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Top 10 Common Faults In Human Thought

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posted on Jan, 13 2010 @ 09:37 PM

Originally posted by skunknuts
Not that it is totally relevant, but that makes me think of addiction. Not that it isn't necessarily irrelevant either. In a weird way, people can get addicted to negative feelings/ thought states.

There is some accuracy to that. There is also a sense of the old familiar negative space being more immediately comforting than the idea of exiting it. Merely the thought of doing so can noticeably increase my pulse. Really, for no greater reason than it has simply worked so far and I'm still alive and breathing, long-term consequences be damned.

Maybe you need to find what really makes you tick (as in enjoyment), before the accomplishment will feel more endemic than relieving? Freud, for all his faults, said the only two things that really made life meaningful are love, and love of (one's) work.

The problem exists with the very things I would do and have done simply for what SHOULD be fun for me (because I chose it and naturally gravitated towards it). I know what I find worthwhile here but yet still feel a lack of joy and motivation. There actually isn't alot of this world I find I "want". It's not about acquiring "stuff". I only need enough "stuff" to be able to keep working well spiritually-- basics and maybe a couple fun things.

The warnings are given about this sort of "ego dissolution". It's a rough ride. I suppose I'm putting any faith and hope I have into that, trying to see it through. Am I halfway through the woods and thus now coming out of the woods? I have NO clue whatsoever, nor am I disparaging any actual woods! I like real woods.

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:16 PM

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
Usually, if I do somhow accomplish something, my attitude is more of a relief or absense of negative that it is passed rather than that of having a positive sense of accomplishment-- ie. it amounts to a temporary relief from pain rather than feeling fullfilled (which I think would be better, temporary or not).

I wonder about this. Is it healthy or "better" to be filled with the positive feelings? Or is it perfectly fine to have the neutral? I guess it depends how neutral feels objectively to someone. I do agree that we are programmed to believe that it is better to be "happy" than "not sad" and that the desirable change from "sad" is to "happy," but what really is so wrong with "not sad?"

I personally spend probably 75% or better of my day, my life, in something that feels rather neutral, Im not happy, not singing, skipping, laughing, but I certainly am not angry, sad, or scared either. I enjoy my forays into "happy" and interestingly enough, I also sometimes enjoy my forays into "angry" or "indignant" sometimes as well, especially when I catch myself stomping around in them, which immediately makes me laugh.

But why do we discount neutral? Its pleasant in a nondescript way. It certainly allows a lot of clarity of thought, where happiness or one of the opposing feelings can color your thinking and bias it quite a bit. You can always bring in the Buddhist observation that swinging in one direction seems to be linked to swinging towards the other. (ie; happiness leads to sadness and vice versa)

Anyway, I certainly dont have any good answer to this, but your post touched on something that I had been wondering about on my own, and though I havent made a decided stand on it, (Im still in neutral over neutrality lol) I really dont see why some people seem to think it is someplace we should try to move from. Towards happiness, generally, though it seems to me that without the contrast of either neutral or unhappiness, constant happiness would impossible in a sense, as it only really exists in contrast to something other than itself.

To the OP; Very good thread. I like this sort of stuff. I would add that while the bias towards short term gain is most evident in the working class or poor, it is almost universal among humans, varying only by degree. Even the wealthy who are able to save money, work toward career goals, etc., are focused on something very short term itself in the grander scheme of things. Those same people who are "long term thinkers" will deplete resources needed by their grandchildren, destroy environments needed by future humans, simply to meet their own short term (lifetime) goals.

Often in pursuit of the very "happiness" discussed above without ever considering if their sacrifices made for these "moderate length" goals are actually being made in vain. (Is there a link at all between career path and savings and happiness?) Often, (something I ran up against) the means to these ends requires behavior from you that can be decidedly unpleasant while you are performing them, and can bring about a whole new level of denial, as you distance yourself from your day to day unhappiness and instead move "happiness" to the goal post somewhere off in the future.

Its something I tend to wonder about, our society says that it is "good, desirable" to have the more "moderate length" ability to delay gratification, but we really dont seem to have addressed the question of whether or not there really IS gratification on the other end. Or, even if we chuck gratification out the window altogether as irrelevant, whether this moderate length ability to set aside short term happiness for long term "gains" is actually gaining us anything of value as a species in many cases, in the longer run.

