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What you’re addicted to

We’re all addicted. It’s just a matter of noticing. But what are we addicted to?

Here, I’ll break it down for you.

Sugar

First and perhaps most obvious, sugar and carbs aren’t required as any part of a diet. It is, however, in almost every food we eat, if not as sugar, then as high fructose corn syrup.

In the year 1965, there was a research project done on coronary heart disease, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of coronary heart disease. But get this: the research project was sponsored by the Sugar Research Foundation, and the role of sugar in coronary heart disease was heavily downplayed. Here’s my source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548255

There are many other articles out there, and studies have been done to prove this point. But it was too late. The food industry has been pushing low-fat foods since then.

Low-fat foods taste bad, though. Fatty foods are delicious, and are what make food taste good. In order to counteract the quality of food dropping, manufacturers began to add sugar in place of the fats.

Coincidentally, the enzyme used to create high-fructose corn syrup was discovered in the same year, 1965, and started being marketed in the 1970s. It was known as being cheaper to produce and much easier to work with than cane sugar, and now you’ll find it in everything.

YOU DON’T NEED IT.

Pleasure

Why do you keep your phone with you at all times?

Why do you keep going back to those same shows, movies, or songs?

You’re addicted to that feeling of being rewarded. Rewarded for making the right decisions or having the right connections, even if they don’t manifest in that way.

Checking your phone is like playing slots. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. And if you win, you get a notification in red. The color red is good for grabbing your attention, for reasons that are frankly beyond the scope of this post.

We live in an age of overwhelming pleasure, and we’re addicted to it. Try putting your phone away for twelve hours and see how much you struggle without it. If you want to challenge yourself further, go for a full dopamine detox.

A dopamine detox means no social media, no video games, no TV, no unproductive Youtube (which is basically TV, let’s be honest here) etc. for a week. It’ll break you out of harmful addictions and re-incentivize you to focus on the better things in life.

Control and Power

This one is much more difficult to see and understand in a practical sense.

Most people will pass this off, saying, “I’m the bottom rung in my company. I don’t have any power.”

It’s not true.

You have control when you decide what to eat for lunch. You have control when you drive your car. You have control when you browse Youtube, or move your character around in a game, or when you have conversations.

The general overarching goal in life is to gain more control over your life. You work to make money to buy things that give you power, in hopes to one day retire when you don’t have to do anything you don’t have to.

You have power over your children, and to some degree, your significant other. You have control over your pets. I don’t think I need to make my point any more clear.

Even the people who willingly give up control are somewhat doing it of their own accord. They’re told that relinquishing their control will free them. I don’t know whether they’ve found what they were searching for, so I won’t make any judgments.

Whether or not the words “control” and “power” are interchangeable can be debated. I say they can, and control is more yearned and more destructive.


That separator looks pretty cool. I should use it more often.




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Protected: The real June 2020 post

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It’s been a weird month

and I’m trying really, really hard not to write a political post, because I’m a dissident and people don’t like that. If you really want to know my opinions and tell me I’m wrong, message me on Facebook or email me.

Just know: it’s incredibly difficult to make rational and well-thought decisions when you’re emotional.

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it’s time for change.

WELP.

This post was going to be about the good things that can come out of quarantine and the apparent changes we need to make in our institutions and society, but there were nation-wide riots all day today and yesterday, so…

I’m not sure I’m comfortable ignoring the fact that innocent people keep dying because of their race, but I still want to write about this topic, so I will. And keep in mind that there are problems that need addressing; problems outside the ones I discuss here.

Let’s start with the obvious ones.

The US medical system is too expensive and too slow.

It’s hard for a person who hasn’t researched this topic (me) to pinpoint exactly the reason for this is, but it seems to come from a few different places:

  1. It’s heavily regulated. That’s good for making sure everything on market is up to a certain quality, and it’s all well-tracked.
  2. There’s price gouging. The “good” person in me doesn’t want to believe this, but it seems to be pretty apparent. I’m sure the prices are also so expensive because of the time it takes to get through regulation.

It makes sense to me to raise taxes to help mitigate costs across the country, but that also requires people to be paid a livable wage after being taxed. There are a lot of problems.

Also, there are loads of other people who have written about this, and it isn’t really the focus of my post. Sorry.

The education system needs to be overhauled.

There’s no doubt that the American school model has changed to adapt technology. High school students are assigned laptops for their work, which is a change being rolled out across the nation. However, my concern isn’t so much with the amount of technology in the classroom, but with the classroom itself.

