Journal Excerpts #1
April - July 2022

Some snippets from my personal journal. A large portion of the original text is intact, but there were a few bits here and there where I had to edit and clarify some stuff due to writing most of these late in the evening.

I omitted some personal details that I wasn't comfortable in sharing and put blanks (e.g. _____) in their place. Mostly trivial details, though—details which won't affect the overall message.

Obsession and Balance (07/08/2022)

Obsession, I realize, isn't a virtue. People say that you should be obsessed about things that you want to be good at, but that only really applies when there's one thing that you obsess about, and it's inevitably your living too. The moment you get obsessed over something beyond what is necessary (which doesn't provide your living), it literally destroys your life.

And I should realize that you have to take time, and actually do the work, all of the time, and not just do one short burst of something and hope that it'll spontaneously turn into something good or whatever. Such a ridiculous way to think. And with this ____ stuff, I should limit myself to only like an hour, maybe two. Because I did this thing for 5 hours today and I doubt that it led to a lot of progress.

There's a ____ thing tomorrow but I am sure not going to it. I've kind of had enough with ____ at the moment, to be honest. Any sort of obsession, I feel like, is destructive. Balance. There are other things to be done in this world that isn't one thing. ...

... Feels like the world around me is crumbling apart. Only really because I have to force myself out of the hole that I've dug for myself. My fault, really. Nothing else about it.

In a way, you have to think that the future is better, because if it isn't, then you're hopeless. Surely, if you go one direction, that it's also possible to go in the other direction. It's easy to get mired in negative emotions. It seems that positive emotions are more transient than negative ones. Or is it merely because we think that should be the case? Do we think that we have to be negative to be truly living life? Do we need to constantly look like we're suffering? I don't know.

Overthinking Everything (07/08/2022)

I think the main lesson here is that there are just some things which will not go away, or be fixed, by just thinking about it more. Thinking about all of the exercise regimes, the most optimized ways to exercise, isn't exercise. It isn't going to do your body very many favours. I'd say that it's just as much wisdom to know when to think and not think about something than to just think everything.

Sometimes, the solution isn't "press on the gas". Sometimes it's to brake. To subtract. Life isn't just some academic nonsense of a research paper like school makes you want to think. Things happen, and sometimes the problems are inherently more visceral. No amount of thought is going to remove that. Sometimes, you simply have to live, breathe, walk, be present, and not be constantly going about all of this thinking business. If you know something to be right and true, then let it be, and if it's a required action, actually do it, you know? Instead of just sitting there and believing that thinking more about the issue is going to make it more right or whatever.

If, say, there's an issue with your car, and you've diagnosed the issue, and know for sure that it's an issue with X, why in the world would you think that thinking more about the issue is going to give more light on the issue? It's there. The problem, it's right in front of you. Why can't you just solve the problem? Nope, you think that overthinking the issue is going to solve the issue, you fool. A doctor isn't going to ruminate about their diagnosis after they did it. It's right there in front of them, the problem. They're trained to solve it, so what do they do? Solve it. "But what if this actually isn't the problem? What if the problem is X, Y, or Z?" It isn't, stupid. You see that there's a ruptured something-or-other right there, it isn't a problem with other extraneous hodgepodge.

What is Selfishness? (07/08/2022)

... You could say that they're selfish in trying to live. Are they really, though? Would they even think that? What if they're providing for the people around them, too? Is that selfish then? What do they gain from it? Work? Is work really something to be selfish about?

If self-sustenance leads to the common good, is it really selfishness then?

I think that life, in itself, isn't selfish. Or preserving your own life, up until you start sacrificing other people, that is. I mean, look at the grass out there. They take sunlight to live. They take water to live. Are they selfish? What motives do they have? It's almost like an equivalent exchange: they take certain things, but they give value in different ways. They feed other animals, which feed us, or the animals themselves have functions beyond that.

Same thing with us, really. To take isn't inherently selfish, because you provide value in other ways. It's still possible to be selfish, though, when you just keep everything and anything to yourself.

