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Wellness Wednesday for October 5, 2022

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Am I still incel if I rejected a girl's advances who's above average looks but has schizophrenia, mild cerebral palsy, low intellegence (expected from first two) and unlikable personality?

Well, you're not putting the in in incel, because you're being voluntarily celibate.

Shouldn't it be some floor? If I in another case rejected a girl who was drunk af, does it make me a volcel?

Just joined an early stage startup to help with sales/market fit. It’s tough. I’m the fourth employee and feels like I’ve got a huge job to bring this product to market, figure out what it should even look like, etc.

I’ve got relevant experience in the area and at startups but this early it’s a whole different beast. Any tips for keeping mental strength and avoiding tilt?

Don't overcommit. Startups in most markets are gambles, people will often found 3-5 companies before successfully exiting, but if you have relevant experience, you already know this. Working 100 hour weeks for lower pay for a company that's worth 0 in 2 years won't feel good.

Roll with the punches and learn fast. You have outsize responsibility and accountability, a single (serious) mistake can be extremely costly for the entire company. It'll be harder because there's not an entire team to shift the blame around with.

Watch out for interpersonal strife. This is unfortunately fairly common in early stage startups, high stress, big egos and small teams can lead to explosive conditions. My heuristic is more than 2 months of continuous friction/misalignment and infighting is a huge red flag, and 6 is a signal that the investors/board should get involved to see if there's anything to salvage.

Learn to enjoy it. Startups aren't really the golden ticket we make them out to be (especially early stage ones). If you're not having fun, accept it and move on. There'll be other ways to make millions.

E-Prime is English without the verb "to be." I read a quote somewhere by someone that it is an effective way of teaching the scientific way of thinking, removing the ability to make god-like declarations about the nature of reality. Albert Ellis suggested that it is useful for therapy.

You know, it actually helps for self-reflection. Many times in thinking we are confused about where the emphasis ought to be. Is the fault with me? Ought I not to blame myself? How should I feel? E-Prime has a way of obviating the problem by acting as a compass where you only need to follow the needle and see where you end up.

For example, instead of thinking "I am sorry," in E-Prime I ended up thinking "I want the problem to stop." This is a revealing conclusion, because wanting the problem to stop does not mean that I am doing anything to stop it.

Today I was reflecting on another mistake, and E-Prime led me to "I acknowledge that I failed to meet expectations in an egregious manner, and now that I put it that way, I realize that I have a lot of work to do before I intuitively understand the gravity of my error." This is considerably more useful than the "sorry" that came naturally, and importantly, it helps me clearly understand my state of mind- I didn't say "I feel terrible about it," instead I said "maybe I should feel terrible about it, but I need to put in some effort before that can happen."

This complexity is easily masked in "I am sorry," which can include anything from "I regret the choice" to "I recognize that I must offer an apology for social harmony" to "I feel horrible about this." It seems more about belonging to a category than anything specific.

Fun: reading Wikipedia, the creator, D. David Bourland Jr, studied under Korzybski. The same Alfred Korzybski who coined 'the map is not the territory'.

Wiki's short list of people who Korzybski influenced in the sidebar is somewhat surreal. Robert Heinlein, Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson...seems like one of those people worth revisiting, to get a fresh take on a source of modern knowledge.

Is this self taught or did you take a course?

Just stumbled on it on Wikipedia and tried it myself after reading some Ellis (though I didn't read his opinions on E-Prime). It's a feeling that isn't too hard to grasp with experimenting with it, because banning "I am" turns into "I, that word isn't right..."

If you want to try it, the list of banned words are: be, is, am, are, was ,were, been, being (as a verb), and contractions 'm (eg. I'm), 's (eg. it's), 're (eg. you're), and I guess things like "isn't," not sure if this is comprehensive. Can be a pain but it helps when I'm stumped.

(Bourland suggested banning some other words after "to be," but I think it ruins the simplicity of the method. I can't remember them, they're in papers he wrote.)

Two questions that I hope can inspire some wellness discussion.

  1. Have you ever had a "feeling for the divine" without being a believer? The sensation that reality is essentially numinous and you are missing out some fundamental experience and you cannot go on until you develop some kind of wisdom? I'm stuck in a place where I cannot reconciliate my feeling that there must be a higher purpose and my thinking that the law of Physics are all there is. The excess of modern life seem to keep on corroding my "soul" (for some vague definition of soul). Should I explore religion, philosophy, meditation or... something else? Readings or other media suggestions are welcome.

