1853: "Once Per Day"

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1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby squall_line » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:43 pm UTC

Image

Alt-text: "I'm not totally locked into my routine—twice a year, I take a break to change the batteries in my smoke detectors."

That doesn't sound like that bad of a routine, actually.

ETA: I'm still quite dubious of the idea of changing smoke detector batteries when the time changes, considering how unevenly the time changes within the year (and considering how few clocks I need to manually adjust any more). I just change the batteries when they start to beep at me. I've yet to find a smoke detector that isn't annoying enough to get my attention when the batteries are low.

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby tsarna » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:48 pm UTC

Don't forget that you're also supposed to be testing those smoke detectors every week, and GFCI outlets every month, according to the manufacturers! :roll:

EDIT: my Nest smoke detectors chose this moment for their automatic test!

But for traditional smoke detectors... if everyone followed the recommendation and actually tested them weekly, it would probably result in MORE deaths and injuries, just from stepladder accidents...
Last edited by tsarna on Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:51 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:50 pm UTC

The idea with the smoke alarm battery change is that you only need it every 8-9 months or so, but it's a lot easier to remember key dates twice a year than keep track of an irregular period.

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:07 pm UTC

I feel overwhelmed lately with trying to do all of the things a normal responsible adult is supposed to do.

I sleep eight hours a night. Well, I lie in bed trying to sleep.

Trying to lose weight, so I don't eat breakfast. I know you're supposed to but I have to cut calories somewhere. I have 16oz of water, take the doctor's recommended vitamins and one medication to manage triglycerides.

Thankfully I work from home so I don't have have to commute, so I can just go straight from sleeping to being at my work desk. I know that's not healthy but I am squeezed for time everywhere else so I have to. I don't brush my teeth in the morning but I brushed them just before bed and haven't eaten anything so that's probably okay but I still feel guilty about it but no time gotta rush to desk to start work

I work full time, eight hours a day, exactly. I make almost exactly the mean personal income, or the median household income. For the US, but not for California where I live. I've always lived here and I love it here but I feel guilty for living here because it's expensive and a normal responsible adult would have abandoned everyone and everything he loved to move somewhere less expensive that he hates because that's financially smarter. Statistics tell me that 75% of individual Americans make less than that but I still can't afford to do all of the things a normal responsible adult is supposed to do so I still feel guilty for not making more but at the same time I feel guilty for not doing better on what I do make.

I work three hours in the morning and then take lunch. On my lunch breaks, I hike for an hour, every day, trying to lose weight. Phone tells me it burns about 500 calories. Then I eat a piece of baked tofu. About 200 calories. I buy it pre-baked in the package but I feel guilty for not just buying the larger bulk sizes and baking it myself at home for cheaper but that wouldn't keep as well and would take up more time but thats no excuse. Shower after hike. About 2hrs total including time to drive out to the trail and back.

Work another 5hrs. Off at 6PM. Another hour hike, another 500 calories burnt, another shower, more tofu for dinner, this time with vegetables and curry sauce in a bowl instead of just a chunk by itself, and my splurge for the day: some chips and a soda with it. 1500ish calories altogether for my only real meal of the day but I still feel guilty because chips and soda. I eat this meal more slowly and watch an episode of TV while I do. Finally done with just mandatory living stuff by 9PM. Do the dishes, any housework that needs doing, pretty soon it's 10PM.

I used to want to spend my life doing creative works, and I started a bunch of them when I was younger. Something that will have made my life worth living, given it some point, not just lived to barely survive and not even enjoy really enjoy it. But I'm always too tired to have any spark of creativity. This year I decided to say fuck that and started very slowly working on one of them. Three nights a week, I try to write three paragraphs (about 750 words) of text for my biggest writing project, the work of fiction linked in my sig, because I'm not clear minded enough to do the rigorous thinking I'd need to do the other project in my sig. By the time I'm done it's getting close to midnight and I have to get ready for bed and try to do it all over again.

I spent three out of every four weekend days with my girlfriend and the fourth keeping my disabled mom company. I feel guilty that I can't help mom. I feel guilty that I can't propose to the girlfriend because we can't live together because I don't own a house big enough for the two of us because I live in a tiny trailer to save money so that I can later pay off a house quickly enough that I own it before I'm too old to work so that I don't end up dying in the streets like mom is constantly almost doing. I save about a third of my income toward that end but it's not fast enough. And yet I also feel guilty that I live too cheaply. Girlfriend doesn't like that I drive an old car, have an old phone, old computer, when I have "so much money" compared to her, making right around the poverty line. I feel guilty for that but would feel more guilty living above my actual long-term means.

Somewhere in there I have to find time to get repairs done on the old car, and on my own aging body, fixing my teeth, at some point seeing a therapist, a dermatologist to make sure I don't have skin cancer again, an ENT to figure out why the fuck I can't lay on my back for long times without gagging, a chiropractor or something to fix my constant neck and back pain. When the fuck am I supposed to do all of that while taking care of all the other normal adult responsibilities? Yet I am shirking even more responsibilities by taking so damn long to get them taken care of by trying to cram them in where I can between the other responsibilities.

Have to go walk an hour across town to pay half a paycheck to fix the broken car again now, bbl...
ETA: Car not actually fixed as scheduled, walked an hour in 100F temperature and back again for nothing. Feel guilty about not waiting for a confirmation call before leaving, but would have felt guilty about not heading out earlier if I got that call too late in the day to get there before they closed. No matter what I could possibly do it's the wrong thing. To be a normal responsible adult you have to do everything everyone insists you have to do, even if they're contrary to each other and that's impossible. Impossible is no excuse. FUCKING GET IT DONE ANWAY.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby sportsracer48 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:42 pm UTC

You ok mate?

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:58 am UTC

about as much as ever thanks, this comic just reminded me of that line of thought i've been having lately. have to do all the things. all the things everyone says everyone is supposed to do every day. worthless loser if i don't do all the things right every day. not enough time to do all the things so worthless loser no matter what but that's no excuse.

