as told to (your name here)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Exit OnlyLast night I finished the book mentioned in the previous post. As I mentioned before, there's a lot of psychology in the book and only the very last chapter gives any hint at how to apply all that research for fun and profit. Allow me to recap:
We want to be happy in the future, but since we can't see the future directly, we imagine what it will be like and we imagine what will make us happy. Three things prevent us from having an accurate imagination. The first is the fact that we fail to imagine every detail of the future, some of which are critically important, such as how quickly the happiness of the acquisition of some thing fades. The second thing is our tendency to imagine the future based on how we feel today, the over-buying groceries on an empty stomach, for example. The third failure of our imagination is our under-reaction, in the future, to events we perceive as important today. For example, getting divorced was something I imagined much worse than it really was.
The final chapter gives us an alternative to our imagination: Asking someone else. Instead of imagining what it's like to go to Hawaii, we could read a travel book or talk to someone who has been there. The author points out, however, that our ego usually prevents us from taking this tactic. We tend to believe that our experiences are unique and that we're somehow different from everyone else, when the truth is that we (even strangers) have so much more in common. Thus, we usually revert back to imagining our future-selves wildly happy and we wind up puzzled that our current-selves aren't as happy as our past-selves imagined we'd be.
My own opinion is that the author is right, with one small exception: relationships with specific individuals. The author claims we should learn what will make us happy by talking to someone with first-hand knowledge of the thing we wish to experience. However, if my girlfriend talked to my ex-wife and ex-girlfriends, she's likely to learn all the things that make those girls my exes. That wouldn't make anyone happy.
In other news, I've started a new experimental (and likely to be temporary) blog based on the fact that my dick is so big that it has its own blog.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Detour aheadI'm finally back from Orlando. I know you missed me- I won't make you say it.
I spent some time with extended family recently. It was miserable. I hate to sound like such a downer all the time, because that's even less fun for you to read than it is for me to live, but the truth is such as it is. I don't know if it's self-pity or self-awareness, but I was very self-conscious about the fact that I'm the only adult in my family without a family of my own. Maybe the seed of that was planted in my mind by my father who, after we had dinner together last week, said he thought I was "a great catch." Not the kind of thing you want to hear from a parent, no matter how true it happens to be. (And it happens to be very true.) I know what he was hinting at, but I'm not settling down any time soon no matter how much he wants it. The old man is a perv and he wants to live vicariously through me.
I've never been able to see my future very well. Although there are things that I want for my life, I just don't have much imagination for getting from here to there. I finished that killer book a little over a week ago and am now reading Stumbling On Happiness. The book, so far, is a psychological explanation of how we experience the world in which we presently live and how our past and present experiences determine what we think the future will be like. The reality is that the future is rarely what we expect so the choices we make today, with the hope or expectation of some future result (i.e. happiness), are often misguided. I'd say that describes me to a tee. I'll try to let you know what happens next.