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Michael McMahon

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Michael McMahon last won the day on October 4 2020

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  1. An advantage of catching them is that you get to momentarily admire them before throwing them away. As you can see my usual tactic is to get a bottle or cavity of some kind and then scrape some thin cardboard or paper under it to close it off. I might touch the plastic directly beneath them in order to slowly reduce my fear of them. I didn't touch that little one directly because I'm actually in Turkey right now where some of them can leap!
  2. I'm merely speculating but perhaps one difference between autism and neurotypical individuals is a capacity to form preconceptions of others. They say never to judge a book by its cover but we meet so many strangers and acquaintances that we're left without all the information to form an impartial impression of them. Even long-time friends don't always give you a full story of their background or their beliefs and many of our interactions are based on varying degrees of uncertainty and inferences. Being able to judge someone with the little amount of cues they give you in an introduction is a challenge for our sense of empathy. For example I'm so used to living in a medium-sized town that when I venture on holidays to a capital city like Dublin or London, I'm left somewhat nervous by the sheer number of extra people in every direction. I'm sure if you were living in a large city all your life that you'd be able to zone out not only the noises of the hectic atmosphere but also the endless number of changing faces that pass you by. Our time is finite and so we'll never be able to get to know everyone on a main street but hypothetically if you could freeze time and befriend those hundreds of pedestrians then you'd realise how challenging our sense of empathy and transcendence is by having severely overloaded it.
  3. "They're a common sight in Bangkok. Come nightfall, at any given outdoor market or busy road there will usually be at least one vendor with a pushcart loaded up with insect snacks, making many tourists squirm and others lick their lips." https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/travel-guide-insects/index.html I've inadvertently swallowed a few tiny flies in my lifetime but I don't think I'll be intentionally dining on insects in the immediate future. It seems like some insects are edible with the right preparation but the challenge is not just physical digestion but also psychological ingestion. If I ate a spider and even if my stomach didn't mind then there's still a risk that my fear response could make me throw up. A lot of insects aren't consumable by humans because they contain all manner of alien enzymes. Maybe if you were an insect connoisseur then perhaps you could treat them like wild mushrooms where some are dangerous or even hallucinogenic, paralytic or lethal while others are healthy and scrumptious! One evolutionary function of the creep response in this sense might have been to deter pre-historic humans from eating insects even during times of food shortages and famines. For example our ancient ancestors lacked the ability to write down their insect experimentations and without a means of technical communication they wouldn't have been able to distinguish which insects were intolerable. Perhaps one way to imagine what'd be like to eat an insect would be to contemplate the insect's prey; so a spider would be like a dense soup of flies!
  4. "DIGNITAS procures the necessary medication for this, a lethal, fast-acting and completely painless barbiturate which is dissolved in ordinary drinking water. After taking it, the patient falls asleep within a few minutes, after which sleep passes peacefully and completely painlessly into death." http://www.dignitas.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&lang=en I'm not too sure if a particular type of death can be guaranteed to be painless. Without bringing up the dilemma of life after death there might be some kind of spiritual awareness when the mind separates from the brain during death. Both the fear in the hours before the process of euthanasia of what the anaesthetic will eventually lead to and also the risk of a lucid moment of awareness when the organs fail during sleep could all be worries with this form of death. Euthansia during sleep might feel like life-support being removed from a long-term comatose patient. Perhaps there might be a subjective element to it where some people may perceive one form of euthanasia to be less traumatic even though others could find it even more painful. Placebos and nocebos have a psychological effect and whether they work for death anxiety is unclear since by definition no one can survive to let us know. We all have different life experiences and unique fears which means the degree to which euthanasia is less painful than a typical suicide is not fully clear. It's theoretically possible that someone in shock could voluntarily hold their breath long enough to die even without external tools but whether that's feasible for a semi-conscious person on life support is uncertain given their neurological, instinctive fear of death. Definition: "The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo effect. It describes a situation where a negative outcome occurs due to a belief that the intervention will cause harm."
  5. Spirituality is a vast concept with innumerable variations that roughly concerns consciousness, empathy and mortality. If you believe in reincarnation then a personality change is like a death of your past self. What would happen if a 20 year old had the mindfulness of an 80 year old? Or if an elderly person acquired the curiosity typical of a young person? The sensations of age are all hidden somewhere in the brain. If the brain activated a level of focus from a different period in one's life then it'd be easy to see how the mismatch could result in spiritual misinterpretation.