Now comes the question: is it selfish to create things only for yourself? I mean honestly, I think it's a non-issue. Why? Because I'm already naturally inclined to share things in the first place. It's almost choosing sanity to create things for myself. And if I do that (preventing myself from not losing my sanity), then I'm providing value to people by not devaluing their existence, you know? If you're not going to provide, at the very least don't make other people's life worse.

And even then, here's another thing: if creating these things for yourself allows you to destress, make you calm and level-headed, how can you call it selfish? They help you deal with other people in a better way. And that in itself is value. So why is it selfish?

It's all a give-and-take.

So what is selfishness, really? What does it mean to take, but never give? Is it possible? It is, I know for sure.

I think it's definitely just taking everything, but still having a crappy attitude. Selfishness is more of an attitude, than it is related to actions. You can have an extremely grateful, but sorely lacking-in-necessities individual. They can take a lot, and they will, but they give back through their treatment towards those who give. What is selfish, then, is to take, and then be entitled to have more.

There is an equivalent exchange between tangible goods and intangible, social goods. The exchange rate does exist, but it isn't really something that people know explicitly. But they know it in a more intuitive manner.

So if you can't give something back explicitly, at the very least return the favour by being more courteous and grateful.

On Influences and Extreme Heuristics (07/08/2022)

See, the idea of obligations: if someone gives, it's almost feels like you're obliged to give back. But, and here's the big but: not every transaction due to reciprocation is a result of obligation. If you know that reciprocation can heavily influence your decisions, you can act more rationally. It isn't more rational to just denounce the influence altogether by fighting back and always making the decision that opposes the influence.

Say, you know that reciprocation can influence you. By going the opposite direction, i.e. just forgoing reciprocating anything altogether, you're also setting a terrible heuristic. To do the opposite symptom of being overly influenced isn't necessary to show that you're not being influenced.

To be influenced is to almost bias the decision in one direction or another. The thing that I need to learn is that being influenced doesn't automatically mean that the proceeding decision was irrationally made, viz. to reciprocate doesn't mean that you've fallen for "the trap" of obligation, that you've been conned, or tricked. Not necessarily.

To know these biases and influences should simply straighten the decision back to an equal-value: 50/50. When you know the influence, you can take a step back and say "is this person trying to get something from me, or are they actually just being nice?" If they're being nice, then you reciprocate on that assumption. But if they're simply trying to get something from you later on, then why reciprocate? Don't reciprocate flattery.

... You could avoid it altogether, for sure, but when dealing with people, wisdom is truly, I think, on a case-by-case basis. You can't just build a crazy heuristic and call it a day.

Perceptions Adding To Problems (07/01/2022)

... The point is that the moment I got past my perception of the problem, the problem itself wasn't that difficult to solve. It may have had its difficulties, sure, but your perception of the problem will almost always exacerbate the issue. I mean, having a positive perception of the problem isn't always best either, because you could be missing something vital, or trivializing something that ought not to be trivialized. The main thing is to keep a level head: let the problems be actual problems, not just something done away with, or made worse in your head.

I often feel like I block myself purely because other people get blocked by it. In some rare instances, some professionals are suggested to try and do something (usually in like sports, or games) and they do it, not realizing that it was actually stupidly difficult and no one has done it before. In those cases, they faced the problem as it was, not including their perception, because they never had one in the first place. The moment you realize the reputation of something, it adds even more weight to the problem, despite the fact that the problem itself isn't particularly difficult.

I'm simply blocked by the idea of the challenge, the problems that will be faced, rather than the problems themselves. In short, I'm the problem that adds to all problems. Just do it.

Justification for Happiness (06/27/2022)

... And I don't think that all of this worrying about what people think about ____ is unfounded. I think the number one thing to remember is that people trend towards indifference instead of pure hate. Some people are averse to that, just as much as being hated, but to me I should treat it rather differently. Indifference is the norm, not the exception, unlike what I think when I'm in an unhealthy state.

