In Progress

Here are some works in progress.  You need to have a password to view the links, but you can read each synopsis without any password.   Many further article ideas are located in the comment section.

  • A Mind-Based Habit Of Low Self-Exertion
  • Do Belief Based Illnesses Exist? (The Irrational Fear Matrix)
  • Faith And Work – Faith is needed in order to reap the benefit of activities that have a long-term payoff horizon and a low certainty of success.  Alternatively, very little faith is required to reap the benefits of activities that have a near-term payoff horizon and a high certainty of success.  To discuss the differences between Working, Selling and Learning.
  • Positivity Galls Me
  • Reasonable Self-Exertion
  • Self-Discipline Vs Imposed-Discipline
  • Taught And Chosen
  • The Current And The Propeller
  • The Exertion Paradox
  • True Lies
  • What Causes Poverty In American? – Subquestion: What causes long-term poverty among generally able-bodied and able-minded adults in America?
  • Volunteering Versus Being Volunteered
  • Working, Selling And Learning
  • Is Everyone Equally Worthy Of Freedom? – Discussion of slavery, freedom, responsibility, irresponsibility.  In order to remain free, a person (or their community) needs to take steps to maintain their liberty – otherwise, the forces of tyranny will naturally encroach.  Being worthy of freedom is a different question from whether or not someone has the right to freedom.  The two are commonly conflated.  Someone can be extremely irresponsible and thus (presumably) be generally unworthy of freedom – yet still have the right to freedom.  ///  For people who are currently unworthy of freedom, it may be the case that their overall well-being will be better served if they are partially enslaved.  One can imagine a X-shaped chart (similar to supply and demand) to show how over-all wellbeing-ness can best be served to people depending on their position on a spectrum of responsibility/irresponsibility and thus being worthy of freedom or being in need of limited slavery.  Children are, due to their inmaturity, unworthy of complete freedom – hence they are forced to goto school and go to bed early, etc.  ///  As an adult moves closer to the point of being a complete slave, the importance of freedom becomes clearer for them to see.
  • The Paradox Of Restricted Opportunity – To introduce the logo – things that can be changed and things that cannot be changed.  HSE/RSE/LSE and PRO.  PRO is a paradox because people look at the chart and cannot tell if they belong in block 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5.  Because the question of “what proportion of the important things that impact my career can I change” is heavily a matter of perspective.  The perspective problem is compounded by the fact that, regardless of the block 1 to 5 that a person may actually be in, they will, in almost all cases, still only be able to apply their efforts to a vanishingly small part of all of the possible places in which their energies could be applied.  This is simply due to the fact that there is not enough time in a day or a year or a lifetime to work on more than a small fraction of the entire what-can-be-changed zone.  You can prove this to yourself by asking yourself how many books are there in your local library which would, if you invested the time and energy to study them, add a positive boost to your career outlook?  The answer for almost everyone is going to be the same:  I don’t have enough time to read more than a small fraction of all the books that would add a positive boost to my career outlook.  Same thing goes in the area of networking, i.e., how many personal connections are available for you to make which would, again, add a positive boost to your career outlook?  Again the answer will be the same: I don’t have enough time to meet more than a small fraction of all of the people who would add a positive boost to my career outlook.
  • Staying In Shape – Is there value in exercising at the gym?  Of course.  The body’s muscles need regular use to keep us healthy.  Similarly there is value in exercising the mind.  Most people do not exercise their minds once school is over.  One reason that we give for this is that “it doesn’t make sense to spend the time to learn something new that I am not going to use.”  That is just what we used to say about Algebra in high school.  (Of course, the people who studied Algebra, tended to do better in their careers.)  The important point of this article is that we could use the same rational for avoiding various exercise type machines at the gym.  I will never use that muscle set in real life.  But the same could be said for all exercises.  I will never have a job that requires me to walk on a treadmill.  The point is that there is value in mental exercise even if it does not accomplish anything.  For example, memorizing long lists of random numbers.  The result is useless (like walking on the treadmill) but the activity is useful in that it keeps the number one muscle in shape.  Which brings us to the real reason for not doing mental exercise.  I just don’t like it.  Okay, so why did you throw out that red herring about the “I’m not going to use this?”  People offer fake explanations when the real explanation is not a good one.  So how about memorizing long lists of random digits – 3 or 4 times a week for 40 mins … would it help?  Can you think of any other brain exercises that might be similarly difficult/strenuous, but might also kind of help with developing a useful skill?
  • Giving In To Depression – Recognizing that there is a self-propelling dynamic that affects some people who have melancholy.  The existence of self-pity.  When is it appropriate to grieve?  When does the grieving take on a life of its own?  An important aspect is that it seems to be rational when a person is in it.
  • Does Everyone Focus Their Minds Equally? – Companion article to “Does Everyone Exert Themselves Equally?”  There are mental illnesses which have the symptom of causing difficulty in focusing.  ADHD is an example.  But what about just people who do not have illnesses?  Do they all focus with the same intensity?  How could you ever measure that apart from self-reporting?  Focus takes psychological energy. It takes more energy to focus on something that I am *not* interested in, and it takes less energy to focus on something that I *am* interested in.   Do people who focus their minds get better career results?
  • Pride and Work. One way to classify a job is to think of where that job sits on the spectrum from prestigious work to humble work. Prestigious work generally pays more, whereas humble work generally pays less (although there are exceptions.) Question: Do people sometimes reject a job offer because they refuse to accept work that is too humble for their taste? Can pride play a role in the decision to accept or reject a paying job? If so, then can pride play a role in maintaining a person in poverty?
  • Are Americans Hard Workers?
  • What Is a Proto-Skill? – Some skill sets are directly transferable into a job.  Example: a bachelor’s degree in engineering.  Other skills are only supportive of the eventual effort to gain a transferable skill.  This is a Proto-Skill (PS).  Example: learning how to do basic addition and subtraction.  And other skills appear to be less likely to be supportive of the eventual effort to gain a transferable skill.   Example: learning the details of a TV comedy series by watching the show.  /// The point of this article is that it is a worthwhile investment of time to learn PS, since they will place a person in a better position (in the long-term) to be able to take advantage of opportunities to learn transferable skills.  In fact, schools (such as high school) teach, primarily, PS.  Unfortunately, people who lack PS may find it very difficult to discipline themselves to learn PS, since there is no clear and immediate payoff.

