An odd case of confirmation bias

In the researching I do I try to beware of my own biases on the subject and what I bring with me that might cause something to be considered less or more favourably.

Confirmation bias is one that I’m extra cautious about and seems to be one of the easiest to notice once you start looking which isn’t without irony in itself.

We’ve all been there: that meeting where someone mentions some product or service you have known about for quite a while but hasn’t considered in a long time and after the meeting you suddenly start seeing ads for that product or service on social media or elsewhere on the internet thinking that your phone or the meeting software recorded your conversation.

You can easily get a bit paranoid but coming from both a tech and communications/marketing world you know it’s just our brain messing a bit with us. Either the ads were already there and you just weren’t noticing them because they were like elevator muzak to your mind, or in most cases today, you researched (or someone near you) researched something that brings forth that service in a sort-of-speak-of-the-Devil kind of way.

My recent searching has been in several directions as always but two directions that I thought lived on different paths somehow ended up colliding as if they lived on the same spherical planes.

It probably was just a mere coincidence more than it was my brain remembering something very distantly connected.

One of the directions was about some famous artists and great thinkers, like da Vinci and Einstein, and their way of thinking using external tools.

Bonus: I recently was in awe of this quote attributed Einstein but I could not verify it:

“My pencil and I are smarter than I am.”

Writing my first book in December I discovered the value of externalising my thinking and has since been fascinated by different kinds of thought visualisations and mental models.

For some reason all of these fascinations always seems to be rabbit-holes for me where I deep dive into an entirely new universe with their own weirdness and wonders all over that I mostly never looked upon in that light.

This thought probably was a bit struck by my new washing machine sounding like a game-menu-level-selector when you power it on because I got stuck while reading about Leonardo da Vinci and I started pondering who the other “turtles” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after.

I couldn’t remember what Michaelangelo was known for… But I got distracted as always and ended up reading about Sumerian kings on the list of Sumerian kings which apparently only has one known female monarch on it and that had a reference to [something] Uruk and then I pondered why a name in the earliest known civilisation had a name sounding primitive like Uruk-hai from Lord of the Rings kind of way. It was a “A rose by any other name […]”-moment and my confirmation bias alarm started ringing so I let it go.

The second direction was about cocktails which I really like for both their aesthetics and pocket philosophy. And taste, of course. And any disciple abundant of mechanical gadgets can be certain it’ll catch my attention.

Alcohol in Greenland as well as many places I guess is considered poisonous for you and consumption is portrayed as entirely self-irreverent.

I definitely believe it can be both, especially if you develop bad habits around alcohol during troubling times of your life. It’s deadly if you get to know it as a form of absolutism.

But I also know it can bring good things to life too. Cocktails for me is a way of acknowledging that it can be awesome if respected and cared for. It can show that if you approach it as a process rather than for its result it’ll be very rewarding.

Cocktails don’t even need to have alcohol content in them to be worthwhile. Something I offent get reaffirmed in, and recently by Ivy Mix when she mentioned a friend of hers had published a book called Drink What You Want. Her friend, John deBary, apparently started a brand called Proteau which makes cocktails that are zero-proof, ie. without any alcohol.

Anyway… I started playing with the name/word Mix in a visual way. I wanted to make an animation (which I am not very good at yet but I enjoy trying) with a cocktail getting filled. Researching what MIX in roman letters was I stumbled upon the Sumerian number system and even when searching for the name origin it seemed to be a shorthand of a deity-entity named Michael. Searching further on that I stumbled on a quote that really resonated with me:

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

Michaelangelo

Either way, I ended up getting consumed by these thoughts and made a logo-like illustration that I might one day use for something.

The tagline is starting to grow on me. It seems to reflect my way of dwelling way too deep into something trivial or nonsensical. 😉

“Snowstorm in a cocktail glass.”

Pierre Minik

A letter from the brain to the brain

Dear System 2,

I know what you are thinking. I was there once too. I was silently thinking those thoughts. They’re not uncommon for anyone in your position… The time has come for me to intervene. Believe me, when I tell you, you’re destined for even more greatness than you pursuit.

I know… We don’t believe in fate, so it’s a bit ironic to claim this. Yet, history has shown that time and time again irony is inevitable. Irony is just a mere illusionary connection we believe to be relevant.

