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"Biting the bullet" opposes happiness, confidence in conclusions [was: Re: Sub]

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  • Steve C. Floyd Jr.
    As an observation related to my composing of this message, I note that I am now sitting down to develop my reply to this message after several days has passed
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 6, 2009
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      As an observation related to my composing of this message, I note that I
      am now sitting down to develop my reply to this message after several
      days has passed during which I have not done so. Now that I have not
      read the content of this message in several days, I notice that many
      of the things I had typed do not accurately communicate what I had
      initially wanted them to. I think Paul recently brought this idea up
      to Olafur in a private message as a recommendation of how one might
      proofread one's own writings. The method Paul described was that when
      one takes a break from writing a message and comes back to it after
      some time, one will interpret the initial message much like a person
      who has never read it.

      Meta
      [I changed "whom" in the above sentence to "who". The pronoun (standing for "person" is the subject of the clause ending with "has never read it". "Whom" is the objective case, whereas "who" is the subjective case. --Paul]
      /Meta

      This enables the author to be an effective editor of hir
      own work, and in my case with this message, I find this to be true.
      However, it is also true that the amount of time required between
      writing periods may delay the message (as it has done for this message).

      > Re: Subjectivity of preferences, happiness, and evaluating habits
      >
      > On 02/20/2009 09:37 AM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
      > > The following is a comment from Kitty to me in a private email
      > > regarding the evaluation of a purchase made by someone else.
      > >
      > >> When I do think of another's expenditures that I would not make, I
      > >> often then give a few minutes to consider why that person has made
      > >> that purchase (or made that choice if it does not apply directly to
      > >> a purchased item) - what is s/he deriving from it? There are many
      > >> possibilities when one doesn't know the other person well and the
      > >> better hir characteristics are known, the more likely one or two of
      > >> the numerous possibilities selected are the actual case.
      > >>
      > >
      > > Good point Kitty. I have been trying recently to emphasize the
      > > subjectivity that is inherent in decisions, values, preferences, and
      > > choices of activities for enjoyment. I think for the past few years I
      > > have tried to discover "the one right way" of behaving, from an
      > > objective perspective. However, it is becoming increasingly evident to
      > > me that one's previous positive experiences are a large cause of what
      > > makes things enjoyable in the present.
      >
      > This is entirely reasonable. It is a normal aspect of learning through
      > experience present in all animals. However, humans have mental faculties
      > that enable them to analyze any experience in terms of both its short
      > and long range aspects, including analyzing just why it is "felt" to
      > be a positive experience. After such analysis, if one sees that the
      > experience (and the emotion about it) is *not* beneficial because the
      > events of the experience are actually *not* going to optimally increase
      > one's lifetime happiness, then the emotional reaction to that kind of
      > experience needs to be modified accordingly (the emotion is not
      > consistent with one's rationally held analysis of one's life and
      > therefore is actually harmful to continue having - because it distorts
      > rational decision making).
      >
      > > At the same time, I understand
      > > that new, positive experiences related to "better" habits can be
      > > nurtured. This is a cause of some recent frustration for me: which
      > > subjective preferences are "bad" and which are "good"? That is, which
      > > preferences or behaviors should be replaced with different ones? When
      > > one determines that a behavior needs replacing, one must ask: "with
      > > what do I replace it ?"
      >
      > There are several things here.
      > A subjective preference is not the same thing as an emotional response
      > to some experience (set of events). A subjective preference should be
      > the rational result of your analysis of the contribution to your
      > lifetime happiness of "whatever" it is that you are preferencing.

      I am still having difficulty distinguishing between preferences and
      emotional responses. In the way I was thinking of them prior to your
      reply, I had confused the two ideas. I thought that subjective
      preferences were based on prior experiences which have a positive or
      negative aspect to them. In other words, I was thinking of subjective
      preferences as emotional responses that have yet to be analyzed and
      rationalized that come from past experiences associated with that
      behavior/action/situation.

      > Once that analysis and decision is done and the "whatever" is found
      > to contribute to increasing your lifetime happiness, you should
      > automatically begin to have positive emotions in proportion to such
      > contribution, whenever that "whatever" occurs.

      The skill of evaluating my preferences and the effect of each on my
      lifetime happiness is something that I am trying to develop further. For
      example, there are certain types of musics, or specific songs, that will
      predictably change my mood to a certain positive state (i.e. relaxed
      or happy). Only recently have I began to make a connection between the
      changes in my level of happiness and the activities I participate in.
      Well, of course it would be difficult to *ignore* the effect of
      activities on one's mood, but it is relatively recently that I have made
      an effort to pay special attention to these connections so that I can
      better understand them and actively seek out those happiness-increasing
      activities.

      What I describe next may sound strange to some readers. However, I
      think that many young people may be experiencing this same situation,
      so I wanted to discuss it here so that others may relate to it. I know
      of at least one person around my age who has told me she has developed
      very similar habits with regard to how she considers her state of
      happiness.

      Meta
      [I changed "whom" in the above sentence to "who". The pronoun (standing for "one person" is the subject of the clause ending with "has told me". "Whom" is the objective case, whereas "who" is the subjective case. --Paul]
      /Meta

      One problem I think I am struggling with is that I repeatedly
      ignore, or fail to recognize, the effect of some experiences on my
      happiness. I think I have developed this problem from incorporating the
      idea of "biting the bullet". This phrase might be described as "doing
      the activities one is taught 'should' be done, regardless of whether the activities contribute positively to one's happiness". Through much
      of my life so far I have participated in the activities that I learned
      "should" be done, such as getting a college degree. Which activities
      *should* be done was determined by people other than myself, such as
      parents and family. I think that when I was younger (from the ages of
      10-20), I wanted to be a "good" son to my parents, and thus performed
      those activities that would make them proud of me. Because some of
      these activities were not very enjoyable to me, I learned to ignore my
      state of happiness with regard to a given activity, so I could complete
      the project successfully without my negative thoughts of the task
      interfering with my performance. One example of this is when one works
      at a job one does not particularly enjoy, but does so because s/he has
      few alternatives. From working at a series of projects with this
      perspective, I had learned to think "I must finish the current activity,
      regardless of my feelings for it". I know now that this way of thinking
      and acting is irrational and harmful, and I am making progress in
      changing it.

      > With respect to experiences to which you have positive emotions and
      > after analysis you now have a much lower subjective preference, what you
      > then need do is to modify your emotional response to that experience
      > so that it is proportional to that new subject preference. I have in
      > previous messages gone over how such emotional "modification" is
      > accomplished (similar to changing a habit).

      Right. I agree with the above. I discuss this more below, but first I
      will define and give examples of my thoughts about my "neutral
      preferences". I define "neutral preference" as a disposition toward an
      action or adopting/preferring some aspect of reality that is "neutral"
      with regard to one's lifetime happiness. Some examples of a neutral
      preference (for me) are: my preference for having facial hair, my
      preference for maintaining a shaved head, and my preference for certain
      video games as a form of mental stimulation.

      All three of the above examples I periodically re-evaluate with regard
      to my lifetime happiness. My frustration is that each of these
      preferences of mine have positive and negative aspects to them, which
      causes me to be ambivalent regarding my preference for them. For
      example, I prefer the look of my face having facial hair, compared to
      not having facial hair. However, I know that many people do not like
      facial hair, and many employers insist on employees not having facial
      hair. So I ask myself if the negative preferencing I will experience
      outweighs my enjoyment of having facial hair. Both of these positive and
      negative aspects are small, since this preference is not critical to my
      life happiness. But I do periodically re-evaluate this cost/benefit
      situation *and it is this re-evaluation* that is frustrating. It is
      frustrating because I think doing so is a nonsensical waste of my time.
      I don't know why I can't just confidently conclude: "this is my
      preference. There is no harm being done to me for having this
      preference, and I enjoy this preference," and proceed to enjoy it,
      without periodically re-evaluating it. I have also come to think that I
      place too much value on the opinions others hold regarding these neutral
      preferences. If I essentially concluded: "I don't care what others
      think", then I would not re-evaluate these seemingly neutral
      preferences. However, what other people think about me is an important
      aspect of life which affects my happiness. I will continue to think
      about this.

      Some of my frustration is that not all preferences are highly positive
      or highly negative. Some of them are relatively neutral with respect to
      my long-term happiness. However, I think I tend to re-evaluate these
      preferences that are neutral with regard to my happiness, and this
      re-evaluation is cumbersome. I think I do this because when a preference
      is neutral I find it difficult to conclude: "it is neutral, and
      therefore does not matter, so I no longer need to evaluate it". I think
      I need to learn to just *accept* these neutral preferences and
      confidently conclude that they *are* in-fact, neutral, and I can spend
      my time thinking about other things.

