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The Visual Conundrum: Reality And Dreams

I started thinking today, as ive been doing a lot recently. When you look at a something in the world you are observing your eyes interpretation of what the world looks like. This means that the world may be presented in a way other than what ‘reality’ really is. What biologically happens is that your eyes receive photons that contain ‘light’ energy and your eye transforms that into neural energy. Now what about dreams? They should be just as vivid if not more so because they are already neural energy and dont need to be transformed. This isnt so. 

The only hypothesis i have would be memory. Dreams are easily forgotten and may seem vivid one moment only to disappear another. “Reality” however, moments are tied together by short and long term memory. Then again, try to imagine an apple. It will not even remotely resemble the actual apple itself even if you were to immediately close your eyes upon looking at one. So Im almost certain that this proves my hypothesis incorrect.

 

If anyone has any insight, feel free to comment. Im just a college student who is studying psychology and is interested in dreams. Any new information helps! Thank you.

Happiness 102: Work on Yourself

We all have flaws, fears, and issues in general. Although looking hard at yourself can cause you to see your own demons, it can cause you to become a better and happier individual. Say you are shy. You can start by trying to make new friends, eventually you will and you will become less shy for it. Maybe you will understand why you are shy, and fix some flaws in you internal scripts. You’ll feel happy because you accomplished a difficult goal, and because, well, you made friends!

You want to find the perfect person or to get that golden job, right? You can fight your way to their heart or to the top. Or you can modify yourself and let them come to you. Think about it: why do you fall for or want to hire that person? Because of what they have. They have the set of personality traits that attracts you to them or makes you want to hire them. Become that person that you want to date or hire. Just as a disclaimer though, I’m not saying change who you are to get what you want. But change what you don’t like about yourself, and embrace the things you cannot or do not want to change.

If you become comfortable in your own skin and know what you want in the world, it will come to you. I’ll give you an example: the romantics. Nowadays, they are far in between and few in numbers. But if they confidently yell what they want, they will end up with what they want. They may get turned down by those people that aren’t romantics, but that kind of relationship isn’t what they want anyway. If you are honestly yourself, you can attract those who honestly like you, which is good.

It’s just the same for careers. Say some guy wants to be a psychologist of sorts. So he starts reading a bunch of psychology articles, books, and whatnot. He gains a lot of knowledge, then goes to college and easily passes all of his classes because most of the knowledge he already knows and obtains his teaching license.

Happiness 102: Gratitude

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so, “~Buddha. A situation is just a situation, but you think about how it affects you and look for the reasons it hurts you. Try to look at every situation in a positive light. Be grateful for every situation you encounter.

 

Sure you may look at the loss of a job as a “bad” situation- you don’t have a steady supply of income, you won’t be able to support your family. But did you really like that job or did you just stay there because it gave you some money and some job security? Didn’t you really want to be a writer or a journalist or a video game designer but you just got complacent with the job you had? Even if this isn’t the case, you could still get a better job. This job loss can be the push you need to be motivated to do what you want.

Even the decisions we make are never good or bad. There are only possibilities and situations that help develop our character. I’ll take on substance abuse for example. You have the person who doesn’t abuse substances. On the surface you may see this as a good choice: they will never even the chance to face addiction. However, maybe that person would never face addiction anyway, but are missing out because of fear and having a drink wouldn’t have as adverse effect as they’d think. The ‘good’ choice allows fear to muster and forsakes the virtue of courage.

 

Let’s look at the other side: the person that does do some drugs. We would assume that they are making a bad decision (assumptions are not good, remember): They’ll become complacent with life; they’ll only seek to indulge, etc. However, maybe that person is doing it for spiritual reasons- many people do go to drugs seeking alternate consciousness and hoping for a spiritual awakening. But even if they’re not- even if the person is doing it to feel good, to indulge, that doesn’t make the decision bad. This may cause them to face addiction and some of the worse times of their life, but they will eventually realize that it’s causing pain, and try to leave this life of addiction. Think about people you’ve heard of or met that have gone to AA. They have become some of the most resilient people I personally have met. But they wouldn’t have become so resilient if not for the rough patch of their drug addiction. I picked one of the more serious decisions in life, but the same idea applies to most, if not, all decisions.