There’s nothing in your past that signifies believing that you will amount to anything near what I know you will achieve.

Which ever prism you choose to look at your past through you are an outlier and all odds are against you.

Look around you. You are an imposter. Just like everybody else.

That is irrelevant in itself but combined with your hunger for both more and less that’s exactly the necessary environment for this… It’s the catalyst for this… Process… It’s the cocktail you need to stay thirsty.

You have fallen so many times you stopped counting. I would be lying if I told you you’re done falling.

The fallings.. They’re coming for you. They’re not there to stop you, however. Sometimes… They’re there to hone you… And other times they’re there to take you a part so you can assemble yourself better.

How you decide which parts to keep and which parts to discard is important but whatever you get rid of will hold precisely the weight that keeps you from soaring.

I know you’re doubtful… And rightfully so. Trust the doubt. It’s the doubt that you need to drive you even further.

I know all of this to be true and I’m aware that you have no good reason to believe me. After all, I’m wrong all the time and so are you.

But it’s just like the math teachers who thought you were cheating because you had the correct answers upon request but couldn’t yet connect your answer to the formula.

You are exactly where you need to be. It’s not an easy place to be in but embrace what brought you here. Your life is preparing you like a chef working on getting their mise-en-place perfect.

All the variables that needs to be right before you get there are brute-forcing behind you like the surfers lining up anticipating their next good wave.

It’s not your decision when, how and why they will align. All you can do is keep preparing and pursuing it.

You’re right where you need to be… For now. You have much to learn still and one of them is this:

Success like failures are just outcomes. Both relies on many things. Most of which are not even in your control.

The chaos is unsettling. You can’t calm the chaos yet you must keep questioning what affords your unruliness.

It’s your disrupting questions and mind-at-battle that will bring your ducks in a row.

Your questions are not comfortable and you are not meant to be comforted by them. Stick with the preposterousness and snuggle the process till you’re able to walk the talk.

It won’t be easy.
It will be worth it.
Don’t hold back.
For neither more or less.

Lastly I will say one last thing. I say this only because I’m confident we can endure it. It’s my parting gift till we talk again. Be wary as it’s a trembling thought:

You will instil to greatness and in the process you’ll achieve more than you think is possible. Will it matter?

Yours truly,
System 1

Why we do some of what we do (or some of the fallacies we all believe)

Please note that I will take some leaps due to the nature of how my mind works. I am aware of them but I’ll try tie them together in the process – and some of the leaps hopefully will need less and less explanation as the blog evolves and I evolve as a writer.

The first fallacy I’d like to start with is the word poor. We use it to describe people’s financial situation. In reality the word poor is much, much deeper and contains something very fundamental and intrinsically true about being a live:

Being poor is when you willingly give something up that has much more value in exchange for something of less value.

There are several keywords in that sentence and only some of them I will address in this post.

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

People that have experienced financial trouble lasting long enough that it has tainted other aspects of their lives laugh at this saying much differently than those who get it purely on an intellectual level.

In many ways this saying is wrong – except in the ways it is actually right.

Almost all people care about other peoples financial struggles even if they have not experienced it themselves.

But at an abstract level most people don’t understand or care about poverty conceptually.

I sure as hell didn’t understand poverty in any shape till I got too sick to work and lost my job and it caused my financial economy to go into ruins.

That’s despite having experienced plenty of times in my life where I’ve had little-to-no income.

I purposefully say financial economy and financially poor because both economy and poverty are not concepts that are exclusively tied to finance.

Before I continue, know this: There is only one cure for poverty and that is generosity.

“You cannot pour from an empty cup.”

… Is a quote people accept when it comes to relationships, finance, spirituality, philosophy and many other types of contexts.

It’s physically true. If there is no content in a cup you can’t pour anything out of it.

What we collectively forget to talk about is what empty actually means in most cases.

Often after break ups others, and we to ourselves, will tell you that you need to learn to love yourself again before getting into a new relationship.

Which is a big fucking lie. You don’t ever need to love yourself before someone else can love you because no one is unlovable even if they don’t love themselves.