      > There is no need to always have something with which to replace a
      > "whatever" that you decide is not as valuable as you formerly thought
      > (or more correctly, "emoted") it was. Rather you can simply spend more
      > time on "whatevers" that you already know you value highly and enjoy.
      >
      > > Furthermore, I have been frustrated in my attempts to make a distinction
      > > between those preferences of mine that I derive enjoyment from that are
      > > not harmful or destructive, with those that are harmful or destructive.
      > > An easy way by which to make the distinction is to evaluate the
      > > long-term implications of holding each preference. If the long-term
      > > outcome of an attachment to a preference is negative, then one must do
      > > one's best to eliminate that preference.
      >
      > If it is negative, yes. But often one "whatever" is merely less
      > beneficial than another "whatever", rather than being actually
      > destructive/harmful.
      >
      > [In regards to food that is highly pleasurable tasting but is of
      > little nutritious value, one need not entirely eliminate that food
      > from one's intake, never partaking of it again. There are many
      > desert-type foods of which I and Paul take a small amount on the
      > infrequent occasions that we eat out. Since they are so rarely eaten,
      > I can enjoy a bit then - the chocolate volcano cake (small amount) was
      > one this past Thursday when we ate out on Paul's 71st birthday.
      >
      > For many of those we saw at the restaurant, it is clear that their
      > eating practices are mostly harmful. **Kitty]

      Good point Kitty. I think it is wise to keep a longer-term perspective
      on the "treat foods" that one only occasionally eats. One can eat these
      "treat foods", which have high pleasure and low nutritious value, and
      still be very healthy. It is the *frequency* with which one eats these
      foods that determines whether eating them is unhealthy.

      > > One example of this is my habit of,
      > > and preference for, lifting weights. I have regularly lifted weights
      > > for most of my life. Doing so makes me feel good, physiologically.
      > > For me, it has the effects of reducing stress, improving sleep,
      > > increasing motivation for other activities, and some others.
      >
      > These last benefits are related to the physical exercise and
      > accomplishment aspects of lifting weights, and are all highly valuable
      > results that you need to continue gaining. What you need to ask
      > therefore, is "Is lifting weights the best overall way to gain such
      > results?" - "Might there not be some other activities that will cause
      > the same results and be beneficial in other ways also, or not have some
      > of the detrimental effects of lifting weights?" You might ask yourself:
      > "what am I doing with my mind while I am lifting weights?" - "Is that a
      > valuable mental activity?" Perhaps you find lifting weights to be very
      > mentally relaxing and good time for reflection and analysis of problems
      > that you have been working on - as I do when taking a relaxing shower -
      > at which I definitely take more time than I need in order get clean -
      > which results in the negative effects of extra usage of my time, costs
      > of water and electricity, but wrt which I long ago decided are
      > worthwhile expenditures - ie the long showers give me a net gain of
      > lifetime happiness. The result of this is that I do not think of the
      > negatives of the longer showers, but only enjoy the whole in degree to
      > the net sum of benefit.

      The above analysis is a good example of how one might analyze a given
      preference for an activity, and I find the example useful. Your
      comparison of the positive and negative aspects of long-duration showers
      is one that looks familiar to me, as I have analyzed some behaviors of
      my own in this same way. This leads me to think that it is not my
      ability to reason effectively, but my lack of confidence in my
      conclusions, that cause me to re-evaluate these behaviors too often. If
      this is true, then I have a confidence problem, which fits with other
      characteristics I have identified about myself.

      This is a little discouraging to me, as I know I have struggled with
      this issue for a long time. However, one must identify a personality
      issue properly before one can effectively and efficiently improve it.

      > > In the past I have often
      > > lifted weights with "lifting buddies", and our experience together
      > > were enjoyable. Even now, when I lift weights alone, I often recall
      > > these fond experiences of lifting weights with others.
      >
      > Have you analyzed just *why* those experiences were "enjoyable" and
      > whether there were valid reasons for them being enjoyable, in light of
      > your new thinking? If you now find that the reasons for enjoyment were
      > *not* valid, then you must logically quit thinking of them with
      > enjoyment. There can be events in your past that you remember enjoying
      > (the memory is still there and certainly should be, otherwise you are
      > evading), but when you think of them now, it is with the thought of
      > "what a stupid thing to do and to enjoy". I think likely everyone
      > (at least every self-honest person) has such memories.

      This is a great question to ask Paul. I have considered this question
      in regard to my positive weight lifting experiences with my lifting
      buddies, and I concluded that I enjoyed the camaraderie and the fact
      that others shared my goal of improving one's body composition and
      overall health. I have also considered that this last may be a positive
      aspect to me because I feel mostly alone in my dedicated effort to
      constantly improve myself and my life. So I think I found my social
      weightlifting experiences encouraging that people other than myself
      have a desire to grow and improve. My weightlifting buddies and I also
      learned a lot from one another about weight lifting, health, and
      exercise physiology, as each of us were interested in improving
      different aspects of our bodies. So we had the opportunity to share our
      knowledge with one another - an activity I found enjoyable. However,
      my goals for "muscle-development" are now much lower than theirs, as I
      think I am at a satisfactory level in this regard. This means that I
      do not require the amount of weight, or the number of weightlifting
      sessions per week, to reach my goals, as they do. Therefore, I have
      spent a greatly decreased amount of time with my weightlifting buddies
      in the last six months, since our once-shared goals have mostly diverged.

      > [There is another way to consider memories that elicit pleasant
      > thoughts about those previous times that include people for whom you
      > now have little in common as a result of your changed views on what is
      > important to you. As an example, I have personally found this to be
      > the case for numerous people, including ones to whom I am biologically
      > related. I still have very pleasant memories from many years ago, but
      > I have no desire to interact with these individuals now based on their
      > later - and even in some cases fairly recent - demonstrations of
      > values that are diametrically opposed to mine. One individual has even
      > clearly expressed a wish that I be harmed, but I still have many fond
      > memories of him that cover about 23 years. In contrast, I spend
      > virtually no time wishing that he, as well as the others, were
      > different since that is a waste of my time. **Kitty]

      I think it is an excellent conclusion you have come to - that it is a
      waste of your time to wish that these people were different. There are a
      couple people in my life whom I occasionally think about, and I think it
      is a waste of my time to do so. Again, I have a difficult time holding a
      firm conclusion about these people, and sometimes contact them to see
      how they are doing or to influence them. Perhaps a better behavior would
      be to: when I have this desire to ask about them, I should instead
      decide to make an effort to meet someone new instead. This would enable
      me to get to know someone new and possibly interesting, rather than
      continuing to interact with the same people that have repeatedly
      disappointed me in the past. This seems like a healthy habit with regard
      to reducing the amount of time wasted on disappointing people, while
      increasing the frequency with which I meet new people - both positive
      changes for me.

      > [However, I also have
      > hundreds of photos (almost all neatly in albums) and dozens of hours
      > on video tape that I can - if I want to spend the time - view for my
      > own pleasure or show to others. **Kitty]
      >
      > > However, our
      > > previous discussions on the topic of building muscle and strength
      > > has made me question my preference for lifting weights.
      >
      > Lifting weights may be of more value to the elderly to oppose sarcopenia
      > and reduction of bone density/strength, but I do not see it to be of as
      > good health/longevity value for younger people as are many other kinds
      > of exercise. In addition, I cannot see why pure physical grunt work is
      > as enjoyable as applying the same physical labor to something inherently
      > useful in its accomplishment.

      I have thought about your paragraph above quite a bit in the last few
      days. I have concluded that I lift weights to provide me with a more
      systematic protocol for maintaining my strength. I do take many
      opportunities to do something useful with my labor, such as chopping
      wood for my parents' wood burner when I lived with them to contribute to
      the household, as well as riding my bike to class instead of driving.
      However, from my understanding of the many muscle groups and ranges of
      motion in the body, I would be neglecting many of them if I only engaged
      in "useful" physical labor. For example, I have noticed that my hip
      flexors are quite weak, and I can not hold my leg straight out in front
      of me for very long before my hip flexors become very fatigued. I
      understand hip flexors to be important for posture and for avoiding
      falls, so I want to correct this. However, I don't think my current
      bike-riding will help very much with this weakness. So my weight lifting
      protocol is to target those muscle groups that I don't normally use
      (which is many of them).

      I want to clarify my weight lifting protocol for this discussion, since
      the term "weight-lifting" can be associated with many degrees of
      intensity. I currently lift weights for about 20 minutes, three times
      per week. During those sessions I do exercises involving my body weight
      (push-up derivatives, sit-ups), and some other exercises with 15 or 30
      lbs in each hand, depending on the exercise. I do not have a goal of
      lifting an enormous amount of weight, which can be very stressful on the
      immune system and joints. Instead, during my workouts I try to
      systematically "challenge" those muscle groups which are otherwise
      neglected by my daily activities. Some important areas to me are my
      shoulders (I had a shoulder injury due to a fall several years ago, and
      the resistance training helps), my lower back (which hurt in the past
      due to my sitting at a computer hunched-over for long hours - resistance
      training has improved this also), and my upper back (I had never
      developed this area very much while previously weight-training, and I
      think it is important to have well-developed back muscles to support the
      spine).

      I am happy with my current weight-lifting protocol, as I don't think it
      stresses my body very much due to the lower-weight compared to what I
      previously used (I once bench-pressed 300 lbs - excessive, I know),
      doesn't take up very much time, and it exercises those muscles that,
      with time, tend to be neglected and result in injuries.

      > The trick is to find useful physical labor in this day of so many
      > labor saving devices and a general trend toward reducing physical
      > labor for productive purposes. However, that is why I and Kitty always
      > eschew taking the easy way to do many things as long as we can afford
      > the time. For example I use hand saws for most of what I saw as long
      > as there is no necessity to get a very straight cut.

      Yes this is a good trick. On the rare occasion that someone helps me
      with my house projects, I often get asked why I choose to use a hand-saw
      for 2x4's instead of using the electric circular saw. I'm surprised to
      see most people eschew such an opportunity to get a little extra
      exercise and accomplish something by doing it.

      > When I "make" the water every few days (25 gallons of water after
      > reverse osmosis treatment), I always have to carry out the pails of
      > effluent water (slightly higher concentration of impurities than from
      > the tap - totaling about 100 gallons - 10 -10 gallon pails) one in
      > each hand and water the fir trees with them. (This is in addition to
      > their regular drip irrigation.) As I do, I lift each up with one arm
      > to get my other hand underneath it in order to pour it. That gives me
      > a little natural weight carrying and lifting activity.

      I think this is a great practice. I try to do something similar when I
      buy groceries. I only shop every few weeks to "stock up", so when I do,
      I usually get a fair number of things. When carrying them into the house
      I try to get them all in one trip, which can get quite heavy. But I
      think having both hands full of grocery bags is good exercise for one's
      arms and shoulders. However, I don't do this when I purchase eggs
      *laughs*. I had an accident doing this with eggs once and I'd rather
      avoid it in the future.

      > When coming back from the basement, I only go up the 14 steps one at a
      > time if I am carrying something heavy and/or awkward, otherwise I go 2
      > at a time. Unfortunately with most of the buildings being only one
      > floor, Arizona presents little opportunity for taking stairs instead
      > of elevators and escalators - although there are certainly lots of
      > rocky hills to climb.
      >
      > When in the supermarket I generally use a hand basket instead of a
      > cart, and it is also faster to get around through the aisles that way.
      > I and Kitty also always carry our groceries in cloth bags that we
      > bring into the market (to save on plastic bag waste - and sometimes to
      > get a reward for doing so), back to the car, which in turn is parked
      > at the far end of the parking lot (again, unless we are in a hurry).
      >
      > [We've gotten into the habit of looking at the need to make an extra
      > walking trip (down to the basement, or in a store looking for
      > something, or back out to the mailbox, etc) as "opportunities", rather
      > than a nuisance. **Kitty]

      This seems like a good perspective to have about a brief, physical
      errand. Currently I try to minimize my *time spent* on these types of
      errands, as I think I get enough cardiovascular exercise by riding my
      bike to class four times per week. But for someone who gets relatively
      little exercise this is a healthy way to look at such an opportunity.

      > [Even our manual garage door is an opportunity for me
      > to weight lift - Paul does most of the driving here in AZ and I get
      > the door honors ;>) The heavy double door had an automatic opener that
      > was not working when Paul started living here half a year at a time,
      > but neither of us has had any interest in seeing if it can be fixed
      > and even less in replacing it.
      > I think far too many people fail to make opportunities for physical
      > activity in their regular daily lives, and spend money to let a
      > fitness club, they hope, make them fit.... **Kitty]

      I emphatically agree with your very last comment Kitty. Nearly everyone
      I interact with at the university think it is strange that I ride my
      bike to school. They say it's strange because it's winter and can get
      quite cold. Some of these people pay for gym memberships and make
      frequent trips out of their way to get exercise. However, some of these
      same people could ride their bike to class without undue risk of harm
      and perhaps save money on a gym membership, and additionally save the
      time they would otherwise spend driving to and from the gym. I'm really
      happy with my decision to ride my bike to work/class (both at the
      university). I get approx. 2 hours of bike-riding per week, spend an
      average of approx. $60/year on gasoline, and save time by riding my bike
      (compared to driving). It was a great decision for me to do this.

      > > This change of
      > > habits, behavior, or disposition toward a preference has been difficult
      > > for me. It is less difficult when the negative consequences of a
      > > preference are obvious to me (such as being fat). However, when
      > > evaluating some preferences, I find that it is difficult to clearly
      > > determine the net, long-term outcome, such as with lifting weights. I
      > > know I very much enjoy lifting weights.
      >
      > But have you fully analyzed the rationality of all the reasons why you
      > "enjoy lifting weights", rather than merely the possible long term harm
      > of having unnecessary muscle (which I agree is not black and white)?

      I appreciate your bringing up this important question to me. I think I
      have given the subject a thorough enough evaluation to justify my
      current level of weight lifting frequency and intensity.

      There is one other possible positive aspect of weightlifting that helps
      me to justify to myself my current weight lifting protocol. I also have
      a hypothesis that weight lifting while restricting calories (which is
      what I do) will improve autophagic proteolysis and protein recycling.
      I found one article that found that, after a fasted weight lifting
      session, protein synthesis was greater than protein degradation. From my
      limited understanding of protein balance, this would require the body to
      use its current sources of nitrogen and amino acids to have a positive
      protein synthesis value in the fasted state. And since there is no
      exogenous source of amino acids (subjects exercised while fasted and
      remained so for some time after the exercise), endogenous protein must
      have been recycled (i.e. proteolysis and recycling) to achieve a
      positive protein synthesis value.

      I have not studied this hypothesis as much as I'd like, but I have seen
      some evidence that it may be true. I am currently working toward a
      better understanding of biochemistry, so I can better evaluate evidence
      related to hypotheses such as this one. If anyone would like to study it
      further and report it here I would appreciate it. I have spent some time
      trying to find the article and finally found one that sounds familiar (I
      have not read it in a while). Here is the link to the Pubmed abstract:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252485

      Additionally, I understand that exercise, especially weight-lifting and
      other anaerobic exercise, strongly enhances insulin sensitivity and
      glucose disposal. I have read several articles that specifically
      advocated strength training as a treatment for type 2 diabetics to
      improve insulin sensitivity. This is another benefit I see for
      maintaining a strength-training protocol. I am not inclined at this time
      to present articles to support this, so if a reader is interested in
      learning more about this, I would recommend searching academic articles
      for terms such as "type 2 diabetes, strength, resistance, weight,
      training, exercise, GLUT4, insulin sensitivity". Note that published
      articles use the terms "strength", "weight", and "resistance"
      interchangeably, and combine one of these words with "training" or
      "exercise", which makes a search for weight training a little more
      difficult.

      > Re-read what I wrote about it above. Do you get some other benefit from
      > these weight lifting "buddies" or are they otherwise merely a bunch of
      > jerks. And if the latter, then why do you value anything about them at
      > all. After all, a large male gorilla can lift a lot more weight then any
      > of you or any other human!

      I see your point here about the gorilla vs. human with regard to valuing
      strength, and I discussed my lifting buddies in my above comments.

      > Humans are made to get far, far more enjoyment
      > from efficacious use of their brains than of their bodies.

      I agree with your last statement about happiness and the use of one's
      brain.

      > > It brings me happiness. However, does
      > > the long-term negative consequences associated with weight-lifting
      > > out-weigh the happiness I derive from it over my lifetime? The
      > > answer to this is difficult for me to decide upon.
      >
      > As long as you are certain that the happiness you derive from any
      > activity is fully reasonable, then you should not totally eliminate
      > it unless it is very clearly of major harm. OTOH, I cannot see how
      > it would be possible to rationally continue to enjoy something that
      > is harmful.

      Right, I agree. I think Nathaniel Branden explained this well in the
      books of his I have read so far. The idea I got from him was that
      continuing to enjoy (or participate) in something that is clearly
      harmful harms one's self-esteem - and for good reason. One some level of
      consciousness, one is aware that one's behavior is self-destructive, and
      is good reason to be disappointed in one's behavior, and essentially, in
      one's self.

      > I don't really see how such conflicts are possible once a
      > person has analyzed the situation fully enough. I think the answer
      > would be to do only a small amount of the activity such that it would
      > no longer be harmful.

      I was going to state, one way in which a conflict is possible is when
      there is not enough evidence to conclude that the behavior is a net
      positive or negative. However, you proposed a good solution to this:
      only do a small amount of the activity so that it reduces the negative
      consequences. My and Kitty's discussion of treat foods above is a good
      example of this.

      > For something like alcohol this is clear. I and
      > Kitty still eat very small amounts of some things for which greatly
      > enjoy the taste (a very hard emotion to totally eliminate) because we
      > protect ourselves so well in other ways from their potentially harmful
      > effects.

      This is another good way to continue to do enjoyable but slightly
      harmful things: to only do them when one can reduce the harmful effect
      by some intervention, as you described above.

      > However, if after this analysis of the benefits and harms of weight
      > lifting, you find that you have no other means of reducing the weight
      > lifting and replacing some of it with another activity that has the
      > same benefits, then you should not stop lifting weights until you do
      > develop some such replacement.

      I had never thought about "replacement activities" for weight lifting,
      so I'm glad you suggested it. I have thought of alternative activities
      for other things, food being a main example (i.e. I will replace
      strawberry shortcake with strawberry yogurt).

      > [I've noticed with those many people who do continue a clearly harmful
      > activity and who acknowledge that they are doing so, that they almost
      > always demonstrate that they have not done a thorough evaluation of
      > the benefit/harm to themselves. I think that they use the "shoe-box"
      > method of thinking - sometimes referred to as "under the bed" or "head
      > in the sand". They tuck away the serious thinking/evaluation for "some
      > other time" and never do get to it until some very definite problem
      > occurs. **Kitty]

      Yes, I see this also. I see this with a number of individuals on the
      weight lifting and bodybuilding forums I read. On these forums there are
      a number of people who ask about insulin sensitivity and weight loss
      because they have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or had
      a heart attack.

      > [By they then have to undo damage which is far more difficult,
      > if even possible, than preventing its occurrence would have been. **Kitty]

      Yes, unfortunately.

      > [It is quite reasonable to get pleasure from encouragement and praise,
      > but reasonably encouragement and praise should mean little from those
      > one has little respect for (just as negative criticism from someone
      > for whom you have no respect means little). **Kitty]

      I have found this to be true, and is generally the perspective that I have.