Trying to cram an apple, an egg, a baby asprin, a piece of dark chocolate, even more water, wine, coffee, and tea in there every day would just require another, what, two hours of exercise maybe? But then I'm not sleeping enough or eating too quickly or not doing anything meaningful with my life and so still fucking up in yet another way. can't win. but that's no excuse. impossible is no excuse. fucking get it done anyway.

also then i'm a pig for eating chocolate and a drunk for drinking wine and a caffeine addict for drinking coffee and also that egg is not vegan and probably neither is the chocolate and it's got sugar in it anyway so i shouldn't have sugar so can't have that for that matter should probably have a leaf of lettuce kale chard[?] instead of an apple apples are full of natural sugar yeah its natural that no fucking excuse its still sugar you worthless shit live off of fucking nothing but lettuce but also get lots of protein and don't be a whine vegan pussy nobody cares what you fucking eat shut up about it and don't eat anything but remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:10 am UTC

Shit, Pfhorrest, I had no idea. I'm sorry. = o
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:21 am UTC

thanks. it's not my life in particular that's hard though. stats say 75% of people are worse off so i have relatively nothing to complain about. i shouldn't have said anything. sounds like i'm complaining about my life being hard. my life is better than most people's. the fault is with me for not making it work anyway. or for trying to please everyone and not being able to tell which of any set of contrary demands to ignore or comply with. now i feel guilty for even sounding like i'm complaining here. not your fault for that. thanks for your sympathy.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby eidako » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:26 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Life

My grandfather's personal philosophy:

"Life's a b****, and then you die."

When I was a kid I thought it was a ridiculously pessimistic outlook. It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized how utterly true it is.

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby qvxb » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:34 am UTC

Which of those news stories are fake news?

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:19 am UTC

At least the six glasses of water a day and the dark chocolate. The dark chocolate one specifically was manufactured as an illustration of how bullshit the others were (from a paper that knowingly used p-hacking) though it appears there have been enough other, similar studies and ensuing press about them from ... shall I say less white-hat p-hackers that it took specifically adding "p-hacking" to my search string to find it.

Pfhorrest wrote:thanks. it's not my life in particular that's hard though. stats say 75% of people are worse off so i have relatively nothing to complain about. i shouldn't have said anything. sounds like i'm complaining about my life being hard. my life is better than most people's. the fault is with me for not making it work anyway. or for trying to please everyone and not being able to tell which of any set of contrary demands to ignore or comply with. now i feel guilty for even sounding like i'm complaining here. not your fault for that. thanks for your sympathy.

There's always someone who has it harder, but following a strict regimen like that and still tearing yourself up about the people you can't please sounds awful. I guess I'm mostly guilty all the time myself, but I mostly also feel like I deserve it.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby da Doctah » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:31 am UTC

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby azule » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:41 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:The idea with the smoke alarm battery change is that you only need it every 8-9 months or so, but it's a lot easier to remember key dates twice a year than keep track of an irregular period.

Not if you impregnate someone every 9 months. This might require more than one lover.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby pareidolon » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:57 am UTC

As someone who takes baby aspirin by prescription, I just want to say/nag that you shouldn't do this unless it's suggested by a doctor. It could potentially cause you stomach problems or clotting issues, and could interact with other NSAIDs, and there may be a backfire effect if or when you stop. Aspirin can help prevent heart attacks for people at risk, but it' still a drug, not a supplement.

As for the others, I'm skeptical of whether many have any real effect, but I get that's part of the joke.

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:23 am UTC

To make this less about me personally, here are just some of things-responsible-people-are-supposed-to-do in the abstract I thought of while on another hour long walk just now (wherein I bought too much junk food to snack on later because I have no self control and I feel like shit and it makes me feel better but that's no excuse):

GENERAL:
Perfection is literally just barely good enough. By definition, perfection is not doing anything wrong. Anything short of perfection means you are doing something wrong. Doing some good things doesn't excuse doing other things wrong, so the bare minimum at which you are breaking even is being just barely perfect but nothing really exceptional. Except that failing to be exceptional is taking it easy and playing it safe which is still doing something wrong. You have to try hard and push yourself to stand out and get ahead. Pick a specialty and get better at it than most other people who pick that specialty. And make sure you pick the right specialty, that will be pragmatically best for you, and also do good for the world, and also be something you love, all at the same time. And you should be pretty good at everything else too. But you can't be a perfectionist. So just be simply flawless, perfect, effortlessly and without really worrying about it, but also trying hard, to be reasonably above the average specialist in your specialty, while also generally better than the average person at everything else too, all the while never making any mistakes at any of it. And everyone has to do this. To be above average in every way like that. The mathematical impossibility of that is no excuse. Everyone has to do it anyway and any problems they encounter is their own fault for failing to do so.

SLEEP:
Get up early to get a head start on the day. Also stay up late being the life of the party; not for fun, but because socialization is networking which is the lifeblood of any career, as social animals we need other people to know and like us to get ahead so you have to do fun things with people and fun things happen late at night. But get a full night's sleep before you wake up early to get a head start on the next day, for your mental and physical health. Not too much sleep though, you lazy bum. You might think maybe you could stay up late some nights socializing and get up early other nights, but you have to have a consistent sleep cycle for your health. So every night, stay up late socializing, get a full night's sleep (but not too much), and then wake up early to get a head start on the day. Every day. The chronological impossibility of that is no excuse. Get it done you loser.

DIET:
Eat as inexpensively as possible out of fiscal prudence, but also eat healthy for your health. Eat a wide variety of things, but make sure it's all organic, locally sourced, fresh, and vegan. But still cheap. Make sure you get all the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and the right balance of macronutrients. This is best achieved through a wide variety of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds, supplemented with a wide variety of green vegetables. While you're at it make sure to avoid any allergens like gluten. But don't be a fucking pussy whining about your made-up fucking allergies. Buy in bulk (but still locally sourced), prepare it as minimally as possible yourself at home (as close to raw as is edible), and have a large amount of it stored in case of an emergency (but still all fresh). Also (while eating as close to raw as possible, always) become an excellent chef so that you can entertain at home. Eat as few calories as you possibly can, spread out as evenly across the day as you possibly can, but don't eat too close to bedtime, and don't be constantly eating. Never eat out because that's unhealthy and fiscally imprudent. But also shut the fuck up about your special diet, nobody fucking cares. Eat whatever, don't be the asshole that keeps the party from being able to go places because you don't eat any of their food, and don't be the weirdo that doesn't order anything either. Go out with others wherever they want to go and eat whatever it is they're eating. Also eat out at a wide variety of different restaurants so you are properly cultured and familiar with different cuisines. While never eating out, and staying vegan, organic, fresh, locally sourced. Make it kosher and halal while you're at it. But shut the fuck up about your diet.

