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Messages - Rafnul!

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1
Magick / Re: Tarot card question?
« on: May 23, 2015, 10:13:18 AM »
Alright.  It looks to me like what you have going on here is that you have some things in life you want to hold onto.  Your wife, your kids, and a life with them.  What you've just recently learned is that you can't have that while also living in a separate world where you don't spend a lot of time thinking about them.  So what you're doing right now is reacting to your wife's disapproval, and doing what seems necessary to get that approval back.  And given your situation, that makes sense.  That's an excellent place to start.

Something to bear in mind here is that your wife is quite correct in saying that a person can't change their habits over night.  Habits are things that are wired into you over time, and breaking them requires time, and replacing them with different habits.  That isn't to say you can't make the decision to change.  It sounds like you absolute have made tha decision, and that's definitely where it all starts.

If your life is going to change for the better and you want it to really last and stay that way, you're going to have to think about more than what you need to do to keep your wife happy, and you're going to have to think about more than what you need to solve the immediate problem.  You're going to have to think about the kind of life you really want to lead, who you would really like to be, and you're going to have to come up with strategies to bring that change about.  You'll have to figure out what a healthy life with this family you have created actually looks like, and you're going to have to want it.

And if you do want it, you probably won't make it very far if you just make a decision and rely on a daily dose of sheer force of will.  Trying to do that is extraordinarly stressful and generally fraught with lots of psychological peril - which, no offense to you, you have illustrated you might have some difficulty dealing with.  But that's not a showstopper by any means.  All it means is that you need to be mindful of stress in your daily life, and try to find ways of going about things that aren't too stressful, while still getting you where you want to go.

It sounds like you have a decent short-term plan.  What I would challenge you to do is think about the kinds of decisions you need to make on a daily basis to ensure you actually bring that plan to fruition - and the kinds of daily decisions you need to make to transform your behavior into what you think it really needs to be to get to where you want to go.  What I'm talking about here are the minutia of day to day life.  Deciding how you think you should react when you encounter something you don't want to deal with, and making note of when you fall short of what you might hope you would have done instead.

But you can't go about this by beating yourself up and loathing yourself for any choice you may have made that you don't like in retrospect.  That isn't going to help anyone, and it's just going to make things impossibly difficult for you.  Instead, just acknowledge your shortcomings and remember that it's never impossible to come back to a situation later (the sooner the better, but any time will do) and say "Sorry.  Instead of what I'd said or done earlier, I'd like to say or do this other thing instead."  As you grow in mindfulness of your day to day decisions, you can shrink and shrink the delay between misguided action and correction to the point that in conversation you might find yourself thinking about the words that just came out of your mouth seconds ago and saying "Wait.  I take that back."  

There's nothing wrong with that behavior, and indeed, this kind of thinking is the hallmark of people who are successful at getting what they want.  You have to be able to pivot when you think you've done something wrong, and if you are willing to forgive momentary lapses of judgement in yourself and others, and you openly admit them as quickly as possible, you'll find that your relationships with everyone around you will improve dramatically, and they'll give you the same forgiveness you give yourself.

It's time to stop thinking about all the things you need to not do, and start thinking about the things you need to do.  Pour all of your focus into the behavior you think you should have, and the rest will fall away naturally over time.  You won't have any time left in the day for those other things once you've found better ways to spend the entirety of your time.

2
Magick / Re: Emotional issues with Soul Mirrors
« on: July 29, 2014, 10:00:05 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala_hijack

It sounds like you're talking about essentially that, which is the same process that causes anxiety, panic attacks, and lots of other awful emotional states, probably triggered by the process described in this article:

http://m.pnas.org/content/early/2014/07/23/1323586111.abstract

The short answer to your inquiry is that if you want to solve this problem, you have two paths to attack the problem:

1.) Find your triggers, and build up a set of positive experiences that occur in situations resembling your triggers to dilute the relative weight of harsh memories.

2.) Meditate a lot more, and practice suppressing your emotions rationally.  This has limited utility if you actually have a neurological problem that would lead to a medical diagnosis.

The long answer is, therapy and medication, and your respective doctors will fill in the details.

