May 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

« The Single Most Important Issue | Main | How Do You Know You’re Right? »



Oscar Wilde (of couse) once said:
"To become the spectator of your own life means to escape the suffering of life."
Pretty much the same concept. Been doing it for years, with varying degress of success.

Michael Jones

I used this technique about 20 years ago to overcome my discomfort with flying. I never thought of it as robot-like. I decided one time while boaring the plane that my lack of control would at worst end in the plane crashing and me dying. As soon as I accepted that potential outcome, I was no longer bothered by flying.


Nah... It doesn't work. I've been here behind my eyeballs all morning, waiting for "what comes next", and work just keeps pilling up! What a stupid movie!... Back to being me again, now...

LA Clay

This is the same stuff that you get in any Anthony Robbins sales course, Landmark Education course and many others. This is good, you are up there with the instant fix mega thinkers of your time!


that's called "acceptance" in my Programmed life, and it works miracles for me when I practice it. This moist robot, gratefully already in tune with the exercise (or just using the body the way it's been programmed - did I spell that right?) and SAD issues, will try eating my carbs later in the day and see if that helps my fatigue issues... thanks Robot Scott. signed, 12 of 14.


This method has also been documented in the field of psychology. This is the defense mechanism of "isolation." E.g. check out

It's really generally present in people who are undergoing extreme stress... say, rape or torture. But, to consciously invoke it does seem like a good idea of sorts if you're easily frustrated.


You've probably already seen it, but this is great.

Do you know if the "Dance, Monkeys, Dance!" in this video pre-dates yours? Is there a direct ancestral causal link or is one a cousin of the other?


You've probably already seen it, but this is great.

Do you know if the "Dance, Monkeys, Dance!" in this video pre-dates yours? Is there a direct ancestral causal link or is one a cousin of the other?

Dilbert's Rabbi

"Aren't you a little curious whether you will try this technique in the future?"

I can honestly, unequivocally say: the answer is no.

Neil Melville

Hi Scott,

I agree with you about 97.3% about your view on free will, however, please consider this:

Our brains have evolved such that the inevitable deterministic future of the physical structures they are made up of is EXTREMELY well aligned with the phenomenological 'desires' of the emergent 'entity' we refer to as conscious minds.

Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, you CAN do exactly as you want and desire. It just so happens that what you want and desire is inevitable, but that doesn't change the fact that you want it.

I don't know about you, but I say that if you can do whatever you want then you have free will. The apparent contradiction between that and the deterministic nature of your brain is only APPARENT. In fact, they are entirely consistent, and are simply different levels of description.

Yes, we are moist robots and our entire lives are immutably set before us. BUT, we are wired to WANT almost all of it anyway (at the level of everyday choices and actions), so we are free to do as we please, and the universe will therefore unfold as it should.



FYI Scott. Here's your 'pull out screen' idea. 5-inch, 320-by-240-pixel, monochrome rollable display on a cell phone. Article says it's available in 2008.


Just want to rebut the "You" poster's statement that this method is simply dissociation.

You're actually supposed to pay attention to what's going on, through your senses. Notice Scott put the word FEEL in caps. So in fact, you remain very directly associated with the moment. In fact, I would argue that you become more connected to reality than you are when you think about your situation, judge it, worry about it & try to manipulate it. If you do all that, you are only becoming more connected to your own thoughts, and less to reality.

Not surprising, a lot of people misinterpret Buddhist "detachment" as dissociation too.


I think you're talking about the defense mechanism of disassociation. (used in the common sense, not DID)

Tom Gao

You are treading dangerous territory S.A,

Curiosity is the manifestation of our deepest thoughts and fantasies. In excess, this mentality could detach us from "reality" (at least in the sense of how we see it) and therefore drive people to pursue inane objectives such as suicide, mutilation or god knows what other disturbing tendencies which exist out there. Best just to go and see a movie or think of someone in a worse and more chaotic position than you. That is unless of course you are the one at the bottom of the analogy chain and have no one else less pathetic to loathe upon and seek consolation. Wonder what that person would do?


After reading about the groundbreaking research that excercise and sunlight make you happy, you might also be interested in the cutting edge research that bears do, in fact, shit in the woods.


The Amish have been doing that for ages now, so have Muslims.

What is wrong with all you otherwise intelligent people that think we have no free will? Direct causality fails at the state machine level... the evidence that we posesses at least a few percent 'free will' is quite abundant.

That 'movie' you're watching when you do that? What do you think that is? Do you think instinct driven animals see that too? The answer, I think, is no.


You know, that might just work! I'm going to try that today.


But... But... But... But... But...
That's basic NLP!

You pretend to be a genius! But I must admit, I still love you.
And yes, it does work, thanks.

Andy Watt

Interesting. I'm not sure that I'd want to adopt this idea when feeling powerless, however: but I guess there's a parallel with the "open mind state" gained from trying too hard to work out the meaning from the last Zen Koan you got fed by your inscrutable Zen master.

Tell me, Mr Adams, have you considered you just fed us a Koan?

I'm not ready to consider the unthinkable just yet, mind...


Hi -

Adopting a "third party" viewpoint on what happens to you in life, or on your feelings of depression, moodiness etc. so that you can analyse those events/phenomena is a common device in cognitive therapy.

I have used it to get out of an extended period of gloominess.

For that reason I have no trouble believing that your method would work. Unless I misunderstand what you mean by "curiosity" I think it's already being used by cognitive psychotherapists.


The solution for frustration from a lack of control in certain situations is to concentrate on the belief you have no control in all situations? Wouldn't that just make everything else equally frustrating all the time?

Dana D

It's really not a new concept, but one of the most useful and life inspiring of all time. It's considering life a journey and meeting each day with a sense of adventure. One is stressed over events because we’ve lost the 'big picture'. We, too often, become focused on the mundane or dreadful. Realizing the temporal nature of events in life and deciding to view it as a sublime adventure is the best mind set. We don't always have the ability to change conditions a quickly as we'd like, but we can change our interpretation. Perception is reality; make it what you will.


Scott, pretty much any method of mood control also has the ability to turn people into a**holes. Drink, Drugs ( including caffeine and HRT pills) Religion, "Assertiveness" etc etc

Your method is simply dissociation, which appears to others as recklessness.


I must say that I've pulled that trick quite a few times. I base that on my personnel belief that it's pointless to worry about problems, the reasoning goes as follows:
"If a problem has a solution, I dont have to worry cause it can be solved. If a problem doesn't have a solution, then I dont have to worry either, because there will be no point to it."
That is a great way of living, you just have to take care of actually acting on those problems that can be solved, and not sit on them until they turn into the later case. It doesn't mean you have to worry, just make sure you aren't passive about everything either.

PS: Maybe someone famous said something around those lines, I'm not trying to steal the idea. I just don't remember.


That's an interesting concept and I'll certain give a go to see if it works for me.

Actually, for many years I've been using something very similar. I think I came up with it myself, but there is every chance I had read it somewhere and sub-consciously adopted the idea as my own.

Either way it works for me. It goes something like this…

Whenever I have an important decision to make, and I’m not sure what the best course of action is I toss a coin and go with what ever it decides for me. My first recollection of using this method was deciding which University to go to. I narrowed it down to two and the coin did the rest.

I think the reason it works for me is because it takes away the responsibility from me for the consequences that result. I’ve never looked back and wondered what would be had I chosen the other option.

The comments to this entry are closed.