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BaalChatzaf

In praise of pessimism....

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Pessimists  always win  and optimists often lose.  If things are better than a pessimist  assumes  then the pessimist is pleasantly surprised. If things turn out as bad as the pessimist figured matter are no worse than expected.  On the other hand,  the optimist is more often disappointed than pleased with the way things turn out.  Keep in mind there are are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right (a variant of Murphy's Axiom). 

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20 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Pessimists  always win  and optimists often lose.  If things are better than a pessimist  assumes  then the pessimist is pleasantly surprised. If things turn out as bad as the pessimist figured matter are no worse than expected.  On the other hand,  the optimist is more often disappointed than pleased with the way things turn out.  Keep in mind there are are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right (a variant of Murphy's Axiom). 

I think I can do 100 push ups.  I try.  I only do 15.  How should I explain this?  What's an optimistic explanation for a failure?  What's a pessimistic one?  If I want to do 100 push ups eventually, which explanation is more likely to stimulate self improvement?  

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18 minutes ago, MereMortal said:

I think I can do 100 push ups.  I try.  I only do 15.  How should I explain this?  What's an optimistic explanation for a failure?  What's a pessimistic one?  If I want to do 100 push ups eventually, which explanation is more likely to stimulate self improvement?  

If one's reach exceeds one's grasp  then he fails in the effort.

you want to stimulate  improvement?   Set a realistic goal.  If you reach it then extend it by a small increment and try again. 

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8 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

If one's reach exceeds one's grasp  then he fails in the effort.

you want to stimulate  improvement?   Set a realistic goal.  If you reach it then extend it by a small increment and try again. 

You've provided the process of self improvement.  What you have not shown is the benefit of pessimism to that process.  I'll ask again.  Which type of explanation for failure will stimulate self improvement better?  A pessimistic one or an optimistic one?  

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Pessimists  always win  and optimists often lose.  If things are better than a pessimist  assumes  then the pessimist is pleasantly surprised. If things turn out as bad as the pessimist figured matter are no worse than expected.  On the other hand,  the optimist is more often disappointed than pleased with the way things turn out.  Keep in mind there are are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right (a variant of Murphy's Axiom). 

Ever live with a pessimist? It leaves a mark.

Maintain an elevated mood, avoid anxiety (feeling of helplessness) and stay disciplined. Above all act.

"The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism." Sir John Templeton, about the market. 

Pessimistic investors often base their decisions on despair while smart investors look at the bottomed market and find reasons to buy.

Who wins in a pessimistic market? Read Templeton or ask Buffet.

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1 hour ago, turkeyfoot said:

Ever live with a pessimist? It leaves a mark.

Maintain an elevated mood, avoid anxiety (feeling of helplessness) and stay disciplined. Above all act.

Geoff,

Words of wisdom.

There is neuroscience that proves constant pessimism leads to all kinds of physical ailments. Our bodies need a brain that receives a balance of all neurochemicals, not just the ones that cause anxiety and/or shutting down for safety (the ones involved with pessimism).

Without hope and without exercising a minimum amount of power to change the future (the kind Ayn Rand called "efficacy"), the will to live dies.

What's worse, since we have mirror neurons, the one dying sometimes sucks others down into his hole.

Michael

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2 hours ago, MereMortal said:

You've provided the process of self improvement.

MM,

He provided ONE process of self improvement. A big vision for the future is also critical for great achievers.

Strategy AND tactics exist. Strategy is the big picture. Tactics are for dealing with short-term problems and obstacles. (And there's process, morale, and a few other things, but I'll stick with those two for this point.)

When a person uses strategy in the place of tactics, or vice-versa, he generally screws up everything.

Confucious say: Beware the one who claims the part is the whole and all other parts are foolish illusions. He will lead you to live, at best, only part of your life and achieve only part of your dreams. 

Michael

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7 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Pessimists  always win  and optimists often lose.  If things are better than a pessimist  assumes  then the pessimist is pleasantly surprised. If things turn out as bad as the pessimist figured matter are no worse than expected.  On the other hand,  the optimist is more often disappointed than pleased with the way things turn out.  Keep in mind there are are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right (a variant of Murphy's Axiom). 