3
Magick / Re: Protection against other people's doppelgangers?
« on: July 27, 2014, 07:47:06 PM »
You mention being haunted in your dreams in your post.  I suspect, that all other oddness aside, the real problem straining your relationships has to do with this aspect of things, that you are having dreams that someone that looks like your significant other, acts like your significant other, and talks like your significant other is being malificent in your direction.  To counteract this and build healthy relationships, I strongly suggest talking to any future SO's you might have about these dreams and working out building up trust so that you couldn't possibly imagine being treated that way in real life, and you can instead view the dream version as something else aside, and your feelings will not end up being so conflicted.

4
Main Hall / How do you feel about your parents?
« on: March 30, 2014, 08:25:27 AM »
If the topic is too personal, don't feel pressured to explain, but I'm interested in getting to know our demographic a little bit better, so if you feel comfortable, feel free to vote and to know that it will be anonymous.

5
Main Hall / Re: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
« on: March 11, 2014, 09:24:15 PM »
Forum is a little stale at the moment, ENFP here to represent.

6
The Cafeteria / Re: The OEC
« on: November 16, 2013, 01:05:15 PM »
I can't speak for the rest of the sites, but I can assure you that Veritas is likely not going to go away for at least a few decades.  There is a sufficiently large group of people here who are very passionate about this place, and have been contributing to its sustained existence for more than a decade.  I don't expect any of those people to ever change much from that position.  The site may change and evolve as new technologies bloom, but the core of this site is a community which has persisted through all of the more difficult challenges life can throw at it.

7
Spirituality / Re: Depression and Spiritual Evaluation ?
« on: November 08, 2013, 12:52:46 PM »
Mars,

I can't speak specifically about spiritual advice or anything.  I can only imagine that if you are asking about depression, then you probably have a very good reason for asking.  I do not know your life, but you seem like someone who has suffered.  I want you to know that you are not alone.  I don't have any real advice to offer in this thread, but I recently wrote up this description of Depression on Reddit, and you may find it useful.  It doesn't account for anything spiritual, but you may find it informative.

I advise that if you intend to use spiritual tools, you focus on removing sources of stress from your life and filling your life with as many positive experiences as possible. I have no experience with solving depression via psi, so I can't speak to that.  I welcome you to try anything that feels like it works for you.

8
The Cafeteria / Re: Earth Civilian Army (Global Civil Rebellion)
« on: November 08, 2013, 12:23:44 PM »
I locked this thread.  I did some research on your "Earth Civilian Army."  I'm sorry, but I can't let you drag people into the level of delusion this group displays.

9
Main Hall / Re: The Ethics of Forced Love
« on: November 01, 2013, 03:05:41 PM »
Choices are handled by parts of our brain tied to cognition, so using the concept of choice, in a biological construct relative to humans, implicates a particular part of the brain whereas love is more complex and widely distributed than what you are implicating, so in dealing with the concept of choice, you are implicating cognitive processes. 

Excellent.  You clearly understood my post.  And I agree that love is largely a chemical process not mediated by cognition.  Neither is fear, or any other emotion.  Let us consider a hot stove.  You touch the stove, and it is hot, and it burns you.  You learn not to touch the stove.  I'm completely willing to agree that this learning process is entirely preconscious and that you don't have to think about stoves to not touch them again.  This all happens inside of automatic circuitry.

However, we can contemplate the stove.  We can ask ourselves, in an environment with no hot stoves, whether it seems like touching a hot stove is a good idea or not.  We can then contend, with strategy, that we shouldn't be touching hot stoves.  This lines up perfectly with the reality that touching a hot stove is damaging to us.  But let us consider an example were we have a negative or positive experience, and it doesn't give us an accurate perspective on reality. 

Let's say that the first time I picked up a telephone in my life, it electrocuted me.  I now, have an automatic propensity to not want to pick up a telephone.  Eventually, I may pick up a few telephones and discover it's actually pretty unlikely, and I learn, in the automatic sense, that it is safe, and the fear dissipates over time.  But throughout this process, I can do something like talk to other people about whether or not getting  shocked by a phone is common.  I can contemplate touching the phone.  I can then decide that I perceive touching a phone to be harmless.  However, when I go to touch a phone, my automatic circuitry may still tell me that it is a bad idea, and I might feel anxious.  Depending on the level of the anxiety, I may even be disabled from picking up the phone, despite the fact that I have rationally determined it to be safe.  This is a case where my emotions are working counter to my strategy. 

This is why I separated the two issues, because behavior is, like you said, influenced not only by our rational processes, but by automatic processes as well (emotions).

What I am having a hard time understanding is why you are going through so much effort to say things I pointed out in my original post in such a dramatically different way so as to think they aren't consistent with what I had to say.