  2. My father, given the nature of his work, has been basically absent from my life. In the last few years I've made the conscious effort to get to know him better and I can bitterly say that he is not a person that I esteem particularly high: if I were not his son I would probably never want to talk to such a person. On the other hand I've always had an excellent relationship with my mother and she basically grew me all by herself without being a single mother... and that's the problem since I've never had a male role model: both my grandfathers died when I was five and I have no uncles, school teacher have a vanishingly small male representation. I feel I lack a "male archetype", a guide, a mentor, and I'm just going adrift without a map, without principles, not only that: I've never learned to interact with other males and I found friendship with women nice but unsatisfying on a visceral level, the only time where I approximated a male "friendship" was during Physics Labs in University and it was deeply refreshing. This ended up more of a rant that a wellness question that is basically the same as the first point: resources to bring new perspective on my problem are welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Fake edit: having reached the end of this post and read it back, it is kind of schizophrenic and relying on concepts I have never fully articulated before and maybe am not explaining very well. It is also directly opposed to rationalism, which might annoy or anger some people. For all that I apologise. I am happy to try to explain anything that I haven't explained properly though.

There is definitely more than the physical world, because humans have sentience. Call it the noosphere or the cognitive realm or whatever you like, we humans can create things that aren't real, but have an effect on the real world. Limiting yourself to physics is cutting yourself off from a large part of human existence, and hamstringing your intelligence.

The funny thing is though, that because we are sentient beings, because our cognitive faculties have such an out sized effect on our experience of reality, restricting yourself to what is physically possible works just fine. It works so well you won't even miss the stuff you don't consider real, outside of the yearning you currently feel for spiritual fulfilment. We replaced the magic of our ancestors with beautiful rational science, and thanks to science we know more about the world every day, so for some science can be spiritually fulfilling, and for others the gains in knowledge are enough to ease the pangs of spiritual hunger.

But if you feel like the physical realm isn't enough, and there should be more then good news! The cognitive realm is real - if not necessarily real in the same sense as the physical universe. My first introduction to it was in a newspaper article my grandfather had kept from the sixties, about a mother whose baby is trapped in a car accident, who rips the door off the car to save her baby. You have probably heard something like it or something similar like a story about a dumb but impossibly strong guy, too dumb to know he can't lift a slab of concrete by himself, and so he does just that, lifts it like it was nothing. Tales like this have been told forever. In their shock or ignorance the subjects don't know what they are physically capable of, and in so doing free themselves from the shackles of physics.

Now hold on you say, those stories are bullshit. No mother ripped a door off a car, any who have claimed to have never been able to replicate it, and even if she did the door was probably damaged in the accident and much looser than it should be and her body was being flooded with adrenaline - it's bullshit through and through. And yep, according to physical reality you are probably right. But I am happy knowing that mother saved her child by doing something she didn't think she was physically capable of, and wouldn't have even attempted ordinarily - and physics isn't everything.

Take the double slit experiment. You know the one, cut two slits in a piece of paper and shine a light through it - because light is both a particle and a wave, you get three slits of light on the other side - it's like magic! When you try to photograph this effect however, you get two slits of light out the other side. Attempting to measure it scientifically strips it of its magic, leaving you with a picture of mundane reality.

Hold the absolute fuck on you say now, that is definitely not correct - there is a perfectly rational and scientific explanation for that, and it's that blah blah quantum mechanics and electronic interference blah blah - no magic required. Except actually, it was magic. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, as Clarke said - and generally it is thought of as a comment on ignorance of science, but it works the other way too. Magic is any phenomenon which we can not explain with science. Before we learned enough about quantum mechanics to discern the mechanisms at play in the double slit experiment, they were indistinguishable from magic.

Our ability to read an explanation of it online now doesn't make it less magic for the guy doing the experiment in 1869. Did we discover quantum physics, and in doing so discover the scientific principles behind something we once called magic? Or did we think so long and hard about it that we manifested a scientific process behind something we once called magic? The answer depends on if you are a scientist or a mage.