In other words, if our society itself is (as a whole) short sighted, (albeit a longer form of short sightedness) and delusional, is it really sound thinking to assume that doing things that that society promotes as "good" are not themselves short sighted and delusional as well?

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:56 PM

Originally posted by DizzyDayDream

I think selfishness develops along with immediate gratification too. Forget wating 5 minutes for another cookie, i would've thought nothing of stealing to immediately satisfy my desires. Because it didn't occur to me that people are worth more than what my socially closed off parents had raised me to beleive.

What I wonder is, is there really any difference between the classes other than scale/scope/time frame of the selfishness?

Sure, with a little ability to delay gratification you can "transcend your class" and move up from stealing a cookie from someone to satisfy your desires, to, oh, say, stealing a country's resources from a nation of people to satisfy your desires. What has really changed besides the scale at which and in which you are able to perform the same basic (and base) actions?

Even though my upbringing was decidedly low end working class, and my mother is the epitome of instant gratification, I am naturally the "wait for the second marshmellow" sort of person. I can delay gratification like few others, taking a job overseas for eight years where I worked a minimum six day week, and saved every penny for school and a house, and then worked and went to school for almost another eight years, where between school, school work and work I was spending 70-80 hours a week. I have the ability to delay gratification like few others.

But the interesting thing I have noted is that every time I hit a goal.............there was like 5 minutes worth of gratification for an 8 year sacrifice of my human interactions with friends and loved ones, and pets, and nature, and myself. And then I needed a new goal, so that I could justify my lack of gratification by again placing it off into the future.

I guess what I am wondering is, have we really, (as a society as a species) considered what gratifies us, what humans find gratifying, and whether we truly know what it is we are delaying, and moreover, whether or not it is something that can be delayed.

Granted, I am not saying that eating too much, or playing games, or the other things people mistake for gratification ARE deeply and truly gratifying, but it does seem to me that cars, and money, and big houses, are just more expensive versions of the same mistaken idea about what gratifies humans, and that in the end, all classes of people who pursue those things end up rather un-gratified when you look at them and their lives objectively.

So, while I do agree that the moderately viewed people can exploit the tendency of the shortest viewed people in their search for gratification, I tend to think all classes have the same limitation in that they are all searching for something and are deeply mistaken about what that something is. After all, the only reason the shortest viewed people assume that delaying gratification brings gratification is because they are told that, often by people who if you know them personally, seem fundamentally lacking in gratification themselves, though they often make a big show of how gratified they are to those in the classes below them.

Philosophers, (such as Plato) suggest that living in a certain way, (true to your own nature, as seen by an "enlightened" view, not superficially"enlightened self interest) is the thing that is gratifying, and that one should not delay that. Nor does it "look" one way. For some, it might look like being a garbage man, for others a scientist. But when we assume "success" is something that makes one gratified, rather than assuming that being gratified is success, I think we are making an error in thinking.

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 08:13 PM
reply to post by EnlightenUp

It's actually quite amusing to read myself think all those months ago. The truth however is, back then i was still ...lets say "numb". I wont get too deep about this, but when a young child experiences something so distressing and traumatising, without someone compassionate enough to help that child process those feelings, that child wont fully recover from that trauma. Because when emotional pain is too great, numbness sets in, as a way to cope with those feelings. The harsh reality of survival.

Living in fear is a messed up thing, especially when you internalise it to the point where your not even aware youre still scared, and it actually just seems, "normal". The beautiful teachings from the ancient wisdom of Buddhist philosophy however have helped me overcome much of this trauma, through meditation, so that now I am no longer as numb, and my emotions have a new fluidity to them. Though I am still recovering, and i have a long way to go yet. Traumatic stress is like a blockage in your physiology, so literally stress is the "baseline normality" of day to day life, a very concrete, heartless unmoving, passionless, compassion-less existence, and the dizzying inner conflicts causing endless confusion. My life at times is very much a DizzyDayDream.