88 Responses to In Progress

  1. Flowchart says:

    Religious Brainwashing – we can see it in others but not in ourselves. By thinking about the power that it exerts, we might be more receptive to the idea that economic brainwashing could also happen. Mbh-LSE may b due to a type of economic brainwashing

    • NHS says:

      Brainwashing: Religious And Economic

      We see rb and eb in others. Could it also affect me? The DABDA like process of changing a belief system. It becomes easier to believe the things which you want to be true.

  2. Ideas says:

    What Can Be Done? To introduce the 86b chart. That could be the new pal logo. And to adress the objection that LSE is caused primarily by bipolar or other unchangeable facets of life. And the fact that many options are unavailable to some people. We do not all have equal opportunity – but we do (within the individual realms of our individual opportunity zones) have equal choice about the decision as to whether or not we will go with LSE or rse or MSE. That is a decision that everyone must make on their own – and in the light of their individual circumstances.

    • Ideas says:

      Also which of the five bars best describes my personal can/cannot be changed profile? Much of it depends on perspective! “The major issues that I am currently facing regarding my career.”

  3. Ideas says:

    Fear Of RSE keeps many ppl from starting. Rse is not MSE

  4. Ideas says:

    The value of structure – getting out of the hospital and into a good routine.

  5. Ideas says:

    What Works?

    Self-reports of how ppl have gotten going with things.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do False Beliefs Exist? To challenge the idea that a mbh-LSE does not exist. Certainly false beliefs exist. Religious beliefs are sometimes false. Our fears often turn out to be false beliefs. Ppl make decisions based on their beliefs. You cross the bridge bcz you believe that it will easily support the weight of all of the vehicles driving across. Time management decisions work in the same way.

  7. Meds says:

    What Is Charity Fatigue?

    Compare willingness to help a person versus persons willingness to self exert in working selling and learning. WSL each have different payoff horizons. CF similarly has different fatigue curves depending on the prospective charity recipients demonstration of willingness to self exert in WSL respectively. Needs a chart showing how 3 CF lines overlay against 3 WSL payoff horizons.

  8. Meds says:

    Labor That Cannot Be Sold – u can sell present work efforts to a boss (WSL). But Selling and Learning cannot be sold reliably. Science Fiction idea – imagine if u could learn something by studying all day and then sell your work product to a distributor who would then resell it to students (for cash) so that learning would be 75-90% easier for them. But selling what you learn would make it either unusable (or perhaps illegal?) for you to use that knowledge. If unusable then you could relearn a particular lesson and then resell it every day! (This is actually kind of similar to what factory workers do in that they re-create the same product over and over – but they dont get to keep it – but at least the boss does pay them for their efforts.) The irony is that ppl who would otherwise b very disinclined to study would suddenly find themselves able to do it effectively bcz there would be a clear near-term incentive – unlike the medium term incentive that normally exists in the case of self-exertion in learning career skills.

    • Meds says:

      The reason that Selling and Learning labor “cannot” be sold is that most employers would not buy it bcz they do not trust the would-be seller to pay them back from his future earnings. Plus they do not trust the seller to carry a learning assignment through to completion (actually that is a smaller problem.)

    • Dance says:

      Excellenct idea to ponder!

    • Alone says:

      The incentive conversion machine … The way it could work wld b like selling plasma from blood – but this is a compound that is extracted from cerebral spinal fluid – or computational focus extract – a number that is loaded into a memory card that a producer wears in a headband and via mini MRI is converted to the number. Alternatively the consumer also wears the same device but it is in reverse mode.

    • Ideas says:

      There are many ppl who would be happy to pay someone else to learn for them. For example, to learn a foreign language. Which an average intelligence person could probably do (or at least make very significant headway with) by applying their focus for one hour a day for 3 months or six months. At $10/hour that would mean you could become generally passable in a foreign language in 6 months. That’s 180 hours = $1,800. Unfortunately that kind of work does not produce a transferable product (TP).

      Now there is an interesting idea – the TP. In fact that is exactly what you do when you work at a factory. Your labor produces a TP. Then the boss pays you for it. The widget factory and the learning factory. Unfortunately the learning factory does not produce a TP. Although maybe, in a way, it is fortunate that learning is *NOT* a TP – because, if it were, then many people would never bother to learn for their own growth. Bcz the payoff horizon is long-term and many folks are happy to trade long term for short term. And they would remain in a dead-end learning job. That is a weird idea.

      • Dance says:

        The Haves and Have-Nots Versus the Knows and Know-Nots.

        Non-Transferable Product (NTP). NTPs are what people really value. They are abilities, networks, reputations and know-how. You can’t buy them or sell them. Ties in with faith and work. If you could sell them then the world of haves and have-nots would quickly devolve into a world of knows and know-nots. With no going back. Because suddenly *everyone* could have a job. Which would drive the value of learning down to minimum wage.

        • Dance says:

          Time spent looking for work (aka: networking) is an example of a NTP since you don’t get paid for it. Unless you are a headhunter – in which case it is a TP.

    • Dance says:

      WHAT IS A NON-TRANSFERABLE PRODUCT?  There are two ways in which a person can use their time and energy to create value.  The difference has to do with the answer to the question:  What is the immediate result of my work?  

      A person who works in a factory creates a Transferable Product (TP).  The boss provides the worker with materials.  Then the worker transfers their energy into the material.  The result is the production of a new, physical object which is valuable to the boss.  On Friday, the boss pays the worker cash to compensate him for his energy transfer.

      A Non-Transferable Product (NTP) also requires time and energy to construct, but the difference is that the resulting product cannot be traded to another person for cash.  That is because the “product” is an internal transformation of the worker’s mind.  Students create valuable NTPs for themselves when they learn a career-useful skill or when they create positive networking connections.

      The monetary value of an NTP becomes apparent when it is used to increase the efficiency with which a person can create a TP.  For example, a liscensed electrician uses his specialized training and experience (an NTP) to perform a needed job (a TP) for a client.

