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Michael McMahon

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Everything posted by Michael McMahon

  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
  16. A slippery slope might be another risk factor with obsessive thoughts. A steep slippery slope would actually be a similar analogy to the high cliff idea that causes thoughts of jumping. In other words to engage in a negative thought or action even temporarily will then lead to decreased will-power when you're tempted again in the future. That's why trying to limit obsessive actions when they first appear will help reduce the likelihood of your thoughts spiralling out of control. A spiral effect might be one reason why it becomes difficult to escape negative thoughts. "Slippery slope: a course of action that seems to lead inevitably from one action or result to another with unintended consequences"
  17. When you think of a growth mindset, it takes some amount of humility and self-criticism to accept that you're not at the level you want and that you need to improve. Then again it also takes a small bit of pride to want to be better in the future. So there can be both pride and humility in some of our goals.
  18. Intelligent Design: Crash Course Philosophy #11 Could group evolution answer some of the arguments posed by intelligent design? Something can be intentionally designed by animal subconsciousness like a bird's nest or a spider's web without it necessarily being intelligently designed by a single anthropomorphic God. Evolution assumes animal time-perception and unconsciousness to be nonfunctional, redundant and purely physical. Animals are non-rational but they can still identify patterns. Animals are in constant biological communication with other animals through micro-organisms and ingesting the genetic material of their prey. They're also capable of visually perceiving and mimicking the behaviour of other species like a parrot simulating a human voice. Talking Parrot "The decision-making process is similar in the two cases, with individual bees playing the same role as monkey neurons. Many other examples of distributed information processing—group minds—could be cited for the eusocial insects. Even more exciting, group minds are probably not restricted to the eusocial insects." https://www.americanscientist.org/article/evolution-for-the-good-of-the-group "Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity." Wiki Jonathan Haidt: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence "symbiosis: interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both."
  19. Yes it's true that we learn social cues from others. I meant it more in the cognitive sense of "empathy" rather than the interactive and moral sense. In other words a spiritual understanding of others rather than an interpersonal one. There's a difficult and open-ended mind-body problem in philosophy and so there'll be a subjective element in how we comprehend others. In order to fully learn from others we first have to reach a threshold of shared understanding. If someone views my consciousness as part of my soul like religions do while others view me as part of a group like humanists would then we'll have difficulties in communication. Understanding everyday consciousness requires some non-religious faith beliefs that we hold without immediate physical evidence such as having trust that our memory is real. When these subconscious beliefs are impaired then it might limit their understanding not only of themselves but also of others. A reduction in self-awareness will cause a proportionate decrease in awareness towards other people. If you're not self-aware then it follows that you can't be aware of others.
  20. If panpsychist notions that every photon has an infinitesimal trace of consciousness are correct then it'd follow that trees and plants also have a momentary, trace-level experience of ethereal time. Did an omniscient God create insects? Or were they created only out of the chaos of physical processes and natural selection? Or else were they created independently by the quantum randomness and incomprehensible infinitude of time? If there's debate that quantum mechanics is involved in consciousness or the brain then quantum mechanics could also apply to evolution. If the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics is correct and everything that can happen does happen an infinite number of times then there's a timeline in the multiverse with the mind of a fish or the concentration of an eagle! Animal minds in the multiverse!
  21. I’m just guessing but a possible challenge with empathy is to keep understanding that other people are dissimilar to you while at the same time being able to read their emotions by comparing them to and through yourself. We only experience our own emotions and that’s all we’ve got when we try to relate to others on an intuitive and personal level. In order to completely and emotionally understand others we first have to be emotionally self-aware of ourselves. To fully appreciate kindness and gratefulness we need to be ever cognisant that there’s an opposite emotion of anger and meanness. Even without an empathy deficit we’d always struggle to fully understand the mindset of evil unless we’re evil ourselves. We’d have to be infinite to truly understand every single persons cognitive makeup! What would your emotional state have to be if instead it were you that had said it in their exact manner? I suppose it’s somewhat of a balancing act. If they’re too separate and different from you then they’re simply incomprehensible and mysterious and can only be interpreted on a distant and rational level. Although if it becomes too easy to emotionally relate to them then one might misjudge them to form an inaccurate preconceived image without appreciating their changeability and unfamiliarity. It’s further complicated in the way that our personality doesn’t just exist in the present moment but is affected by each of our unique history which is largely unkowable unless they inform you of some of it. I notice we can learn a lot from people who have might have social traits that are the opposite of our own. There’s also the extent of people who we can empathise with. For example we can build up a mental picture of long-time friends and acquaintances. Or we can go a step further and try a bit to spiritually conceptualise the multitudes of strangers walking past us on the street. Another aspect I was thinking about is that society and culture changes radically through different generations and so psychological traits couldn’t be as genetically transferable as physical traits. For example an extrovert 200 years ago would've had very different metaphysical beliefs such that if they still alive today then maybe they'd be introverted. Thus how can extroversion be genetically passed down when much of a person's social confidence is related to the current culture? "Depersonalization can consist of a detachment within the self, regarding one's mind or body, or being a detached observer of oneself." If someone feels detached from themselves then they'd probably struggle to relate to others who hold such a different metaphysical perspective. Therefore how connected would this symptom be to those with Aspergers or autism who struggle with social awareness? Is there some overlap sometimes? Derealisation in the short-term might cause anxiety but if left untreated could long-term derealisation be connected to schizophrenia? This would be in the sense that a belief that the world is unreal will eventually trickle-down and disturb the rest of their belief system. The longer the derealisation lasts the more they'd have to try to reconcile it with the rest of their memory and cognition. Perhaps derealisation and depersonalisation lead to different symptoms depending on how long they last for.