  6. Why is autism common in children but not schizophrenia? Schizophrenia and autism are both disorders of self-awareness and so all things being equal schizophrenia should be just as common during childhood. Sensory perception doesn't change drastically as we get older and so it might be their subconscious interpretation of those senses rather than the sensations themselves that contributes to schizophrenia. Perhaps the older ages for the the onset of schizophrenia is correlated with other adult-specific traits like spirituality. "Until the 1970s, many clinicians used ‘autism’ and ‘childhood-onset schizophrenia’ interchangeably. Today these conditions are recognized as separate, but there are similarities. For instance, the social difficulties present in autism can resemble the social withdrawal seen in schizophrenia." https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-schizophrenia-and-autism-share-the-same-root/
  7. One illness that has both physical and mental characteristics is dementia. We don't know what the future of medicine holds but on first impression it seems subjectively more likely that there'd be a cure to a physical illness like cancer before a cure to a neurological disorder like Alzheimers. This is because Alzheimers not only affects your physical energy but it also detracts significantly from your mental energy. So if you somehow cure the physical disorder in the brain you'd then be left with the problem of recovering they're alertness. It'd kind of be like the problem of critical periods but in reverse. Their conscious awareness would be habituated to a certain energy level after many years and suddenly retrieving their lost memory might be like a congenitally blind person being confused by their newfound vision after an operation in childhood. "But plasticity has its limits. Collignon and his colleagues studied a group of adults in Canada who were born with cataracts but had corrective surgery before they turned 1. Despite at least 2 decades of restored sight, every individual had slightly impaired vision. Their 3D perception and their ability to detect movement were also compromised, according to unpublished results. The researchers found that the brains of these individuals appear to be wired differently: Unlike normally sighted people, their visual cortexes also process sound, they reported in August in Current Biology." https://www.science.org/content/article/feature-giving-blind-people-sight-illuminates-brain-s-secrets
  8. When we've a stomach ache it's normal to attribute the sensation to pain fibres and the physical brain. However it might also be possible to interpret the pain as originating from our unconscious mind. In that case it'd be the unconscious that actually initiates the pain where the pain fibres serve to distribute the pain. The nature of how the unconscious mind and pain perception interact is not fully understood scientifically. If we were to view physical pain as being subconscious then we'd be left to conclude that the unconscious mind is far stronger than our conscious mind. We can't induce extreme pain intentionally and our involuntary pain response is far more severe than our voluntary pain and stress thresholds. Maybe one reason illnesses like schizophrenia can be baffling is that we underestimate the power of the unconscious mind.
  9. Any belief that could be deemed psychotic could also be called non-democratic. In other words they're making a judgement based on their own perception rather than out of deference to shared beliefs. We don't necessarily owe anyone democratic decision-making seeing as our self-awareness concerns only ourself. Societal worldviews are more than mere elections in that they've been honed over many generations. Therefore adopting an idiosyncratic belief means you'd have to start it from scratch. This might be one reason why someone's subconscious mind could struggle to make sense of their own conscious beliefs. Perhaps this could lead to various thought disorders. "Consensus reality is that which is generally agreed to be reality, based on a consensus view." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_reality
  10. I always try to capture spiders alive that come into my accommodation; not necessarily for the spider's sake but simply out respect for the environment.
  11. One reason we're not meant to anthropomorphise creatures that aren't pets is because animals kill other animals. I remember as a young child playing in a neighbour's garden and stumbling across a horrid scene of a spider gorging on a fly trapped in its web. Therefore certain species of insects could appear satanically evil if we were ever to associate them with any sort of agency above an infinitesimal level.
  12. The unconscious mind is the foundation of our conscious emotions. They're built on top of one another rather than being side by side. Therefore if the unconscious mind experiences conflicting emotions then the top layer of our conscious mind will sink with it. Even if our conscious mind is coherent, it still can't sustain itself without a clear bedrock. Perhaps depression is like an earthquake tremor coming from those metaphysical fissures in our unconscious existence.