I think in a way, we lock ourselves into deep mental mires because we feel like if we let them go, then we lose the justification of why we think in that manner, or something like that. In letting them go, we deem them as temporary, and if they were temporary, then they weren't really important. And if they weren't important, then we're just perpetuating our suffering for no reason. At that point, you think that your way of thinking is unjustified, so you continually feed into your negative emotions, to ensure that they are "valid", despite the fact that they're ruining you.

You can sometimes get this in the form of "I'm feeling good right now even though I should feel like crap because of X, Y, and Z" and then you feel like crap, for no real reason other than the fact that you weren't justified in being happy.

I suppose that if you take away your own right to become happy, then of course you'll be miserable. Like really miserable.

Not Being Paid to Pander (06/03/2022)

I was confident in the painting at first, but as I kept going the more it felt like no one was going to like it. But who cares? Some ideas for other possible pieces flew through my head but then I figured that I can't be bothered. ...

But thinking from just the perspective of posting my work online: why am I so focused on making sure that people like what I'm doing? I'm not being paid for any of this. Not like being paid is all there is about your work, but if I'm going to do something that isn't what I like making, I should get at least some compensation for it, to make it worthwhile. But in this case it's not worthwhile in the slightest, trying to make things that please other people.

... Instead of pandering, create the things that matter to you, and if it matters to other people, then that's just a byproduct, not the end goal. Why should being liked be the end goal? It's not my job to give people what they want. It's not even sustainable. Goes for my art and my writing. They're not going to always get what they want, but who said that they were? If they were paying me, then sure, but they're not. So why are you still trying to please them?

I'm not being paid enough for the amount of work I do for pandering. And that's my fault. I shouldn't even be doing it in the first place without pay. At that point I'm doing like arbitrary commissions. No one truly likes it, and even I don't truly like it. What a horrible place for a piece of art to be.

Withholding Personal Information (04/21/2022)

The things that are most relevant to myself are the most interesting. And inevitably, I'm the only one who can be truly relevant to myself. Not other people. I've accepted that people may get you on some level, but they won't get all of you.

And in a way, I'm scared for that to happen. It's why I often withhold more certain pieces of information while I share other pieces of information. The more personal writings I share, the less information about me as an individual (age, sex, occupation, etc.) I let out to the world. Or I gradually hide them. When I started my site I had a bunch of personal info about myself, but when I've been writing more personal stuff, I've been stripping more and more away of who I am in real life and let people deduce who I am from my writing instead.

... It's like when I share a lot of personal writings, there probably won't even be an about page. Of course, that's not going to happen (at least I don't think) but it simply showcases how I establish equilibrium in terms of information.

Is that being secretive? Or is that simply establishing healthy boundaries? I'm not obligated to share things I don't want to share.

Smaller Scraps

(06/25/2022) "I just find it annoying, first and foremost, the general nosiness of people. They call it "socializing", I call it gossip and intrusion. ____ gets pestered all of the time about ____ or whatever, and that very well means that I'm not going to be exempted. And I'm already agitated just thinking about it.
Like, you have your own lives to life. Why are you so enamored by someone else's life that you want to play god with it? ... Some people are truly insufferable right from the onset."

(06/24/2022) "So much of creating art is ruined strictly by me. It's rather impressive."

(05/22/2022) [after having gone to the night market] "Overall, it was just eating. The entire experience. A rather overstimulating, bright, claustrophobic food court. With no seats or tables. Well, there are tables, but they're taken of course, with that many people."

(04/21/2022) "The thing about thinking is that it prepares you. People think that you just know it on the spot, but not so. It's because you've thought about long before anyone else has. People think that's genius, but it's not like they're not capable of just thinking for an extra minute. You can solve more problems than you think by just thinking. How else did the people centuries before do it? They either asked other people, or they thought it out. And if there were no people around, thinking was the only option. They didn't just pull out their smartphone the moment they didn't understand something. You never exercise your brain that way."

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