  22. Civilians in war time might join the army of the aggressor to engage in evil actions. Yet during peacetime there'll only be a minuscule fraction of the population that will engage in criminal violence. So there must a small segment of the population in the average country who'll ordinarily be cooperative and law-abiding despite being a slightly amoral. However if they felt they'd get away with it as they might during a victorious war then they might be tempted to engage in evil. I think this shows that people good and bad are guided by the same evolutionary instincts to avoid doing wrong in case of punishment. Even if someone has an immoral mindset and wanted to commit a crime they still might think it's not worth the risk. This example is doesn't support general deterrence because that's about warning other criminals rather than the individual who actually perpetrated whatever crime is in question. It may however show that some slight element of punishment can ward off malevolent intentions from apathetic individuals. Our subconscious human psychology evolved over millennia and so we're hardwired to be wary of retaliation. If we removed punishment altogether as an option for criminal rehabilitation then it might not change our evolved cost-benefit analysis of committing crime immediately but after a long period of time it might eventually lead to sinister individuals being habituated into thinking they can afford to commit crimes. For instance if I were to hypothetically think about carrying out a random assault on the street then I'd simply automatically assume there'd be repercussions in jail time even if I knew nothing about the current jail time statistics for assault. Contrastingly if I somehow felt there'd be no real consequences and for whatever reason I wanted to hit a particular somebody then it might result in people actually accepting the risk to act cunningly and selfishly. Just as some people are truly immoral and deliberately evil, other people will be truly amoral in not being bothered at all whether they do good or bad. Individual deterrence is compatible with rehabilitation because amoral people can be deterred from committing crime due not only to negative incentives like confinement but also to positive incentives such as the gratefulness a criminal might feel from being forgiven, opportunities in both their career and personal growth achieved from education, or finding spiritual and familial well-being in doing good. Individual deterrence might not always prevent immorality since people might evade capture but it might reduce lazy amorality to a relatively greater extent. "If you call someone immoral, you are saying that person knows better. If you call him amoral, you are saying that person does wrong but doesn't understand that it is wrong. It can be a fine line, other times it's clear: If a giant wave turns your boat over, that wave isn't being mean, it's amoral. If another boat rams into you and does the same thing, that is an immoral act, especially if the immoral captain laughs instead of helping you out of the water." (vocabulary) Wiki: "Individual deterrence is the aim of punishment to discourage the offender from criminal acts in the future. The belief is that when punished, offenders recognise the unpleasant consequences of their actions on themselves and will change their behaviour accordingly. General deterrence is the intention to deter the general public from committing crime by punishing those who do offend. When an offender is punished by, for example, being sent to prison, a clear message is sent to the rest of society that behaviour of this sort will result in an unpleasant response from the criminal justice system. Most people do not want to end up in prison and so they are deterred from committing crimes that might be punished that way." Habituation: "the diminishing of an innate response to a frequently repeated stimulus."
  23. https://news.sky.com/story/kate-handles-tarantula-and-bird-as-she-and-prince-william-meet-student-nurses-who-stepped-up-during-pandemic-in-northern-ireland-12421340 This puts us in an awkward position. If Kate Middleton can do it then we'll all have to do it! I suppose if there's an initial fear as you go to pick up the spider then the your stress will spiral upwards due to cognitive dissonance and you won't feel up to following it through. If your trepidation level is below a certain threshold then you might be able to withstand the anxiety even if it increases as you pick it up. I remember kayaking with my cousin and we were about to dive off a pier into the water in the harbour. I felt hesitant and told him that evolution didn't favour people who like to jump off high things. Anyway I jumped in but he was laughing about my statement for a long time afterwards. Likewise maybe our instinctive impulse is telling us to be slightly wary of weird, unexpected creatures and to habitually, passively avoid them without actually forcing us to do so. That is to say we can overcome a mild, natural disinclination whenever we need to. In my diving analogy our ancestors probably didn't need to do much risky diving but of course it'd sometimes have been evolutionarily advantageous such as when they needed to escape from a threat or manoeuvre across territory in order to migrate. So evolution is full of competing demands that could contradict our natural emotional state. When we come back to the topic of spiders we can say that being fearless against insects and discerning towards which ones were and weren't poisonous would've been a helpful trait if you needed to camp outside for example. Thus you wouldn't have to waste energy fretting about an innocuous species of spider close by.
  24. "Interestingly, almost all (95.3 percent) of the participants stated that men were more likely to be creepy than women. Participants rated the following as the most likely characteristics of a creepy person: The person had unkempt hair. The person had very pale skin. The person was dressed oddly." - ideas ted com I've acquired a slight sun tan so I think I'm in the clear and hopefully no one will notice any other of these characteristics in me.
  25. Yes that's fine and I won't post about it again. (Just to backtrack a little I didn't mean atheism or theism were sources of depression as both groups are perfectly happy; merely that being confused might add to someone's uncertainty.) Yes I wasn't trying to imply there weren't depressed atheists; just that there are also many happy atheists. (I'm not extending the debate on theism/atheism and am only clarifying a misunderstanding in a previous post. I didn't add any new information.)
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