DRUGS:
Don't do drugs. But also don't complain about others doing drugs. But make sure you're on board with the war on drugs. But don't be a narc. Also don't be antisocial, if someone offers you drugs be polite and fucking take them. But don't do drugs. They're bad for your health. Except for the kinds and quantities where they're good for your health. Except when they're not. Play it safe and only take what your doctor prescribes you. (I mean, besides doing whatever drugs your peers offer you so you're not a rude asshole to them). But don't be a pushover for big pharma, don't let doctors push drugs on you, find a natural solution, like homeopathy. So long as it's not crackpot scam pseudo-science like homeopathy.

SEX:
Have lots of sex so you're not a loser. But not so much sex that it's gross. And be very prudent in who you sleep with. While saving yourself for marriage. But make sure you're sexually compatible before you get married. Be sexually adventurous. But not weird or kinky. Be open to all kinds of sex with all kinds of people, but fucking pick a side and don't be greedy. Always use protection. Except when it's a sin. Be smart and don't have kids; don't bring a life into the world you're not prepared to take care of, and don't ruin your own life by taking on a burden you shouldn't. But procreation is the purpose of life. So have at least one kid. But don't have only one kid, because only children are terrible unsocialized monsters and having only one kid is tantamount to child abuse. So have two kids. Or have more kids, be fruitful and multiply, reproduction is the purpose of life! But think about the planet. Overpopulation. Better to have fewer kids. And really, do you in particular have anything worth passing on? Probably just shouldn't have any at all. Just settle down and get married and that's good enough. Except don't get married because that's fiscally imprudent, it's a trap, you'll end up divorced and they'll take you for all you have, and also marriage is an outdated patriarchal social structure, but if you don't get married you're afraid of commitment / you'll be an old maid. So just settle down having a committed monogamous relationship with a continuously healthy sex life. Just don't live in sin while you do it.

WORK:
Work as much as you possible can. But don't be a workaholic. Be proactive and aggressive in salary negotiation. But also be happy that you can even get what you do and don't rock the boat. Change jobs frequently because that's the only way to get ahead in this cut-throat world, but also be a loyal and dedicated employee if you want your employer to be loyal to you. You should work for a big corporation for the best stability and benefits. But also for a small business because they're the lifeblood of the country and you can have a more personal relationship with your boss. While really you should be your own boss and start your own business if you really want to get ahead in the world, so go be self-employed. Except that most new businesses fail and starting your own business is a stupid terrible risk that will probably ruin you for life. You need a W2 job with real benefits. Except you should be an independent contractor for more freedom and control. You should work for multiple employers for redundancy in the case that you inevitably lose one job but you should also work full time for one employer so you qualify for benefits there. You should work consistent hours for your health but also have flexible hours for prudence and the benefit of your employer and thus your long-term employability. Whatever it is you do, it should be work with your hands so you're not a lazy desk jockey, also it should be a customer-facing service job, managerial, require vigorous intellectual and mathematical thought, and also be creative. You should love what you do, and work to live not live to work, but also just take any job you can get and work the hell out of it because you have no right to complain about anything if you don't. Not that you ever have right to complain about anything anyway. Except when complaining is the proactive aggressive take-charge thing to do. Which is never is. Except when not complaining would be spineless cowardice that just shows you deserve what's coming to you.


I had more I was going to write about, like about housing, but honestly this is getting tiring now, the quality's going to start going down, and I should be doing other things with my ridiculously limited free time. (There's no TV to watch tonight so this filled that space in my schedule).
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Old Bruce » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:07 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:To make this less about me personally, here are just some of things-responsible-people-are-supposed-to-do in the abstract
...snip...

To thine own self be true.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:00 am UTC

Old Bruce wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:To make this less about me personally, here are just some of things-responsible-people-are-supposed-to-do in the abstract
...snip...

To thine own self be true.
Chill, Winston.

Yeah. Some of those things you can safely ignore. Anything mandated by a religion you don't belong to (if any); anything based on made up twaddle (alternative medicine); anything that doesn't make logical sense (if tea has a net dehydrating effect, how come my 70 year-old mum has survived on it and hasn't turned into a pile of dust?). Anything that's counterintuitive and goes against all previous expert opinion should be treated with suspicion. Most of the time they're based on outlier studies with methodological issues, reported by the press in a way that goes beyond anything the researchers actually found. You can do the due diligence if you want, but really life's too short and you can probably do a lot worse than waiting until something becomes established enough to form government advice.

For the genuine conflicts that remain, it probably depends on your personality. If you're the type who's prone to overthinking, you're likely to find yourself in the position expounded with extraordinary and entertaining lucidity by Pfhorrest. Many people though are likely to take the view that nobody knows, and you might as well do what you feel like. There's a middle way, in which you view these things as choices, with consequences which may only be partially known. Recognise that you can't do them all, and enjoy your choices. Most people aren't judging you on them, and those that do are probably just fighting with their own conflicts and looking for validation of their choices.

tl;dr: what Old Bruce said.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby cellocgw » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:21 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:The idea with the smoke alarm battery change is that you only need it every 8-9 months or so, but it's a lot easier to remember key dates twice a year than keep track of an irregular period.


I used to have those AC-wired smoke detectors with battery backup. Problem was: they STILL beep when the battery starts to die,and of course no internal charging off the AC line. I replaced them with the new sealed-battery units which are guaranteed for something like 8 years. Problem solved.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby svenman » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:34 pm UTC

Pfhorrest,

let me guess: you are probably one of those people, like me, who find it hard to say "no". Right?