      > [In contrast, the praise
      > and encouragement will mean far more from someone highly valued (as
      > will also any negative expressions from such a person be more
      > hurtful). So if you want to retain this type of pleasure, I suggest
      > cultivating and/or increasing friendships with those you admire and
      > in beneficial activities that you both/all enjoy. **Kitty]

      That is good advice. My current organic chemistry professor did to me
      recently in class. First, I usually answer his in-class questions
      correctly. However, I skipped class twice in the last two weeks and he
      came to the lab I work in and asked me (playfully) if I was dropping his
      course. I told him no, and that I was studying independently. The next
      class session I answered some relatively difficult questions and he said
      to me in front of the class: "Okay, Steve, you are the only one who is
      allowed to skip my class". *laughs in enjoyment*. That felt good, even
      more so because I know I worked to earn the praise.

      > [Paul and I are praise/encouragement sources for each other. **Kitty]

      This praise from other individuals whom I admire and respect is
      something that does not come frequently for me, mostly because there
      aren't many people regularly involved in my life whom I respect. So
      that's great that you and Paul are a source of praise and encouragement
      for one another.

      Meta
      [Your "whom" above was correct (the objective case) because it was a pronoun standing for "many people regularly involved in my life" and was the object of the clause "I respect" as "I respect many people". --Paul]
      /Meta

      > [We do enjoy the praise we
      > get from others when we dance, an activity that we have evaluated as
      > being truly beneficial, partly because it has so many facets to it,
      > and we certainly enjoy the praise more from a good DJ and/or other
      > good dancers than from those who simply stand on the sidelines. **Kitty]

      Yes, I'd bet many DJs have seen quite a few dancers, so to receive
      praise might be more pleasurable, given the DJs assumed experience.

      > [In your case, Steve, from what I read, you are motivated to do a
      > thorough assessment. Based on your reported actions, I think you will
      > be successful in making the choice that will best optimize your
      > lifetime happiness. **Kitty]

      Thanks for the encouragement Kitty *warm smiles*. I read your
      encouragement at an ironic time -- just after I was lamenting above
      how there are very few people in my life from whom I would enjoy
      encouragement. So the timing was excellent *big laughs*.

      > > I have been trying to evaluate
      > > all of my preferences and behaviors in this manner and have begun to
      > > feel ambivalent about nearly everything I enjoy. Most habits have
      > > positive and negative aspects related to each of them.
      >
      > Sometimes the negative effects can be reduced or eliminated entirely by
      > practicing moderation in the activity. However, there are many activities,
      > particularly mental ones, that have no negative aspects other than the
      > use of your limited amount of time. I think that you need to develop
      > many more enjoyable mental activities and only do physical ones to the
      > extent necessary to stay healthy - which is actually very little once
      > you are on a CR and fasting protein cycling diet.

      I think your suggestion above is accurate and useful for me. I do find
      that I feel physically well nearly every day, and am ill very
      infrequently, which indicates that I am in good health. However, I do
      find that I get "bored" fairly often - when I'm not busy with
      schoolwork. I think this boredom is a function of the limited number
      of mental activities I engage in - just what you noted above.

      > > One positive
      > > aspect that must be weighed against the negative aspects of a
      > > given habit is the enjoyment derived from that habit.
      >
      > Absolutely true. But in the end your emotional response to the activity
      > must become an integrated whole habit, rather than fragmented into
      > negative and positive aspects depending on your thoughts. Perhaps you
      > are still at the stage of constantly fragmented thoughts about the
      > activity rather than having fully reprogrammed your emotions to become
      > the subconscious and automatic *net results* of these thoughts.

      This describes exactly how I feel about many of my habits: that I have
      not yet fully reprogrammed my emotions to be the automatic net result of
      my thoughts about a given habit. There are some habits I have concluded
      that I enjoy, and emotionally appreciate them when I engage in them. One
      example is my enjoyment of ground flax seed, which I have a few
      tablespoons per day of. But, my special enjoyment of flax seed is the
      aroma. I remember when I first started losing weight when I was 210 lbs
      I decided that flax seed would be helpful in getting healthy fatty
      acids, and fiber to keep me feeling fuller. I remember smelling the
      ground flax, and the aroma was strange to me, as I had never eaten it
      before. I was a little wary of eating it at first, since it was foreign
      to me. But at the time I decided that I would lose the excess weight,
      even if I had to "resort" to eating things that were foreign to me. Now,
      the smell of flax seed reminds me of my previous determination to change
      my habits, and that I have maintained those healthier habits. Knowing
      this, and that flax is quite healthy, makes my eating flax enjoyable
      to me in several ways.

      > --Paul
      >
      > [Reprogramming one's emotions is not quickly done, but rather can take
      > many months. And even then there will likely be times years later that
      > a "reminder" pleasurable emotion will occur with an activity or person
      > that has been determined to be rationally negative. (Many former
      > smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers report this to be the case.) **Kitty]

      I also occasionally experience this related to eating too-large of
      portions of treats.

      > But if
      > one is mostly consistent in hir values (no one is 100% consistent),
      > and they have a foundation of principles valid for reality, then hir
      > emotions and ideas/values will quickly come back into accord. **Kitty]

      ---
      Max Peto / Steve Floyd
    • Paul Wakfer
      ... Meta Actually, since the above comment was *about* the message and composing it, it should have been enclosed in Meta tags. Then my reply comment below
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 23, 2009
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        On 03/06/2009 06:50 PM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
        > As an observation related to my composing of this message, I note that I
        > am now sitting down to develop my reply to this message after several
        > days has passed during which I have not done so. Now that I have not
        > read the content of this message in several days, I notice that many
        > of the things I had typed do not accurately communicate what I had
        > initially wanted them to. I think Paul recently brought this idea up
        > to Olafur in a private message as a recommendation of how one might
        > proofread one's own writings. The method Paul described was that when
        > one takes a break from writing a message and comes back to it after
        > some time, one will interpret the initial message much like a person
        > who has never read it.
        >
        > This enables the author to be an effective editor of hir
        > own work, and in my case with this message, I find this to be true.
        > However, it is also true that the amount of time required between
        > writing periods may delay the message (as it has done for this message).
        >

        Meta
        Actually, since the above comment was *about* the message and composing
        it, it should have been enclosed in Meta tags. Then my reply comment
        below would have been placed within within those Meta tags. And this
        Meta comment would have been in another set of Meta tags inside the
        other. As it is, because this is a comment *about* that portion of the
        message, I have placed it in Meta tags.
        /Meta

        And I have been delayed with this reply because of wiki website work.

        >
        >> Re: Subjectivity of preferences, happiness, and evaluating habits
        >>
        >> On 02/20/2009 09:37 AM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
        >>
        >>> The following is a comment from Kitty to me in a private email
        >>> regarding the evaluation of a purchase made by someone else.
        >>>
        >>>
        >>>> When I do think of another's expenditures that I would not make, I
        >>>> often then give a few minutes to consider why that person has made
        >>>> that purchase (or made that choice if it does not apply directly to
        >>>> a purchased item) - what is s/he deriving from it? There are many
        >>>> possibilities when one doesn't know the other person well and the
        >>>> better hir characteristics are known, the more likely one or two of
        >>>> the numerous possibilities selected are the actual case.
        >>>>
        >>>>
        >>> Good point Kitty. I have been trying recently to emphasize the
        >>> subjectivity that is inherent in decisions, values, preferences, and
        >>> choices of activities for enjoyment. I think for the past few years I
        >>> have tried to discover "the one right way" of behaving, from an
        >>> objective perspective. However, it is becoming increasingly evident to
        >>> me that one's previous positive experiences are a large cause of what
        >>> makes things enjoyable in the present.
        >>>
        >> This is entirely reasonable. It is a normal aspect of learning through
        >> experience present in all animals. However, humans have mental faculties
        >> that enable them to analyze any experience in terms of both its short
        >> and long range aspects, including analyzing just why it is "felt" to
        >> be a positive experience. After such analysis, if one sees that the
        >> experience (and the emotion about it) is *not* beneficial because the
        >> events of the experience are actually *not* going to optimally increase
        >> one's lifetime happiness, then the emotional reaction to that kind of
        >> experience needs to be modified accordingly (the emotion is not
        >> consistent with one's rationally held analysis of one's life and
        >> therefore is actually harmful to continue having - because it distorts
        >> rational decision making).
        >>
        >>
        >>> At the same time, I understand
        >>> that new, positive experiences related to "better" habits can be
        >>> nurtured. This is a cause of some recent frustration for me: which
        >>> subjective preferences are "bad" and which are "good"? That is, which
        >>> preferences or behaviors should be replaced with different ones? When
        >>> one determines that a behavior needs replacing, one must ask: "with
        >>> what do I replace it ?"
        >>>
        >> There are several things here.
        >> A subjective preference is not the same thing as an emotional response
        >> to some experience (set of events). A subjective preference should be
        >> the rational result of your analysis of the contribution to your
        >> lifetime happiness of "whatever" it is that you are preferencing.
        >>
        > I am still having difficulty distinguishing between preferences and
        > emotional responses. In the way I was thinking of them prior to your
        > reply, I had confused the two ideas. I thought that subjective
        > preferences were based on prior experiences which have a positive or
        > negative aspect to them. In other words, I was thinking of subjective
        > preferences as emotional responses that have yet to be analyzed and
        > rationalized that come from past experiences associated with that
        > behavior/action/situation.

