Exploiting Human Nature: Business

Quick and short one. I was just wondering how people so often get away with exploiting us. The human psychology is one gullible piece of cake, people including you and me often fall prey to the dings on our phone, the tunes of some low-key DJ we’ve never before heard, or horror movies. That’s because we like to do the things that make us happy, and the people who market them to us in turn like the money. It’s mutual benefit, and that’s why we trade in the market. But this is going to be no lesson on trade. Continue reading “Exploiting Human Nature: Business”

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It’s 55 °F at the Ed Sullivan theatre. Why?

Really, why? And trust me, I’ve been thinking about that for a while now without reaching any satisfying explanation. For those of you who haven’t been to the Late Show when it was hosted by David Letterman or lately as of 2015, Stephen Colbert – it’s freezing in there, like nipples through your The North Face jacket cold. But I somehow didn’t feel bothered by it. Some people have called it the ‘refrigerator’, but that’s exactly what Letterman wanted, apparently.

When I first got tickets to the Late Show, which also happened to be my first time at the Late Show under Colbert’s tenure, I noticed something on the ticket about temperature. It said it was on the cooler end and we had to dress appropriately. The dress code then stated Broadway casual. I was more fixated on what ‘Broadway casuals’ meant, leaving little thought to the theatre’s environment. It was early into March and I had my trusty jacket on, so never bothered with carrying or putting on anything extra. Continue reading “It’s 55 °F at the Ed Sullivan theatre. Why?”

I’m Only Human

Happy new year everybody! I hope you had a wonderful start into twenty seventeen 🙂 I personally had a blast – in Chicago! I was at this fairly new event in the city center called Chi-town Rising, hosted this year by Corona Extra. They basically have a huge steel star with lights mounted onto it to draw attention, guided on 2 I-beams running through the face of the Hyatt building by Wacker drive.

I’m back again with more posts to post but in the meantime, I thought I could write this short post just giving myself in to my human side. On my other posts, I use big words and phrases and try to be logically consistent and grammatically sound but today I’m just going to write about things on the very top of my head hoping this would help build better blogger-reader relationships and moreover, to help make blogging on Chronic Overthoughts therapeutic to me, you know the relaxation and all writing brings. I will also not be proof-reading this post or even try to optimize it – like I said earlier, this is purely what’s firing in my head instantaneously as I hit keys.

This New Year’s was a particularly good realization for me. I’ve realized that being me while doing things the way others do to impress humans at the fundamental level often pays off. This is best reflected in college applications – when I first applied to my dream schools, I made the mistake of completely being honest and ‘me’ but as it turns out, you have to play by the game a little bit where it’s required to make some of the trivial stuff up to mark and invest your mental resources into where ‘being yourself’ is appreciated. Lately, I’ve been making an action plan to see what needs to be done to get me a step closer to my goal which lead me to a couple things – playing by the game to a certain extent cut down on much of the stress and burden such activities bring with it. It also ultimately made me feel satisfied when I felt that I wasn’t standing too far out, making my every move predominantly noticeable while simultaneously making sure to not be too blended with everybody else so as to lose your unique identity.

Also, I’ve come to realize that sometimes there’s only a certain extent to which you can control or take authority over things – how, when and the way they take place. There are well-established constraints on everyone – nationality, blah blah blah which can only take you to a certain point beyond which you must just surrender and stop wasting your resources telling yourself that you’d come this far and there’s room to go further – especially if others had already done it.

My advice to my younger self would be to not look at your path to your goal as one that is linear – even if you think you are taking radical paths that have never before been traversed upon you are in-fact, naturally following a linear path. Your hard work or distinct behavior should not account for evidence to confirm your bias. They are merely obstacles placed on the vertical which you just have to navigate or work through no matter what. The obstacle which I’ve encountered is one placed along the horizontal. One might ask what difference does it make – the obstacles placed on the vertical will NOT forbid you from moving ahead towards the goal. These are merely there to slow you down. Maybe you got a low score on a standardized test and wanted to retake it – you’re just being slowed down while still staying on that straight path. Keep in mind that not all have the same obstacles – everyone has a different goal and hence, an action plan which they set for themselves or mutually agreed upon with a third-party. The horizontal obstacle is a roadblock to keep you from progressing further on that path to your goal. While a horizontal obstacle might seem like something that forbids you completely from reaching your goal, it really isn’t.

