Floating into Awareness

Finally getting something out of sensory deprivation float tank time. Most recently went in for 90m, spent first 30-45 minutes just paying mindful awareness to my defense mechanisms anxiously craving reference points, and then I started spontaneously exploring range of motion for my left arm, gradually adding integration with other motion. This is a LOT like my experience of solo MDMA trips. I don't think I could do this work without prep work in Feldenkrais's modality (most value coming from solo ATM practice from his book, and most of the rest from a single guided-meditation session from a top Guild instructor.)

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Who controls the vertical? Who controls the horizontal?

Recently I've been investigating a phenomenological distinction between two different kinds of vision.

The first is horizontal, peripheral, reactive, associated with "shifty-eyed" lateral eye movement, evasive behavior, functioning socially as a sort of stimulus-response machine, treating bids from others as a kind of social threat to be either hidden from or deflected by making the appropriate response. Herd and prey animals have widely spaced eyes, the better to see threats from many angles. Call it Epimetheus.

The second is more vertical, centered, involves activation of the area around the "inner/third eye," has better lookahead both visually and mentally, and can have active preferences and intentions around the future. It feels "taller," like it sticks out more. Call it Prometheus.

Prometheus is photopic, Epimetheus is scotopic.

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The Trauma Coup

After the storming of the Capitol, the President of the United States has been banned from Twitter (the main way he communicates with the general public) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put out a video in which she says in the first few minutes that she doesn't know what she's allowed to talk about, that she doesn't know how much of what happened to her she can share because of "security reasons," that she's traumatized, and that she needs to be in the care of mental health professionals. And for the first time ever, the US military announced their opinion about who the next president will be.

These events point in a related direction: the silencing of elected politicians. While they are probably not centrally planned, they seem synchronized, like a lot of people in different places are responding to related cues in similar ways. Trump getting kicked off Twitter, and the harder to pin down forces acting on AOC, come from a shared sense among many people that the thing to do with clear evidence of authorities' failure is to cover it up.

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Childhood Memory

It feels almost like my childhood was a mashup of the movie It,* and Never Let Me Go.**

I've been coming to terms with just how much of my childhood self is inaccessible to me. Last night I had an apparently deeply triggering conversation with a childhood friend. Afterwards, a more recent friend managed to clarify the extent to which I had simply lost access to my perspective as a child.

Today I made some progress, and got some detail on things like:

There wasn't a binary compartmentalization between books (real) and mundane life (fake), there was some kind of more complex thing going on where I was conditioned to let reality slide out of focus for my intellect so that I could implement a Pass As Normal procedure. Passing As Normal isn't actually an opinion about reality, just a behavior.

My friends and I were definitely aware that something was wrong with the grownups, but it somehow didn't feel available to discuss the problem directly. We were being kept in this locally humane setting by adults who were trying to be kind to us now but definitely expected us to eventually go and participate in the world that had dimmed their inner light.

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The Logic of Pol Pot

Adele asked:

as far as i can tell, whether you get a Pol Pot or a Ho Chi Minh is a matter of luck...
has anyone thought of ways to robustly get the right person in charge?

This seems like either a somewhat confused question or at least one that relies on some core assumptions I don't share. Why is "get the right person in charge" the right level of intervention?

Pol Pot's policies aren't indicative of his personal badness, they reflect a certain level of skepticism about expertise narratives that benefit extractive elites.

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Compassionate Defetishization by Mindfully Viewing Pornography

I've had a lot of success from a couple sessions on Pornhub, noticing something that seems like a weirdly intense/familiar turnon, getting curious/confused about it until it clicks that this is a pattern I've been seeking out in multiple contexts.

But it wasn't about safely enjoying the thing - in one case I noticed that the hook was predatory and based on fear in a way that didn't really add up, and I just kept looking at it until I was just kind of sad. Then I was ready to move on.

This can't be done without unconditional self-acceptance, though.

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To-Do Stress

NoSilverV asked:

What even is stress?!?!?!?! why can't i just go through my to-do list without stressing out!?!?!? is it fake-ly adding urgency to motivate myself to do things i wouldn't do otherwise and then i must pay the costs!?!?!!?

You've been conditioned so that task lists trigger you into a high-SNS state, expecting punishment of some kind. This isn't autonomously motivated, there probably isn't contemporaneous pressure towards it if you're not still in school, so you can just condition yourself back out.

By practicing calming down when you look at your todo list (via meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, slow deep breathing, just pausing) and then figuring out whether you want to do anything on the list right now.

Benefit to calming down before you start driving to the next task: you might decide the next task is dumb and skip it, saving time.