10
Main Hall / Re: The Ethics of Forced Love
« on: November 01, 2013, 02:51:31 PM »
I call these things "traits" in my post.  "Jaina has the traits of being a human, has a brain, etc."  I am specifically choosing to use the word identity to refer to the fundamental way a person would like to choose to interact with reality.  You can feel free to use a different definition of identity.  Feel free to disregard my usage of the word identity, as it is just a symbol for that concept in my post.

Which is still cognitive, so we are still back to my objection. When someone touches you, hormone levels change. Cortisol drops or spikes. The level of hormones associated with attachment and bonding change which, as a consequence, create particular feelings where this is, initially, hormonal.

Hmm, what?  I'm not sure what you are talking about here.  The fact that Jaina has hormones and that they effect her are traits that she has.  This is my definition.  Perhaps you can clarify what exactly you are disagreeing with.

11
Main Hall / Re: The Ethics of Forced Love
« on: November 01, 2013, 02:41:56 PM »
I addressed your premise as flawed which would naturally imply that your conclusion is false(that should be evident without me having to post a long diatribe)... I also disagree with your conclusion that ethics are consensual in that there seem to be mores that are universal where the existence of these mores is predicated by a neurophysiology that allows one to appreciate them - for example, a neurophysiology wired towards empathy(which you addressed)... Versus people holding them because it is what the majority believes, there is a reason why the majority believes this to be the case.

I am simply choosing to talk about ethics in the sense of consensus.  I went out of my way to point out I am just talking about this arbitrarily.  I am using the word ethics specifically as a vehicle to talk about rules by which can all agree to abide.  So if you like, ignore the word ethics because it is just a symbol for that concept in my post.  For the record, I don't particularly think the fact that neurophysiology exists prevents us from the capacity to achieve consensus.  If anything it is merely the vehicle that precipitates and necessitates it.

Quote
For example, you say that the most effective way to define the identity of a person is by what they hold cognitively; however, as I explained above, there are parts of our identity as humans, which predicate such things as love, that lay outside of that definition of the identity of a person that are implicit and more fundamental to what we think of as "I" which have implicit influences on our behaviors thereby throwing that prediction off. This was summed up in my initial objection.

I call these things "traits" in my post.  "Jaina has the traits of being a human, has a brain, etc."  I am specifically choosing to use the word identity to refer to the fundamental way a person would like to choose to interact with reality.  You can feel free to use a different definition of identity.  Feel free to disregard my usage of the word identity, as it is just a symbol for that concept in my post.

12
Main Hall / Re: The Ethics of Forced Love
« on: November 01, 2013, 02:18:58 PM »
Assuming everything goes according to plan, anyway.  Their own capacity to predict their feelings is likely imperfect, and their strategy likely based on not necessarily accurate expectations of reality.  A person might feel that "If this person has met all of these conditions, I can be sure that person is a keeper", and it may be possible that their strategy is simply incorrect, and the result does not follow from the test.

*blinks*

No, this threshold is predicated, in your statement, by something that you described as an algorithm which implies that it is some particular rationality from which this threshold is derived that is tied to the choices we make. I am disagreeing with this premise in that where this desire is derived from is not fundamentally caused by part of a person's physiology responsible for rationality. We seek out relationships not because of any particular rationality, fundamentally; we seek our relationships because our physiology beyond our rationality is wired this way per evolutionary mechanisms where the same forces are evident in other animals that don't have reasoning capability. So, I am disagreeing with the term allow and I am disagreeing with your premise that the choice to seek out relationships is a rational decision - it is a psychological mechanism and desire groomed by evolutionary forces. So, yes, I am explicitly disagreeing with you.

While I'm really not particularly interested in the fact that you aren't even attempting to discuss the actual ethics at play, I'd like to point out that I had just assumed you read the entirety of my post, where I point out that this is an imperfect process.  My interpretation of your initial post was that you were highlighting the concept of how feelings play a role in behavior, which my second paragraph here I talked about with some length along with the specification of their role in my model:

A person, is best defined as the set of strategies they employ for interacting with the world.  That is, given a set of information, how will they want to react?  I explicitly accentuate "want" here because the reality is that our emotional state can lead us to make decisions we otherwise might not, and for the sake of this discussion, I consider it largely unfair to attribute someone's actions to themselves, when they can be easily modulated by a pill.  In cases like that, I consider what a person was trying to do, before their emotions got in the way, to be their real identity. 