Anyway the point of me telling you all this is because back then I was in denial about the true depth of my suffering and all the consequences of such a lowered state, such as almost perpetual anxiety. As a result I placed to much emphasis and significance on deferred gratification as a means to achieving a state happiness or inner peace. Probably because neither of those (as i had implied in my posts) are familiar to me anyway, but i think more so because I lied about having overcome the habitual cycle of immediate gratification. I painted a false picture with my words so that I could encourage everyone who read them to defer their gratification. Not because, as i said at the time, that i knew first-hand the joy's deferred gratification can bring, but because I knew first-hand the level of suffering caused by immediate gratification, in a world where the rulers depend on such a lowered state.

So i apologise, because i left this thread feeling dispirited by the lies i had told, and from then on i became overwhelmed by the fear and anxiety of not being able to live up to my expectations of your expectation that my reply to your last post would be as helpful and insightful as they had clearly been, for you, before. In truth, i didnt have the energy to pretend anymore. And that made me scared, because i knew that even if i did try to respond it would come out crap and the insincerity would shine through, but i liked you and knew you didn't deserve i simply didnt respond. So for all my insincerity, my blatant (in hindsight) and shameful egotistical exaggeration and self-indulgent big headed preaching, i am sorry. Things aren't as simple as i had led myself and mislead others into believing. Im not looking for forgiveness, i just wanted to say sorry.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:56 AM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

You make some interesting points about the emotional state of "neutrality". The trouble with a topic like this however is that most of these terms have very subjective meanings when people read them. For example, It would make sense if someone understood neutrality in an emotional context as another word for indifference, or apathy. These words could be very different to your subjective experience of "neutrality", but maybe it is your understanding and definition of these feelings which are inaccurate here. I mean no offence by this. It just seemed like a possibility, especially given your simplification of some concepts, such as "happiness or sadness". But also because i can personally relate to a feeling of constant indifference. It's actually the cause of most people's depression, and its called stress. Obviously the degree and intensity will vary from person to person, but the physiological and psychological symptoms are the same. Read my above post for a further understanding.

I don't want to jump to conclusions here though either. To quote myself from a recent thread:

Because i answered your question "energy exchange!?" ^^^ yes, pretty much, that's what emotions are, fluctuations of energy in your body and in many different ways, variations, combinations and with an infinite number of explanations as to why, how, and when they occur, to what extent they change you, their intensity, their significance, duration and psychological thought manifestations.

The duration and fluidity of your feelings of "neutrality", would give a good indication of what it is that your actually experiencing. So if for example you are completely unmoved by something you know you should normally feel strongly about, its probably because your either too tired or stressed. Basically stress reduces fluidity.. makes sense though right. How can something be tense and fluid at once? It can't. As long as you know that emotionally your still awake, then your fine, because going beyond depression (where i've just been) is not a very nice place to be..infact its baron.. emptiness.

Think about this, then try to describe your feelings more accurately. It could be that your "neutral" feelings are actually a mixture of very subtle feelings for a relatively long period of time, if so then im sure many people can relate. ...... hmm..... this is interesting.... It got me thinking....

Perhaps, this "neutral" state of ...lets say, emotional inactivity... varies from person to person, in many ways, such as the trigger of this state, the context of when you become "neutral" and how intense "neutral" is compared to your other feelings which are more definable and noticeable. Basically is this just something completely unique to each individual or can we draw some core essence from its bondage to subjectivity?

I like what you say about the swing between positive and negative too, but i would say in terms of happiness, its probably an equally painful place to be as depression, the only difference being the way in which pain is processed by a happy person. Happy people (that I've spoken to) tell me happiness is misunderstood by people in depression. Depression can last for soo long and become so monotonous, it clouds their perception of what happiness is, making them beleive its like an opposite to depression. This (apparently) is not the case. Its not continual joy, or ecstasy, or some such perpetually positive state. Happiness, so they say, is many things, but mainly its about resilience or "will power", so that your negative feelings (which all healthy humans should experience) are processed in a way that doesn't leave you exhausted or drained, and importantly they are fully processed, allowing a complete release whereby you can move on, and let go.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 01:34 AM
they forgot one

the conscious perception of anothers actions and the ideal that this action effects the faculty viewing said actions.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 01:36 AM
reply to post by skunknuts

Bah, sounds like you just finished a class in social psychology...hehe

[edit on 7-7-2010 by Xtrozero]

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 01:54 AM
I like the original post, but I know these things as "fallacies".

