Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

Life's Many BalancesPhoto license

Any scroll through an internet news site will convince you there are many unbalanced people in the world. Some people become unbalanced through drugs or mental illness. Others became obsessed with the wrong things. How can we avoid falling into this tragic comedy of the damned? Become aware of the importance of balance.

There are many ways to balance your world. The concepts below come from psychology and philosophy. It doesn’t matter if you agree with their subjects. Learn instead to see how everything has an opposite and creating a balance will keep you out of trouble.

Each balance below starts with the philosophy behind it. This is followed by the psychology of balancing in our everyday experience. Most end with some practical application.

Good and Evil

Eastern philosophy emphasizes the Tao (Yin Yang) of good and evil. The good is creative and productive action. The evil is uncreative and destructive action.

The “secret” to a happy life is focusing on the positive and acting on it. All action leads to some negative reaction. We discover our weaknesses. Equipment breaks down. Others are not interested or oppose our actions. For an unhappy life, focus on the negative. Positive things still happen for the negative person. Work still comes with a paycheck. Positive people try to help. Lunch is still a good time.

A well balanced person prefers the positive and accepts the negative. When everything is going great, they prepare for problems that will come up later. When everything is falling apart, they remember that it will be good again. They focus on what’s working while doing damage control on the problem areas.

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What is Insanity?

Posted: July 9, 2017 in Psychology
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What is InsanityPhoto license

There have been many definitions of insanity. It’s mainly a legal term for someone who is so disconnected from reality that they can’t understand the consequences of their actions for other people.

Getting Crazier

In psychology itself, clinical is used to indicate extreme cases. These are mental disorders that have gotten bad enough to have a negative effect on other people. As long as a person’s mental disorder only affects themselves, there’s no reason to force treatment.

There are several levels at which a person’s mental disorder may affect others. The least disturbing way is when they are unable to keep a job and become a financial burden to others. People at this level often find themselves on welfare, sometimes for life.

More severe are cases where the person’s mental problems manifest in the real world in ways that cause emotional distress for friends and relatives. Think of hoarders, for example.

The most extreme cases of mental disorder result in physical harm or death to others.
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Your Perception Becomes Your Reality

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Between jobs, in another century it seems like now, I took the worst job ever for a few months; a min wage job washing dishes in a busy restaurant. The non-stop pace began the moment I arrived. There were no breaks. Demands came from all sides; bosses, cooks, waitresses. It was go, go, go the entire shift. Everyone feels free to yell at the dish-washer when their day isn’t going well. And the hours sucked. The best dish-washer only got 25 hours per week. At first, I got less than that. The job didn’t even cover my bills.

I hated it. Even though I have a strong work ethic, am a fast learner, and am physically fit, nothing was ever good enough or fast enough. Especially not fast enough. I became faster. I learned what the needs were going to be before anyone asked. I ignored my aching back, my sore hands and feet, until after work when I would rest up while sitting at my computer writing. After an hour or two of writing, I could stand long enough to take a shower and go to bed.

I loved it, in an odd sort of way. This is where perception and reality come into the picture.

I needed to have some kind of work while I searched for my next full time job. I had landed that position so it was in my best interests to make the best of it. I could think of it as unrewarding drudge work for grumpy bosses and co-workers. Or I could think of it as a challenge.

It was unrewarding financially because it wasn’t enough hours. That gave me more hours per week for writing.

It was drudge work because that was the job and it was only a temporary part-time job anyway. The drudge work would be gone in the near future when I found my next job.

The grumpy bosses and co-workers were just venting their stress. It had nothing to do with me. I couldn’t be washing plates, washing glasses, washing buckets, refilling the vegetables, refilling the pop, and lugging sacks of flour and sugar all at the same time. I did my best to keep all of those things covered but everything would continue to run out as meals were served. I cheerfully took care of whatever task someone was letting themselves get upset about.

I kept my own frustrations to myself. The problems would be resolved. The rush would pass. The shift would end. There was no need to yell at anyone. It only increased the tension. React with a positive attitude, even if you need to fake it, and everyone gets a little less stressed, even you.

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Heidegger's Search for the Meaning of Being

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This is a paper I wrote for myself at the end of university. It gives an overview of Martin Heidegger’s positive existential philosophy. This version has been very lightly edited. No attempt has been made to add to the explanations of the concepts. If you find yourself lost on a point, feel free to ask in the comments.

Heidegger’s Search for the Meaning of Being

Heidegger says the central question for the human being is the question of Being. Our inquiry into Being has been absent for such a long time that we now suffer from a loss of meaning, as evidenced by the growth of nihilism. All meaning derives from the Meaning of Being and it is a return to the question of Being that is the only way to get this back.

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How to Realize Your Dream Job

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If you’re like the majority of people, you take whatever job you can find to pay the bills. If a better paying job becomes available, you switch to that. As far as what you’d really like to do for a living, it’s a hobby or a dream you’re not living. Maybe you’ve taken some courses or read some books, but your job is not related to what you want to do.

I’ve described the process of following your dreams more fully before. This is the first time I present the simple process that follows. Simple. Not easy.

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The Zombie Apocalypse is Here

Not really. There never will be a zombie apocalypse. Even if some mad scientists were to create a bio-weapon that created a hunger for human flesh, the infected would eat each other. The uninfected would then kill off the zombie winners and the plague would be over. Since there’s been a bit of hype about the zombie apocalypse being imminent, I thought I might give my take on the possibilities.

The Fictional Zombie Apocalypse

The original movie zombies were long-dead corpses that arose from their graves and shambled through the jungle to eat the living. Decades of movies had slow zombies overpowering the living with surprise attacks and sheer numbers. Then, the excitement picked up with fast zombies. There have been a few other variations, such as zombies with guns.

Where zombie movie logic always fails is in the living dead angle. To move, they must eat. Either they eat their victims and fail to multiply or they only infect their victims and starve to death.

Could there be some lesser equivalent of zombies in the real world?

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The Benefits of Aiming Too High

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Psychology
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The Benefits of Aiming Too High

If you aim too high and don’t quite make it, you may still reach your goal. If you aim at exactly what you want to achieve and don’t quite make it, you fail. Of course, we should always aim too high. But, most of us don’t. Why?

When we set a tough target and miss, we feel like we’ve experienced a failure. This is the case even when we know we were aiming beyond our goal and achieved what we wanted. We perceive two goals, one higher than the other, and it’s the low goal we achieve. What failures we must be.

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