But particularly, your definitions aren't serving as objections to my ultimate conclusion that we can agree to a consensus that we don't like to be misinformed or fundamentally altered in ways that are beyond our control (if we can prevent them).

If you really desire it to be pointed, that fact that we do fall in love is one thing.  I agree it is groomed by evolutionary forces, fundamentally rooted in the fact that reproduction is required for the proliferation of a species.  This is definitely true, it's pretty trivial for anyone to demonstrate this with mathematics.  What I am saying, is that the relationship seeking out process is influenced by the information we have available to us.  While the process of falling in love, I agree, is mostly automatic, before it happens, we have the capacity to contemplate it.  I'm contemplating it right now.  I can do that.  What I am contending is that if a person's contemplations about how they would like to go about falling are simply based on an inaccurate prediction of their own feelings, then they are at fault for simply being incorrect, and that I think we can all agree that it makes sense to see it this way.  If someone's contemplations about how they would like to fall in love fail because someone fed them with false information, then this is unethical.

My only intention in bringing up the concept of strategies and "contemplations" in these posts was to draw a clear distinction between internal and external information, such that we could suggest misinformation is not something we want, and that people fundamentally altering our function is not something we want either.

The reason I say you didn't disagree with me, is because this was the conclusion of my post, and you didn't even address it.  I'd encourage you to consider that this is the topic of the discussion.

13
Main Hall / Re: The Ethics of Forced Love
« on: November 01, 2013, 01:55:00 PM »
So what a person wants to do, is to fall in love with a certain kind a person.  They have a specific set of criteria in their mind, and this is their personal fantasy.  These preferences may change with the winds, but at any given time, they have some person or set of persons in mind, each with a range of possible traits they have deemed amicable.  Or to put it another way, they have some algorithm by which they are going to derive the desire to enter a relationship with someone.  They will ask these questions, see how they feel.  They will do these things, see how they feel.  Once a certain threshold has been reached, they allow themselves to fall in love.  

Love doesn't physiologically operate like this. Love is a form of bonding or attachment that is initiated on a different level. For example, cognitively, one can have particular standards and then find that they are getting attached to someone in spite of these standards that they cognitively hold due to repeated exposure to this person which triggers that. For example, being in situations where you are in physical contact with someone can start physiological attachment processes due to the biology of how our bodies react when in contact with another person. These neurophysiological processes yield qualitative experiences which signal to a person that they are attached to that particular person.

Animals, besides humans, have a drive to have sex; however, they are not cognitive of the connection between reproduction and sex - they just have a drive to have sex, so the motivations that underlie their behavior can't be found in cognition that they hold about reproduction. Humans are similar in regards to the motivation behind the behavior existing beyond a cognitive level where humans are social animals which require social bonding and attachment in regards to rearing offspring. The motivation to have interpersonal relationships with other people isn't fundamentally cognitive in that how human beings have evolved would yield those psychological mechanisms that lead one to having that desire; our physiology beyond just our cerebral cortex is wired like this.

Thank you for not disagreeing with me, and elaborating on the experience of falling in love.

14
Main Hall / Re: The Ethics of Forced Love
« on: November 01, 2013, 01:20:20 PM »
I draw the line in the following way, and it is largely contingent on how you define a person, but I'll share my definition of identity here.

A person, is best defined as the set of strategies they employ for interacting with the world.  That is, given a set of information, how will they want to react?  I explicitly accentuate "want" here because the reality is that our emotional state can lead us to make decisions we otherwise might not, and for the sake of this discussion, I consider it largely unfair to attribute someone's actions to themselves, when they can be easily modulated by a pill.  In cases like that, I consider what a person was trying to do, before their emotions got in the way, to be their real identity. 

And I'd like to take a moment to make a case for this being the most effective way of defining individuals.  If our goal, in creating identities for people is to differentiate them from others so that we can recognize them uniquely, and that we would like to be able to form accurate predictions about them, we are not well-served by including every emotional fling in our understanding of where this person is coming from.  These are volatile actions, coming from a place which changes depending on the context.  Now it is true, that if a person is frequently volatile, we can predict them more accurately, but I would suggest that we categorically call these kinds of traits.  An identity is "this is Jaina, she has this position, and this position, and this position".  Her traits are "Jaina is a human, has blonde hair, loves Warchief Thrall, is a powerful wizard, is prone to risky behavior"  Her identity is what makes her unique; the rest is experience, it is baggage.  Now, I understand there is certainly an argument to be made for even a person's strategies being influenced by experience, but if you go that direction, I would encourage you to understand that I have pointed "strategies" as the demarcating factor, which are, even in a world without free will, still differentiable.