      So when someone says: “There are no jobs in this town”, what they really mean is: “There are no TP jobs in this town suitable for a person with my NTP tools.”. Actually though, except in very unusual circumstances there are always thousands of value-creating jobs available in every town – but most of them create a NTP.

      Meme:

      When someone says: “There are no jobs in this town”, do they actually mean: “There is no way for me to create wealth”?  Or do they mean something slightly different?  The answer has to do with the difference between a TP and a NTP.

      It’s actually a very good thing that wealth (in the form of NTPs) exist.  Because, if someone ever finds a way to convert NTPs into TPs,  we would see a steady flow of people selling out their converted NTPs.  And that would leave them in profound and irreversible poverty.

      For example, one very important NTP is our ability to read, write, speak and understand English. Many people would be very happy to buy it from you if there were a way to transfer it. Someone who was desperate for cash or at death’s door might be willing to sell it. At that point they would become unable to communicate with other people. The person would have to be institutionalized and re-educated (at great expense to the community.) (Note how the term “re-educated” means something fair and legitimate in this usage.)

      A TEACHER CAN USE THE NTP OF HIS KNOWLEDGE TO CREATE A TP BY TEACHING A STUDENT. The important distinction is that the teacher is not transferring his knowledge in the sense of a change of ownership, since the teacher still retains his knowledge after teaching the student. What is really happening is that the knowledge is being (slowly) duplicated as the student focuses his attention and learns what the teacher has to teach. The slowness of the duplication is inconsistent with what we mean in the normal sense by a “TP”. A true TP does not require effort on the part of the recipient to receive the product. The only effort that a true TP requires for the transfer to take place is the exchange of cash from the buyer to the seller.

      • Ideas says:

        Real-estate is tranferable in ownership but not in location and transfer does not mean duplication.

        A car is like real-estate except that it is transferable in location.

        When a teacher teaches a student there is a transfer of information (in the act of teaching) but there is only a transfer of kn (in the sense of duplication) if the student is working (by mental focus) to absorb the teaching. In any case the teacher is definitely not transferring *his* personal copy of the knowledge when he teaches. A good example of this occurs when a person retires. At that point they no longer need the specialized kn that they spent so long to accumulate. Ironically there are many people who are new in the career field who would like to buy it whole from the seller – and the seller may very well be willing to sell it! But bcz the retiree’s kn is s NTP the deal cannot be completed.

      • Ideas says:

        So, from the teacher’s perspective, his effort in teaching is an instance of using his NTP of knowledge in the creation and delivery of a TP – which is his teaching. But from the student’s perspective, the act of learning is the creation within himself of a NTP following the guidelines that are coming to him via the teacher’s TP of teaching.

      • Dance says:

        Banning The Sale of Certain Core NTP.

        Bcz of the social burden of communication-less ppl, there wld very quickly be a law that made it illegal to convert and sell certain “core” NTPs – like primary language speaking and understanding – although it might remain legal to convert and sell reading and writing abilities. (This reminds me of the organ trade. Once someone sells a kidney they become much more likely to require charity treatment themselves – hence the govt has an incentive to ban organ selling.) In any case, there wld likely develop a black market in NTP core abilities trading. Here is a good question: how much wld you sell your ability to read and write for? Most ppl wld probably give a very high number – but then you could ask them if they are even using their ability to read and write!! So maybe a lower number wld be appropriate bcz you could just hire someone to read the basic stuff for you. Selling a kidney is a good example of how a previously NTP was converted into a fully TP – and note that it is not transferable in the sense of duplication – rather, you get the original unique kidney.

        • Ideas says:

          Old saying: A man who cannot read is mo better off than a man who does not read.

          This points out that there is a very rational sense in which different ppl could decide to sell their NTP of reading and writing at different prices. So let’s say that two ppl sell their NTP of R&R. Then they both live another 30 years. Person “A” was not planning to use his R&R skill in his career very much – so he would rationally sell at a lower number than Person “B” who was going to use that skill!!

        • PAL says:

          Alternatively, what might happen would be that uneducated people would be offered a free skill-set (paid for by the government.) This would be different from govt sponsored education, in that the recipient would not have to do any “learning work” to absorb the education. The actual process of learning would be done by professional learners who would then trade their unique learning product (NTP) to the person who was receiving the govt benefit. And the professional learner would then be compensated by the govt for his learning efforts.

      • Dance says:

        The way to distinguish a TP from a NTP is to ask yourself: is it possible for me to pay someone to do this work for me? That explains why teaching is a TP but learning is a NTP.

      • AUH says:

        The Action Of Shame on Visible and Invisible Structures

        If u were to offer free building materials to a homeless person then his neighbors would shame him into working on his own shelter. Something very similar should be true regarding the Non-Transferable Product (NTP) building materials – which r books and educational websites – but, bcz the structure of NTP are first-order invisible, it becomes very difficult to use shaming to enforce the work. That is profoundly true. And this is particularly so when the community standard does not recognize / celebrate the importance of continually achieving new NTP.

        Shame And Ignorance. Maybe it makes sense to be ashamed of ignorance? Reminds me of the question: What have you learned in the last week? Nothing Are you satisfied with your educational efforts? No. (Plus shame.). But maybe that is healthy shame.

        Visibility, Shame and Behavioral Control – A person could experience intense shame, but, so long as the source of their shame remains invisible (i.e., “no one knows that I am not learning anything”), then there is no opportunity for traction for socially-imposed behavior modification

        • Dinner Party says:

          When someone has a Ph.D. In STEM, everyone “gets it” that the person has developed a considerable supply of invisible mental structures. Alternatively, for un-lettered people, they may or may not have made a similar effort to self-educate. The social custom is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt (at least until they plainly give you reason not to). My point is that, that social custom sweeps a lot of the shame of self-chosen ignorance under the rug, so to speak, which, unfortunately inadvertently serves to perpetuate the intellectual un-self-development caused by AMD.

        • PAL says:

          Self-Segregation By Invisible Structures

          People naturally self-segregate along the lines of invisible structures. That is one of the reasons that friendships among university professors are (statistically speaking) more racially mixed than other social venues. In other words, the self-segregation choice of “Who are my friends going to be” happens along the lines of “Who is equally interested and education in my field?”