In most cases they are category errors and equivocations, to me that is.

I'm a little too tired to give you a meaningful response.

I'm sure that if I type much more tonight, I'll seem like I came from some weird alternative school....

Maybe I'll check in tomorrow.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 08:31 AM

10. The Gambler’s fallacy is the tendency to think that future probabilities are altered by past events, when in reality, they are not.

I am not sure but there may be something deceptive or misleading in that assertion.

I think it attempt to make people seem more stupid than they actually are, from the condescending, smug ivory tower of a 'scientist' or mathematician.

The probabilities of a string/sequence of outcomes is vastly numerically different than some virgin instant outcome.

Take the [nearly] binary case of red-black at roulette, ignoring greens as non-outcomes, if you have 100 outcomes of 100 wheels, the longest historically recorded string of the same color outcome is 17.
If it is a simple 50-50 outcome then why aren't there one or several of them that are 25, 50 or 100 long outcome sequence(s) of the same color?

Now if a gambler has seen several immediately prior outcomes this gives him/her a numerically different perspective doesn't it?
If they intelligently consider the next cluster of outcomes rather than the single next outcome, notably in light of immediately prior outcomes how does that or should that change the calculus perspective.

If you calculate a sequence of outcomes geometrically, doesn't that sort of imply an effective [numeric?] influence? Sort of like it rotates/bends into an additional dimension. Perhaps arguing that there even IS a next outcome at all is the most improbable event of all.

If there is complete independence of outcomes than there can be no considered notion of a 'string'/sequence of outcomes can there?
Maybe that is the illusion & fallacy?

I am having trouble reconciling combined sequence outcomes, which as memory beings we are impossibly pressed to ignore, with supposed independent individual outcomes.

We live in a temporal Universe, where the future must [cardinal rule?] link/extend from a given past [certain?] instant.

Virtually every observed instant of the Universe is only given microfractional variance from the previous instant.
Even in moving inertia, the object makes a 'continuous' progression of linearly equal from point at A to point B nor does it leap wildly off to point K forwards or backwards, nor does it drop off the Universe altogether for an instant or span of time.
Rigid coherency accounting seems to be entailed.

Isn't that essentially absolute linkage of any future possibilities/real-probabilities with the known immediate past, & arguably to some degree to a lesser degree to the extended past.

So no future instant in this Universe is EVER independent of the past, by its very nature,
And calculating probabilities of THIS Universe rather than some theoretical mathematician's imagining should be somewhat or greatly different, shouldn't they?

Isn't it cogently arguable that the very nature of the Universe we live in, where all this activity is taking place actually is in variance from some imagined pristine, instantaneously virginized Universe?
Like magnetism, it seems to have no traceable physical mechanism of operation, not at least within the observable physical bounds of our 3D perceptions.

I guess in addition it is sort of like how deep is the influence of the past upon the present, and the present upon any possible/probable future.
What is the footprint of the past both within our memories and alternately [statistically?] upon the 'external' world around us.
What is the depth, complexity of bridging between the aggregate past to this presumed condensed/focused/fulcrum present?
It is possibly likely that there may be a kind of fuzzy multiple parallel character to the present instant. In otherwords it may be a multi-thread focus rather than absolutely singular. It almost has to be. Otherwise the Universe would change completely in a flash. Like a mystic pool that has a kaleidescope transformations each instant.

In a sense [believing autonomy from us 'sentient' beings] it implies the Universe has some kind of 'memory'. It could be a mechanical device of stored previous conditions.

Our memories & thinking seem much less dependent upon a previous thought than the Universe's seeming behavior. We are the ones with wildly, much more truly independent sequencing. In fact for many of us it is the inability to track from one instant to the next to give temporal credibility as an applicable thought process for this Universe [& possibly a good number of other ones].