So what a person wants to do, is to fall in love with a certain kind a person.  They have a specific set of criteria in their mind, and this is their personal fantasy.  These preferences may change with the winds, but at any given time, they have some person or set of persons in mind, each with a range of possible traits they have deemed amicable.  Or to put it another way, they have some algorithm by which they are going to derive the desire to enter a relationship with someone.  They will ask these questions, see how they feel.  They will do these things, see how they feel.  Once a certain threshold has been reached, they allow themselves to fall in love

Assuming everything goes according to plan, anyway.  Their own capacity to predict their feelings is likely imperfect, and their strategy likely based on not necessarily accurate expectations of reality.  A person might feel that "If this person has met all of these conditions, I can be sure that person is a keeper", and it may be possible that their strategy is simply incorrect, and the result does not follow from the test.

The other error that can occur, is that the person can be fed with misinformation.  You can be lied to.  Someone can tell you they are X, or put on a show that they are X, or use a telepathic raygun to project that they are X into your mind.  If they are not actually X, but Y, then they are misleading you.  They are taking advantage of your desired strategy by feeding you with misinformation.  This, is unethical, and make no mistake, this is an arbitrary decision on my part, but I think this is something we can all agree we would like to see less of, and we can achieve its place as an ethical standard through consensus.

Now, we can think a little bit about what psychic projection might entail in terms of its effects on the recipient.  We'll just use Warchief Thrall as a dummy example, and since Jaina is a powerful wizard, we'll pretend she's casting a love spell on him.  So what is happening to Warchief Thrall when Jaina casts a love spell on him?  Well, we have probably decided that our definition of love spell includes anything that causes Warchief Thrall to love Jaina, when he otherwise wouldn't have.  But I'm going to make it explicit in this example.  We'll assume that the nature of the love spell is such that even if Warchief Thrall and Jaina were to meet under normal circumstances and give one another a fair shake, Warchief Thrall would not ever fall in love with Jaina.  His best strategy does not allow him to fall for Jaina.  So what does Jaina do, she casts a love spell, and he falls in love.

So what do we now know, is that Thrall loves Jaina, and that this doesn't have anything to do with the things that fundamentally makeup Warchief Thrall as a person.  The causes are entirely external to his identity, but they have made an internal modification to his behavior pattern.  So, Thrall feels love, and all of the emotions, and this influences his behavior, but I do not necessarily think it is proper to say that his strategies have changed.  He's just being fed with mystical misinformation in some kind of lasting, effective capacity.  Either his emotions are being directly modified to overpower his strategies, or he is being made to somehow magically ignore information that conflicts with his love strategy, or he is being given false information to populate his love strategy.  All of these things are reliant on mis-informing Thrall.

So, I would propose the ethical standard that is not desireable for us to sanction any behavior which stems from the willful misinforming of another person.  And this boils down to self-preservation.  I don't want to be misinformed, and you don't want to be misinformed, and so do a majority of other people, so we create a social contract saying we will all collectively enforce this rule, and we all feel safer as a result.

The remaining possibility is that the magic spell Jaina casts actually fundamentally alters Thrall at the identity level.  Now, we'll just assume for this example, that this applies to any specific interpretation of reality.  That just, magic, bam, he's a different person now, no going back.  I would contend that by the same collective agreement to self-preservation above, we can all agree to abide by a set of rules that suggest this is also an undesirable behavior.  I want to be who I choose to be, at least insofar as I can be aware of such a thing.  I don't want anyone just reprogramming my mind, and I'm quite certain most other people don't want that either.

TL;DR

Ethics are defined by consensus.  Because we can all likely agree we would not personally like this done to us, and that therefore we would like to enforce a rule disallowing others from doing it (to protect ourselves), it is by definition unethical in our society.

15
Magick / Re: One guy's spiritual story, seeking also answers.
« on: October 17, 2013, 09:09:10 PM »
Just a tip: Because indentations do not really exist in the online medium, I would advise you to add a blank line between each paragraph.  It is very difficult for humans to read anything that is not broken up into chunks of reasonably small numbers of lines.

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