          Another example of this has to do with language. Consider two groups of people who are racially approximately equal, but who differ by the mother tongue that they speak. For example, Poland and Germany. So in this case, if there were a large (originally equally mixed) crowd people who are 50% German and 50% Polish (and they do not speak one another’s language). Then we would naturally expect that the crowd would quickly (more or less) self-segregate along the lines of language.

          So here are two cases: First, advanced education in some field of study and secondly, native language speakers. In both cases, there are invisible structures and databases in the minds of the people involved. The structures manifest themselves in communication and interpersonal interactions. The people involved then, naturally, self-segregate along the lines of the visible manifestations of the invisible structures.

        • PAL says:

          I Don’t Like to Mow the Lawn

          But I mow it because of implicit social pressure. Ultimately, also the threat of a letter and fine from the town. So here is a case of a visible structure which exerts force on me to act due to shame and fear. But there is no similar first-order strong traction when it comes to the creation and maintenance of the invisible structures of education.

      • AUH says:

        Some products combine TP and NTP characteristics. For example, a car is a TP, but learning to drive is a NTP. Same thing with buying a computer (TP) and learning how to use the computer (a NTP).

    • Ideas says:

      Instead of NTP, how about Mind Based Product (MBP)? Vs a Physical Product (PT). Some ppl have constructed a MBP as complex as a giant earthmover. Other ppl have only constructed a MBP which is closer to a manual shovel (which is the default setting that you are pretty much born with.). That’s pretty scary to think that there is a hidden world in which we can be lazy or diligent – bcz, in my case, the more that something can be hidden from view, the more likely I am to be lazy about it. Since the MBP can be hidden, I fear that I have been very lazy … 🙁

    • Ideas says:

      This whole discussion illustrates how ppl are motivated to perceive value differently from one another – specifically when the payoff horizon differs and when the certainty of the eventual transferability of value varies – as is the case of a NTP vs a TP.

  9. PAL says:

    Are People Generally Smart Or Dumb? People are very succeptible to being fooled. We see it in others – even entire generations and nations. But, at each point in history, the people looked back on previous generations and said: “Yes they were dumb – but we are finally sophisticated and generally smart here in the modern era.” (But the modern era depends on your own era in history, of course.) The point being that we, today, in the “modern” era, are most likely still very succeptible to being fooled.

  10. PAL says:

    Being willing to talk about the problem: Many ppl have various struggles which they would like to get over, but they are unwilling to talk to anyone about the problem. That certainly creates a barrier.

  11. PAL says:

    I Need Help

    I need people who will encourage me and also call me out when I fall behind where I should reasonably be. I would even be willing to pay them. This is an odd situation. It kind of pisses me off that I have asked so many people to provide this service to me, but so few people are willing to do it. Possibly part of the problem is that I am insincere. So, my friends sense that, and they adjust accordingly – to just tell me what I want to hear? Meaning, by “what I want to hear” – what my lower, insincere self wants to hear.

  12. Meds says:

    Static Friction And Dynamic Friction – the hardest part is getting started – same way with reading a book – it’s the first page that is the toughest one to read (when you read multiple pages at one sitting.)

  13. PAL says:

    A Nagging Wife Can Perform A Useful Role

    This has to do with the case of a husband who, by his nature, is only capable of self-exertion (work) when there is a very near-term incentive driving him forward. Such a person will have a considerable career handicap because there are many through-put states of work which can only be reached after a significant investment of time and energy prior to reaching his first positive incentive.

    For example, if someone wants to work as a professional auto-mechanic, then they may need to invest a good amount of time and energy in learning how to do the work prior to being hired by an employer. So, in this case, if the husband, by his nature, is only capable of self-exertion when there is a near-term incentive, then he will be unable to build up (on his own) to the critical mass of knowledge and skill needed to make himself ready to apply for his first job as an auto-mechanic.

    This is where the (reasonably) nagging wife can come in handy. She may be better able to form the connection in her mind between the high value (to her and to her family) of her husband’s future career as a self-educated auto-mechanic versus the low cost (to her) of the present-moment discomforts that her husband will experience as he continues his studies and his practical efforts to learn the mechanical trade.

    Now, from the husband’s perspective, the desire to avoid the pain of his wife’s nagging could easily convert itself into the near-term incentive that he (due to his handicap) requires. Alternatively, from the wife’s perspective, the long-term high value of her husband’s future career skill needs only to be discounted by the (presumably) low cost (to herself) of having to regularly nag her husband to keep on with his studies and practical skill learning efforts.

    Of course though, in many relationships, there is already so much dis-function and self-doubt that there is actually a fairly high (not low) emotional cost to the wife when she (reasonably) nags her husband to keep on with his studies. There is also the likely issue of “push-back” coming from the husband who may unfairly convince himself that his wife’s nagging is excessive. This may happen due to a sense of disingenuous excuse-seeking on the part of the husband. It could also be due to a sense of pride/shame at the thought of being the one receiving the orders in the relationship (rather than giving the orders.)

    In many cases a further unfortunate dynamic occurs in which the husband has poor self-control in the area of his own studying, but strong control in the area of being able to manipulate the mind of his wife. When this situation comes up, the husband can, sadly, shut down the (otherwise reasonable) input from his would-be task-master. Ironically, in this case, both the husband and the wife will loose out in the long-term.

  14. Meds says:

    Different Types Of Handicaps – list and discuss ways in which a person can be handicapped. Physical psychiatric and psychologically. Mbh-LSE. Reasons why mbh-LSE is overlooked as a handicap.

    Are Some People Lazy? That was the stereotype that I learned growing up. Then there was a social movement PC – st the suggestion that virtue or vice exists in varying quantities between ppl could not be allowed to b discussed. Hence any predisposition for sloth that may have once existed became able to grow without being checked by shame or public approbation.

  15. Meds says:

    Does Everyone “Take The Initiative” Equally?

  16. Meds says:

    What is Comorbidity?

