May 2008

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« Find the Cognitive Dissonance | Main | Things That Shouldn’t Make Me Happy »



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My mind is like a fog. Oh well. My life's been really dull today. Eh. Today was a total loss. I've more or less been doing nothing , but I guess it doesn't bother me.

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I've just been letting everything happen without me these days. I've pretty much been doing nothing , but oh well. More or less nothing notable going on to speak of. I just don't have anything to say these days, but maybe tomorrow.

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Today was a loss. I just don't have anything to say. Not that it matters.

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I've just been hanging out doing nothing. I've basically been doing nothing worth mentioning. Shrug. Pretty much not much exciting happening today. Today was a complete loss.


Every time a bell rings and the subject doesn't become happy, beat them. Avoidance conditioning lasts much, much longer and has a higher chance of the researcher not dying.
Not-death is very rewarding.


Perhaps this will get posted this time around ;-)

Analogies work to help explain a complex point because they couch the important particulars of the original scenario in more common terms. This helps most people unfamiliar with a subject to understand the original argument.

Your assertion about analogies being imperfect is, I think, imperfect. To hold true the analogy must preserve the basic logical argument inherent in the original scenario. I believe the author of the article you linked in was saying that your analogy didn't do this.

You seem to disagree, but you attack a straw man to do so. Instead of tackling the authors criticism you discuss how analogies are by nature imperfect. Huh?

Bill McCai

i have all your hardback dilbert books (not the comic collections, but the book-books).

and i downloaded god's debris, and read it all. i didn't like it as much as your other stuff, even though i love the thought experiment stuff towards the end of the dilbert future.

anyway, i'm not argueing against you or anything. but i probably would have bought god's debris (and/or the sequel) if i had actually seen it in a bookshop here (australia) before you gave it to me.

but like. i download music. a lot. i never used to (i have 250+ CDs), but it's .. a) easy... b ) saves me money for other things... c) virtually impossible to get caught... d) faster/more convenient.. e) even when i buy CDs, i only rip them to mp3 and listen on my computer/ipod, so the actual CD is a middle man.

the legal side of it doesn't even cross my mind tbh. i'm pretty sure it's just human nature to do whatever's easy, risk free, and rewarding. i don't even try to justify it.


I used to owe people a lot of money. Debt collectors phoning my house were a frequent problem. Even now, I STILL have a panic attack whenever I hear the sound of a ringing phone. All telephones in my house and office are set to silent. The sound has a horrible efect on me. So, the point is I think humans can learn to associate an emotion with a particular sound.


uh oh... looks like Mr. Adams is recycling old jokes. The anecdote about the phantom blackberry suspiciously reminds me of a cartoon from the 90's involving Dilbert, a shrink and an invisible pager syndrome, complete with the confessions of an onanist (published in 'It's obvious you won't survive by your wits alone', I believe).
Just a comment, not a critic. Adams remains a genius.


Nice One, loved the end...


Lottery tickets work that way. People go out and buy an overpirced piece of paper which tells them that they have a 1:19,856,473 chance of becoming a millionaire, which gives those optimists happiness for a small moment. I'm not suprised it's such a huge business.


Interestingly a study found* that school children receive an automatic adrenaline boost on hearing the end of lesson bell, and as happiness is caused by endorphins being released into the bloodstream...

*(Though to be strictly accurate my evidence is a vague memory of a teacher whose name I've forgotten at some point in the past telling me this,)


SO glad to hear I'm not the only one experiencing phantom vibration of the hip!


Don G

On The Simpsons after escaping the brainwashing of a cult, they talk about how good it is to think for themselves again. The TV exclaims "You are watching Fox!" and they immediately respond in monotone voices with zombie eyes, "We are watching Fox . . ."

I don’t know if it brings them pleasure, but it’s pretty close to an evil Pavlov ringing a bell.


GOD...i have the Phantom Phone Vibration Syndrome...
at least i know i'm not alone...


We have pavlov's bells for humans. They are called slot machines. No matter how often the person playing loses he or she continues to put money in for the happy joy of hearing the bell ringing. Sometimes that ringing bell is accompanied by a payoff- but that happens only just enough to keep the person playing.

you'd what?!

This is for tomorrow's post, I couldn't post on it myself.

"There aren’t many ideas that have the potential to change the world. But the idea that we have no free will has to be on the short list. Once you accept free will as an illusion, it necessarily makes you wonder how certain you are about the rest of your reality. When you lose your own irrational sense of certainty, you are less likely to discriminate, to judge, and to believe a lunatic leader who tells you he’s certain."

I think people believing this would lead to A) lack of personal moral responsibility (I had to do it, the chemicals which comprise my body made me) and B) MUCH more susceptible to some sort of totalitarian regime if it weren't true. You erode people's sense of certainty, etc., they're a lot more gullible.

Also, re: Einstein, its not about smartness its about wisdom. There's a difference.


Do you believe that there is any mid to large company out there that hasn't perfected this technic already? Joe employee puts in 60 hours by Tuesday morning and Bob manager walks over and says "great work Joe" (i.e. the bell) that kind of makes Joe feel happy and apreciated. Of course Joe doesn't get shit in is pay check because he is a salary employee and in the meantime Bob manager just got a huge bonus check at the end of the quarter because he 'managed' (pun intended) to boost his team's efficiency and utilization margins.
Happiness for an empty reward! Not complicated, practiced daily.

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They use this trick in advertisings, all the time.

The show boring products surrounded by girls, music and landscapes that would make us happy.

Then, in the supermarket, sometimes we see the boring product and it acts as Pavlovian bell and we are fake-happied enough to buy it.



Funny post today Scott :)

You're very optimistic, that' very good. But why on earth don't you think that people hunk their horns because they recognise who you are and want to wave a simple hello?... What? Not realistic? What has that got to do with it? You're an optimist from head to toe in all other matters :D


I can acknowledge that downloading is illegal.
But is still burns me that to enjoy say Grease again and again I had to buy the video cassette, the laser disc, and then the DVD. To enjoy Nazareth's greatest hits I had to buy the LP, the 8-track, the cassette and the CD and now want to carry it on an MP3 while partaking of physical activity. They only produced these once, and I have to pay every time they reinvent the wheel?

Chris Z

I thought I was the only PBVS sufferer. The thing is, I don't look forward to receiving email on my BB. 99% of the time, I am not the direct recipient. The blasted thing is turning me into some kind of Cujo Pavlovium.


I've given each of my children (girl, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl) a "feeling of well being" trigger starting when they were tiny babies. Whenever they acted that way, I stroked their temple and repeated their name.

They have to be ready for the feeling of well being. But then the trigger works.

The oldest is 16 going on 17, and it's still there. After she got in her first car wreck it was a handy tool.

Does this violate their free will? I don't think so.

Is it manipulative? Probably, but it's for a good purpose. Humans have comforting rituals all over the place. This one was just methodically applied.

Should I give the trigger to their spouses and not tell them I did?

heh heh heh

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