If you are a scientist, you get to see the physical world as it really is, you will learn more every day about physical reality, and you get a community of like minded individuals who you can laugh at the ignorant mages with. But you haven't escaped magic.

Humans do not have free will, we simply have the illusion of it and we all employ it all day every day, because we simply aren't capable of doing otherwise. We can't do it, no matter how hard we try - even if we try, we have to think about doing nothing our body doesn't do of its own accord, which is breathing and various involuntary twitches. Ironically, if we stop thinking about it for a second we are liable to forget we are trying to do nothing, and do something. It doesn't matter if we don't actually have free will, it is necessary to behave as if we do have it anyway.

Every scientist performs their science through the magic of free will, which both does and doesn't exist. All magic is the same. It is powered by imagination, which shows us things that don't exist, which makes us feel emotions over things that never happened, and which gives us insights which have shaped reality since the beginning of civilisation. All you have to do is lean into it - and when you do, you will be able to do anything. And you will be able to do the most important thing you can do - take full responsibility for your own happiness, because it is entirely up to you.

Tldr: Living there, you'll be free - if you truly wish to be.

Actual edit: I know my position on science probably seems confused - whether I love it or hate it changing depending on the sentence. That's because this way of thinking is new to me, I've only been doing it for a couple of years. Prior to that I was a hardcore rationalist, who trusted the science. Then we had the replication crisis, and then covid, and I realised most scientists have no fucking idea what is going on, they are just writing down their thoughts in the dullest format possible.

But it was such a huge part of my identity for so long that I have trouble letting go, and if I am being honest I am terrified that if I do I will turn into one of those guys who distrusts and even hates science, and they have been fucking up my life since day one. But over the past few years I have also noticed that every time I slip a little further away from my scientific mindset, I can make myself a little happier. And I spent over a decade being miserable - suicidally miserable - so I won't go back to that. Basically I feel conflicted, but I am erring towards happiness.

Great write up. I’ve been coming to similar conclusions the last few years.

Any good reading suggestions on the subject?

Well I try to only read fiction (because I am not a child) so it's hard to recommend anything, since what you take from fiction depends on what you already know, and only one author really sticks out as foundational - Alan Moore. Especially Providence. If you balk at the idea of reading a comic book you are seriously missing out, (and I don't just mean on that story, some of the smartest authors alive work in the medium) but The Last Psychiatrist was definitely an influence, although he probably isn't new to you.

Ahh yeah familiar with TLP. Comic books are tough because I prefer to read on my small old kindle and they generally don’t translate over to that format.

I think you’re the one missing out skipping non fiction! Reading philosophy, history, anthropology etc can be very rewarding. Fiction is my favorite to read as well though.

Should I explore religion, philosophy, meditation or... something else? Readings or other media suggestions are welcome.

I suggest doing guided meditation for 20-30min a day, first thing in the morning. The main upside is that if it doesn't do anything for you, you won't have lost much time or money. I like Tara Brach personally:

Here's the best forum regarding meditation I've come across:

You could also listen to Alan Watts, he has a ton of free lectures on youtube. Example:

Probably won't magically give your life the meaning you're looking for but he has a delightful diction and attitude towards things.

I lack a "male archetype", a guide, a mentor, and I'm just going adrift without a map, without principles, not only that: I've never learned to interact with other males and I found friendship with women nice but unsatisfying on a visceral level, the only time where I approximated a male "friendship" was during Physics Labs in University and it was deeply refreshing.

You could talk to the people on the ssc discord channel about random things until you find someone you can relate to. Here's a link:

i've seen this girl couple of times, texted couple of times, she's texted me once (initiate conversation). it's probable she likes me. in my head i've raised the stakes, i keep telling myself i have to wife her, otherwise i might not talk/take any action at all. the downside is i haven't been able to focus on anything since 4 days (or perhaps i just want to pin the blame on her?). anyhow, without going into too many details, how do i bring back focus again on my goals and also be able to talk to this person that i am not very casual about?

not sure how much we want wellness wednesday to be dating advice, but im sure many have been in my shoes at some point, and would have some helpful words. or perhaps just posting my problem here would help, because i've not told my friends any of it (they'd naturally assume im crazy, which they probably do already).

edit: one solution i've been pondering over is to go into caloric deficit for couple of weeks (i've found it helps with urges/impulses)

Pining over a girl has never worked for me. Take it slow. Low stakes, low commitment. Your goal must be having a date with her. Not wifing up, not bedding her, not even getting a second date or standing with a boombox under her window in the rain. Just a nice pleasant date: go see a movie or a play together, have a nice dinner, tell her compliments, kiss her goodbye, text her about how much you enjoyed it. Come back to the wellness thread when you are done.

in my head i've raised the stakes, i keep telling myself i have to wife her, otherwise i might not talk/take any action at all.