    Two illnesses simultaneously. Or two illnesses simultaneously and with the same symptom? Use that. So there will be treatment regiment “A” (TRA) and TRB. There is the problem of the lack of clarity regarding how much of the symptom is due to illness “A” vs illness “B”. IA vs IB. TRA and TRB can have a medicinal component and a behavioral component. Where the behavioral component of TRB is unpleasant the person may skip the treatment and then just express their sorrow over IA. This is disingenuous. Self pity can keep the patient from making as optimal recovery as possible (which still may not be 100% – but it is what it is – and it is still the optimum.)

    This could be a nice Venn diagram.

  17. PAL says:

    EDD – Encouragement Deficit Disorder

  18. Meds says:

    Things that are difficult to measure – historically the process of events and paradigm shifts that occur as a quality becomes suddenly much easier to measure. Examples of ttadtm. Love loyalty honesty effort hope sincerity.

  19. PAL says:

    How Do People Use The Internet?

    Most of the time for porn or fun or politics. Smal fraction of time actually devoted to learning career useful skills. But wasn’t that the original purpose of libraries? Carnegie. $365 million – but they still don’t use it even when it is piped right to the house. Which shows that the root problem is not lack of education – rather it is lack of self-discipline to use the available educational resources!

    Internet Usage Statistics, Human Reasoning and Poverty

  20. Dance says:

    Drunkenness And Irresponsibility

    The invention of the breathalyzer made it possible to quantify (albeit roughly) the degree of drunkenness – which had previously been a matter of accusation vs denial and estimation. Currently there is no clear way to quantify irresponsibility – but that may very well change in the near future either by computer video monitoring of a persons activity level or by a secondary physical teat akin to the breathelyzer. If developed that could revolutionize client processing by charities!

  21. Dance says:

    Becoming Aware Of A Cyclical Weakness

    That is what GHGA offers – and the specific cyclical weakness is the inability to remember the guilt and shame laden self-promises to keep on schedule with studies and school-work where the cycle of procrastination and failure has occurred three or more times in some significant area of life.

  22. Alone says:

    This Town Is Boring 1/2

    If u r bored does that mean that u are boring? “My town is boring” – is a possible excuse that ppl use to avoid doing the work to engage the available activities – whether intellectual growth (library books), or physical labor that can b done either volunteer or paid, or person-to-person networking. Students consider school to be boring – but those who consider school to b boring usually end up having worse careers outcomes. And the intellectual exertion required to fully participate in school goes against the predisposition to inactivity that characterizes the lives of those who are, themselves boring.

    • Alone says:

      Cities have many sources of novel stimulation that small towns do not have. We perceive this difference as evidence that the small town is boring while the city is not. But if that is true then does that mean that the whole world was boring prior to the creation of the first city?

    • Dance says:

      If true then does that mean that ppl in cities are never bored? But that is obviously absurd. It probably has more to do with the perception of the amount of externally provided entertainment vs internally generated entertainment. And we normally think of entertainment as something that helps us to pass time in a fun way – but I am using the word to mean “something that sparks your interest”. Slightly different meaning.

    • Dance says:

      We are willing to pay ppl to do things for us that we *want* to get done – whether we want them consciously or unconsciously. When finding a good excuse is equally valuable to you as actually *doing* the thing being excused, then a person will naturally be willing to pay someone to manufacture good excuses. Note that the “payment” will likely not take the form of cash, but it will still b something valuable to the excuse manufacturer!

      Here’s a cartoon idea. Two men are at a dinner party. One fellow asks the other what he does for a living. He says “I’m in manufacturing.” So his friend says “What do you manufacture.” And the answer is “I manufacture believable excuses.” (Sounds like a sub-division in the MSM.)

      • Dance says:

        The Ability to Resist Believing

        When a person *wants* something to b true then it becomes easier for them to believe that it is true and easier for them to ignore evidence which disagrees with the conclusion that they want to draw. This applies equally to the believability of excuses. This is an important quality when you are picking a military leader – I.e. The ability to resist believing things that you want to be true. It shows when you will give up working on a difficult task.

        And it shows the degree to which you are susceptible to a psychological attack.

    • PAL says:

      If indeed your town really is boring, then does that mean that everyone who lives in the town is bored? Are there some people who are *not* bored? How are they different from you? Is it possible that the boredom is limited to only the people in your social circle?

    • PAL says:

      This Town is Boring 2/2

      Sometimes people will say: “This town is boring.” But I wonder if the quality of boredom-ness is in the town or in the person? Except for people in very unusual circumstances, there are always many available options to self-generate the perception that life is interesting. But it may require some effort.

      The answer probably also revolves around the difference between a person’s inate expectation that he will be entertained versus being entertaining.

      • NHS says:

        To Entertain Vs To Be Entertaining – nice idea for an article.

      • NHS says:

        To Entertain Or To Be Entertaining

        Suppose that you were on a long trip on a bus – and you were the only grownup (besides the driver). And there are 10 young children on the bus. But no electronics or games to keep them busy. So they look to you to either entertain them or to somehow capture their interest – in order to help them to deal with the long and “boring” trip.

        Here’s the question: Would you be able to self-generate enough interesting material for them? Or would you just have to let them (and you yourself) be bored for the rest of the long trip? This goes to the observation from the above post about a person’s innate expectation that he will be entertained vs being entertaining.

        Which reminds me of the phrase “entertaining guests.”. If people came to your house party would they be bored or entertained? If your house party is boring then would that be because the room had some inherent deficiency or because the host had an inherent deficiency? Or maybe a different cause?

      • Anonymous says:

        Venn Diagram

        The entire town is boring? All people are bored? Only some are bored? If the last is yes, then how do the groups differ?

  23. NHS says:

    Conversion of the payoff horizon

    Does everyone respond equally to short term and long term payoff horizons when they are pursuing goals? No. In fact there is a term, “goal-oriented” that we use to describe someone who responds to the long-term end of the payoff-horizon spectrum. Usually, a person with that character quality will have successful career outcomes because they are able to self-generate enough momentum to be able to construct a significant foundation of NTPs so that they have a “marketable skill.”.