To deal with an horizontal obstacle, you have to realize that this obstacle was designed to be overcome in the long term. If I was telling myself this a couple months if not, days ago, I would have welcomed it with nothing but skepticism. This should seem like complete gibberish because we are told our short-term actions determine our results in the long-term. While this notion is agreeable in most cases, a horizontal obstacle requires you to think out-of-the-box! You not just explore radical options, but also develop REALISTIC action plans to make them reality, with much emphasis on the word realistic. Someone like me, who suffers from schizophrenia is lead to believe an idealistic and logical plan will certainly work. When it doesn’t – we rebel, loathe our existence and get more aggressive with our pursuits. But that does NOT help because your resources are now invested in something that isn’t helping navigate around this obstacle.

Don’t seek (never!) validation from anyone, even your parents, siblings and close friends. You are your best person to judge. Sometimes, I’ve found myself doing things merely to get validated by others. While this yields fantastic results in the short-term, it doesn’t help challenging obstacles as the one discussed above, obstacle which most people give up to. These obstacles make an average person feel like they’ve hit a dead end, only an intellectual who’s self-invested his/her resources will realize the bigger picture and work on a realistic solution that is statistically bound to work.

Psychology and God

Over the course of time, humans have developed a multitude of faith systems. It helps introduce a sense of divinity – which I’d rather like to call a sense well-being or peacefulness into the devotee. In this post, I approach the subject with the scientific method – questioning, observing and inferring with what falls under my domain of perception. Now if you are someone who knows me in real-life (or perhaps social media), you’ll notice I don’t take on such subjects for discussion but let this be an exception 😉

Peacefulness: Okay, before you go on telling me meditation has calming effects, let me reinstate we are strictly constricting our discussion to acts of the spiritual nature such as praying. From my observation, I find that praying or as the devotee would say surrendering oneself to a superior entity has a calming effect on the mind. How? Here is my theory. I say that praying or surrendering one’s problems to God allows the mind to satisfy the self that its problems are no longer “its” but rather now shared among with a superior entity who possibly (as the mind would say) has in its powers the ability to sort them out. Also, this might reduce anxiety as the burden is “virtually” shared.

Happiness: Any psychiatrist or scientist for that matter would quite arguably say happiness and peacefulness are all pretty much linked. You raise the levels of GABA, dopamine and serotonin in the brain and you can expect to see these psychological states triggered in the individual and these effects are observed in people who have just committed spiritual acts probably because of the reduced anxiety. I believe the notion that spiritual people (as claimed by them) lead happier lives is partly true basing on this scientific fact.

Tendency of wrong-doing: If you look up personal records of criminals, I’m sure you’ll find mental illness or some sort of mental agony that likely has coerced them into committing the crime. Again like I’d discussed previously, happiness stems from the brain’s chemistry and this chemistry is in-turn dictated by what the brain does to itself. Does the brain pop in an SSRI or two to make itself happy or perhaps drink coffee? In case of people who claim (and believe) to have spiritual connections in their lives are in my opinion, less likely to do wrong primarily because of the aforementioned reasoning. But again there are factors like fear that could come into the equation (as in certain faith systems) and prevent criminal activity of a person.

Confidence: I’m sure those who preach religion also claim they gain confidence to do something when they are involved or will participate in an event that can mathematically be said to have an unforeseen and probabilistic outcome, or as the preachers call it “luck”. Now how do we explain this apparent gain in confidence with science? We could say that the act of praying induces a sense of well-being in the individual as we previously justified scientifically and this brings about a change in brain chemistry that explains the gain in confidence.

A big question: Who is likely to live longer, happier lives?

As silly as it sounds, I think this is worthy of a debate before I conclude my post, crawl into my sheets and doze off to sleep. Do scientific people like me who stand by our understanding of our physical surrounding to explain our lives (what has happened, is happening and will happen) live happier and longer lives or do the God preachers do it better? The religious are a little likely to live happier lives with lower levels of anxiety as a result of their faith while the scientific people might really know what it takes to keep them happy and well and do it accordingly, hence equally living lives as fullest to their religious counterparts. It’s hard for me to put forth an answer to this question just like that without solid research and therefore will leave this post here, leaving you to ponder. Maybe you will question your whole belief system after this (if you do have one)!