Category Archives: Hypothesis

Drink to forget or drink to disbelieve?

Do people drink so as to ‘think less’ (presumably about worrisome thoughts) or to see their worrisome thoughts as ‘less real’?

My own experience is of forgetting certain details – some names of people, places, events when I have a drink or two. Things I had ‘access’ to while sober – now seem to be just out of reach. In that sense drink appears to cause forgetting (and may also be a good way of creating the ‘tip of the tongue phenomenon’).

But even when I do remember something i.e. an emotional memory like a ‘worry’ – that worry now seems to be ‘at a distance’ in some way. Is the ‘distance’ I am feeling from that worry – a type of:
i) emotional desensitization
ii) an inability to keep that worry in memory for long enough for it to feel ‘painful’
iii) a lowering of ‘belief’ in the reality of this thought?

Or something else?


Tags: , , ,


I suspect that simply ‘giving your opinion’ about things is a very easy way to get an ego or ‘self-esteem’ boost.

(Which is why I so often give my opinion about things. Apart from genuinely wanting share and ‘develop’ ideas that I think are interesting.)

And why might ‘giving your opinion’ give a quick ego-boost (boost in self-esteem)? Here are some possible reasons:

When you ‘give your opinion:

a) You get to possibly show that you know more than someone else. This demonstration of ‘superior knowledge’ could also allow you to feel superior to another person (if you think that ‘knowing more’ means ‘being a better person’). Actually ‘knowing more’ is not even necessary here. If you can convincingly express your opinion you may manage to convince others (and even yourself) that you know more than those who are listening about the area concerning the expressed opinion.

b) You get to advertise your cleverness (especially if you believe that your idea is ‘original’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘elegant’ or clever in some other way).

c) You get to emotionally ‘affirm’ what you believe and to indulge in ‘zealousness’ about what you already believe.

d) If you believe what you are saying is ‘provocative’ – you get to demonstrate that you ‘don’t care what others think’, that you are brave and courageous enough to ‘speak your mind’ etc.

e) If your opinion has a ‘target’ – you get to condemn or find fault in the process of giving your opinion (another way of feeling superior).

f) You may get to crystalise your own beliefs by putting them into ‘verbal’ form – and so increase your sense of certainty (or decrease your sense of uncertainty) in the process (which may also increase your self-esteem).

g) You get to be the centre of attention – while expressing your opinion.

h) You simply get to ‘add one more brick’ to your identity structure. By giving your opinion – you simultaneously build the idea of who ‘you’ are in your own and other peoples’ minds. Your sense of who you are may appear to become more ‘real’ by having yet one more belief ‘associated’ with you.

By this account, an ‘opinionated’ person may be a person who has chosen ‘expressing their opinion’ as a primary means for attaining and maintaining self-esteem. (e.g. where other ways of attaining and maintaining self-esteem appear less efficient at attaining these goals e.g. through ‘success’ in work, play, love).

When we consider all the above ego-boosting possibilities associated with ‘giving your opinion’ it becomes clearer why so many traditional spiritual traditions provide clear indications surrounding mindfulness of speech, which types of speech are helpful and which are not etc. Even the most ‘innocent’ of processes ‘opinion giving’ might serve as an opportunity for maintaining one’s sense of being a separate self through getting ego-boosts. Giving your opinion when you don’t really NEED to would probably come under the category of ‘idle speech’ in Buddhism.

That said – ‘giving your opinion’ may not always mean you are getting an ego-boost. You may give your opinion simply because you think it may be useful/helpful, because you are asked for it, because its your job to do so, because its a way to start an interesting conversation, because you are ‘showing what you know’ for the purposes of showing how well matched your skills are for a job, because you enjoy or feel compelled to share and develop ideas etc. These actions may or may not be undertaken with the specific purpose of boosting one’s self-esteem.


Tags: , , , ,

Optimal disorder?

If you had a lab or a scientific vision that was TOO well organised, would it reduce your chances of making serendipitous discoveries? If you had society what was TOO well organised would it reduce your chances of making serendipitous friendships and acquaintances? (e.g. Imagine a society in which procedures are so well worked out and explicit that you don’t even need to ask people questions about how and what to do?)

Is there an argument to be made that for the purposes of scientific discovery and promoting human connection, that there should be a certain element of disorder/chaos in labs, institutions and societies?



Tags: , ,

Boredom while running

So many people say they get ‘bored’ when they run. (Could running be used as an experimental ‘boredom’ manipulation?) But what about people who do enjoy running? Perhaps its because they are running with other people or they are listening to music. But if they are running alone and without music, perhaps they are unintentionally engaging in some type of mindfulness practice e.g. a type ‘mindfulness of body/nature’?


Generalisation temptation: The motivation or ‘temptation’ to generalise a very limited number of examples (even one) to a ‘fact’ about reality for egotistical purposes. For example – so as to feel knowledgeable, to reduce uncertainty, to impress others with your knowledge, to increase one’s confidence in making negative judgments about people/groups and so feel superior etc.


He who never admits to being wrong, never becomes aware of his need to be right. No self-awareness without vulnerability.



With the relaxing of just one rarely-doubted but firmly-held assumption – that we have a separate ‘self’ – the seemingly incoherent and mundane utterances of certain spiritual teachers can become meaningful, significant and perhaps even scientifically tractable.

%d bloggers like this: