Sunday, July 27, 2008

Instant gratification and instant access to things (for example, on the Web) rob us of developing the more complex thought processes that ultimately stretch and enrich our minds, as well as satisfy us.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It seems that narcissism- once considered a personality trait that one either had or didn't have- has become a cultural ideal in individualistic cultures. In this way, narcissism has become a plastic mindset that one may adopt and exercise as need be as an adaptive trait. Will narcissism become a selection for success in our society- and for a successful society- though? My bet is no: while for a time it may seem advantageous to become highly ego-centric with a zero-sum mentality, it eventually will catch up to us- we can't simply all be narcissists. Imagine a room where everyone was a narcissist...

Plus, the social hierarchy would collapse (which is a distinct characteristic of society, for better or for worse).
As I stared into the rural suburban night, as I oft do- pondering why exactly the simplicity of the night is so truthful- a comparison came to mind regarding the night, and NYC. See, in a way, they are exactly alike: both have players (in the city, it's the people; in the night, it's the trees and objects) which can cast parallel shadows that never interact. And then I see that this similarity contains a major distinction: while the activity of the city would intuitively be said to be full of life, it can really (in that ideology of apathy) be disappointingly silent. The night, on the other hand, oft conjures an image of "silent" or "still," yet if considered more closely, is marked by a liveliness and fullness that is unmatched by the more overt action of the city.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When one lacks the means to document or measure a thing of interest, two things happen: the thing goes underdeveloped (you're blindly grabbing or are operating within a vacuum), and second, you eventually lose concern for the desired thing (a combination of emotional and cognitive pruning as a result of the strain of the situation).

For example, take a digital camera: it is a tool for documenting what one may see with their artistic eye. In this way, the photographer may come to depend on this tool, as it serves as a source of "feedback" both theoretically (the concept behind the shot) and technically (the actual execution of the shot). If the camera becomes "indisposed" in some way- lost, broken, stolen, etc.- this source of feedback has been removed. Chances are, if knowing upon an encounter with a stimulus of interest that one's access to a permanent representation of their artistic eye has been revoked, the photographer's motivation to invest effort in using their congenital artistic lens (their eye) would diminish.

I think their willingness to invest the effort is directly proportional to the perceived probability that the feedback will again become available...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh, and speaking of NYC, it would be cool to just (time) freeze one city block, take all the people that happened to be on that block at that given time, and get each of their stories. I'd be hard-pressed to think of another way to gather a more diverse and rich account of life experience than that :)

NYC tolerance: an expression of underlying apathy

Tolerance for "weird" in NYC is really an incidental byproduct of apathy. A disapproving stare at another's attire assumes that there is a status quo whose tacit guidelines are not being upheld. But in NYC, stares have tapered to the occasional passing glance. The "group" into which one may fit has been reduced to a single inhabitant: themselves- lending credence to the notion that it's a city comprised of as many subcultures as there are individuals. Even the understanding and respect that everyone has their own way of doing things are subjugated by the prevailing apathetic NYC ideology. So, if one voyages to NYC longing for acceptance of their "freedom of expression," that's exactly what they'll get; they just can't expect that anyone else will ever care enough to discuss this liberty over coffee.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One becomes very good at whatever one (truly) spends their time doing. So the question we must ask ourselves is: What is it that we want to become?

Monday, July 14, 2008

In response to the headline in the NYTimes today: "9 Americans Die in Afghan Attack: The attack was the worst against Americans in Afghanistan in three years and illustrated the growing threat of Taliban militants and their associates"...

Why do articles always position an event in the most negative of terms? It's always "the attack was the worst in ___ months, years, days, seconds" etc. It puts the reader always thinking in a negative trajectory, and anticipating more negative events. This very same event may have been described in a different context built around different stats: "the attack left 9 dead, the lowest death toll in an Afghan attack in ____ months"...It seems that whatever time frame will make it the "worst" or have the most dramatic, dysphoric effect, that is the one that will be used strategically in the article. Or if it had said "it was the worst attack of the week" yet a graph accompanied it showing that yes, it was in fact the worst of the week, but that this week saw a 60% decrease in militant activity, that would mean a decreasing- not increasing- threat of Taliban militants, here, too, the prose of storied statistics mislead.

It seems that whatever conclusion a story "needs" (i.e. to qualify as newsworthy and dramatic) you can find statistics and "evidence" to support that prefabricated conclusion.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Psychology, while limitless in its natural capacity, takes shape around emerging societal constructs. In order to understand its increasingly complex face, therefore, it is important to consider the holistic web of influence that governs society.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Apophenia may be fueled by expectation, which gives rise to the confirmation bias and other potentially reality-distorting cognitive predispositions.