The correct way and rational way is to estimate things as they are, not better and not worse.

example 1:  A businessman considers a business opportunity. He wants to estimate it as it is, not better than it is, and not worse than it is. If he estimates it better than it is, he expects to make money but he loses money.  If he estimates it worse than it is, he could have made money but didn't.

example 2:  A young person is deciding on a career. Does he have what it takes to be a successful __________ [fill in the blank] ?  If he estimates too high, he risks a failed life. If he estimates too low, he could have achieved his dream but didn't.

example 3:  A chess player wants to estimate the position correctly, not better than it is, and not worse than it is. Does he have strategic justification for attack? If YES, then he can attack and win, and he must attack or be deprived of his advantage (says Lasker and Shakespeare). If NO, then premature attack against best defense results in disadvantage, amounts to playing to lose (says both Lasker and Tarrasch).

example 4:  military version of the chess example

more examples:  I will leave these as a homework assignment.

 

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23 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Pessimists  always win  and optimists often lose.  If things are better than a pessimist  assumes  then the pessimist is pleasantly surprised. If things turn out as bad as the pessimist figured matter are no worse than expected.  On the other hand,  the optimist is more often disappointed than pleased with the way things turn out.  Keep in mind there are are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right (a variant of Murphy's Axiom). 

Your last sentence is correct. The others are unsubstantiated.

Too many individual human variables.

I'd think the question should be how does one handle failure for failure is the basis for success--so, does one give up or keep on trucking?

--Brant

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On 23/05/2017 at 6:11 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

Pessimists  always win  and optimists often lose.  If things are better than a pessimist  assumes  then the pessimist is pleasantly surprised. If things turn out as bad as the pessimist figured matter are no worse than expected.  On the other hand,  the optimist is more often disappointed than pleased with the way things turn out.  Keep in mind there are are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right (a variant of Murphy's Axiom). 

If I expected everything to go bad no matter what I did, I think I would lack the motivation to do anything. And that probably would ensure that everything would go bad. This is the self-fulfilling prophecy.

But I believe there is such a thing as choice.

If something goes bad, I tend to assume it's probably my doing and maybe I can make it better.

If something goes bad, maybe I can make it into a learning experience. How did I do this to myself?

If something goes right, that might be a learning experience too. What did I do right?

Bad experiences tend to be more educational than good experiences. It is not always obvious which is better in the long run, good experiences or bad experiences. There is a story of a woman who said getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to her. She reversed the cancer by nutrition and other health stuff and thereafter lived healthy. If she had not gotten cancer, she would have continued to live unhealthy. Getting cancer was a turning point in here life that led to good things.

If the worst comes to the worst, then maybe today is a good day to die, like a Klingon warrior. It is the hope of every Klingon warrior to die in battle.

 

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26 minutes ago, jts said:

If I expected everything to go bad no matter what I did, I think I would lack the motivation to do anything. And that probably would ensure that everything would go bad. This is the self-fulfilling prophecy.

That is how you do it.  I regard pessimism as a bet hedging tactic.  My main goal is not to be disappointed.  

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2 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

Your last sentence is correct. The others are unsubstantiated.

Too many individual human variables.

I'd think the question should be how does one handle failure for failure is the basis for success--so, does one give up or keep on trucking?

--Brant

If one fails,  recalibrate and try again. Just do not expect miracles. And remember, neither God nor Nature cares if you win or not.

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2 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

... so, does one give up or keep on trucking?

Brant,

One of President Trump's main messages is: "Never give up. Never, ever give up." He says that a lot.

That attitude makes one person president and another a spectator of life.

So, to answer your question, it depends on what you want to be: the guy on stage or the guy in the audience. Don't give up if you want to be on stage. Give up and let others control you if you want to be audience.

And it's so easy to be audience these days. You get all kinds of goodies without having to invent them or make them or, in many cases, even buy them.

But I can't get the image out of my mind of the turkey living on a farm enjoying the best of abundance. To the turkey, the farm is the greatest thing ever. No risks. Lots of goodies for free. 

Everything's wonderful until Thanksgiving.

Then its: "Uh oh..." (gulp)

:) 

My advice, don't be a turkey.

:)

Michael

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53 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Brant,

One of President Trump's main messages is: "Never give up. Never, ever give up." He says that a lot.

That attitude makes one person president and another a spectator of life.