Anyway, I found it useful to realize that while everybody else is free to confront me with recommendations, suggestions, requests or even demands what I should do, as a responsible adult the one who is in charge of deciding if and when I follow those is me. Other people aren't responsible for managing how I spend my time - I am. After all, I can't please everybody and my time is limited - both each day and, ultimately, throughout my lifetime.

It is me and noone else who can, must and is allowed to prioritize how important I find all those things I am told to do, depending on the consequences of complying or not complying. After all, it isn't other people's responsibility to consider whether I can or will fit the things they ask or tell me to do into my limited time. That is mine. If the answer I come up with is "no", that is completely legitimate as long as I am willing to bear the consequences. And I am also free to decide if and how much I even care.

tl;dr Life is full of compromises. And that's okay. You're the one in charge of your life, nobody else, and you also get to decide.

[Edit: some small tweaks]
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:05 pm UTC

That is true of course, and in practice I live by it. That's why I drive an old car when I could afford to lease a new one and live in a tiny trailer when I could afford to rent an apartment and so on, not doing things other people tell me I should and "am able" to do, because to do them would require sacrificing other things and I've decided that the other things are more important and someone has to choose between them and the only one in a position to do so is me. But that still doesn't feel like an excuse that gets me off the hook. "Impossible is no excuse". Nothing is an excuse, generally speaking. No excuses. Nothing is impossible (at least I can never take anything to be impossible because that's a slippery slope that leads to looking for excuses as to why things are "impossible" and therefore I don't have to try to do them), and if something seems impossible then that is some failing on my part to figure out how to make it possible. If whoever is making the demands deems it to be impossible themselves, that's tantamount to retracting the demand and then I can relax, but until then I have to continue trying to figure out how to make the so-called "impossible" possible anyway until the boss (figurative or literal) decides it really is impossible or fires me (figurative or literal) for failing.

For some reason there are a couple of exceptions to this in my own mind. I don't feel at all bad for ignoring what any religion demands or ignoring pseudoscience like homeopathy or ignoring peer pressure like to drink or do drugs. I guess it's because I feel like those sides of their respective issues are completely baseless with no merit at all and are therefore safe to ignore. But any side of any issue that does have any merit behind it feels like I need to somehow figure out some way to make them both happy responsibly account for the sound legitimate points made by both sides. (If they're still unhappy, as is usually the case, but don't have any good reason now that I've accounted for everything they had to say about the matter, that's their problem). That's it actually, that explains why some sides I feel free to ignore. They clearly have no sound legitimate points to make, so there's nothing to account for from them. But if there are two apparently contrary sound arguments both being made, I have to figure out some way to accord with the conclusions of both of them, because if they're both sound then both of their conclusions are true and if it seems to be that that's impossible then something is wrong with my assumptions and I need to figure out what it is or die trying.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby ucim » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:08 pm UTC

Life is full of compromises.
Pfhorrest wrote:But that still doesn't feel like an excuse that gets me off the hook.
Why?

And why is there a hook in the first place?

Pfhorrest wrote:...until the boss (figurative or literal) decides...
Who is the boss? Really?

In all cases you are the ultimate boss. Sometimes you accept allowing somebody else to be the boss in a limited way, in exchange for some benefit that you want or need, but requests outside those limits (which include reasonableness) are outside this agreement. Now yes, anything inside this agreement you are reasonably expected to do (or try to do anyway), but you cannot live somebody else's life for them. I get the sense you feel like you are expected to.

Pfhorrest wrote:But if there are two apparently contrary sound arguments both being made, I have to figure out some way to accord with the conclusions of both of them, because if they're both sound then both of their conclusions are true and if it seems to be that that's impossible then something is wrong with my assumptions and I need to figure out what it is or die trying.
If the matter is trivial feel free to ignore both of them and do what you want. If the matter is important, then yes, you should try to figure it out. But die trying? Only if the matter itself is life and death, and concerns somebody you care about more than yourself. That's a rare condition.

Remember, you can do anything, but you can't do everything. Keep that in mind next time your brain pulls the "no excuse" card.

Jose
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:39 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:I used to have those AC-wired smoke detectors with battery backup. Problem was: they STILL beep when the battery starts to die,and of course no internal charging off the AC line. I replaced them with the new sealed-battery units which are guaranteed for something like 8 years. Problem solved.

Some elderly relatives of mine had sealed-unit alarms. They started to 'go' at very much the same time. Not sure when they were put in, but was probably during a 'drive' to get alarms into houses. And then someone I know bought a house in the same area, from an elderly couple, and his alarms started beeping a day or two after taking possession, within a few months of the prior events. Same original initiative, probably.

(My own current house had a PP9-powered alarm, that I replaced with a light-socket pass-through alarm. Recharges whenever the light (atop the stairs) is turned on. Test-mode is activated by turning the light(/power) on and off. Of course, I'm so familiar with my house, by now, that I don't turn on that light just to go up and down the stairs (other lights spill into the staircase enough to see, and - while maybe dangerous if going down - I can ascend in total darkness, and do) so I have to plan to leave the light on for half an hour every couple of weeks (give or take, but it seems like a reasonable period)...

I probably should replace it, though. After nearly 20 years, the battery probably doesn't even hold charge properly, and if it has an ionisation sensor then I may be eating into its half-life. (Typical Americium has a hl of 432 years, but it's still fractionally declined after 20 - comparative open+sealed detector pairs might be more resiliant to this, but I've actually no idea what configuration this one is.)

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:06 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:or ignoring peer pressure like to drink or do drugs.

I dunno, man, at this point, drinking might well help....
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:57 am UTC

ucim wrote:Who is the boss? Really?