This is probably the absolute worst thing you can do, short of doing nothing. You can't put such high stakes in your mind right at the outset, it's going to cloud your judgment and probably be apparent to this girl (and she will be weirded out by that).

If I were you, I'd remind myself that you've won half the battle already. The girl seems like she's into you, so just go for it and try to take her out somewhere. No "I have to wife her" stuff, just two people having a good time. Don't heap expectations on, just relax.

I also agree with @Silver that you need to just rip the band-aid off here. When I was younger I made the same mistake you are making with brooding over a girl I liked, and guess what? It just made it worse when I eventually got the courage to tell her how I felt. Getting rejected hurts and there's absolutely nothing you can do to make it not hurt, if that happens. But brooding for weeks/months will most definitely make it hurt more.

I agree wholeheartedly with that excellent reply by @fivehourmarathon, and I want to expand on one thing he said, because from my experience in advising my nerdy friends on love, it is probably the bit you are caught up on -

If it's real, it'll be worth it. If it's not, who the fuck cares anyway, on to the next one.

I think oneitis is silly, your true love is out there and you will find her if you try, but some of the advice regarding it is good. Point being, your true love will not be a person who laughs at you for expressing your heart (unless you are a masochist I guess), so if she is put off by your advances she isn't it. You need to find out, because if she isn't you have more women to meet. I don't know how old you are, but the way I explained it to my nephew was that you are giving her an opportunity - to go from being one of the npcs you pass on the street every day to a player character in your game of life. If she doesn't want that, so what? She's just an npc.

A slightly more sophisticated way of saying it is that you are giving her a chance to be one of the people inside your universe, inside the 150 - 200 people you are capable of assigning agency to - and if she doesn't want that, then she is just more meat in your way. It's a little bit of a shocking way of looking at it, but it is supposed to be shocking because it is important that you understand how little any potential romantic partner should matter to you if they don't reciprocate your feelings when there are 3.5 billion alternatives out there. The more hung up you get on one potential partner the less time you have to find the one who is right for you.

anyhow, without going into too many details, how do i bring back focus again on my goals and also be able to talk to this person that i am not very casual about?

Don't. Go get her. Tell her how you feel. Just do it Maybe don't vomit out the whole wifing her up thing, but she's into you, be into her, be present and make it happen. We're all out here looking for the love of our lives, you could be the best thing that will ever happen to her. Eleven years ago my wife was my best friend, the first time I realized my wife was into me was when she tricked me into kissing her, we made love all night, and the next day I told her I loved her, and she said she loved me, and now we own a house together in my home town up the street from my parents. If it's real, it'll be worth it. If it's not, who the fuck cares anyway, on to the next one.

Life is for the living. Don't turn love into the most boring kind of game where you min-max strategy; treat love with passion and abandon and joy. Strike while the iron is hot. Make hay while the sun shines. Pick ye rosebuds while ye may.

not sure how much we want wellness wednesday to be dating advice,

Hey, if that's the wellness we all need, it'll be more interesting than me asking for lifting advice or where to find good quality socks. Maybe some time I"ll throw my own questions out there for advice.

But in the meantime:

edit: one solution i've been pondering over is to go into caloric deficit for couple of weeks (i've found it helps with urges/impulses)

Jesus, Mary and Holy Saint Joseph don't do that. That's going to do the opposite of making you less nervous and desperate, actively starving yourself to change your behavior for her. Just be an honest real human being.

Eleven years ago my wife was my best friend, the first time I realized my wife was into me was when she tricked me into kissing her, we made love all night...

That is a hell of a story, lol. Congrats, it sounds like a pretty great adventure.

Still have to find out the ending.

how do i bring back focus again on my goals and also be able to talk to this person that i am not very casual about?

