 + 1 = 2), if someone tries to say something like “1 + 1 is actually equal to 3″ then you know right then and there that it is wrong/trash/not worth your time. So applying logic is one great way to sift through the trash.
Another good way to find something worthy or correct or whatever would be to apply previous experience (empirical evidence). So if I start to watch a bad show or movie and it seems very similar to other bad shows or movies (again, objective logic is a good foundation), I can tell via induction that this will, most likely, be a bad show or movie. So while this is not hard evidence (like a clear violation of something) it can be a nuanced way of sifting through trash.
The first way (logic) is safe, but the 2nd way (a developed sense over time) is at least something that can be improved upon. Often, I read things or see things and QUICKLY lose interest, because I think my 2nd sense of feeling that this will be a waste of time is very strong. Maybe logically the person or book or game or whatever didn’t do anything wrong, but I can feel (subconsciously) that there’s something wrong.
I think this sort of gets at a larger topic which is your brain, biases, relying on feeling/emotion/”gut” instinct V. constructive thought, logic, etc. You obviously need both but I think that objective reality is “better” in so far as it is slower but higher in accuracy. Most of the time the tradeoff is such that you’re better off just reacting via instinct, but that’s sort of a trap. In situations you aren’t familiar with there is no built-up library or put another way the training data for your mental model is sparse and you are much more likely to react poorly. The counter to this thought is that it’s very hard to live objectively, even if you know you are biased/emtional/etc. you can only really mitigate this effect (but not eliminate it).
The best of both worlds (objective reality meets lived experience) works within the confines of leveraging instinct but having it balanced out by objective reality. I think of gamblers that are VERY good at calculating odds instinctively/based on years of experience, but even these gamblers will know that their ability to function is impaired when they drink too much or they are angry or any number of factors. Maybe the gambler makes a rule like “I will only drink 1 drink every 2 hours” or “after losing a big hand I walk away from the table” or any number of rules aimed to mitigate the effects of feeling. The other piece is that you should look at things objectively OVER TIME. So for example, you may FEEL that you aren’t losing weight or whatever your goal is, but if you measure it you might see a different story. Maybe you THINK/FEEL that your life is terrible, but actually analyze it based on the possible outcomes of what COULD HAVE been your life. Taking stock of things is very important and should be done every few months if not more frequently.
The final piece of advice would be to live as the Stoics do. No matter what has transpired before, just imagine your previous self as “some other person” and then imagine that this person is dead (like, they just died). Now think about who you WANT to be, in this moment. Then live that. It’s so much harder to do than to say, but the concept is sound. If you can de-identify with who you were and begin to identify with who-you-wish-to-be, then you’ll be able to start acting it out.