Posts tagged with self

It is therefore, I think, a mistake to think of the individual as a sort of elementary nucleus, a primitive atom or some multiple, inert matter to which power is applied, or which is struck by a power that subordinates and destroys individuals. In actual fact, one of the first effects of power is that it allows bodies, gestures, discourses, and desires to be identified and constituted as something individual.

The individual is not, in other words, power’s opposite number; the individual is one of power’s first effects. The individual is in fact a power-effect, and at the same time, and to the extent that he is a power-effect, the individual is a relay: power passes through the individuals it has constituted.
Michel Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended” (14 January 1976)




When we do something in a default style acquired unconsciously, it is like typing on the only typewriter we have ever known: we do not notice the style of our activity any more than we notice the typeface on the machine. In such cases, we have an abstract concept of action that leaves style out of account.

We can have a concept of lying without being aware…that, in practice, we must have a style of lying. We can have a concept of quarreling without being aware…that in practice, we must have a style of quarreling.
from Clear and Simple as the Truth by Francis-Noël Thomas & Mark Turner (via untilasinglesolitonsurvives)




"a mixing console to your personality”

You may not be this bold or ferocious in your day-to-day life, but on stage you amplify these things in you that already exist.

File:Dirichlet.png

I could talk about this in equation form: imagine the personality is a vector (list) and some of these aspects are in some way independent or separable to each other.

image

where |1⟩, |2⟩, |3⟩ are projections of the whole personality down to one “aspect”.

File:KleinInvariantJ.jpg

Then St Vincent’s idea is simply to lower and raise some of the α, β, γ, δ …sliders”. So like when doves cry inside a convex hull, it’s just linear combinations of pre-existing stuff, rather than the generation of “truly new” (orthogonal) things. (Properly in maths one needs multiple distinct examples to do linear combinations and create a span. I wonder if she would agree that “projecting" (isolating) the "elements" of her personality is a step requiring work in finding out what the aspects of the personality are, to amplify or mute them.)

a well-known stereotype: women are complex, men are simple

http://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0272771412001072-gr3.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Fourier_Series.svg/500px-Fourier_Series.svg.png
http://www.learner.org/courses/mathilluminated/images/units/10/1873.png
http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/musicandcomputers/images/chapter3/sumofsines.jpg




Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

I was raised up believing
I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes
Unique in each way you can see

And now after some thinking
I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery
Serving something beyond me

But I don’t … know what that will be


What’s my name, what’s my station
Oh just tell me what I should do
I don’t need to be kind to the armies of night


Or bow down and be grateful

To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls
And determine my future for me

And … I don’t know who to believe


If I know only one thing
It’s that every thing that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable
Often I barely can speak



If I had an orchard
I’d work till I’m raw
If I had an orchard
I’d work till I’m sore

And you would wait tables
And soon run the store

(por LewisLickitung)




In game theory the word “strategy” means a fully specified contingency plan. Whatever happens—be it a sequence of things, a conditional branching of their responses and my responses—∃ a contingency.

I can’t prove this, but I do feel that sometimes people talk about others as constants rather than response functions.

(A function is a ≥1-to-1 association from elements of a source domain to elements of a target codomain. I’ll owe ya a post on how this is not the most intuitive way to think about functions. Because it depends which domains you’re mapping from and to. Think for example about automorphisms—turning something over in your hand—versus measures—assigning a size to something.)

  

For example, extraversion vs introversion. This is one of the less disputatious dimensions of human variation from the MBTI. We can observe that some people (like me) gain more energy by being around people and feel like sh*te when they spend too much time alone, whereas others (like my best friend) replenish their reserves by being alone and drain them when they go out in public.

So we observe one datum about you—but sometimes a discussion (eg, an economics debate) wants to veer over counterfactual terrain—in which case we need a theory about how things might else have been.

  • Maybe when you were young, your parents always made you do chores whenever they saw you, but didn’t particularly seek you out when you were out of sight. So you learned to hide in your room, avoid chores, and develop your personal life there. Hence became introverted as a response to environmental factors.
  • When I was young, I used to think I was introverted. Really I was just widely disliked and unpopular for being an ugly nerd. But later in life I developed social skills and had the fortune to meet people I liked, who liked me back. In response to who was around, I became extraverted.
   

I can think of other aspects of myself that are obviously responses to situational stimuli rather than innate constants.

