Mike Burr - log

[mind] Models of "intrusive" thoughts

"Intrusive though" is a misnomer. All thoughts are intrusive. Some are great and you welcome them, some are negative and get a lot of your internal attention (hint). But none of them were packed up and presented for your consideration by "you". Were you the composer of any of your thoughts to present? If so, can you describe the inception of that thought? Did you have parchment and a quill? What were you wearing at the time? And this thought, when you handed it to you, were you expecting its arrival, having composed it?

The fun thing about thinking about the mind is that you are never really wrong. You can have crazy models about how the world works, some people are lizards, they're just indistinguishable from regular people. Such a person might lead a great life and be a great person on every scale, and yet still believe this is how the world works. Is he wrong? Has he ever been disproven? No in both cases. You've met people like this! The true believers of any belief are the ones who corner and isolate you at parties when they realize you're polite. And as far as that goes, your bad.

Some of my ideas about how my mind works are goofy metaphors. I definitely don't understand how it all works, so I make no apologies for using colorful metaphors. What else do I do? Stare at CT images?

Anyway, one goal I probably have is to curb or understand or mitigate negative intrusive thoughts (i.e. thoughts) or all three maybe. Or at least I'd like to have control where it can be put to good use.

The "hedonic treadmill" adage is spot on in my opinion. Unhappiness or discontent leads to doing a thing: a hobby, a nice shirt, an impressive attribute, an unreliable or dangerous pimp mobile, all which are rewarding in some sense. The reward comes if your committed and optimistic, but it fades or is tainted. It has a taint.

Or worse, you step on the treadmill and fumble and get grievously injured every time: Your big schemes don't pan out and you, having not acquired the hand made Italian jalopy but having told all of your brohams about it already, come out on the negative side.

Or a mix of the two.

But the treadmill itself is the thing to focus on. It's here and I'm discussing it because you didn't even need to wikipedia the term. You know, widely talked about for some reason.

If you are trying to "control" your "thoughts" with the aim of having better ones going forward and you're also convinced that we really don't control our thoughts* then...you don't control your thoughts and therefore shouldn't try.

One silly metaphor: Your consciousness is the mailroom in the storm of the universe, it's located in a part of the universe called "you", for which there's no good definition and also might be the universes itself. In any case, whatever is out there, this is your processing unit and the bounds of your consciousness. If it doesn't come in through the chute, you are not conscious of it, and visa versa.

Notice that things fall apart if we try to imagine an "output" for this mail room. What exactly leaves your consciousness? There's just an erase button to clear the mailroom? Maybe.

That aside, trying to encourage positive thought is just to say "I want positive shit to come in that chute!!" This takes place on your hedonic treadmill because you've wagered your happiness on this working. It won't, that's why the treadmill is a treadmill. There's movement you don't have control of but yet must keep up with. Why? Because you stepped on in the first place.

The treadmill here is anything you can do with incoming packages that can lighten the mood of the room.

Look, guys, it's "dropping aunt Margrets milkshake" Remember? It came in the chute just now! Aunt Margret really does like us and always has, but, gee... just look at this parcel!

Oh! We're driving on the interstate right now. Better focus on that!

I think our many mail room workers could use a tip: Think about the things that arrive, open them up and examine them. You know you'll get a similar parcel some time soon, so what's your plan for that? Push the red button and activate the klaxon? Everybody panic? I imagine that one new girl that's just spunky and trying to make her way through life opening the package, looking at the contents, sighing sadly and throwing it in the incinerator. Good job, Sally.


I just applied this irl, topic is fresh/update.

[Not the above but] I noticed I was re-re-re-reading something I wrote, as I do often. I've only just lately learned to even question this habit. I ask, "what are you achieving" and I say quietly "ego stroking, sir". Supervisor Bill was unhappy.

Two mailroom employees are wresting over a package called "mike is now re-reading a thing".

Sanjay says, "But it makes us feel nice, admiring that thing we wrote." Camron says, "But it's clearly just hedonic in-plalce running. It may as well be labeled 'now strokes ego'!"

Suddenly the wall separating the next cubicle explodes inwards. Supervisor Bill is still standing there in Drunken Crane pose, having kicked down the partition. He's wearing a sensible necktie and a knitted mustard colored sweater vest. He's also holding an unspilt styrofoam cup of coffee in his left hand.

"You muthafuckas 'bout to stop arguing 'bout some dumb shit! And process these muthafuckin PACKAGES!", Supervisor Bill sharply clips the last four words.

He straightens his vest and walks away rigidly.

As broke wage earners, we know what to do. Sanjay unlatches his fingers abruptly, and they both turn and walk away, Camron tossing the packing in the incinerator without looking.


Living your live with an overwhelmed a mailroom (sys2) that's churning on stupid shit is analogous to having a toxic employee that hates everyone and everything and never misses an opportunity to huff and roll his eyes in a meeting. Supervisor Bill does not suffer these kinds of people.

May Supervisor Bill's apoplectic disbelief at the state of things around here always be in your heart.

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