The literal boss. The family. The girlfriend. The landlord. Also, everybody on the internet who says that the reason why [thing I'm complaining about] is so is because of [thing I'm doing otherwise than they say I should], while I'm doing that so as to avoid [other thing I would otherwise complain about] as per the arguments of someone else. In the former specific examples it's important because I have to appease those people in order to retain valuable things in my life, including, ultimately, my life itself. In the latter case, it's not so much the actual people saying the things that I care about (people on the internet can go fuck themselves, I don't care if you're happy with me or not), as it is the merit of the arguments being presented. I have a problem that I could fix by doing this thing, that would cause another problem that I could fix by not doing the thing, so no matter what I do I have a problem, and it's my own fault for (not) doing the thing that would (un-)fix it, so I have no right to complain about the problem and every reason to feel guilty for bringing it upon myself. Even though the alternative would leave me in exactly the same situation, just with a different problem that's my own fault instead. No matter what I do it's the wrong thing that causes problems that are my own fault because I could have chosen different problems instead, that would then have also been my own fault. There's no way to avoid it unless I can figure out how to to the impossible and until then there's no excuses.

It's like a parent being told to pick which one of their children gets shot or else they all get shot. You have to pick because doing nothing results in the worst possible outcome, but then no matter what you pick, you are responsible for deciding that that child died, because you could have picked a different one instead, even though you would then have been responsible for that other child's death instead. At least unless everyone unilaterally assures you that it's the fucking shooter's fault for presenting you with that impossible choice in the first place. But nope. We can't have that. Can never say that life sucks and it's not your fault for arbitrarily picking which of the equally shitty possibilities you have to live with. Nope. You could have chosen otherwise, so it's your fault.

One day I'm going to slowly peel every last inch of flesh off of that metaphorical shooter and slowly force-feed it to him, harvesting the draining blood and forcing that down his throat too so that he lives through the entire experience. And it'll be his own fucking fault for eating himself.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby ucim » Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:38 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:It's like a parent being told to pick which one of their children gets shot or else they all get shot. You have to pick because doing nothing results in the worst possible outcome
No, this is not true, and that fact evaluation is key to the whole thing.

No matter what happens, the outcome is shitty. The shittiness of the outcome is not your fault. It's the mass murder's fault. Just like if a rock falls on your car while your family is taking a vacation - it's not your fault for driving on that particular road - it's the rock's fault for falling at that particular time. And to the extent that the rock is not [controlled by] a sentient being, it's nobody's fault.

It is possible for shitty things to be nobody's fault. It's the usual case.

Back to your specific made-up example: The two outcomes differ not only in the number of dead people, but also in your role in it. It is quite reasonable to have the outcome of "everyone dead, but I had no hand in it" to be less awful than "I managed to save one person by condemning the others to die". It is also quite reasonable to feel the opposite way. This dilemma dichotomy is the basis of trolley problems, whose purpose is to elucidate to what extent we consider motives and active participation over outcomes, when evaluating pairs of shitty outcomes, and why.

In any case, when the perfect outcome is not part of the solution set (or can't even be defined), it is not your fault for failing to reach it.

You post as if you do not believe this, but it could also be that your post is merely a reflection of the pressure (your local) society exerts on you. Is it one of these? Is it something else? (The comic itself depicts a bunch of things that are presented sometimes as expectations, and adding them up; kind of like the movie Supersize Me.)

Pfhorrest wrote:The literal boss. The family. The girlfriend. The landlord...
Really? Then if you really feel the way you post, you are surrendering too much of your own life/autonomy/whatever to this "literal boss". You treat their "bossness" as absolute; it is not. It is negotiated; you have rights too. It's one thing to make reasonable accommodation to their wishes (so long as they also make reasonable accommodation to yours), but neither your family, your girlfriend, nor your landlord, has the right to run your life. You post as if they are running your life. If this is the case, you need to stand up for yourself, and not feel guilty about it, because standing up for yourself is not unreasonable.

Pfhorrest wrote:[If] I have a problem that I could fix by doing this thing, that would cause another problem that I could fix by not doing the thing, so no matter what I do I have a problem, and it's my own fault for (not) doing the thing that would (un-)fix it, so I have no right to complain about the problem and every reason to feel guilty for bringing it upon myself.
This is also false.

Yes, no matter what, you have a problem. Having a problem is not your fault. You have the right to complain about having a problem. (True, some people might not be interested in hearing you complain... that would be true whether the problem was your fault or not. So, this should be disregarded.) You have the choice of problem A or problem B, but you don't have the choice of NO problem. I suppose you don't have the right to complain that the problem you have is problem A (if you could switch it to problem B). But you certainly have the right to complain that you have a problem, and it happens to be problem A.

Do you see the difference I'm elucidating? Does it sound reasonable to you?

Jose
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:36 am UTC

ucim wrote:In any case, when the perfect outcome is not part of the solution set (or can't even be defined), it is not your fault for failing to reach it.

You post as if you do not believe this, but it could also be that your post is merely a reflection of the pressure (your local) society exerts on you. Is it one of these? Is it something else? (The comic itself depicts a bunch of things that are presented sometimes as expectations, and adding them up; kind of like the movie Supersize Me.)

The comic's depiction of a (humorously) absurd sum of different expectations made me think of the frequently-on-my-mind (frustrating) absurdity of adding up a bunch of other, different expectations that I perceive as being laid not just upon me generally but upon everyone in the abstract. I've been mostly speaking here in the voice of that absurd sum of different expectations, in a manner intended to be akin to but not exactly sarcasm (which I guess is why it came through unclear over the internet). I guess I was mostly hoping for a "ha ha yeah it's crazy isn't it?" kind of response from other people who've also been frustrated by the absurd sum of expectations laid upon us all.

I don't consciously believe that absurd sum of expectations to be genuinely obligatory (at least, I don't actually have a problem with prioritizing the different actual obligations contained in it in practice), but nevertheless that absurd sum of things is still what is expected. I'm meaning to snarkily and angrily rant about the fact that such absurdity is, despite being absurd, still expected, and that thus one (not just me in particular but everyone generally) cannot help but constantly fail to live up to expectations. Which is, of course, "not your fault" in the sense that you literally cannot do otherwise but fail one way or another, but is still "your fault" in the sense that you have still failed anyway.

Maybe I personally find it harder to just shrug off the prima facie absurdity of the expectations because there have been many instances over the course of my life where something looked impossible to me, and so I didn't attempt to do the obviously impossible and balked at any expectation that I should, and then either another person who expected me to do it got angry that I failed to see the solution that looked obvious to them (like my dad, or several old employers), or else I eventually wound up in dire circumstances for failing to find a solution earlier and then desperately searched against all hope for a way out only to eventually, after much creative thinking, find that there had been a solution the whole time and it was never actually impossible.