        Your statement is *almost* correct. Most certainly initial preferences
        (all preferences are subjective!) come from past experiences. And the
        learning experiences during one's development directly cause all one's
        initial preferences. Besides some contribution from one's genetic
        makeup, there is simply no other source for those preferences. However,
        I think that it is important to clearly distinguish between an emotion
        (a conscious result of wholly *subconscious* "evaluations") and a
        preference (a conscious choice and action).

        >> Once that analysis and decision is done and the "whatever" is found
        >> to contribute to increasing your lifetime happiness, you should
        >> automatically begin to have positive emotions in proportion to such
        >> contribution, whenever that "whatever" occurs.
        >
        > The skill of evaluating my preferences and the effect of each on my
        > lifetime happiness is something that I am trying to develop further. For
        > example, there are certain types of musics, or specific songs, that will
        > predictably change my mood to a certain positive state (i.e. relaxed
        > or happy). Only recently have I began to make a connection between the
        > changes in my level of happiness and the activities I participate in.
        > Well, of course it would be difficult to *ignore* the effect of
        > activities on one's mood, but it is relatively recently that I have made
        > an effort to pay special attention to these connections so that I can
        > better understand them and actively seek out those happiness-increasing
        > activities.

        Such "noticing" is, of course the necessary first step prior to making
        connections and understanding, so it is good that you are increasing
        your ability to introspectively notice your states of mind and their
        possible meanings.

        [I have done a lot of this noticing in the past couple of years and
        comparing them to emotional levels I experienced in the years prior to
        about 2005. I think it took about 4.5 years with Paul to come to
        understand myself much better than ever before so the most marked
        upward change in my *overall* happiness state has been from about that
        point. And I fairly often note to myself how different my general mood
        is from what it was prior to the beginning of 2000. I don't remember
        doing this kind of "inventory" consciously during the years of my
        previous relationships, but I can easily look back and recall my mood,
        which was most very one I would now loosely term a low-level anxiety. **Kitty]

        > What I describe next may sound strange to some readers. However, I
        > think that many young people may be experiencing this same situation,
        > so I wanted to discuss it here so that others may relate to it. I know
        > of at least one person around my age who has told me she has developed
        > very similar habits with regard to how she considers her state of
        > happiness. One problem I think I am struggling with is that I repeatedly
        > ignore, or fail to recognize, the effect of some experiences on my
        > happiness. I think I have developed this problem from incorporating the
        > idea of "biting the bullet". This phrase might be described as "doing
        > the activities one is taught 'should' be done, regardless of whether
        > the activities contribute positively to one's happiness". Through much
        > of my life so far I have participated in the activities that I learned
        > "should" be done, such as getting a college degree. Which activities
        > *should* be done was determined by people other than myself, such as
        > parents and family. I think that when I was younger (from the ages of
        > 10-20), I wanted to be a "good" son to my parents, and thus performed
        > those activities that would make them proud of me. Because some of
        > these activities were not very enjoyable to me, I learned to ignore my
        > state of happiness with regard to a given activity, so I could complete
        > the project successfully without my negative thoughts of the task
        > interfering with my performance.

        There is always a limit to which one can ignore the negatives of a task
        and still effectively accomplish it and most minds will not allow such
        inconsistencies with reality to continue without some negative effects
        on health and longevity. This is because such "ignoring" means that one
        is incorrectly evaluating the total effect on one's lifetime happiness.

        > One example of this is when one works
        > at a job one does not particularly enjoy, but does so because s/he has
        > few alternatives. From working at a series of projects with this
        > perspective, I had learned to think "I must finish the current activity,
        > regardless of my feelings for it". I know now that this way of thinking
        > and acting is irrational and harmful, and I am making progress in
        > changing it.

        Excellent!

        >> With respect to experiences to which you have positive emotions and
        >> after analysis you now have a much lower subjective preference, what you
        >> then need do is to modify your emotional response to that experience
        >> so that it is proportional to that new subject preference. I have in
        >> previous messages gone over how such emotional "modification" is
        >> accomplished (similar to changing a habit).
        >>
        > Right. I agree with the above. I discuss this more below, but first I
        > will define and give examples of my thoughts about my "neutral
        > preferences". I define "neutral preference" as a disposition toward an
        > action or adopting/preferring some aspect of reality that is "neutral"
        > with regard to one's lifetime happiness. Some examples of a neutral
        > preference (for me) are: my preference for having facial hair, my
        > preference for maintaining a shaved head, and my preference for certain
        > video games as a form of mental stimulation.

        In thinking of these as "neutral", you are guilty of the logical fallacy
        of isolation of a choice or action from *all* of its surrounding harms
        and benefits (similar to the broken window fallacy made famous by
        Bastiat and elucidated superbly by Henry Hazlitt in his book "Economics
        in One Lesson"). In fact, a rational preference choice or action can
        never be actually neutral (in the sense of neither increasing nor
        decreasing one's lifetime happiness) since there is always some choice that
        one at least evaluates will cause one's lifetime happiness to not
        decrease. In thoughtfully considering my previous statement it is
        imperative to remember that lifetime happiness is *not* the happiness up
        to this point or even the happiness up to right after your next action.
        Rather it is the estimated happiness that will be obtained for the
        entire time of your life into the indefinite future (which, since you
        cannot change the past, is actually the same as the accumulated total
        happiness over the rest of your life).

        > All three of the above examples I periodically re-evaluate with regard
        > to my lifetime happiness. My frustration is that each of these
        > preferences of mine have positive and negative aspects to them,

        I have news for you. *Every* choice and action has both positive and
        negative aspects to it, even if the negative is only that the time taken
        to evaluate and do it cannot be spent evaluating other choices and
        taking other actions. I face that dilemma every day. I have so many
        things that I want to do, but only have time to do some of them. I
        constantly wish that I could duplicate myself dozens of times over in
        order to be able to have all my goals accomplished.

        > which causes me to be ambivalent regarding my preference for them. For
        > example, I prefer the look of my face having facial hair, compared to
        > not having facial hair. However, I know that many people do not like
        > facial hair, and many employers insist on employees not having facial
        > hair. So I ask myself if the negative preferencing I will experience
        > outweighs my enjoyment of having facial hair.

        This is the wrong approach. Negative preferencing by others says far
        more about them than it does about you. It can be used by you as a great
        tool for your own preferencing actions regarding the degree to which you
        want to relate to others. Do you really want to work for someone or
        associate much with someone who has that view of what your appearance
        ought to be?

        > Both of these positive and negative aspects are small, since this
        > preference is not critical to my life happiness.

        It could be so critical if it prevented you from being able to interact
        sufficiently with others that you could not gain the necessities of
        life. And this is merely with regard to others simply refusing to deal
        with you. It says nothing about the possibility of others actually
        perpetrating physical harm because of some trait that you have or action
        that you take that is of no physical harm to anyone else (as happens
        all the time in less socially advanced countries).

        > But I do periodically re-evaluate this cost/benefit
        > situation *and it is this re-evaluation* that is frustrating. It is
        > frustrating because I think doing so is a nonsensical waste of my time.
        > I don't know why I can't just confidently conclude: "this is my
        > preference. There is no harm being done to me for having this
        > preference, and I enjoy this preference," and proceed to enjoy it,
        > without periodically re-evaluating it. I have also come to think that I
        > place too much value on the opinions others hold regarding these neutral
        > preferences. If I essentially concluded: "I don't care what others
        > think", then I would not re-evaluate these seemingly neutral
        > preferences. However, what other people think about me is an important
        > aspect of life which affects my happiness. I will continue to think
        > about this.

        What you are missing is that the importance of what others think about
        you should be directly proportional to your overall evaluation of the
        benefit to your lifetime happiness of interactions with them. It is
        only rational to highly value the opinions (subjective evaluations) of
        those for whom you have an overall high value for the purpose of
        interaction. Generally this is because the thoughts and evaluations of
        those people will generally be more logical and more compatible to
        your own subjective preferences than are the evaluations of the
        others.
        (Note: I have made this evaluation of others here only relate to their
        benefit to you for the purposes of interaction, precisely because you
        were specifically discussing the reactions to you of others with whom
        you are relating. This is quite different than one's evaluation of the
        statements of someone knowledgeable with whom one does not relate.)
        So it is not correct to go from great caring about the opinions of
        others to not caring at all. In the end, the degree of caring for
        others and their opinions about your actions are both integral parts
        of the evaluation of the contribution of that action toward your
        lifetime happiness. However, it is also important to use all actions
        and all reactions of others towards you as tools by which to
        continually reevaluate your measure of their worth to you.

        > Some of my frustration is that not all preferences are highly positive
        > or highly negative. Some of them are relatively neutral with respect to
        > my long-term happiness. However, I think I tend to re-evaluate these
        > preferences that are neutral with regard to my happiness, and this
        > re-evaluation is cumbersome. I think I do this because when a preference
        > is neutral I find it difficult to conclude: "it is neutral, and
        > therefore does not matter, so I no longer need to evaluate it". I think
        > I need to learn to just *accept* these neutral preferences and
        > confidently conclude that they *are* in-fact, neutral, and I can spend
        > my time thinking about other things.

        It is clear now that by "neutral" you actually mean that taking an
        action or not taking it will make little difference to your total
        lifetime happiness. Again what I think that you are missing is that
        most of life's actions are actually of that form. The lives of most
        people consist of a majority of actions each of which contribute a
        small amount to their lifetime happiness (only minimally more than
        some alternate action) and a very few actions that either increase or
        decrease their lifetime happiness a great deal. But you are correct
        that it is not time well spent (ie not conducive to your lifetime
        happiness) to dwell on actions that can only possibly have a minor
        effect on your lifetime happiness. My approach to such minor things
        (most actions) is to make them into habits that I only occasionally
        reconsider - generally when something brings it to my attention.