    Now, what of the ppl at the other end of the spectrum who are not goal-oriented? Unfortunately their career outcomes are usually not as bright, since they lack the self-momentum to be able to (as easily) achieve the same level of NTP marketable skill. Hence their job opportunities are limited to laboring (or other, similarly basic tasks.).

    So, something that would be helpful to the ppl at the low-end of the payoff-horizon focus spectrum would be a method that would convert their near-term focus into a long-term focus. In fact there are already several common relationships that do that. For example, a good parent will help their child to keep his focus on achieving long-term goals. Psychologically healthy friends and teachers and psychologically healthy spouses can do the same as well.

    Of course slavery is illegal in our society (although we do use the term “wage slave” to denote a relationship very similar to it.). One can envision a benign form of slavery in which the conversion of short-term to long-term goal focus would be obtained with the happy result that the slave would develop valuable NTP skills in exchange for his promise (enforced by law) to labor with RSE for the master for a certain number of years (or even permanently.)

    In fact, this exact “benign” slavery relationship is already in place in the armed services of the united states. The process works by providing valuable long-term NTP training to a new recruit, after which the trainee is required (by law) to provide RSE labor to his employer (the service) for a pre-agreed-upon term. The important thing to focus on is that, under penalty of public shaming and imprisonment, the trainee is forced to work. Unlike the typical job in which you can quit any time you like.

    So, in this case, the threat of “public shaming and imprisonment [under which] the trainee is forced to work” works out to be method to convert a short-term focus into a long-term focus with the happy result that the soldier developes useful NTP career skills (which he wants) while the employer (the service) gets the long-term focused RSE that it wants. This is the sense in which the relationship may be said to be benign, although there is a clear component of forced labor – which is the hallmark of slavery.

    So the question naturally arises as to why it is that it is legal for an adult to voluntarily enter a business relationship with the *govt* that is enforced via the threat of “public shaming and imprisonment”, but it is *not* legal for an adult to enter a similar relationship with another private entity? Interestingly, in this case, the govt maintains a de-facto monopoly over the use of force-based conversion of short-term goal focus into long-term NTP goal-focus.

    Which suggests why there is a significant portion of people, who have poor self-control, who are attracted to the military lifestyle. (At least many people believe that to be the case.)

    Note that criminal organizations also use the threat of violence to recruit and retain workers – although there does not seem to be any corresponding benign formation of a positive-value NTP in the lives of the workers.

    Should people be allowed to enter into a benign slavery relationship with private organizations? In fact, this is already slightly available. One case is a behavioral health hospital setting (i.e., a “rehab”). In this case, patients can sign away their right to leave the hospital for a pre-set amount of time – or they may be forcibly committed to the hospital. In both cases, hospital security staff are legally authorized to use physical force to keep a patient from leaving the campus and to enforce basic rules of behavior within the hospital.

    Another case involves working on a private ship. In this case, if you are out in the middle of the ocean, and you decide that you want to quit the job, again you cant just walk off the boat. I’m not sure what exactly the protocol is in a case like that, but I would think that the captain of the ship has the right to use force to ensure certain behavioral standards among both passengers and crew.

    In the case of the hospital admission, the NTP that is developed (through force if necessary) is the mental health of the patient. Here, the presumption is being made that the patient will (from hind-sight) be thankful for his improved mental health, and therefore consider his stay at the hospital (and any force used on him to get him to cooperate with his treatment regiment) as a case of benign imprisonment.

    In the case of the private, ocean-going vessel, the NTP that is developed in the crew is the skillset of being a sailor. Although a crew-member may be unwilling to participate in his assigned work duties for a certain day (until he is “reasoned” with via the threat of force), again the presumption of the business relationship is that the sailor will (from hind-sight) be thankful for the outcome, i.e, the NTP of knowing how to be a sailor. See link: Conversion of The Payoff Horizon

  24. NHS says:

    Absolute Poverty Or Relative Envy?

    The arrival of the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions brought some important changes in the way we view poverty. Skinny vs fat. Long life. Conveniences. Consider any 50 year span. What was once considered a luxury moves into thenecessity category. The absurd projection 50 yearsfrom now would mean that everyone today is poor, whereas the poor in 50 years will be obese andfantastically technologically advanced.

  25. anumb says:

    This Is The Worst Day Of My Life

    When a failure comes up (sloth related) the tendency may be to overdramatize the severity of the damage. Like when I was 20 and thinking that I was already so far behind my contemporaries in my college education. And then using that catastrophized perspective to give up. So, thinking “this is the worst day of my life” is a dangerous and repeatedly-entered trap that humans encounter and re-encounter. Recognizing the cycle *may* help with avoiding it.

  26. NHS says:

    Why Do People Who Use Drugs Become Poor?

    Ironically they are often very motivated to work – particularly to satisfy their drug cravings. But “work” usually requires a degree of stability. The boss wants you to be there from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and relatively alert and focused. Unfortunately, the cycle of drug use and sleeping-it-off sometimes bleeds into the work schedule. So the boss has to let them go.

    Willingness to work or willingness to trade?

    In a broad sense when a person is willing to work, what they really mean is that they are willing to trade. Work means trading time, energy and focus in exchange for money. Or in this case, drugs.

    So when the “regular” jobs dry up or become unreachable, a drug addict will, naturally turn to trading. That is why their house or apartment is often bare. The TV went for drugs. The tools went for drugs and the nice clothes went for drugs. Now there is nothing left.

    “If I had anything left, I would pawn it – but I don’t have anything that they would be willing to take.” That is the predicament that many people reach.

    Is there anything left that can still be traded?

    Some addicts turn to sex work. Sex work is actually very suitable for someone who is drug dependent – at least in the sense that you make your own hours, so the issue of the impact of the sleeping-it-off phase of the addiction cycle can be factored into the work schedule.

    Technological advances

    Technological advances have historically made it easier to sell things that could not previously be sold. For example, pay per view sex video-chat where many of the workers are drug users. It is likely that this trend of new-technology-enabling-the-sale-of-previously-un-tradable-goods will continue.

    Which raises the question: What else could a person trade if the technology were available? The kidney comes to mind. Blood plasma. Technology has made that possible. But how about skill sets?

