Unlocking effortless planning

Pithy: I had an update such that now I can pay attention to my very smallest most micro plans, causing them to update. This causes recursive update up the chain because large plans are just built from many micro-plans.

There’s two attractors in ‘interacting with your own plans’ space:

Either (1) you can look at your plans which affords improving them which nets you a ‘future present’ with more resources which in turn allow you to the resources to look at your future present’s plan, in a self-reinforcing loop; or (2) you can’t look at them, and do not look at them, and they don’t improve. This nets you a worse ‘future present’ via resource waste leading to low-resources causing low ability to look at plans in a self-reinforcing loop.

After spending a long time in the first attractor it will SUCK to move to the second one: your plans will be laughably, painfully, and shamefully bad and will crumble as soon as you lay attention on them. This will both feel very bad in the moment and very good within a second: plans crumbling will feel bad, moving to a better plan will feel good. As a nice bonus your mind will tighten as parts integrate theirs plans into one true master plan.

This is exactly what I’m going through right now: being, for the first time since forever, able to reveal my plans to myself with the attendant bad feelings BUT ALSO the knowledge of the fact that it will lead me to better plans. Like, it’s a process that makes everything better, for me and everyone else, endlessly, forever.

So, now I’ve been having the experience of seeing my bad plan, like the plan of waiting to go to the toilet only when I already feel bad, or the plan of suffering through family vacations, or the plan of never being content with my social situation, or the (old?) plan of waiting.

It really feels like plans are coming into the purview of my power (the first effortlessly updated upon attention).

A very EXCITING part about this is that large life-plans are recursively made of many small plans: if I can start paying attention to those then iteratively the improvements will go up the chain. It’s like… starting to exercise power in your environment, bit by bit, starting really small. Moving this cup over because you’d prefer it there. Taking a drink of water because you’re thirsty. Making your bed. Changing the living room arrangement. Paying constant attention to how things could be better (for you, for everyone) and *acting on that*. I think these two are one and the same: my micro-plans for my environment are better and I act on them, and all others follow these, fractally, recursively.

Which begs the question of what *makes* for a plan improvement? I think it’s turning magic into a causal mechanism. Turning a magical plan into a mechanistic one.

Happily, joyously, turning magic into causal mechanisms uses the same ‘making distinctions’ skill I already have: it is, at least partially, about entering an undistinct area and making distinctions in it turning the magical into the causal. This is strictly within the bounds of my current ability. Which means — I think! I hope — that now (1) the area of plans is open (I can pay attention to them) and (2) I have the necessary powers to set off a core procedure there.

Experiences of Depression

(Adapted from a tweetstorm)

1/ One of my favorite authors has been making the rounds, being quoted by both @s_r_constantin and @vgr on the same week, so I’m gonna do a dive on his best book. The author? Matthew Rattclife – philosopher of psychology and phenomenologist. His best book? Experiences of depression.

2/ The book is an edited collection of papers of his. This means there’s sometimes too much fodder and repetition. He’s also an analytic philosopher, so he says *both* what he means and what 400 adjacent things he doesn’t mean. Kinda annoying.

3/ Other than that, the book is truly excellent: it analyses the various ways in which human experience changes in depression and is peppered throughout with quotes from depressed people on what their experience is or was like. I’ll use a similar format here.

4/ Why do I care to share this? To paraphrase Matthew quoting Nietzsche: a tweetstorm is an implicit ‘confession on the part of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir’.

5/ It’s excruciating to feel beyond the range of normal experience: to feel bad in a way that cannot be communicated and hence cannot be supported. It breaks my heart to know other people are going through that right now. In sharing this I want …

6/ …people to grok the phenomenological categories of variation, to feel empathized with, in having others describe what they thought was their forever utterly private experience, and for others to learn how to empathize with them.

7/ Ok, enough of a preambe, let’s dive in:

8/ The book is a philosophical exploration of what it is *like* to be depressed. “Like being engulfed by a toxic and unnameable tide that obliterated any enjoyable response to the living world”

9/ The hope in writing it is that in reflecting on the difference between depression and ‘healthy’ forms of experience, we can refine our understanding of both.

10/ And that, in that refined understanding, we can find ways to empathize with people suffering from it – who consistently complaint it falls outside the normal range of human experiences and is therefore difficult of even impossible to describe.

11/ “I could not reach other human beings. There was an unfathomable distance between me and any other human being and I was it was desperately important to be able to bridge that gap.”

11/ Why is depression so hard to describe? Because it involves a change in an aspect of experience that is seldom an object of explicit reflection of discussion and consequently hard to articulate. That aspect?

12/ The *pre-reflective* sense of belonging to a *shared* world.

13/ “I awoke into a different world. It was as though all had changed whilst I slept: that I awoke not into normal consciousness but into a nightmare”

14/ This change is caused by a change in one’s ‘existential feelings’.

15/ “You know you have lost life itself. You’ve lost a habitable earth. You’ve lost the invitation to live that the universe extends to us at every moment.”

16/ Existential feelings reflect a variable sense of the possibilities that the world offers. Depression involves a change in *both* the kinds of possibility that are experienced *and* the structure of one’s overall relation to the world. This is the main thesis which is explored.

17/ This change comes in many forms: altered bodily experience, loss of ability to hope, guilt, diminished agency and sense of self, altered experience of time, and isolation. They are all part of the same thing, of this ‘existential change’ – of a transformation in one’s ‘world’.

17/ “I was terribly alone, lost, in a harsh and far-away place, a horrible terrain reserved for me alone. There was nowhere to go, nothing to see, no panorama.”

18/ The book starts with a framework for understanding that change to the overall structure of experience. ‘World’ as referred to by Husserl – not an object of experience or thought, but something we already ‘find ourselves in’, something all experiences take for granted.

19/ This is what depression disturbs. Because it’s so fundamental to experience it is seldom reflected upon and poorly understood.

20/ After an intro to the method – Chapter 1 – and framework – Chapter 2 – the book goes into the various ways that this change is experienced.

21/ Depression and the body – Chapter 3

22/ Loss of ability to Hope – Chapter 4

23/ Existential Guilt – Chapter 5

24/ Loss of agency – Chapter 6

25/ Changes to the structure of temporal experience – Chapter 7

26/ The contraction of relations to others – Chapter 8

27/ It ends with thoughts on how to empathize with it – Chapter 9 – and with consideration on the categories of ‘depression’ and ‘major depression’ – Chapter 10.

28/ Ok that’s enough typing for now. If y’all are into this I’ll start with chapter by chapter summaries.