So, to answer your question, it depends on what you want to be: the guy on stage or the guy in the audience. Don't give up if you want to be on stage. Give up and let others control you if you want to be audience.

And it's so easy to be audience these days. You get all kinds of goodies without having to invent them or make them or, in many cases, even buy them.

But I can't get the image out of my mind of the turkey living on a farm enjoying the best of abundance. To the turkey, the farm is the greatest thing ever. No risks. Lots of goodies for free. 

Everything's wonderful until Thanksgiving.

Then its: "Uh oh..." (gulp)

:) 

My advice, don't be a turkey.

:)

Michael

I resemble that remark. ;)

Give my namesake a break, Donald aint gettin any! )

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

That is how you do it.  I regard pessimism as a bet hedging tactic.  My main goal is not to be disappointed.  

I dont understand what that means.

I get the idea of pessimism in the sense of recognizing the human trait of casting market trends into painful experiences and making counter productive movements based on feelings. That kind of pessimism, though, is based on an erroneous context of market swings, profits and losses and the way in which a unprepared person handles losses.

Lets call it what it is.

Pessimism is a belief in bad outcomes based on often erroneous thinking habits. A bleak outlook; a loaded word. It comes from the Latin pessim(us), suppletive superlative of malus bad + -ism.

When a person characterizes themselves as having personal pessimism I interpret that as an outlook which negatively affects their behavior. Pessimism can also be a fleeting feeling and not be a central characteristic of a persons attitudes.

I grew up with a suffocating amount of badism. It was only after attempted suicide that I met a person who was capable of assisting my rescue from the past. She is an optimist at heart.

My mother portrayed an upbeat person in my youth, always smiling, the life of the party, optimistic of others outcomes. Inside though she was a seething pessimist. It took me a long time to square the way she presented herself with what she must have felt like inside.

Humans have a natural tendency to recall negative experiences more vividly than they do positive ones.

But, its been my experience, that most unhappy people project themselves outwardly as being relatively more content than they truly are because very few of us are attracted to unhappy people.

But perhaps Im mistaken, Bob, I had you pegged as a brainiac all along, someone who cuts themselves off from and/or doesnt respond well to emotions.

Now to see that you use tactics to respond to bad feelings, reveals a part of you as just, well, another human. ;) 

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

That is how you do it.  I regard pessimism as a bet hedging tactic.  My main goal is not to be disappointed.  

That's faking it.  You aren't a pessimist, you just decide not to care about the outcome.  

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5 hours ago, turkeyfoot said:

I dont understand what that means.

I get the idea of pessimism in the sense of recognizing the human trait of casting market trends into painful experiences and making counter productive movements based on feelings. That kind of pessimism, though, is based on an erroneous context of market swings, profits and losses and the way in which a unprepared person handles losses.

Lets call it what it is.

Pessimism is a belief in bad outcomes based on often erroneous thinking habits. A bleak outlook; a loaded word. It comes from the Latin pessim(us), suppletive superlative of malus bad + -ism.

When a person characterizes themselves as having personal pessimism I interpret that as an outlook which negatively affects their behavior. Pessimism can also be a fleeting feeling and not be a central characteristic of a persons attitudes.

I grew up with a suffocating amount of badism. It was only after attempted suicide that I met a person who was capable of assisting my rescue from the past. She is an optimist at heart.

My mother portrayed an upbeat person in my youth, always smiling, the life of the party, optimistic of others outcomes. Inside though she was a seething pessimist. It took me a long time to square the way she presented herself with what she must have felt like inside.

Humans have a natural tendency to recall negative experiences more vividly than they do positive ones.

But, its been my experience, that most unhappy people project themselves outwardly as being relatively more content than they truly are because very few of us are attracted to unhappy people.

But perhaps Im mistaken, Bob, I had you pegged as a brainiac all along, someone who cuts themselves off from and/or doesnt respond well to emotions.

Now to see that you use tactics to respond to bad feelings, reveals a part of you as just, well, another human. ;) 

No. For me it is not  raising my expectations or hopes.  If things work out, all well and good.  If not, it is no worse than I exected.

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5 hours ago, MereMortal said:

That's faking it.  You aren't a pessimist, you just decide not to care about the outcome.  

No it isn't.  It is a pain avoiding tactic.