Those two things have lead me, both for my own sake and driven by the internalized voice of what others would say, to force myself to attempt things that look impossible anyway until I can force them to be possible, and to always see the perception of something as impossible as probably a lazy rationalization or excuse on my own part to not do the hard work of figuring it out. Actually I just realized as I wrote this that that's literally my motto, "fortasse desperato sed conor nihilominus" ("it may be hopeless but I'm trying anyway"), and it has completely turned my life around in every material way since the apparent dead-end I found myself stuck at for half a decade until I adopted that attitude, all at the cost of nothing but constant self-imposed anguish and misery.

If I were a better robot I would just turn off those feelings and constantly attempt the impossible until it proved possible without feeling bad for failing in the meantime, and I often feel bad for not being able to do that. (Actually, that's probably the thing I feel most guilty about, not just being happy all the time, both with what I have achieved and with myself for achieving it, while also still constantly striving to do better. I feel like I am able to relax and be happy once I've done enough and can stop, but I've never yet done enough and can't stop which thus makes me unhappy; but a better person would somehow keep steamrolling through life's "impenetrable" obstacles while also being happy, like it was easy and effortless, while the fact that it was hard for me negates any ability to feel pride in it that I might have had, because if I was good at it it would've been easy and I wouldn't have been so unhappy while doing it).
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby jonhaug » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:24 am UTC

tsarna wrote:Don't forget that you're also supposed to be testing those smoke detectors every week, and GFCI outlets every month, according to the manufacturers!


In Europe, we don't have GFCI outlets you insensitive clod! :-) (Ooops, sorry, wrong forum.)

/Jon

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby svenman » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:22 am UTC

I wrote the following almost 12 hours ago but somehow failed to actually post it at the time:
- - -
Also, Pfhorrest, you are free to decide to which standards you want to hold yourself. Ultimately, there is no inherent value in perfection; like anything else, it only becomes valuable if in some way it leads to happiness, be it yours or someone else's. And even making other people happy is rarely, if ever, accomplished by doing everything they ask.
- - -
Having read what has been posted in the meantime, I'd also like to add: Don't be so hard on yourself. Where is the "no excuses" bit coming from - that seems totally unreasonable to me. Everyone deserves to relax and be happy at least once in a while - you too.

ETA: Just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply any obligation to sacrifice your own happiness, or chance at it, for that of others.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby ucim » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:25 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I've been mostly speaking here in the voice of that absurd sum of different expectations...
Glad to hear that it was mostly that with a touch of truth, rather than mostly truth with a touch of irony. But to the touch of truth...

Pfhorrest wrote:Actually I just realized as I wrote this that that's literally my motto, "fortasse desperato sed conor nihilominus" ("it may be hopeless but I'm trying anyway"), and it has completely turned my life around in every material way since the apparent dead-end I found myself stuck at for half a decade until I adopted that attitude
That is awesome! I don't think you realize just how awesome it is, and it's worth reflecting on.
Pfhorrest wrote:...all at the cost of nothing but constant self-imposed anguish and misery.
and from before:
Pfhorrest wrote:and then desperately searched against all hope for a way out only to eventually, after much creative thinking, find that there had been a solution the whole time and it was never actually impossible.
There's a very important difference between "Dang! I should'a' thought of that!" and "I'm a terrible person for having not thought of that (or thought to think of that)". The first is a positive, learning moment. The second is useless reflexive self-deprecation. You don't need the second one. It doesn't even work as an "acknowledgement that others are better than you" because it was you that ultimately came to the solution, not the bystanders in your life (and they are bystanders in the end). Reflect more on the awesomeness of having conquered what seemed impossible at the time; it may help shoo away those other rancid thoughts.

Just yesterday I saw a Big Think video related to this; the idea being that setting goals (i.e. finish writing that novel) leaves you in a constant state of failure (until the moment you achieve the goal, and then what? You set another goal... and continue in a state of failure...) whereas adopting a system (his example "write for an hour a day") points you in the same direction, towards the same result, and lets you feel good about it. It's not directly applicable to what you posted, but may leave you with insight that is.

Anyway, props to you for coming as far as you have - again, it's awesome! Sit down and internalize this, and think about it every time you feel defeated.

Jose
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby orion205 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:15 am UTC

Happiness aint at the end of the road
Happiness IS the road

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LQYoI4pvlg

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:08 pm UTC

I just finished reading a fanfic called "The Metropolitan Man", a rationalist take on the Superman mythos, and one angle of it reminded me of this thread. Despite Superman having reduced crime in Metropolis by 90% since he showed up and also intervening in numerous enormous catastrophies around the world, a number of other characters are constantly critical about the suboptimal use of his powers, especially those who learn that he has a secret identity and so takes time off from being Superman in which time innumerable people die. And there isn't really any excuse actually offered by Superman other than that he is not a slave and deserves to live some small part of his life for himself. But the moral argument seems bulletproof. Superman stops to have a short conversation with Lois Lane while he can actively hear and ignores people dying all over the city who he could be saving, and he should be saving them instead but he doesn't for no good reason and he is wracked with guilt by it. And likewise every other moment he pauses from actively saving people. And even if he didn't ever stop working, there are other characters who would remain critical of the suboptimal prioritization he works according to. (There's an SMBC strip that explores a similar theme, where Superman is put to work turning a crank that generates enormous amounts of energy 24/7 which enables a utopian postscarcity society so long as he never ever takes a break from it).

Sometimes I fantasize about having amazing powers, initially for the purpose of just fixing all of my own problems, but then I realize how much more important stuff I could fix with them, and feel like I'd have to do that first, so them I dream up even more power so that I can fix my own shit and the world at the same time easily but then realize how much more could be done with those new powers and feel even more obligation and it eventually ends with imagining myself as an omnipotent god and how terrible I would feel for failing to exercise that power in a way that made everybody happy.