 

Everything can go wrong every day. You wake up to a burning apartment, a call from a loved one telling you that someone dear to you passed away, or even a call from your boss saying that you’ve been fired. But that doesn’t happen. Every day goes by fairly normally without any huge events going on. Think about how long you’ve lived in your house and it didn’t burn down- isn’t that amazing?! I’ve been robbed ONCE in the 20 years I’ve been alive, and maybe it will happen one more time- but even then there was a source of growth (they stole most of my electronics which was necessary for me to become more self-aware).

 

Be grateful for every moment that your house is normal, for every ‘bad’ decision you’ve made that led to your growth and to every day in general. People who do so tend to leave happier lives!

Your Light and my shadow play well

Your Light and my shadow play well

Dark I know, but we must acknowledge and even accept our shadows for our light to grow. It may cause 1,000 pieces to fall to the ground, but once you put the pieces back together, the mirror will display an even more vibrant image. I know that my own shadow and light play together well (and dance together even better!). Have a good day!

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is my personal favorite type of therapy. Im posting this because its a great way to understand people and even work on yourself if you need to. 

 

 

(this is the best way i can explain it). When it comes to depression, people face 3 problematic thoughts according to Aaron Beck: 1) Their situation is fixed “My life will ALWAYS be miserable” 2) They are at fault “I cause all the negativity in my life” 3) The world is out to get them “Everyone hates me” 

 

 

CBT aims to fix these thoughts. Ill use death as an example. Someone dies and you become depressed “its my fault” “everyone will die”. You start by asking them questions like “is it Really your fault?” and ask them to rationalize the whole situation (think of the Socratic method, know what they will say before the client says it) They’ll eventually come to the conclusion “i wasnt there and couldnt have prevented what happened” and so on. The whole “everyone will die” part can be easily remedied if a person finds some kind of meaning. Usually this is where religion or community support helps. The client needs to find some reason whether it be “they’re in heaven now, and ill see them soon” or “that person lead a good life and helped many people”. An example ive heard and worked (a parahprase):

 

-(Client)”I didnt want so and so to die”

(therapist) “Would it have been better if you had died first”

-“Yea, they wouldnt have been dead”

” But wouldnt they be feeling the pain and suffering you are going through now”

-“Yes, they would”

“Isnt it better that you bear and deal with this pain, so that [the dead person] wouldnt have to”

 

 

Ive also seen this technique used in a divorce setting by Beck himself (What i can remember along with alot of ad lib):

 

-(Client) “I always end up in these situations with men, they never love me, and i loved them. Im worthless and everyone hates me”

(therapist) ” So none of these men ever loved you?” <– (lets client know that the therapist is actually listening)

-“Yes, i give them everything. And they dont give me nothing”

“Can you give me an example?” (asking for elaborations also is a part of active listening)

-“I bought my ex-husband [something expensive]”

“Based on what you said, i feel you believe love is based on giving gifts” (dont say ‘you believe’ say ‘i feel you believe’- its less acusatory)

-“No.” “No, its based on giving a part of yourself”

“And your ex husband never gave a part of himself?”

-“No, never”

“So he never stayed at work late to pay for bills or helped with the children”

-“The problem was he was always at work and ever gave attention to the children” 

“This gives me reason to believe that your husband did love you, and he wanted to provide for his children. Although, he could have probably figured out a way to provide for the children and be there physically, it did not mean he didnt love you. You said you feel worthless. How do you define worth”

-” I am worthless! Everyone hates me”

“So if people like you, then you have worth. But can we agree that nobody can please everyone and you are bound to make some enemies?”

– “yes.”

“Tell me who do you think hates you?”

– “Well theres my ex-husband, mark and His Mom and Dad.”

“Ok is there anyone else?”