The necessity of a physical classroom is becoming debatable. The advent of high-quality video calling and the ability for teachers to take advantage of technology have created a very real possibility to retire school buildings.

With current technology, we should be able to be more flexible with how students learn, instead of forcing them into seats and lectured for an entire day. I personally don’t learn well in this model unless the subject is of particular interest to me, and even if I find myself enamored with the subject matter, I find myself in need of doing something else with my hands and eyes.

I have no doubt, though, that an advantage of the classroom is for face-to-face social development, but most teachers’ leniency for a loud classroom seems to end when the students are around high-school age.

Like most, this problem doesn’t have a simple solution, but its detrimental effects are growing worse each year.

Do we even need offices?

My extroverted friends will say, “yes.”
My introverted friends will say, “maybe.”

We have the internet. We can very easily work from home if the job allows for it. Communication technology will improve (imagine collaborating using a whiteboard but in 3D space).

The two biggest reasons to have offices are to encourage collaboration, and to make sure work is being done (and free food). Now with collaborative technology being improved, companies should trust employees with proven track records to work remotely permanently. It’s not such a radical idea.

If you eliminate offices, you eliminate the need to relocate employees. You also eliminate the need to be bound to time zones, which is something that restricted collaboration.

You also eliminate the catastrophic expansion of mega-corporations overwhelming small towns with transplants. We wouldn’t be having a housing crisis in Seattle if these companies weren’t building offices.

But I do miss my old co-workers. You get to know people fairly well when you’re confined to the same space all day.

This is probably an oversimplified solution to a complicated problem too. Who knows.

I’m just a guy who likes writing about stuff.

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My Weird Tastes

I don’t know why I feel the need to articulate what I like or don’t like. Perhaps it’s so I can spend some time thinking about why I like the things I do.

In general, my tastes are pretty different from those of other people. I’ll see if I can explain why.

I’m also fully aware that it’ll be difficult for me to explain my weird tastes without sounding snobby, but that’s just the risk I’ll have to take.

Games

A few key criteria for me here:

  • The game must not be changing drastically all the time.
  • The game must not have too much randomness.

League of Legends breaks the first criterion, and games like PUBG break the second. So does Catan.

These other factors aren’t game-breakers, but are highly desired:

  • The game rewards good technical skill.
  • The game has a learning curve somewhere, either at the bottom or the top.

A pet peeve of mine is when a game seems like it will have transferable skills but doesn’t. I want my skillful aiming to count for something significant. I’m looking at you, Borderlands.

And generally, if a game’s too easy all around, I won’t have much fun with it, though those games don’t tend to exist. Most games have a learning curve somewhere, even if they’re easy to pick up from the start. Super Smash Bros. is a good example of that.

Movies

I’ve had too many instances when I’ve gone into a theater to expect greatness and have had an awful time. Therefore, I have created but two simple steps that will determine whether I watch a movie.

  • Don’t watch anything in theaters (save for special occasions).
  • If people are still talking about the movie a year after its release, I will go and watch it.

People are still talking about Interstellar (2014) and James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). I will watch them.

I’ve also just got a bias against movies that have more action than story, and will not enjoy them. If I want to spend an hour and a half witnessing explosions and killing, I’d rather play a video game, where at least I’ll be able to control where and when the explosions are happening.

Side note: I fell asleep during the first fifteen minutes of Wonder Woman (2017) and couldn’t figure out why she was being unrealistically stubborn the entire rest of the movie. Is that on me? There was no character development for the remaining two hours.

Shows

If it’s a sitcom, it has to be witty. Bonus points if it makes references to things in real life, but I understand that’s difficult because of timing / aging.

If I can predict the joke, it’s not funny to me, no matter how good the delivery.

Otherwise, I like shows with dark tones. Thrillers, horror (somewhat), complex relationships between people. Same thing as with movies: I like more story than action. This rules out most anime, though I believe anime is moving on a more mature trend.

Music

Hoo boy. I think this requires a post in itself.

tl;dr

I don’t know how to summarize this. The best one-sentence summary I can come up with is:

  • I prefer to consume media that require me to pay active attention to what I am consuming.

But that’s leaving out a lot. I like being surprised, I don’t like a ton of repetition, and I’m always wary of what’s popular at the time.

Stay tuned for the post about my music tastes. It’s the one I’ve thought the most about, and the one I’m finding hardest to articulate.

If you haven’t thought about why you like what you do, I’d highly recommend it. This entire month has been a wild ride.


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