On a more mundane scale, every time I do something like eat a snack that I enjoy instead of just the minimal amount required of the healthiest food available, with no better excuse than "I want to", doing it anyway even while knowing there is no argument in my defense and I ought to do otherwise, even given all the other positive actions toward my health I've already taken that day, it feels like Superman does above. Yes I know I ideally ought to do otherwise and I totally could and there is no excuse not to but I fucking want to do something just because I want to do it and I'm sorry (to future me who will have to deal with the consequences) for being such a piece of shit that I don't just shut that out and do the perfect thing anyway.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby ucim » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:55 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:But the moral argument seems bulletproof.
The moral argument is based on a false premise. Which one is it?

How does that generalize?

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:30 pm UTC

I don't know, you tell me.
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby ucim » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:55 am UTC

There is a (maybe not so) hidden premise that your life exists only to benefit others. It naturally follows from this premise that anything you do (or fail to do) that de-maximizes the benefit to others is a Bad Thing, and a Personal Failure on your part. A part-time crimefighter (like Superman) is a failure because by not being full-time, he is squandering his "gifts", allowing others to die while he sits back and gets it on with Lois. Even full-time isn't enough; it has to be round-the-clock. And if he can save more lives by turning a crank... well, you know the story.

But the premise that your life exists only, or primarily, to benefit others is a false premise. This is true even after allowing for the fact that "benefit" is a complex calculus, and not a monotonic scalar function of one variable. Morality itself has this failing - "Good" and "Bad" are one-dimensional, but life is not. And although there is a moral scale that, in broad strokes, we can probably agree on (burning somebody at the stake is usually a Bad Thing, giving the neighbor a ride to the doctor when they need one tends toward being a Good Thing), turning this into a rigid moral code leads to absurd conclusions, and those conclusions ought to clue us into the mindset that we're making a mistake here.

The moral argument in The Metropolitan Man is not bulletproof for both these reasons: the premise is faulty, and the one dimensionality that is assumed is also incorrect. There is a third flaw; that being in the premise that saving lives is the ultimate measure of moral goodness (more lives saved = more goodness). I won't even get into the premise that all people are equal(ly deserving), both from an absolute sense and from a relative sense (i.e. relative to the observer). There's even a reasonable argument that there are too many people, and what we really need is a good plague. (Yeah, it would suck to be the victim, but a hundred years from now things would be a lot rosier for the survivors.)

I would go along with the idea that (to the extent that "good" and "bad" can be put on a one-dimensional scale) you should strive to have your life produce more good and less bad than would have happened had you not been here at all. "Leave the place cleaner than you found it." But it is certainly not your responsibility to do "as much good as humanly possible, and as little bad as humanly possible". If you spill something you should clean it up, but you don't have to remodel their house and find them a shrubbery.

Jose
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby airdrik » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:25 pm UTC

Also keep in mind that even with that moral argument, it is still important to take time out for yourself (once a day). Even Superman couldn't turn the crank 24/7 forever; he needs to sleep, he needs to eat, on a higher level he needs close personal relationships, vacations, a chance to recharge and experience the good of this world. Taking some time out from stopping crime or turning the crank on a regular basis results in extending his life span such that over the course of his life he may able to stop more crime than if he were to wear himself out doing it full time or non-stop.

So eat the chocolate cake. Spend time with friends. Go on a vacation. Read a good book or play a video game. You'll find that your health and situation will improve because you aren't stressing out about maximizing everything. Stress itself will take its toll, likely undoing any health benefits you might get from exercising and eating health foods.
Sure you can overdo taking it easy as well and end up a lazy glutton, but that's why you need to take everything in moderation (once a day).

Btw, has anyone started a list of all of the things that (dubious or legit) doctors have said we need to do once a day to extend the list started in the comic?
From the top of a quick google search for "Doctors say you should do once a day" (augmented with other things that I thought of during the search):
* Eat nuts
* Take a Vitamin D or spend some time out in the sun.
* Do something that scares you or challenges you
* Spend time with family and/or friends
* Express Gratitude
* Meditate
* Laugh and Smile

(interestingly I saw one link to "Doctors say you should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day" immediately followed by another link to "No, you do not have to drink 8 glasses of water a day")

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Flumble » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:38 pm UTC

Bloody hell, doctors want me to smile every day? :shock:

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby The Devils Engineer » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:03 pm UTC

jonhaug wrote:
tsarna wrote:Don't forget that you're also supposed to be testing those smoke detectors every week, and GFCI outlets every month, according to the manufacturers!


In Europe, we don't have GFCI outlets you insensitive clod! :-) (Ooops, sorry, wrong forum.)

/Jon


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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:35 pm UTC

Even on a practical level, there are very good reasons why having someone dedicated 24/7 to saving lives at the expense of his own is a terrible idea - how long would it be before such a person stopped worrying about protecting the criminals he interacts with? Keeping Clark Kent thinking like a human rather than a god is possibly the single most important think Lois Lane could ever do...

It's the great fallacy of communism - the idea that being hungry gives you more right to a loaf of bread than the baker who put time, money and sweat into it - and the existence of hungry people obliges the baker to make more bread at his own expense even if he doesn't get any benefit from it himself. And then the baker dies from overwork (or is unable to buy flour because he's unable to sell bread) and no-one has any bread...

A key point about Superman (and many other heroes) is that he's "here to help" not "here to do everything for you" - he's an inspiration and an example, not a solution. And that only really works when you can't count on him to save you every time something happens - an interesting question is whether Lois would be dead without Superman around, or just be more cautious (or rescue herself rather than being rescued so often)

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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:20 pm UTC

One thing to note about this specific case of the Metropolitan Man is that it's explicitly spelled out that Superman doesn't actually need to eat or to sleep or anything like that. He likes to, he enjoys it, he feels a minor nagging sensation if he doesn't, but he's perfectly capable of continuing basically indefinitely without doing so.

When Lois criticizes him for prioritizing the alleviation over such minor nagging sensations over saving other people's lives, he calls her a hypocrite, because even though she does need to eat and to sleep and so on, she doesn't actually need to spend her time and money on all of the minor pleasures she enjoys like a cup of coffee or a night at the theater, yet she still does, instead of donating that time or money to charity or something. That's the kind of argument that really gets to me and makes me feel bad about myself (except not so much about donating to charity or whatever but just trying to take proper care of myself).

The "great fallacy of communism" argument is a different thing. That is saying that given the fact that people will stop working if they're not getting the benefit from it themselves (and that everyone will end up suffering as a consequence of that), the state mandating that everyone has to give up all benefit to themselves is a suboptimal choice for society to make, for its own sake, as a whole. But talking about any individual person, or mostly just talking to yourself, in introspection: given that it is your choice to make how you spend the product of your labor (or your labors themselves), the question is then before you how best to spend them. Forget for the moment about interpersonal relations even and just focus on taking care of your own needs. Just look at money for an easily quantifiable part of it. You probably have debts of some kind, and the longer you wait to pay them off the more debt you accumulate so it's better for you to pay them off faster unless that's going to require sacrifices that cost you even more in the long run. How then do you possibly justify (to yourself) the spending of (your own) money on anything more than the bare minimum needed to maximize your future income, and the rest on paying down those debts? You want to see that movie, but you really don't need to, and you do need the money that you would otherwise spend on it for something else, so it would, objectively, quantifiably, be better, for you, if you could manage to restrain yourself and not see that movie. But you really want to see it so you go see it anyway. How do you not feel guilty about that? You know it was the wrong decision, you knew it ahead of time, but you still made it anyway, just because you wanted to.

The big counterargument I see coming is "taking care of your psychological health is important for your continued productivity and enjoying life is a major factor of doing that", and I give myself that excuse all the time, and then just feel guilty for being so psychologically weak that I have to keep wasting money on basically placating myself to keep myself from falling apart. It could easily be a catch-all excuse. "Do whatever makes you feel good, even if you have other reasons why you shouldn't do it, because feeling good is important." I had a bad day and eating a nice big meal out would cheer me up so I did that. Over and over again after years and years of bad days "requiring" I be cheered up. And that's how I got fat and why I have to spend hours every day nowadays paying for those mistakes. It would have been better for me if I had just been mentally stronger and sucked up the bad days and not had to placate my whiney baby brain with a pacifier to make it stop crying. That's why the thing I feel most guilty about these days is feeling bad itself. A good person wouldn't need all that placation because they wouldn't be so weak inside that every damn thing in life creates suffering that needs alleviation. A good person would just stay calm and focused and do what is the most practically optimal thing all the time. By definition, the optimal thing is the best thing you could possibly do, and not doing it means you're doing something wrong. Maybe you're only doing it wrong because you're mentally too weak to continue on doing it right all the time, but then how is that not something to feel ashamed about?

I was actually making a similar argument about a different topic earlier today, about vaccines and autism. All medical procedures should absolutely be the patient (or their guardian's) choice and not mandated by the government. However, given that it is your choice whether or not to vaccinate your kids, the question is whether or not you should, and the answer in almost all cases is yes, absolutely, you should. It is your choice not to, sure, but it is an objectively bad choice, and you should feel ashamed if you pick it, because there's (usually) no excuse not to vaccinate your kids, and there's some kind of personal failing or another on your part if you end up choosing not to anyway.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

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ucim
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Re: 1853: "Once Per Day"

Postby ucim » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:52 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:How then do you possibly justify (to yourself) the spending of (your own) money on anything more than the bare minimum needed to maximize your future income, and the rest on paying down those debts?
Why do you want to maximize your future income? What are you going to spend your money on? The red herring of a charity thing aside, it's for your own pleasure. Sacrifice now to have pleasure later. It's a sound argument so long as it's not taken too far. Spend now, because you might be dead tomorrow. That's a sound argument too, so long as it's not taken too far.

I'm in no position to give financial, emotional, medical, or any other kind of advice as to what's a good balance for you, at this point in time. But it is a balance. You may need to move in one direction, but that doesn't make the extreme of that direction a Good Place To Be. (That's what's wrong with politics these days.)

Every now and then an indulgence to make you feel good is fine. If it becomes a destructive pattern, that still doesn't invalidate the statement; it's the pattern that's causing the problem, and whatever it is that causes the pattern is what needs addressing. It might be largely out of your hands; that doesn't make you a failure.

Pfhorrest wrote:A good person wouldn't need all that placation because they wouldn't be so weak inside...[...]A good person would just stay calm and focused and do what is the most practically optimal thing all the time.
That's not how a "good person" is defined. "Robot" comes to mind. Actual humans come in many varieties.

It sounds like {feeling bad about yourself} is a comfort zone. It's a negative (but familiar) narrative that runs through your head. Try writing it down on paper over the course of the next week or so. Then put those narrative statements against what we've been discussing here.

Then, perhaps with a friend, rewrite this narrative, on paper, changing the tone and backdrop. Be mindful of what we've said here in the thread concerning moral positions that don't hold water. (Your girlfriend may be a good help here, but maybe not. Depends on what she's like and how the relationship is going. Only you two can say.) Every destructively-themed statement gets rewritten in a more uplifting manner. "I have no willpower" could become "I'm in the process of developing more willpower, but it will take time." Write them all down, each against the old statements.

Then internalize that dialog. Whenever you feel one of the old statements coming on, immediately shout it down with its replacement. It may feel phony at first, but that doesn't matter; you'll still hear it and respond to it. If you keep doing this, it may help short-circuit the destructive background noise you carry in your head.

As this builds, it could well improve your quality of life over time. (I'm using weasel words because I'm not a professional, but I've done things like this myself, and they have worked for me.)

Pfhorrest wrote:...and there's some kind of personal failing or another on your part if you end up choosing not to [in this case vaccinate] anyway.
You post as if there is a One True Answer, and not finding it is a failure. This just isn't so. Life doesn't have an answer. "Quality of life" is not a scalar, nor does it even have the same metric for different people. Sometimes life poses questions for which there are clear and simple answers ("pay off high-interest loans first") but even there, there can be complicating factors that would lead to a different choice being better. Mostly however, life's questions aren't that simple. There's a lot to juggle, and there's not one "optimum" answer. You're not a failure for not ending up where the rest of the world (blindly) trumpets that you should be.

Jose
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