  • If I were raised in a different culture, my sexuality would be different. In my culture, homosexuality is seen as “You boink / date / marry from your own sex”, but in ancient Sparta women all gayed on each other as a matter of ritual before the men came home from war. But they didn’t call themselves homos, and neither did the Roman men who sexually touched each other. It was just a different conception of sex (one I can’t fathom) where “Just because I regularly crave and do sexual stuff with people of my own sex, doesn’t mean I’m gay!”
    File:Pederastic erotic scene Louvre F85bis.jpg
    File:Banquet Euaion Louvre G467.jpg
    File:Pompeii - Terme Suburbane - Apodyterium - Scene V.jpg
    File:Nisos Euryalos Louvre LL450 n2.jpg
    Point being this is all the result of inputs; born Puritan, think sex = evil. Born Roman, "sexuality is a behaviour, not an identity".
  • If I ate more food and exercised less, my fat:muscle ratio would increase.
     
  • If I meditated more, I would feel more at peace.
  • If I read more maths, I would know more maths. More people would think of me as a mathematician—but not because it was inevitable or inherent in me to be a mathmo, rather because I chose to do maths and became the product of my habits.
  • If I fixed more bikes, I would be able to fix bikes faster.
  • If I made more money, I would go to different places, meet different people, be exposed to their response functions to their own pasts and presents and anxieties and perceptions, a vector field of non-Markovian baggage, and all of this history and now-ness would sum up to some stimuli-complex that would cause some response by me, and change me in ways I can’t now know.
     
  • Our friendship could have been so much more, but we sort of let it fall off. Not for any reason, but it’s not so strong now.
  • Our love could have been so much less volatile, but I slept around, which had repercussions for your feelings toward me, which repercussed to my feelings toward you, which repercussed …. (multiplier effect / geometric series)
 

Besides being motivation for me to learn more maths to see what comes out of this way of thinking about people when you layer abstract algebra over it, this view of people is a reminder to

  1. release the egotism, and
  2. not take too literally what I think I’m seeing of whomever I’m interacting with.

Someone who piss me off may not be “a jerk”, it may not be about me whatever, s/he may be lag-responding to something from before I was there. Or s/he may not have adapted to a “nice guy” equilibrium of interacting with me. Who knows. I’m not seeing all of that person’s possibility, just a particular response to a particular situation.

On the other hand, if they really are acting wrong, it’s up to me to address the issue reasonably right away, rather than let my frustration passive-aggressively fester. Wait ten years for revenge and they’ll be a different person by then.

The final suggestion of people-as-functions is that there’s always something buried, something untapped—like part of a wavefunction that will never be measured, or a button on a machine that never gets pressed. You may see one version of yourself or someone else, but there’s more latent in you and in them—if you’re thrown into a war, a divorce, the Jazz Age, the Everglades, a hospice, a black-tie dinner, poverty, wealth, a band, a reality show about life under cruel premodern conditions—that may bring out another part of them.

 

UPDATE: peacemaker points out the similarity between people-as-response functions and the nature/nurture debate. I think this viewpoint subsumes both the nature and the nurture side, as well as free will.

  1. Evolution shaped our genes in response to environmental pressures (see for example the flies’ eyes chart above).
  2. My assumptions & predilections are a response to a more immediate “environment” than the environment of evolutionary adaptation.
  3. And I exercise free will over how I respond to the most immediate “environment” which is just the stimuli I get from you and the Wu Tang Clan.

UPDATE 2: As I think through this again, I feel quantum measurement really is a great metaphor for interacting with people. You only evoke one particular response-complex from a person on that particular time. And the way you evoke it perturbs the “objective” underlying thing. For example if yo’re introduced to someone in a flirtatious way versus in a business setting.




A tiny portion of Doug Hofstadter’s “semantic network”.
via jewcrew728, structure of entropy

hi-res




Paul Bloom disproves the idea that sexual pleasure se logra by merely the proper stimulation of various genitalia with the following Gedankenexperiment:
Imagine you find out that the person you had sex with last night is not who you thought they were.
Maybe you learn that the charming gentleman is the author of white-supremacist hate literature.Maybe you find out that the beautiful woman was your long-lost sister. The feeling of wanting to crawl out of your own skin and leave the ugly husk of your body behind wouldn’t be out of place.
That such tropes appear in literature we’ve found from millennia ago suggests people have long felt this way: sexual pleasure must be tied in with not only the body of your partner, but with their spirit and inherent nature as well.
  