    When a valuable skill becomes unusable

    Consider the example of a medical doctor who has fallen on hard times as a result of his drug addiction. The state revokes his liscence so he can no longer practice. He is also unable to work as a tutor for new medical students because (due to his drug use) he becomes impatient and irritable when trying to explain things. He has already pawned or traded away his material goods in exchange for more drugs. So there is nothing left to trade.

    But he does still retain his personal copy (within his own mind) of his medical knowledge. The new students would be happy to buy it from him – if there were a way to make the trade. And that is where the new technology comes in.

    Trading a copy of a memory vs trading the actual, unique memory

    Now there is an important distinction to make here. Normally we thinking of “trading knowledge” as trading a *copy* of the knowledge. So the trader retains his personal copy. But that is not what is being envisioned here. Think of the person who sells his kidney. Is he selling a copy or a unique, uncopyable original? And that is exactly what the new, knowledge transfer technology will do. Using it will enable a person to trade, for cash, their own, personal unique, uncopyable know-how. Which, continuing in the example of the disgraced medical doctor, would be a very useful and valueable thing to trade.

    Re-learning and re-selling and re-learning and …

    So getting back to the original question: Why are drug users generally poor? What we have shown is that drug users are not poor because they are unwilling to work. Generally they are quiet willing to work. But their drug use makes them unappealing prospects from the perspective of the hiring manager. For many addicts, the only available jobs are the make-your-own-hours jobs – which explains why so many are drawn into sex work. Addicts are strongly willing to trade their time and their property in pursuit of their drug. New technologies have made things tradeable which were previously either untradeable or very difficult to trade. It is reasonable to expect that this trend of new, technologically-enabled realms of trading will continue into the future. Although it is currently difficult to imagine how this may be technically implemented, it may eventually be possible for people to sell off their actual know-how or skill sets (which could then be resold to someone who wanted to have that skill set and who was willing to pay for it.)

    But, selling off one’s personal know-how would leave the seller in a particularly difficult spot in that it could eliminate some of their future avenues by which they could work. Unless, of course, learning and then selling what you just learned could, itself become a daily career path. And notice that this would be particularly suitable for a person who needed to make their own hours – since they could study whenever it was convenient. This whole idea sort of reminds me of people who work odd hours pushing shopping carts loaded with scrap metal.

    See: link

  27. PAL says:

    Is Everyone Equally Patient?

    Clearly the answer is no. And patience does seem to be something that can be influence by the force of the will. Many ideas and pluses and minuses in this topic.

  28. NHS says:

    Self-control, Self-hatred, Self-Mutilation And Narrow Demensia

    Among college students. To explain the cycle of academic failure. Probably many students could relate to this idea.

  29. NHS says:

    MQ Versus IQ

    Motivational quotient and iq – how do these numbers impact career success? There’re many ppl with low iq but high mq – these ppl generally have good outcomes with work. How can we measure mq? Then there are ppl who have high iq, but low mq. One friend told me she had 138 iq but (estimate) 40 mq.

  30. PAL says:

    Why Do People Invest Their Money?

    An investment has a borrower and a lender. Both expect to profit from the deal. Both understand that there is an element of risk involved, so it may end up that one or both parties do *not* profit from the deal. Or they may not profit as much as they had hoped. But, at least from the outset, both parties (assuming that there is good-faith all around) *expect* that the result will be a win-win.

    Hoping for a Win-Win. Requires RSE, a belief that the borrower will be faithful, etc, etc. Tie-in with why people will normally not be willing to pay for someone else’s higher education – since the lender (who pays for the education) has no way to guarantee that the borrower will allow for his increased income to be partially harvested (to the benefit of the lender). That harvest is needed for it to be a win-win. Otherwise, it is just a gift.

  31. PAL says:

    The Average Person Is Wrong – This deals with the matter of fundamental beliefs that describe how we view the world around us. So, some of the top-level catagories of beliefs are: Religious, Political, Scientific, Gender-Roles and Economics. Religious: Most people have religious beliefs that directly contradict those of most (80%?) of the rest of the world. Therefore (assuming that contradictions cannot exist in what is true), at least 80% of the world’s people are wrong about religious beliefs. Same goes for political beliefs, scientific beliefs, beliefs about the proper roles of men and women and, of course, beliefs about economics.

    Now, this “beliefs about economics” is what we want to focus on. There are a couple of ways to look at this. One way has to do with value. In the stock market, everybody *wants* to make money, so they invest in whatever they believe has the lowest price, but the highest value. Those whose beliefs turn out to have been correct make money, and those whose beliefs turn out to have been wrong *loose* money.

    Another type of economic belief has to do with the worthwhile-ness of investing our time and energy in education (and the specific field of education.) Another is the belief about the worthwhile-ness of looking for a job (given what a person believes to be the overall positivity or negativity of the environment. And then there is the belief about the worthwhile-ness of putting in a full-days effort once a job has been lined up.

    As we saw in the case in the religious, political and scientific fields, the *beliefs* that people hold to be universal truths are (80%) provably wrong! (At least in the sense that they contradict one another, and we are assuming that two contradictory universal beliefs cannot both be correct.) For example, either the majority of people are going to be eternally tormented in the flames of hell – or they are not. Its hard to see how Hell could both exist and not exist.

    Similarly, there are also wide contradicts in the beliefs held regarding the universal economic truths about the worthwhile-ness of Working, Looking for work, and Studying to improve job skills.

    Now, the universal fallacy that pretty much everyone holds (hence it is universal) is that “I am generally correct about my fundamental beliefs and those who disagree with me are generally incorrect.” But of course that is absurd. We cannot all, simultaneously have the privelege to be standing upon the great mountain of truth when we generally vehemently disagree with one another.

    So the logical conclusion that the “average” person (there is no such person, by the way) can rationally draw is that, he, (the average person) is most likely wrong about (at least 80%) (or some other large number which directly correlates to the degree of mutually-exclusive belief camps) of his fundamental beliefs.

    So the nice thing about this, is that, by recognizing this mathematical truth, we will be more willing to critically re-examine our cherished core beliefs.