  13. Thank you for sharing that. It was very honest of you. That's terrible how you felt so bad. Depression doesn't have to be about personal failure or social rejection. Perhaps it could concern a perceived failure or a simple failure to find a purpose to your day. Sometimes it might actually be the absurdity of success that could trigger depression. Accomplishing your life goals would mean that you'd have to find new life goals to allay the boredom. This is one reason why sports stars keep competing after their sport's retirement age. Sometimes it's the difficulty and pessimism of the challenge that paradoxically creates adrenaline and excitement. https://believeperform.com/life-after-sport-depression-in-retired-athletes/ That's the downside of involuntary admissions where it might deter a few people getting help if they feel like their freedom will be reduced. I understand that some patients might be unable to make a reasonable decision if they're suffering psychosis and so they might benefit from a mandatory stay at hospital. Although not all suicidal ideation is a result of psychosis. Sometimes it might occur simply due to mental pain. A patient with anxiety might not be so mentally impaired and irrational as to require coercion to get treatment. For instance outdoor activities during the day might be reduced under involuntary confinement which might be counterproductive for certain patients. That's a pity but thankfully most people are very receptive to the topic of mental illness these days. A lot of problems could be described like that where our problems overwhelm us! Our nutrition can certainly affect our mood. If we overeat we might feel sluggish or if we're hungry then we might become inattentive. Dining can also be a social activity when we eat with others at the dinner table. Cooking can also be a great hobby and it can be rewarding to see other people enjoy what you prepared for them. I remember being at an outpatient facility where we each had one day of the week to cook everyone's food. Nutrition might not be the source of everyone's depression but if improving your diet works for you then that's obviously great.
  14. I'm sorry to hear that. I hope it improves for you. It might be possible to approach depression from a free will perspective. Evolution is deterministic so some things we find pleasurable like social relationships, food and shelter are all ingrained in our subconscious from the genetics of previous generations. However there might be a mismatch between what we personally want in life and what our ancestors would've wanted in their lives. Worldviews can change drastically through the millennia. Some people might feel more affinity for foreign cultural beliefs seeing as there are innumerably different ways to live your life. Therefore depression could be like a fail-safe mechanism that prevents us being biased by our sensations of rewards. Our rationality supercedes our emotions in depression where we must find ways to be cognitively relaxed without the influence of external happiness. Depression forces us to either strengthen our current mindset or else to change our personality. Depression can reassure us because if we're able to defeat the enemy within us then we'll be able to take on any challenge outside us.
  15. "However, there is most often no obvious single point of structural damage (a "lesion") to point at as the specific location in the brain where schizophrenia is happening." https://www.mentalhelp.net/schizophrenia/evidence-its-a-brain-disease/ Could partial amnesia contribute to schizophrenia? For example if a patient forgot most of their long-term reasoning skills and remembered only their flawed logic in the previous moments then they'll habitually develop disconnected thoughts. So a disjointed memory could disorient a person in a downward spiral even if the other sections in their brain are working well. Also, there are fast thinkers and slower thinkers along with variations in verbal speed. One isn't inherently better than the other and it depends on what the task is. Writing a short story suits fast and impulsive thinkers because they can more easily develop the rhythm to focus on the connection between paragraphs and instinctively elaborate on new points. Slower and more reflective thinking suits poetry seeing as you can dwell on the significance of each word. So if the speed of your thoughts are mismatched then could this aggravate symptoms of those with Aspergers for instance? One way to ask what Asperger's is, is to ask what isn't Asperger's. People who are comfortable in social situations tend to have a style of thinking that suits the flow and intensity of whatever the conversation is about. Therefore people who feel awkward in social settings might have a discrepancy between what they're thinking and what they're saying. This would be worsened by extended periods of isolated activities. Time spent with others will begin to have an effect over a long period of time. That is to say someone who spends each evening hanging out with others will have much more practice at friendly interaction than someone who stays inside more often. However other factors are also at play and I know that there are far more complexities and nuances between genetics, theory of mind and whatnot in the autistic spectrum and Aspergers. Not only is the commentator talking fast but he's also thinking fast in a free-flowing way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2jVXigWqhA REPLICAS - Keanu Didn't Deserve This... - Elvis the Alien
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