Pleasure is complicated. Economists know this but usually choose to forget the fact. The study of where individual demand curves come from would be a new discipline, although ink has been spilled on the topic.
However, the questions of pleasure and satisfaction are relevant to the engineering of society. If the objective function is set to: maximise output, but people derive pleasure from achieving increasingly difficult goals and receiving even artificial rewards, then the world of work is not optimised for happiness but the world of school is.
Getting more practical than grand critiques of “society”, anyone who manages more employees than herself would benefit from knowing which free-or-cheap buttons she can push to motivate and reward the people “under” her. Even more pedestrian: I know that sitting down feels better after a physical labour or constitutional, but I haven’t a quantitative knowledge of how to engineer my habits and routines to take fullest advantage of that fact.
Sound the trumpet again for a department of happiness studies.

Paul Bloom disproves the idea that sexual pleasure se logra by merely the proper stimulation of various genitalia with the following Gedankenexperiment:

  • Imagine you find out that the person you had sex with last night is not who you thought they were.

Maybe you learn that the charming gentleman is the author of white-supremacist hate literature.
Dave Chappelle playing a (blind) black white supremacist
Maybe you find out that the beautiful woman was your long-lost sister. The feeling of wanting to crawl out of your own skin and leave the ugly husk of your body behind wouldn’t be out of place.

That such tropes appear in literature we’ve found from millennia ago suggests people have long felt this way: sexual pleasure must be tied in with not only the body of your partner, but with their spirit and inherent nature as well.

  

Pleasure is complicated. Economists know this but usually choose to forget the fact. The study of where individual demand curves come from would be a new discipline, although ink has been spilled on the topic.

However, the questions of pleasure and satisfaction are relevant to the engineering of society. If the objective function is set to: maximise output, but people derive pleasure from achieving increasingly difficult goals and receiving even artificial rewards, then the world of work is not optimised for happiness but the world of school is.

Getting more practical than grand critiques of “society”, anyone who manages more employees than herself would benefit from knowing which free-or-cheap buttons she can push to motivate and reward the people “under” her. Even more pedestrian: I know that sitting down feels better after a physical labour or constitutional, but I haven’t a quantitative knowledge of how to engineer my habits and routines to take fullest advantage of that fact.

Sound the trumpet again for a department of happiness studies.


hi-res




I had nothing but ideas.

O.K., they weren’t strictly mine, in the sense that these ideas were acquired, arranged, styled, photographed, published and distributed by entities bearing no relation to me whatsoever.




Interesting how Austrian economists see themselves:

  • Ludwig von Mises was a genius (obviously)
  • a Man of the Mind — and that’s a good thing
  • "dignified ruthlessness"
  • seriousness … also a good thing … Serious about Reality
  • quoting Ayn Rand is OK (erm, quoting her straightforwardly, not mockingly)
  • "We’re not dogmatic … we’re consistent
  • People who call us dogmatic believe in relative truth, not absolute truth

^ The last one is the only really confusing one to me.




  • M. You live in a society where lovers choose whom to marry based on romance. So you don’t want to give up your right to choose a partner (or no partner at all). But if you actually lived under rules of arranged marriage, you would not want to be forever-bitter about something you can’t change. So you would accept your fate, go with the flow, and learn to love whom you had to.
  • She didn’t want to be pregnant. She couldn’t afford it. She was too young. There was so much else she wanted to do with her life. But once the baby was born, s/he became the joy of her life—and the mother wouldn’t change a thing about her past choices. (P.)
  • You need a vacation. You’ve focussed on work for too long. You plan a grand adventure. You negotiate a year off with your employer. On the plane ride to the coast, somebody asks, “What do you do?” and, without thinking, you give your normal response: “I’m a lawyer.” Unsettled, you arrive at the mooring where you’re scheduled to pick up the rented boat. A week into your trip down the coast, you find that you’ve succeeded in running away from nothing. You’re still alone with your thoughts, and they still have exactly the same consistency. It’s going to be a long voyage, achieving nothing, cleansing nothing, a propos of nothing. At least you’ve got work to look forward to when you return. [[[V.]]]

There is an algebra that describes this. Something like a von Neumann algebra (the logic of quantum measurements).

image

In the vNA, “measuring” X changes the information that X reports. You measure the Z-spin of an atom, you get the Z-spin information but you’ve affected the atom in measuring.

Similarly, instantiating myself in a different context (a society with different social norms, being somewhere else other than where I am) would change the answers to questions M, V, P (marry, vacation, pregnant).

Self-as-function, with input parameters.

My answer to M(me, where-I-in-fact-grew-up) is that, no, I don’t want arranged marriage. My answer to M′( me, where-I-in-fact-grew-up) is that, no, I wouldn’t want arranged marriage. But different-my′ answer to M′(me′, where-I-might-have-grown-up′)M(me, where-i-in-fact-grew-up). Real-me doesn’t think like different-me, and doesn’t correctly predict different-me′'s feelings.