        >> There is no need to always have something with which to replace a
        >> "whatever" that you decide is not as valuable as you formerly thought
        >> (or more correctly, "emoted") it was. Rather you can simply spend more
        >> time on "whatevers" that you already know you value highly and enjoy.
        >>
        >>> Furthermore, I have been frustrated in my attempts to make a distinction
        >>> between those preferences of mine that I derive enjoyment from that are
        >>> not harmful or destructive, with those that are harmful or destructive.
        >>> An easy way by which to make the distinction is to evaluate the
        >>> long-term implications of holding each preference. If the long-term
        >>> outcome of an attachment to a preference is negative, then one must do
        >>> one's best to eliminate that preference.
        >>>
        >> If it is negative, yes. But often one "whatever" is merely less
        >> beneficial than another "whatever", rather than being actually
        >> destructive/harmful.
        >>
        >> [In regards to food that is highly pleasurable tasting but is of
        >> little nutritious value, one need not entirely eliminate that food
        >> from one's intake, never partaking of it again. There are many
        >> desert-type foods of which I and Paul take a small amount on the
        >> infrequent occasions that we eat out. Since they are so rarely eaten,
        >> I can enjoy a bit then - the chocolate volcano cake (small amount) was
        >> one this past Thursday when we ate out on Paul's 71st birthday.
        >>
        >> For many of those we saw at the restaurant, it is clear that their
        >> eating practices are mostly harmful. **Kitty]
        >
        > Good point Kitty. I think it is wise to keep a longer-term perspective
        > on the "treat foods" that one only occasionally eats. One can eat these
        > "treat foods", which have high pleasure and low nutritious value, and
        > still be very healthy. It is the *frequency* with which one eats these
        > foods that determines whether eating them is unhealthy.

        Agreed, of course :)

        [It is probably more the combination of frequency *and* amount of the
        intake of low nutritional value food that can be detrimental to one's
        overall health. A *very* small amount of such food taken frequently
        (eg. every other day) will likely be of less harm (if any at all) than
        a generous serving (pig-out) once a month. The "trick" I need to keep
        in mind for myself is not to let those "very small" amounts get larger
        and more often. ;>) **Kitty]

        >>> One example of this is my habit of,
        >>> and preference for, lifting weights. I have regularly lifted weights
        >>> for most of my life. Doing so makes me feel good, physiologically.
        >>> For me, it has the effects of reducing stress, improving sleep,
        >>> increasing motivation for other activities, and some others.
        >>>
        >> These last benefits are related to the physical exercise and
        >> accomplishment aspects of lifting weights, and are all highly valuable
        >> results that you need to continue gaining. What you need to ask
        >> therefore, is "Is lifting weights the best overall way to gain such
        >> results?" - "Might there not be some other activities that will cause
        >> the same results and be beneficial in other ways also, or not have some
        >> of the detrimental effects of lifting weights?" You might ask yourself:
        >> "what am I doing with my mind while I am lifting weights?" - "Is that a
        >> valuable mental activity?" Perhaps you find lifting weights to be very
        >> mentally relaxing and good time for reflection and analysis of problems
        >> that you have been working on - as I do when taking a relaxing shower -
        >> at which I definitely take more time than I need in order get clean -
        >> which results in the negative effects of extra usage of my time, costs
        >> of water and electricity, but wrt which I long ago decided are
        >> worthwhile expenditures - ie the long showers give me a net gain of
        >> lifetime happiness. The result of this is that I do not think of the
        >> negatives of the longer showers, but only enjoy the whole in degree to
        >> the net sum of benefit.
        >
        > The above analysis is a good example of how one might analyze a given
        > preference for an activity, and I find the example useful. Your
        > comparison of the positive and negative aspects of long-duration showers
        > is one that looks familiar to me, as I have analyzed some behaviors of
        > my own in this same way. This leads me to think that it is not my
        > ability to reason effectively, but my lack of confidence in my
        > conclusions, that cause me to re-evaluate these behaviors too often. If
        > this is true, then I have a confidence problem, which fits with other
        > characteristics I have identified about myself.

        This is not something to be highly concerned about at your age. One
        generally gains more confidence about one's evaluations as one gets
        older and finds them to work out to one's benefit - after learning
        better just how to effectively introspect and really determine whether
        or no one has actually benefited.

        [And for me, I didn't learn how to have high confidence in myself (in
        areas outside of a narrow range of work expertise) until after being
        and "studying" with Paul for a few years. In fact, I think we were
        both "studying" during the first 5 years in slightly different areas
        areas of human interaction - and in actuality we continue to study
        this aspect of reality all the time.

        The various readings I've done in the past 8 years have been extremely
        helpful in improving my introspection and communication - some of the
        books/articles were a reread but many of them were new to me, most of
        which I've shared in various posts. **Kitty]

        > This is a little discouraging to me, as I know I have struggled with
        > this issue for a long time. However, one must identify a personality
        > issue properly before one can effectively and efficiently improve it.

        Absolutely. And having done so and "owned" it (to use Nathaniel
        Branden's great term), you are already past the most difficult part of
        the process.

        >>> In the past I have often
        >>> lifted weights with "lifting buddies", and our experience together
        >>> were enjoyable. Even now, when I lift weights alone, I often recall
        >>> these fond experiences of lifting weights with others.
        >>>
        >> Have you analyzed just *why* those experiences were "enjoyable" and
        >> whether there were valid reasons for them being enjoyable, in light of
        >> your new thinking? If you now find that the reasons for enjoyment were
        >> *not* valid, then you must logically quit thinking of them with
        >> enjoyment. There can be events in your past that you remember enjoying
        >> (the memory is still there and certainly should be, otherwise you are
        >> evading), but when you think of them now, it is with the thought of
        >> "what a stupid thing to do and to enjoy". I think likely everyone
        >> (at least every self-honest person) has such memories.
        >
        > This is a great question to ask Paul. I have considered this question
        > in regard to my positive weight lifting experiences with my lifting
        > buddies, and I concluded that I enjoyed the camaraderie and the fact
        > that others shared my goal of improving one's body composition and
        > overall health. I have also considered that this last may be a positive
        > aspect to me because I feel mostly alone in my dedicated effort to
        > constantly improve myself and my life.

        Well even though I and Kitty are rarely physically near you, you need
        no longer consider that you are alone, since we are with you in our
        thoughts and our encouragements whenever you need us. I can say that
        unequivocally, precisely because I know that your sense of responsibility
        will not allow you to abuse our time (ie. seek to gain more of our time
        than value that you return for it).
        Still I can certainly understand that you need some one or others with
        whom you can associate more directly and regularly. I certainly could
        not be and would not be functioning as I am without having found Kitty
        and having her physically with me most of the time.

        [I will concur on this point of enormous value of close human friendship.
        My level of productive output is far greater since joining with Paul
        than in the years prior. I think that it is essential for optimizing
        one's lifetime happiness that a person have at least one relationship
        with another human that has foundational values in common as well as
        numerous other interests (lesser values); it may not include
        romantic (sexual) emotions but these may be almost an "automatic"
        consequence of the breadth and depth of the values that each finds in
        the other. **Kitty]

        > So I think I found my social
        > weightlifting experiences encouraging that people other than myself
        > have a desire to grow and improve. My weightlifting buddies and I also
        > learned a lot from one another about weight lifting, health, and
        > exercise physiology, as each of us were interested in improving
        > different aspects of our bodies. So we had the opportunity to share our
        > knowledge with one another - an activity I found enjoyable. However,
        > my goals for "muscle-development" are now much lower than theirs, as I
        > think I am at a satisfactory level in this regard. This means that I
        > do not require the amount of weight, or the number of weightlifting
        > sessions per week, to reach my goals, as they do. Therefore, I have
        > spent a greatly decreased amount of time with my weightlifting buddies
        > in the last six months, since our once-shared goals have mostly diverged.

        I see the above as all entirely reasonable. My expression for this is
        that you had a "tiny perfect" relationship with these individuals for a
        beneficial period of time that has now ended. What you need now is to
        find one or more other groups of people with whom to have such tiny
        perfect relationships. For example we have such relationships with our
        dance/music friends, but with most of them nothing beyond that. And with
        Jack (who is the only poster to this group who is "local" to us) we do
        not have a dance/music relationship but have several others of a deeper
        nature. Tiny perfect relationships are what you have with store clerks
        whom you get to know from frequenting certain stores and from others
        with whom your daily activities brings you into contact. I do not go
        so far as to call any of them "buddies" (I think associates would be a
        better term or even simply friends) , I have had few buddies in my
        lifetime and only one or two best buddies - none of the latter except
        Kitty have ever remained in that status.

        [I would very much like to see more of our dance friends - a couple of
        whom I know are members of MoreLife Yahoo but have never posted...-
        deepen their understanding of the philosophical issues underlying
        their frequently expressed dissatisfaction with current society. Most
        are well aware that SelfSIP.org exists, but I do not think that very
        many of them have even perused it, let alone studied it. So until they
        do and begin having serious discussions with us (as does one
        individual in person at most of the desert dance events) on the
        principles that make up that website and MoreLife, we remain in a
        tiny-perfect relationship.