-“That’s it”

” You named three people and you cant name anyone else. So not everyone hates you”

 

Now if i were to carry on this session I would try to get the client to focus on some positive aspects such as “Who in her life loves her and what is something good she did this week for someone else (to prove worth). I would also ask her how her and her ex-husband may not have been compatible (i actually think beck said something along the lines of “There are 6 billion people in this world, what are the chances that your high school sweetheart is your soulmate”)

 

(DISCLAIMER) Im not a licensed therapist and if you are having serious issues (specifically a harm to yourself or others) you might want to seek advice from a professional. Although CBT is my favorite therapy there are many other forms of effective therapy and sometimes therapy is not enough. This article was mainly to help those who have rough patches in thinking and/or are just interested in this kind of stuff.

Zeitgeist

Just read an interesting bit of information (a paraphrase):

“The intellectual fashion or school of thought of a time influences how information is released- this is called Zeitgeist (spirit of the time). But heres the interesting part; If Darwin never existed, the theory of evolution would have still been published. No, not just because it was him and Wallace who’d jointly shown their theory. But because society was leaning that way; there were already advocates for evolution and someone else would have discovered it.”

Unfortunately this means that there are specific “times” when its good to release data. If Darwin had existed in the 800’s, he’d have been shunned by the whole population of Europe. And thats kinda what happened to alot of people who were “before their time”. These people are usually shunned and die alone and bankrupt. BUT (good news) If you are consciously aware of the time you live in (like DaVinci) and you hide/ wait to release it, you can live a good life and be famous, but way after you die.

God and Evil

I came across an interesting thought today: If God is all powerful and all good, then why does evil exist. For evil to exist means either God is not powerful enough to extinguish evil (therefore not all powerful) or God allows it to exist and therefore is not all good. I’ve been thinking about it and thinking I’ve come up with some sort of conclusion.

Beforehand, I should tell you I’m not really religious. I don’t follow any specific religion. Because, quite honestly, I don’t know who is right. However I do believe in God, at least the concept.

 

I’m not going to get detailed in this but for the sake of understanding, the idea I have of God is not a “person”; does not have limbs. God is merely an Idea/thought-form. Communication with said being would probably be incomprehensible. Definitely unlike talking. When I say “God”, think of when you say things like “nature”, “the universe”, or “fate”; a generalized being with absolutely no specific image attached to it. I think most concepts have been too corrupted by man. All religious texts are written though a human, who is inherently flawed. “Created in His image” may not (and probably does not) mean physically. We are the only species that has complex reasoning and has metacognition: we can think about our thoughts, as well as self-awareness. Those are the blueprints for which we are based off of.

 

To get to the point though, why does evil exist/ why do bad things happen? I have two answers:

 

Think about a videogame. You are playing and you are passing each level flawlessly. Then you get to a level that is really hard. You keep on dying and starting over. Eventually, you figure out that you were supposed to do some complex thing that you haven’t done before. What if you did not have that challenge? You would play that game and pass it within an hour and say “boy, what a waste of time” and I bet no one would be proud of your accomplishment. What if every day you just kept on taking soma and walked through your life easily without any challenges, and you always got what you wanted? It’d be a pretty boring life. But that’s not even it. Think back to the videogame. Normally when things got hard you learned some really cool technique or combo that helped you later in the game. That’s life exactly. You become homeless; you learn to appreciate what you have (not to envy others). You get hurt in a relationship, you learn to love better. A murderer tries to kill you and fails, you learn to appreciate existence.  Adversity causes growth.

 

The other side (more dealing with God and religion): Why does god allow evil to exist? That must mean he is not all good, right? Not necessarily. We are Its creation, or at least part of It (depending on what you believe). It decided it wanted best for us. I guess we could argue free will is not necessarily best for us or why it is best for us, but that is what we have. Evil exists because of choice. If only good were to exist, would we really even have choice, or just the perception of it? You could also argue that this evil exists because a truly benevolent being would see the good in everything. And if there is good in everything, then there is no evil. Why would I say NO evil? Because evil is the absolute absence of good, and if there is good in everything than there is no such thing as evil.