Ooh, I remember asking myself this exact question 12 years ago when I had a huge crush. I remember thinking "If only I could speak to my future self, he'd have all the answers."

Well, I'm sorry to say but there doesn't seem to be a cure for unrequited love. I haven't discovered or come across anything that would have solved the problem at the time. The good news is pretty much everybody goes through this. So most likely, you won't be judged too harshly for the stupid things you might do.

The least harmful advice I can think of, is to tell her soon-ish so that she shoots you down and your normal life can resume sooner. More brooding will not lead to a better outcome.

Can anybody think of any plausible long-term risks of l-theanine supplements?

Been taking it with my coffee every morning for the past week and I really love the effect but I've got such a deep seated intuition that nothing is free.

Been taking it for a year with no side effects as far as I can tell. That being said not sure it improves my focus beyond a placebo, whatever the effect is it’s not noticeable.

I'm not a doctor or anything like that but, I don't know of any long-term risks. What dose are you putting in your coffee?

I also used to put it in my coffee (I don't drink it anymore though). I think a lot of the effect is that it's countering the negative effects of caffeine, like anxiety and increased heart rate. So maybe it's not as much "for free" but more just countering something. Idk, just anecdata.

I'm taking 200 mg capsules 15 mins before making a cup of strong coffee

Edit - edited the FR, it is linked for those who want to read the field report.

I went to a nightclub for the first time last saturday and had a blast. I made out with/danced/ felt four different girls and three of them complied with less than 2 minutes of me asking them to do it.

I was just gonna see my date for coffee at this hipster coffee place, she got late so I talked to two other girls and got her number as well.

Later went to that nightclub place and had fun. I got blocked by 2 of the 4 girls who did touch me but that is fine.

Main takeway is that I am now in a state of abundance, as in I have tasted it myself and will never be desperate for girls. Earlier I would just cry over getting blocked but now I do not care as I know I will find better and many many many more of them later so focusing on careermaxxing for remote ML or Quant jobs is the right path as I will miss out on the club here but will be able to do this in posh areas in the capital later.

Once you taste it, you are different, I have changed as a person completely and hope you all experience this.

P.S. The field report is linked and is on my profile. The field report contains the details of the interactions so please if you get the time, do read them and let me know what you feel.

Religiosity, Abundance and internal motivation have made my life much better. Do read and provide feedback. Action beats everything, just being there in field helped me grow up and have more fun than all of the reading ever did. Overall quite fun, something changed inside me, a switch was flipped, I know that I can get all girls and hence do not need to worry about them now at all since I have better things to do.

Agree with @fruck. Learning to date is an important skill but life has much more to offer. If you keep seeing things through a manosphere/PUA lens you will miss out.

PUA and manosphere are very different. I do not despise women or see them as different beings nor do I use any strategies to get them. Believing that RSD taught this stuff is akin to believing the horrible untrue things most believe about anything not lefty politically.

I just go out, have fun and do my best to leave them better than I found them and just write about it so that I can get better.

You don’t have to hate or despise women to not treat them instrumentally, in fact it’s easier to manipulate people if you don’t give a shit about them.

I’m in the motte so I definitely don’t demonize anything to the right, but it is difficult to impossible to have meaningful and long lasting relationships with men or women if you detach yourself from people emotionally. You can learn to socialize and practice get better etc in a healthier way. If you know about frame, the idea is to have a healthier mental frame while still doing the same practice.

I do not want to have emotional feelings for a girl ever again. The only time I can like one and not get fucked over is when i can walk away. I still feel bad about my oneitis and would never want to go though that ever again.

Of course it's your choice, but from my experience being in a loving relationship is one of the greatest things about life. Even redpill folks talk a lot about LTRs. Something to think about.

Ok dude, now you have tasted it, drop the pua language. That shit is just a way of detaching yourself from the reality of the moment so you can avoid the psychological pain you expect from rejection. But you have changed, and you know now how little that matters, so please go back to treating them like fellow human beings. Because it gets harder to drop the longer you do it, and if you do it too long it will just alienate and isolate you from everyone around you until those are the only interactions you ever have.

I somehow feel as if this is in the wrong place.

yeah, i will not post any field reports here later on. thanks for the reminder.

I will post them on another place and link them back.