Ran Prieur http://ranprieur.com/#9a417fe513f58988c3b5b1e84cfc57397194a79b 2017-08-09T21:30:35Z Ran Prieur http://ranprieur.com/ ranprieur@gmail.com August 9. http://ranprieur.com/#4f6d20a288b5650509b2cb9cd82eff8984db5738 2017-08-09T21:30:35Z August 9. Today, some stuff from email. Greg comments on Monday's post:

I have a book called The Un-TV and the 10 mph Car. It's full of weird experiments the reader is implored to actually perform. One of the first is standing in a public place without doing anything.

It sounds easy but you cannot LOOK like you're doing something. You have to just stand there, and you have to be seen by people, for 10 minutes. I did this standing in the middle of sidewalk. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

One of the supposed points was that society pervades us to the point of actually controlling our actions when we're not doing anything. To be socially-acceptably "not doing anything" we need to actually look like we're doing something.

And this is something I wrote to Christine, who was curious about my response to this YouTube channel of people arguing about politics:

I've just lost interest in political drama. I sense that Trump's underlying agenda, which he's serving intuitively rather than calculatingly, is to intensify us-vs-them thinking. Everything he does is feeding off of, and feeding into, a growing trend of ingroup-outgroup tribe war consciousness. I think even smart liberals like Stephen Colbert have been sucked into this dark movement.

My response is to refuse to get caught up in it, and instead to look at underlying psychological influences. What exactly drives people to get into these conflicts?

In general I think that external conflict is the projection of internal conflict. People choose their identities, and especially choose their enemies, based on things inside themselves that they haven't fully faced.

Also, in an authoritarian society, which we totally still have, everyone feels powerless, and arguing about politics gives people the illusion that they're actually influencing the world.

August 7. http://ranprieur.com/#591108b043615131e30ce164d8fc2ce39352d833 2017-08-07T19:10:03Z August 7. Back in Spokane, and I'll probably be back to posting MWF for a while. Today, a great interview with Michael Finkel, the author of a new book about the guy who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years.

On this planet, we don't know what to do with people who don't belong. I don't mean murderers, or people who are, clearly, mentally insane. I'm talking about someone like Chris Knight, who was a gentle person but who didn't fit in with the rest of us. It's heartbreaking. We don't have a spot for him.

Personally I think Knight is heroic. He only had to live in secrecy and break the law because we live in barbaric times. In a world with less authoritarian property laws, and an unconditional basic income, someone could live alone in the woods openly and legally.

Also this Hacker News comment thread has some good stuff, including discussion of the psychological differences between being with other people and being alone:

It's like coming from bright light into a dark room. Gradually your eyes adjust and you start to see more. Coming back into the civilization is similar to someone pointing flashlight into your eyes. So much external triggers for behaviour. Realizing that I'm not actually me with other people and I'm disappearing into network of others. Me with others is mainly just bunch of triggers that fire based on conditioning.

August 1. http://ranprieur.com/#6d0ebd3fcf93c10ef9ae0634380dd733e4399dfc 2017-08-01T13:10:23Z August 1. I have a little time to post some stray links from the road. This reddit comment lists a bunch of theological answers to the problem of evil. I accept both "God is not omnipotent" and "Purgatory on Earth."

A big reddit thread, How do you know you're in a healthy relationship?

And on one of my favorite subjects, motivation, Sometimes Not Working Is Work, Too. It's about people with the exact opposite of my problem: they are so highly motivated that they're in danger of overworking themselves and burning out, so they actually have to force themselves to be unproductive. The only way I can wrap my head around that is to imagine a world where playing video games, or getting high and listening to music, is considered useful by society.