        And as for retaining deep friendships over time, I think that those
        that I and Paul have made in the past few years - yours being one of
        the few - have happened almost certainly *because* of the philosophical
        foundational basis that we have developed. Such a basis is something
        that is missing currently in most relationships between people, but
        then for the very large numbers of people who never think beyond the
        escapist activity for after work or the weekend, the longer term
        friendships they maintain do not go very deep either. **Kitty]

        >> [There is another way to consider memories that elicit pleasant
        >> thoughts about those previous times that include people for whom you
        >> now have little in common as a result of your changed views on what is
        >> important to you. As an example, I have personally found this to be
        >> the case for numerous people, including ones to whom I am biologically
        >> related. I still have very pleasant memories from many years ago, but
        >> I have no desire to interact with these individuals now based on their
        >> later - and even in some cases fairly recent - demonstrations of
        >> values that are diametrically opposed to mine. One individual has even
        >> clearly expressed a wish that I be harmed, but I still have many fond
        >> memories of him that cover about 23 years. In contrast, I spend
        >> virtually no time wishing that he, as well as the others, were
        >> different since that is a waste of my time. **Kitty]
        >
        > I think it is an excellent conclusion you have come to - that it is a
        > waste of your time to wish that these people were different. There are a
        > couple people in my life whom I occasionally think about, and I think it
        > is a waste of my time to do so. Again, I have a difficult time holding a
        > firm conclusion about these people, and sometimes contact them to see
        > how they are doing or to influence them.

        You might instead realize that if they really had changed/improved, then
        they would contact you (as long as you have made yourself publicly
        available), and *that* is why it is a waste of your time. This is my
        approach to my sister and my daughter both of whom totally severed
        relations with me about 8 years ago.

        [Ah, yes. Then there is the relationship with my son Andy (who goes by
        the name Andrew, although it is actually Edward Andreas), and also
        with his father and my former husband, Ed. Sometime in the future I
        will have a Kitty Reflects entry that addresses this situation, which
        is one where both those individuals have severed relations with me. **Kitty]

        > Perhaps a better behavior would
        > be to: when I have this desire to ask about them, I should instead
        > decide to make an effort to meet someone new instead. This would enable
        > me to get to know someone new and possibly interesting, rather than
        > continuing to interact with the same people that have repeatedly
        > disappointed me in the past. This seems like a healthy habit with regard
        > to reducing the amount of time wasted on disappointing people, while
        > increasing the frequency with which I meet new people - both positive
        > changes for me.

        Absolutely correct.

        >> [However, I also have
        >> hundreds of photos (almost all neatly in albums) and dozens of hours
        >> on video tape that I can - if I want to spend the time - view for my
        >> own pleasure or show to others. **Kitty]
        >>
        >>> However, our
        >>> previous discussions on the topic of building muscle and strength
        >>> has made me question my preference for lifting weights.
        >>>
        >> Lifting weights may be of more value to the elderly to oppose sarcopenia
        >> and reduction of bone density/strength, but I do not see it to be of as
        >> good health/longevity value for younger people as are many other kinds
        >> of exercise. In addition, I cannot see why pure physical grunt work is
        >> as enjoyable as applying the same physical labor to something inherently
        >> useful in its accomplishment.
        >
        > I have thought about your paragraph above quite a bit in the last few
        > days. I have concluded that I lift weights to provide me with a more
        > systematic protocol for maintaining my strength.

        By why do you want to maintain this strength to a greater degree than
        would naturally happen from the activities mentioned below?

        > I do take many
        > opportunities to do something useful with my labor, such as chopping
        > wood for my parents' wood burner when I lived with them to contribute to
        > the household, as well as riding my bike to class instead of driving.
        > However, from my understanding of the many muscle groups and ranges of
        > motion in the body, I would be neglecting many of them if I only engaged
        > in "useful" physical labor. For example, I have noticed that my hip
        > flexors are quite weak, and I can not hold my leg straight out in front
        > of me for very long before my hip flexors become very fatigued. I
        > understand hip flexors to be important for posture and for avoiding
        > falls, so I want to correct this.

        You are "putting the cart before the horse". If you do maintain your
        good posture, then those muscles necessary to do so will automatically
        be maintained sufficiently to do so.

        [All that would be needed in addition, is some stretching activities.
        The subject of "natural" vs "artificial" exercise is one for another
        post (beyond what I say further below) if you or someone else wish to
        pursue it. **Kitty]

        > However, I don't think my current
        > bike-riding will help very much with this weakness.

        What weakness? Do you have bad posture? Do you fall easily?

        > So my weight lifting protocol is to target those muscle groups that
        > I don't normally use (which is many of them).

        So what? Unless you are planning on major changes to the muscular
        activities that you require to accomplish the goals of your life, then
        why do you need to prepare muscles for such tasks? Any healthy young
        person will automatically exercise the muscles needed in hir daily
        activities to the extent to which such exercise is needed to accomplish
        such activities. Hell, even at the ages of me and Kitty, we do not do
        any special exercises to prepare our muscles for the strenuous dancing
        that we do (Kitty describes her exception to this below). It happens
        automatically through the activity. The secret is to have sufficiently
        repetitive activity of the kinds that you want to do, rather than be a
        once a month warrior. For us it appears that weekly high energy
        dancing is sufficient. For myself I have always been able to keep in
        excellent physical shape without exercise and then respond well to
        strenuous work. Of course, I do walk around the house a bit (and even
        dance occasionally), perform property/house maintenance tasks (3.5
        acres in AZ), walk in the yard and take the steps two at a time
        whenever I come up from the (AZ) basement.

        [My daily "artificial" exercise is mentioned near the very bottom of
        our Mental/Physical Activities page -
        http://morelife.org/personal/physacts.html This is done upon arising
        before starting the day because I can easily remember to do them by
        making it a part of my day. The purpose is as I've said on that page -
        to keep my abdominal muscles particularly strong so as to protect my
        lower back that was abused during my early nursing career days (and
        with which I did continue to have problems up to the early 2000s when
        I received treatments from an excellent chiropractor in Toronto, and
        began these daily morning exercises).

        My daily routine is much like Paul describes for himself. I take every
        opportunity to move horizontally and vertically. I've changed entirely
        my way of thinking from one in which a person tries to economize
        movement to one in which every movement is viewed as natural exercise.
        I sit only when the activity requires it - transporting myself in the
        car (or as a passenger when Paul is driving), much of our eating time,
        working on the computer, and reading before going to sleep are the big
        4 I can think of. All the rest of the time I stand with as much
        horizontal and vertical movement included as is appropriate for the
        location. And at dancing events (special and regular) I get in lots of
        both (it is rare that either of us ever sit at a dance event). Also
        when the music being played at home is conducive to dancing, I take
        the opportunity during my frequent breaks from the computer.

        And I too take the basement steps upward 2 at a time ;>) - except when
        I'm carrying something heavy. **Kitty]

        > I want to clarify my weight lifting protocol for this discussion, since
        > the term "weight-lifting" can be associated with many degrees of
        > intensity. I currently lift weights for about 20 minutes, three times
        > per week. During those sessions I do exercises involving my body weight
        > (push-up derivatives, sit-ups), and some other exercises with 15 or 30
        > lbs in each hand, depending on the exercise. I do not have a goal of
        > lifting an enormous amount of weight, which can be very stressful on the
        > immune system and joints. Instead, during my workouts I try to
        > systematically "challenge" those muscle groups which are otherwise
        > neglected by my daily activities. Some important areas to me are my
        > shoulders (I had a shoulder injury due to a fall several years ago, and
        > the resistance training helps), my lower back (which hurt in the past
        > due to my sitting at a computer hunched-over for long hours - resistance
        > training has improved this also),

        These last two are reasonable (similar to Kitty's exception above) if
        you still have weaknesses/problems related to those areas. However, I
        want to mention that I too had lower back problems in my late 20's but
        with use of better posture, particularly when lifting boxes or other
        heavy objects during normal activities this totally want away and I have
        had no sign of such problems for over 30 years now. In addition, since
        meeting Kitty, and being reminded by her to stand up straighter
        (something that I did not think would accomplish much because of my
        natural "bird neck" - comes out more towards the front of my body), I
        have been amazed to find that that also can be largely corrected. Of
        course it also helps that life with Kitty has so greatly enhanced my
        self-esteem and confidence that I very naturally go around feeling
        straight and tall rather than slumped and depressed.

        > and my upper back (I had never
        > developed this area very much while previously weight-training, and I
        > think it is important to have well-developed back muscles to support the
        > spine).

        Again (as above) simply standing straight and supporting your spine will
        automatically cause such muscles to be sufficiently developed. I think
        that what you are missing here is that the human body is a wonderfully
        self-organized and self-ordered system that will totally look after
        itself if not abused and given the right nutrition.

        > I am happy with my current weight-lifting protocol, as I don't think it
        > stresses my body very much due to the lower-weight compared to what I
        > previously used (I once bench-pressed 300 lbs - excessive, I know),
        > doesn't take up very much time, and it exercises those muscles that,
        > with time, tend to be neglected and result in injuries.
        >
        >> The trick is to find useful physical labor in this day of so many
        >> labor saving devices and a general trend toward reducing physical
        >> labor for productive purposes. However, that is why I and Kitty always
        >> eschew taking the easy way to do many things as long as we can afford
        >> the time. For example I use hand saws for most of what I saw as long
        >> as there is no necessity to get a very straight cut.
        >
        > Yes this is a good trick. On the rare occasion that someone helps me
        > with my house projects, I often get asked why I choose to use a hand-saw
        > for 2x4's instead of using the electric circular saw. I'm surprised to
        > see most people eschew such an opportunity to get a little extra
        > exercise and accomplish something by doing it.