    MBH-LSE is (theorized) to be largely *caused* by false beliefs about the worthwhile-ness of Working, and Looking for work, and Studying to improve one’s job skills. So, if, indeed, we can confidently be suspicious of our beliefs, then we will be in a much better spot to be able to *change* our beliefs. With the hopeful end in mind of curing that nasty case of MBH-LSE that has infected so many folks.

  32. Leader says:

    I am poor. But I can read.
    I can learn. I’m sure it would
    help. So why don’t I do it?
    GetHelpGetActive.org
    Picture of man watching tv from behind.

    What have you been learning?

    • Leader says:

      What is MBH-LSE?
      Can it cause poverty?
      Can I get cash today?
      GetHelpGetActive.org

      What is MBH-LSE?
      Can it cause poverty?
      Can I get $10 today?
      GetHelpGetActive.org

  33. AUH says:

    An Unusual Handicap – a person can have all qualities needed for success except self-direction.

  34. PAL says:

    Good Versus Evil In Five Ratios

    Is there more good or more evil in the world? How could we ever definitively answer this question? The reason that it would be good to know is that it would be a starting point from which to rationally decide whether it makes sense to focus our attention on the good or the evil.

    For example, lets suppose that the ratio of Good to Evil is 100 to 1. Mathematically that can be written as 100:1. Then, that would mean that, for every 100 “units” of goodness in the world, there is only 1 unit of badness. (How to define a unit of goodness or badness is another question – but, at least, in our imagination we can make the comparison.) So, if the ratio of Good to Evil is 100:1, then, to me, that means that it makes sense to focus on the Good (around 100 times more frequently than the Evil.)

    But what if the ratio of Good to Evil is 1:100. Then there would be much, much more Evil in the world than Good. So, in some very valid sense, it would make sense to focus our attention more on the evil than on the good.

    The reason that I would like to know what the actual ratio is, is that I would like to know whether it makes sense to make the mental effort to focus on the good things in life – as, for example, can be done with a gratitude list. Since one of the excuses that I use to justify not writing a gratitude list is that I am thinking that gratitude is not a rational thing to focus on – because the world is primarily evil. But, if it turns out that the world is not primarily evil (as in the 100:1 ratio of Good to Evil) then, my excuse for not writing a gratitude list looses its validity.

    So that is one question. Now, another question deals with the perception of the ratio of Good and Evil. Here there are five possible ratios that are worthwhile to look at:

    1. The actual, universe-wide ratio of Good to Evil. (Universal RGE)
    2. My personal perception of the RGE in my personal, local sphere (Personal RGE)
    3. The local community’s perception of the local RGE.
    4. The actual RGE in my local, personal sphere.
    5. The actual RGE level of the greatest increase in RGE in the nearby local sphere towards which I could (through Reasonable Self-Exertion (RSE)) self-migrate.

    So, these 5 ratios are one way of looking at the question of “Is life worthwhile?” And we can see how the question of community and perception and psychological inertia tend to factor into our individual answers. And the final answers that we each come up with in our own lives are then used as a basis from which to determine whether or not it makes sense to focus on the good things in life (as in the case of a gratitude list).

    Of course we all know that focusing on a gratitude list is invariably going to make life more bearable and happier and better. But, by and large most folks do not participate in this simple exercise. So, perhaps by answering these 5 questions, it will help to make it easier for each of us to decide in favor of the gratitude list.

    • PAL says:

      Excellent idea! This is almost ready to turn into an article. Excellent idea!

    • PAL says:

      Graphics and Cartoons

      Good and Evil cartoon characters are posturing up to fight. Their chests are emblazoned with shields saying Good for one and Evil for the other. Then they are scratching their heads as they sit in a balance. The researcher says: Please take off your shoes and empty your pockets. Then there are 4 “shadow” characters of G vs E to represent the other 4 categories. Each with his own realm so to speak.

      Gratitude list – someone is making one, but meanwhile the bad angel is standing at one ear and mocking him by claiming that the RGE-2 is negative – but then the good angel counters that the RGE-3 is positive – then there is a lot of back and forth. So the list maker is kind of bewildered.

  35. AUH says:

    Two Kinds Of Investments – short term definite payoff vs long term unclear payoff – to introduce the WSL ideas without getting hung up on details. Also Selling and Learning have unclear payoff horizons – so it would be better to just think of them as existing somewhere on that spectrum. And then u could slip in the idea that charity givers are more inclined to help those who train for the long term pay offs. And charity fatigue relates to the perception (on the part of charity givers) of willingness of charity users to invest their time and energy on long term projects.

  36. AUH says:

    A Natural Treatment Support Group for ADD/ADHD Suffers

    How about starting a support group for ppl who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and who wish to use natural treatments? And they could still use meds, btw, but they might just want to supplement their meds with group-based behavioral therapy? THIS IS A GREAT IDEA!

  37. PAL says:

    Does the threat of starvation (early on in life) leads to over-eating at a later stage (when food is more plentiful)? Similarly, perhaps the experience of being over-worked early on leads a person to be subsequently repulsed by the thought of work? WM suggested this.

  38. PAL says:

    This Is Gonna Hurt

    Having an Accountability Partner (AP) hurts and prompts shame when I fail to do the tasks that I have committed to do. And that hurts. But I suppose that it is going to hurt one way or the other. Either feel the pain by doing the task, or feel the pain of failing to use RSE to do the task. So the additional pain of dealing with the AP is actually kind of small in comparison, right?

    Here is something else interesting: The pain of dealing with the AP is psychological pain. But the pain of doing a task (I mean one of the tasks for which I am thinking that I need to have the ministrations of an AP in order to be able to get myself to do the task) – the pain of doing the task is a physical pain – it is the pain of moving my muscles to do the actual work.

    So there is psychological pain and there is physical pain. And failure to complete the task will also result in psychological pain … and presumably some physical pain, too.

    In any case, in life there is pain. So the pain is unavoidable. (But the misery is optional.)

  39. Nine Kinds Of People At The Gym

    There are three physical states and three psychological states. Also 9 kinds of students, workers, etc.

  40. MahSi says:

    Just an Idea, could you make it so that, when you use an acronym in your article (like LSE), I could hover over it with my mouse and see the definition? Just wondering.

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