I don't think we are the Universe's bridgework between past, present, future, although that might be possible,
it seems much more likely, from our [necessarily embedded; biased?] observations that it is the Universe itself, independent of us that has some temporal bridging mechanism. Arguably it is that that gives any meaningful coherence to our experience anyway. Without it, everything dissolves like a sugar fantasy losing all form, order & understanding.

I seem to be digging for something & not quite getting a good grip on it.
Well for what it is worth that is my commentary at/up-to this point.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 08:48 AM

9. Reactivity is the tendency of people to act or appear differently when they know that they are being observed.

How is that a 'fault"?

While from a collective perspective we might all wish everyone was a sweet, virgin, selfless machine [we can only pray that were the case]

Logically from a self preservation & energy/resource conservation standpoint appropriate adaptive behavior can & very possibly does give better leveraged advantage for some given individual.

Which bridges easily to the idea that deception has the potential to be advantageous, at least over the shorter term.

Arguably from our collective interests [which in some sense is our veiled selfish interests applied to external 'others'] it might be much better if people were consistent [predictable] & dependable, even when not being observed.

But we all know that many/most/all of us if not observed may circumvent proscribed behavior scripting.
In some cases this may make some operation more efficient without any problem to the overall project,
in other cases this can completely undermine, cripple & destroy it.

It in no way is a problem for a given individual,
it however IS a problem for our collective survival & progress interests.

it becomes even more of a problem if we imagine the inclination to have variant behaviors is expunged from some imagined 'saintly' individual(s). [Military, Religious, Ideologue, category such as 'scientist', mother, family, etc.]
This is where regular auditing, preferably between slightly adverse individuals/groups, should be employed.
it insures that things will never go further astray than between any two good, thorough audits.

Deception is not a problem to an individual,
It is a problem to our collective/societal interests,
audits between semi-adversaries is a quite reasonably good solution.

[edit on 7-7-2010 by slank]

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 09:00 AM

7. Self-fulfilling prophecy is engaging in behaviors that obtain results that confirm existing attitudes.

Yes, but more likely is when we Interpret things to fit with [shoehorn into] our ossified thinking.

Very closely related to this is our tendency to cast/interpret our own & allied 'others' actions in the very best light, & see adversarial others in the worst interpreted light.

this is where we bend & twist things from their most empiric, dispassionate, orthogonal & presumed accurate perspective.

Sort of a psychological prep method perhaps? Stacked dominoes? Stacked decks.

It becomes a really delicate thing, because in some very real sense we are just a pattern of identity that is stacked in our own biological house of cards.
I guess the device of duality might work.
I 'see'/acknowledge your point, but will continue to adhere to my own point of view, at least for the time being.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 09:11 AM

3. Hyperbolic discounting is the tendency for people to prefer a smaller, immediate payoff over a larger, delayed payoff.

I have seen this presented & have to argue with it.

It is a completely fraudulent point.

It completely ignores our experience with the potential uncertainty of the future.
And that is just stupid.

they treat some long future outcome as an absolute certainty, which from a statistical standpoint is IMPOSSIBLE.

History shows us banks, governments, whole civilizations collapse over time & this is not to speak of some individual presenting you with some completely opaque presentation/deal. You have no idea who this is, what is there sound or wildly unsound basis of operation.

So treating this as a binary choice is simply absurd.
Condescending & very arguably stupid academics ignoring the 3 Trillion pound gorilla of the real Universe unmasks them as idiots. Dreamers rather than real/reality scientists.

I can not allow academics to get away with this kind of fraud.

Academics worshiping the false god of certainty, in the REAL Universe of uncertainty.

I guess one sees how academics get so regularly dismissed in general credibility.

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 09:31 AM

2. Escalation of commitment is the tendency for people to continue to support previously unsuccessful endeavors.

we just don't want to believe we are wrong.
We are invested in being 'right'.

That is where we need to see our ideas as a speculative venture rather than as a faith of certainty.

We have only 'lost' money when we sell it at a very reduced price [or ZERO!]
It can be a rationale trap, especially if we haven't closely examined/reexamined the object in question.

We emotionally [neurotically?] attempt to cling to the 'rightness' of our actions rather than to the objective, unpleasant reality we are being drug through by circumstance.

