Oct 22, 2007

The great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms, and grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country. -- William Jennings Bryan, Speech given at the Democratic National Convention, July 9, 1896

Oct 10, 2007

Insanity in individuals is something rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule. -— Nietzsche

Oct 9, 2007

The Dilbert Blog: Curious Robot Maneuver

I noticed a long time ago that I get in a funky mood when I don't have time to exercise for a few days in a row. For me, there seemed to be a direct correlation between exercise and mood. Now the science supports that: Mayo Clinic

Over the years, I have also noticed my mood turns down in the autumn and winter when there’s less sun. Now there’s evidence to support the link between sunlight (and its impact on your vitamin D production) and mood: WebMD

Lately I’ve been experimenting with carbs and their impact on my mood. Try eating a bowl of white rice in the middle of the afternoon and see what it does to you. You’ll want a nap. It drains the energy right out of you. Protein doesn’t have that effect. So now I stay away from the carbs that sap my energy. That helps my mood too.

I have found that many bad moods are caused by a feeling of not having control. People can put up with extreme hardship, climbing a mountain for example, if they have the illusion of choosing to do it. But even a little aggravation can make you nuts if you feel you can’t avoid it.

I have a fix for that loss of control problem. I call it the “curious robot maneuver.” When things are not going your way, sit back and change your frame of mind to one of curiosity. Imagine you have no free will, and you are just a moist robot. Everything you have done and will do is programmed. So there’s no reason to stress over your lack of control in certain situations because you have the same degree of control in ALL situations: none. What you do have is the capacity to watch the show, and marvel as it unfolds. You have front row seats, right behind your own eyeballs, and the theater is surround-sense. You can actually FEEL the action!

You can take almost any upcoming event in your life, from a vacation to the next day at work, to a relationship, and ask yourself “What happens next?” It’s like watching a fascinating TV show that happens to involve your own life. Curiosity is a huge motivator. It's what makes you turn the page in a good book, and sit through a three-hour movie. You can use it to your advantage in your real life.

I’d be surprised if this method works for most people, but it might work for some. It’s a good way to take you out of your feeling of a loss of control and just imagine reality as something different until you can get some protein and sun and exercise.

I know my readers, and a number of you are already planning to leave a comment saying it is absurd to try and do this curious robot maneuver if you have no free will, because you have no choice whether you do it or not. But now that I created this post, and you just read it, your programming will be influenced. For some of you, that might be enough. Aren't you a little curious whether you will try this technique in the future?

Oct 4, 2007

Liberals are fine with some people getting benefits they don't need in order to ensure that the people who do need the benefits get them; Conservatives are fine with the people who need the benefits NOT getting them in order to ensure those who don't need them, don't get them.

Oct 3, 2007