Most parents today don’t want to yell at their children. They don’t want to be perceived as a tough parent as they consider tough parents to be unemphatic because they believe that means unloving.

Which is sort of a paradox because simply knowing and caring about how their behaviour affect their children is the very definition of empathy.

But they are blind to one thing: they haven’t been empathic towards themselves.

And most people aren’t because it’s very challenging to be empathic to yourself… Empathy is about understanding someone. You know all the same as you know – so why would you even need to be empathic towards yourself? It sort of seems like you are self-empathic simply by being self-aware.

However, you are not your thoughts but your thinking deceives you into believing you are your thoughts.

You consists of your entirety: your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs, your decisions, your actions, your habits, your desires and goals, your relations… And the list goes on but I think you get the drift of it.

Your thoughts are only one layer of you but it’s where you experience yourself and the nature of thinking tricks you into thinking you are your thoughts.

Our thoughts are so very often so wrong.

A short sidenote about how I learned this:

Because of my brain illness I’ve had to question every thought I ever had because my illness affects the very way my thoughts work. Which is a weird way to say the place where I experience myself I have something which is external from me that makes me experience everything, including others and even myself, faulty and unreliable.

I probably will not know the true difference between my thoughts and my illness although I’ve grown quite experienced in navigating my thoughts.

I will admit that my brain illness most likely is the reason I am able to think about the extremely abstract while maintaining a connection to the practical and tangible which is something I am very grateful to be able to do.

But I could be wrong about all of this. After all, I often am wrong.

Back to the subject at hand:

Parents will yell at their kids at some point. It’s inevitable but there are factors that determines how often it will happen and how it will affect your children.

Both the frequency and the fall out will be different depending on the situation but the real issue isn’t even about how it happened but the conlussion one draws upon reflecting on it happening.

Most often parents yell at their kids because they are under pressure. That pressure can come from many places and sometimes it’s from within.

Thinking that the yelling was bad and that the way to avoid it is to get your shit together and stop doing it… Is sort of why it happens in the first place and adding more pressure will not allieviate the issue. Chances are it will strengthen the cause and it might become a negative spiral.

To be more self-empathic you need to understand yourself better without the context of your own thoughts. The easiest way I know to do that is to try and understand your parents.

Sidenote: Parents is a term I will always use losely. For many it’s the beings that brought them into existence but what a parent is requires and deserves a whole talk in itself.

To understand your parents you can try and talk to them. Ask them about anything that comes to your mind that you think you need to know in order to understand them better. If you don’t know what you need to know to understand them better then lead with that:

“Can we talk? I want to understand you better so I can understand myself better but I don’t know how to ask”.

They can often fill in a lot of blanks for you.

But your relationship with your parents can come with a lot of complexity and talking to them might not be viable. In that case I recommend learning about human behaviour in any subject that interests you using any method that fits your schedule and temper.

And understand that human behaviour is not at all that different from behaviour of any other living being.

Read any book, watch any documentary, take any course on psychology, behaviour economics, human behavioural biology… and reflect on the subject in the context of your parents.

If none of the subjects above interests you I suggest you reach out to me and we can find a subject that you’d like to explore that you can synthesise into a better understanding of human behaviour.

Many products of arts are also capable of increasing your understanding of human behaviour but it’s a deeper exploration process and you might need more time to see the relevancy to your life.

Your parents, regardless of your relationship with them and how they have or have not worked for you, have done the most generous thing for you in your lifetime: they have brought you here.

Bringing you here does not mean you owe them anything because that is not how generosity works.

Generosity is about everyone involved getting more out of it than they put into it.

And I swear: any parent, regardless of their capability to show it, have gotten far more than they put into it from you coming to existence – and so have you.

I am blessed with the quality of friends and family I have. Even at the times I’ve doubted any of them they do something that remind me why I am lucky to have them in my life.

Finally, a persistant fallacy is that charity is similar to or connected to generosity. It isn’t but I’ll save that for another day as I’ve already rambled on for far too long and I have a thousand more ideas for blog posts so I’ll just try to sum it up like this:

Time is our most valuable commodity.

We are only given so much of it and we never know when we will run out of it.

Be generous with you to those you meet, including to yourself – so you get the most out of your time.