1. The Placebo effect is when an ineffectual substance that is believed to have healing properties produces the desired effect.

In a weird way this is the most cost effective cure imaginable. It is literal magic, up to a point.
We are literally pulling results out of our belief & subservient biology instead of skeptically allowing the proffered cure to either work or not.
Oddly the more desperate we are the less time we have to allow the skeptical determination to display itself.
If we are desperate it 'has' to work.

And it is not really a logic failure, because a cure is effected.
It is much more of a comprehension understanding of total situation that falls down.
It is a theory failure, of understanding how something happened.
Logic is the function/mechanism of a pre-existing theory. No more, no less.
Logic may be self limiting, because by itself it can not leap to a new independent theory basis.

Maybe the short term placebo is [acts as] the bridge to a real cure, which itself may not get the celebrated credit it deserves because one is in rapture of the placebo object.

Also it instills, however rightly or wrongly, the notion/idea that there is some kind of 'cure'.

Technology, exploration, engineering, science are all [very often] driven by the idea that there is something or a real pathway to something.
Oddly what gets discovered is not the imagined thing, but something else that is highly & in some cases more highly valued than that motivating imagining.

Maybe we can see our imaginations as our motivator/demotivators of action. Usually this is entwined with strong or at least persistent emotions.
The other major motivator is pure/raw noncognisant emotion.

Again the idea related to the placebo comes into play.
We imagine things that we try to create, and sometimes through entire uphill relentless effort they get created.
The history of the invention of Xeroxing comes to mind.
It makes you wonder what is the interaction between motivation, action, imagination, & is there any ethereal guidance or is it completely random?
And if it is random, maybe in many cases it is our lack of persistence that keeps us from amazing advances, or instead keeps us from squandering vast resources pointlessly. I don't even begin to know how one would figure that out.

Clearly where one sees results,
Non-US powers actually seeing the objective atom bomb in action means they know with certainty there is a technology that created it.

it is when there is no objectively seen thing that it is difficult to fathom if there 'is' something or can be something fabricated from inventive engineering. Sometimes someone is a nanometer from results, but after endless struggle they may give up.
Othertimes it seems like things just glide into place, nearly by 'magic'.

it is almost like a theory of algorithms, more specifically useful, productive, cost efficient algorithms.
I guess i would have to be a mathematician for that one.

[edit on 7-7-2010 by slank]

posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:12 PM

Originally posted by DizzyDayDream
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

For example, It would make sense if someone understood neutrality in an emotional context as another word for indifference, or apathy. These words could be very different to your subjective experience of "neutrality", but maybe it is your understanding and definition of these feelings which are inaccurate here. I mean no offence by this. It just seemed like a possibility, especially given your simplification of some concepts, such as "happiness or sadness".

Fair enough. Neutrality, as I understand it, has nothing to do with "not caring" but has more to do with "not being biased for, or against." Both apathy and indifference, as I understand them, and as the dictionary defines them, (I checked, to be sure I did understand them) both have in common a lack of interest in. I can be incredibly interested in something and still be neutral about it. In fact I would say that most things are that way for me. I am just aware that my biases color my thinking, and cloud it, and can lead me from the objective truth about a thing. (As you commonly see in arguments where people feel passionately about the stand they are arguing.) If I want to believe in God, or evolution, for some reason, (perhaps I am biased towards or against God for example) it makes it very difficult to stand back and look at the information presented clearly and objectively. The scientific method imposes neutrality, (to the degree possible) for that reason. I dont think we consider the people doing experiments to be apathetic as we commonly use the term, (which in modern usage implies inaction as well as indifference) and while indifferent COULD be a term for them, in the archaic usage,

1 : the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent
2 a archaic : lack of difference or distinction between two or more things b : absence of compulsion to or toward one thing or another

We dont tend to use it that way today, hence it being labeled the archaic usage. If someone said, "so and so is indifferent about their research," it would not bring to mind "unbiased" but something less desirable, like "doesnt care."

Neutral point of view (NPOV) is a fundamental Wikimedia principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources.