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26 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

No. For me it is not  raising my expectations or hopes.  If things work out, all well and good.  If not, it is no worse than I exected.

Why must you expect?  Usually I expect nothing, nothing good and nothing bad.

 

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13 hours ago, jts said:

Why must you expect?  Usually I expect nothing, nothing good and nothing bad.

 

That is basically what I was trying to say.  I have few expectations  and even fewer hopes.

What I have (mostly) are Bayesian estimates of success or failure.

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What happened to rational emotions, Vulcan logic and stoicism, and disregard of the irrelevant? I keep my disappoints and rages at arm’s length or I change the channel.

I just saw the British PM say she will not share intelligence with the Trump administration because of shared photographs of the Manchester murder of little girls that were leaked to The New York Times. Most assuredly money changed hands. Now that deserves a jail sentence.

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

What happened to rational emotions, Vulcan logic and stoicism, and disregard of the irrelevant?

The Vulcans aquire logic through the doctrine of Kalimar.  Native Vulcan emotion is actually greater than that  of humans which is why they had to develop a Discipline to control it.  Stoicism is learnable.  It is not wired in.   And what is relevant that we may disregard the irrelevant?  That varies from person to person depending on their experience.  

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On 5/25/2017 at 0:13 PM, BaalChatzaf said:

The Vulcans aquire logic through the doctrine of Kalimar.

Here's something for you, Bob.

You don't deserve it :) , but here is what I wrote about you on a Facebook post. 

Someone mocked you for speaking about mathematical abstractions and the infinite on a Robert Campbell thread here on OL (the one on Peikoff's doctrine of arbitrary assertion).

Quote

I would normally not weigh in on an insult to OL or OL members because I hold that each person speaks for himself or herself over there. But I have to say something about the snarky mocking of Bob Kolker (Ba'al Chatzaf) above.

I absolutely loathe the habit in O-Land (by some people) of expressing harsh value judgments--especially condemnations--as an expert when they have little to no knowledge of what they are judging. This is the main reason the purpose of my forum is to allow people to work through philosophical ideas using Objectivism as a baseline starting point, not preach Objectivism as the One True Way. It is a place for people to do the heavy lifting in their own minds, not follow in mindless lockstep to receive pleasant serotonin squirts in their brains from belonging to an insider group and showing others that they, too, can throw a log on the fire of a witch the group is burning.

My forum is a place for people who are not welcome in other Objectivist communities because they want to think with their own minds, not submit to group mindthink.

The mockery of Bob Kolker above is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Mr. Kolker is a high-functioning autistic person. But the mocker doesn't know that. I bet it never occurred to her to even think this was possible.

I can say this openly about Bob because he constantly does. He often says he has Asperger's Syndrome. Within the formal Objectivist movement, before coming to OL, he had been mocked and hounded wherever he went. He finally found a place where he can appreciate Rand and still be himself and, for those who have gotten to know him, they have learned he has a heart the size of the entire world. He is very good people. (And, as Robert Campbell mentioned, he has major math smarts.)

He's just an easy target for the way he speaks. And tribal-minded Objectivists seem to never waste an opportunity to disparage and mock an easy target according to their One True Model of Life with an accompanying One True Way of Speaking. Granted, mocking what needs thinking to identify correctly is so much easier and emotionally satisfying than using one's brain, but that feeling of bogus superiority is not what all of us who love Rand's works want in life.

Give me one Bob Kolker for a thousand of the other kind of person any day of the year. And, I even tangle with Bob at times.

I wish it would someday become a habit in our subcommunity for people to identify correctly before they judge. Until then, we will constantly be getting people mouthing off about things they have not identified simply because they have not looked for themselves. Epistemologically speaking, a Randian abstraction without concretes in one's skull is not a good substitute for reality. When acted on, it makes one look foolish.

Don't expect this every day.

I wouldn't want it to go to your head.

:)

Michael

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42 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Here's something for you, Bob.

You don't deserve it :) , but here is what I wrote about you on a Facebook post. 

Someone mocked you for speaking about mathematical abstractions and the infinite on a Robert Campbell thread here on OL (the one on Peikoff's doctrine of arbitrary assertion).

Don't expect this every day.

I wouldn't want it to go to your head.

:)

Michael

I appreciate the rare treat precisely because it is rare.  Thank you.

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