Originally posted by DizzyDayDream
But also because i can personally relate to a feeling of constant indifference. It's actually the cause of most people's depression, and its called stress.

I dont disagree that stress can lead to depression, and indifference can be a symptom of depression, but that isnt what I was describing. Perhaps it was what the original poster who made the comment I responded to was describing though. When he/she said, "not sad" and "not happy" perhaps I did mistake apathy and indifference for a neutral emotional state. But, if you think of a car in neutral, it is not in a forward gear, (positive, happy) or reverse, (negative, sad, angry, etc.) it can be moved in either direction based on inputs. It is just not yet committed to a course of action and open to inputs either way. (Or in a human, it isnt actively engaged in positive or negative feelings for or against)

Originally posted by DizzyDayDream
The duration and fluidity of your feelings of "neutrality", would give a good indication of what it is that your actually experiencing. So if for example you are completely unmoved by something you know you should normally feel strongly about, its probably because your either too tired or stressed.

I dont know how it is for other people, but in my body/mind/spirit, the emotional and the rational are not the same, though they can harmonize. I CAN have angry thoughts and angry emotions, but I dont have to. I can have the emotional surge of anger, (that energy you described) and have a much more objective thought process about the thing that has made me angry. I feel about things what I do, including the things I guess you are referring to as "shoulds," like someones death, or something good, but I dont always think about them the same way I feel about them. I dont perceive that as a negative. For example I can be grief stricken over the death of a loved one, and not have my thinking carry me away into despair. Reason, and emotion are two different faculties, and the one can influence the other, obviously, but emotions dont have to drive thought, it can also work the other way around.

Originally posted by DizzyDayDream
Perhaps, this "neutral" state of ...lets say, emotional inactivity... varies from person to person, in many ways, such as the trigger of this state, the context of when you become "neutral" and how intense "neutral" is compared to your other feelings which are more definable and noticeable. Basically is this just something completely unique to each individual or can we draw some core essence from its bondage to subjectivity?

One of the observations I have had of people prone to depression, (and I know several, intelligent people seem vulnerable to it) is that they have very powerful reasoning centers, but they seem to lack the ability to control their reasoning center. Which is very controllable. Emotions are not as submissive to will, but reason is very subservient to it with practice. One of the things I have noted is that the depressed often are triggered by an emotion, and then they elaborate upon that emotion with the rational mind, creating for themselves a quicksand of emotion and reasoning about that emotion that is unnecessary. When you are sad, you dont have to use the portion of your mind you can exercise control over to tell yourself endless stories about the thing that makes you sad, your every thought does not have to relate to the sadness, you dont need a mental Russian novel about it. You just feel sad. You can FEEL sad without THINKING sad endlessly, and in truth, the FEELING runs its course in a rather predictable time frame when it isnt elaborated on, or replayed endlessly with the rational mind. And while I have depressed friends who think they have no control over it, in conversation, when they are guided to other thinking, they do perk up and laugh and have much better time. Unfortunately, as soon as they are alone again, they allow their rational mind to go right back to the same repetitive thinking about the things that make them feel bad.

Originally posted by DizzyDayDream
This (apparently) is not the case. Its not continual joy, or ecstasy, or some such perpetually positive state. Happiness, so they say, is many things, but mainly its about resilience or "will power", so that your negative feelings (which all healthy humans should experience) are processed in a way that doesn't leave you exhausted or drained, and importantly they are fully processed, allowing a complete release whereby you can move on, and let go.

I think this may be one way of phrasing what I am discussing above. You can experience sadness or happiness, and not have your mind grab onto it, and attempt to draw it out by elaborating upon it, ruminating on it, turning it over and over and over, etc. You can actually think about something else entirely when you are having an emotion. Or, take a step back and observe the entire situation, including you having the emotion. There is a link between what you think and how you feel, or how you feel and what you think, but it is possible to direct your thinking away from your feelings, (and we all know this in emergencies when we must act rather than scream or cry) or to an objective view of your feelings, (Where you maintain awareness of the feeling in its entirety, but you do not tell a mental story from the perspective of that feeling) thus altering the feedback loop and allowing the feeling itself to process more quickly.

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