        [I haven't yet gotten to crating that page of photos showing all the
        wood cutting and splitting we did at the cottage this past October.
        (I'm just now organizing the page showing the downing of 3 large dead
        trees.) But the vast majority of it was done by us manually - great
        exercise! **Kitty]

        >> When I "make" the water every few days (25 gallons of water after
        >> reverse osmosis treatment), I always have to carry out the pails of
        >> effluent water (slightly higher concentration of impurities than from
        >> the tap - totaling about 100 gallons - 10 -10 gallon pails) one in
        >> each hand and water the fir trees with them. (This is in addition to
        >> their regular drip irrigation.) As I do, I lift each up with one arm
        >> to get my other hand underneath it in order to pour it. That gives me
        >> a little natural weight carrying and lifting activity.
        >
        > I think this is a great practice. I try to do something similar when I
        > buy groceries. I only shop every few weeks to "stock up", so when I do,
        > I usually get a fair number of things. When carrying them into the house
        > I try to get them all in one trip, which can get quite heavy. But I
        > think having both hands full of grocery bags is good exercise for one's
        > arms and shoulders. However, I don't do this when I purchase eggs
        > *laughs*. I had an accident doing this with eggs once and I'd rather
        > avoid it in the future.

        Yup. Often on the way to the car from the store (we only use a cart on
        those rare occasions when we have bought more than we can physically
        manage to carry) , I will lift each bag in my hands up and down as I
        walk along (ignoring the stares of any onlookers, of course - usually
        all pushing carts).

        [It's a rare occasion in grocery stores in Arizona that we use a
        wheeled cart, but rather make use of a hand basket. In Ontario,
        however, because we only shop every 2 weeks, a wheel cart is a
        necessity in the 1 of the 2 large grocery stores in Bancroft. And then
        we most often use our backpacks and walk between the 2 health food
        stores, and smaller errand stops in Bancroft itself. It's been an
        annoyance that one of the 2 large grocery stores (Price Chopper) is
        built on the northern outskirts of the town and is not at all a reasonable walk from the center of town containing No-Frills, bank,
        the health food stores, my hairdresser, post office, etc.
        Interestingly, many other people must think the same because the
        traffic at Price Chopper is always much less than at No-Frills. **Kitty]

        >> When coming back from the basement, I only go up the 14 steps one at a
        >> time if I am carrying something heavy and/or awkward, otherwise I go 2
        >> at a time. Unfortunately with most of the buildings being only one
        >> floor, Arizona presents little opportunity for taking stairs instead
        >> of elevators and escalators - although there are certainly lots of
        >> rocky hills to climb.
        >>
        >> When in the supermarket I generally use a hand basket instead of a
        >> cart, and it is also faster to get around through the aisles that way.
        >> I and Kitty also always carry our groceries in cloth bags that we
        >> bring into the market (to save on plastic bag waste - and sometimes to
        >> get a reward for doing so), back to the car, which in turn is parked
        >> at the far end of the parking lot (again, unless we are in a hurry).
        >>
        >> [We've gotten into the habit of looking at the need to make an extra
        >> walking trip (down to the basement, or in a store looking for
        >> something, or back out to the mailbox, etc) as "opportunities", rather
        >> than a nuisance. **Kitty]
        >
        > This seems like a good perspective to have about a brief, physical
        > errand. Currently I try to minimize my *time spent* on these types of
        > errands, as I think I get enough cardiovascular exercise by riding my
        > bike to class four times per week. But for someone who gets relatively
        > little exercise this is a healthy way to look at such an opportunity.

        [This is the concept of "natural" vs "artificial" exercise. One need
        only stop and think about physical activity by the regular Jane/Joe
        100 years ago. If coupled with nutritious eating, restful sleep and
        reasonable practices of cleanliness, they were in decent physical
        condition. The idea of stopping productive activity to purposefully do
        "exercise" would have been bizarre. All the activities each of them
        did each day provided a wide array of opportunities for all their
        muscles used to perform the tasks that were part of their
        responsibilities. Children grew up participating in these same
        activities and developed those muscles that were needed. Boys
        naturally have more upper body strength, but I'm sure that plenty of
        girls and women in rural areas chopped wood and performed other
        strength-requiring tasks at times when the "men" were unavailable.

        It was the idea of being wealthy enough to hire someone else to do the
        work and eventually to purchase "labor-saving" devices that has
        contributed greatly to the demise of natural exercise. So now large
        numbers of people pay money (often large amounts) to health clubs to
        have a place where they can move weights (owned by the club)
        vertically and horizontally and move their entire body in various ways - all for the purpose of using muscles they do not use in their regular daily activities. **Kitty]

        >> [Even our manual garage door is an opportunity for me
        >> to weight lift - Paul does most of the driving here in AZ and I get
        >> the door honors ;>) The heavy double door had an automatic opener that
        >> was not working when Paul started living here half a year at a time,
        >> but neither of us has had any interest in seeing if it can be fixed
        >> and even less in replacing it.
        >> I think far too many people fail to make opportunities for physical
        >> activity in their regular daily lives, and spend money to let a
        >> fitness club, they hope, make them fit.... **Kitty]
        >
        > I emphatically agree with your very last comment Kitty. Nearly everyone
        > I interact with at the university think it is strange that I ride my
        > bike to school. They say it's strange because it's winter and can get
        > quite cold. Some of these people pay for gym memberships and make
        > frequent trips out of their way to get exercise. However, some of these
        > same people could ride their bike to class without undue risk of harm
        > and perhaps save money on a gym membership, and additionally save the
        > time they would otherwise spend driving to and from the gym. I'm really
        > happy with my decision to ride my bike to work/class (both at the
        > university). I get approx. 2 hours of bike-riding per week, spend an
        > average of approx. $60/year on gasoline, and save time by riding my bike
        > (compared to driving). It was a great decision for me to do this.

        With you driving so little and the cost of insurance being not
        sufficiently related to the miles driven, would it not be actually
        cheaper for you to rent a car for those rare times that you use one? But
        I suppose this would not be true, particularly with the time and delay
        necessary to rent a car, if you are making many, many very small trips.
        I have known people who lived in a downtown area of a large city
        (Toronto) and wisely did not own a car, but rented one when they wanted
        to take trips outside the city. The only reason that I have never done
        this is because I have always needed a car either for my work or for
        frequent trips outside the city.

        [And vehicle parking in a large North American eastern city can also
        be a real hassle and big expense. **Kitty]

        >>> This change of
        >>> habits, behavior, or disposition toward a preference has been difficult
        >>> for me. It is less difficult when the negative consequences of a
        >>> preference are obvious to me (such as being fat). However, when
        >>> evaluating some preferences, I find that it is difficult to clearly
        >>> determine the net, long-term outcome, such as with lifting weights. I
        >>> know I very much enjoy lifting weights.
        >>>
        >> But have you fully analyzed the rationality of all the reasons why you
        >> "enjoy lifting weights", rather than merely the possible long term harm
        >> of having unnecessary muscle (which I agree is not black and white)?
        >
        > I appreciate your bringing up this important question to me. I think I
        > have given the subject a thorough enough evaluation to justify my
        > current level of weight lifting frequency and intensity.
        >
        > There is one other possible positive aspect of weightlifting that helps
        > me to justify to myself my current weight lifting protocol. I also have
        > a hypothesis that weight lifting while restricting calories (which is
        > what I do) will improve autophagic proteolysis and protein recycling.

        Not any more than any other activity which requires energy. It is a pure
        calorie balance situation and the source from which the energy can come.
        See the current thread "vigorous exercise followed by single meal" for
        details.

        > I found one article that found that, after a fasted weight lifting
        > session, protein synthesis was greater than protein degradation. From my
        > limited understanding of protein balance, this would require the body to
        > use its current sources of nitrogen and amino acids to have a positive
        > protein synthesis value in the fasted state.

        Yes, but not any source of nitrogen that is not in the form of an amino
        acid, since the body cannot build amino acids from scratch. And the
        amino acids are only needed for protein building - not for
        gluconeogenesis for energy production.

        > And since there is no
        > exogenous source of amino acids (subjects exercised while fasted and
        > remained so for some time after the exercise), endogenous protein must
        > have been recycled (i.e. proteolysis and recycling) to achieve a
        > positive protein synthesis value.

        The muscle cells are the body's major place for protein storage (just
        as fat cells are for storage of triacylglycerols) and will largely be
        tapped for amino acids required for protein building during fasting.
        The value of exercising during fasting is that this also increases the
        push to build muscle protein and thus puts pressure on the system to
        get the necessary amino acids from elsewhere. Which unfortunately can
        be from other non-exercised muscles, so I guess perhaps that is a good
        reason to exercise all muscles groups when you do exercise particularly
        when fasting.

        [I like to use my entire body when dancing and this is why I find the
        (occasional) interludes in trance and house music very conducive to my
        style. I make use of those periods to stretch in all directions, and
        this is one reason why I do not enjoy being crowded in when dancing.
        And of course when the tempo is up, I really move - as anyone who has
        seen me can verify ;>) **Kitty]

        > I have not studied this hypothesis as much as I'd like, but I have seen
        > some evidence that it may be true. I am currently working toward a
        > better understanding of biochemistry, so I can better evaluate evidence
        > related to hypotheses such as this one. If anyone would like to study it
        > further and report it here I would appreciate it. I have spent some time
        > trying to find the article and finally found one that sounds familiar (I
        > have not read it in a while). Here is the link to the Pubmed abstract:
        > http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252485

        The problem with amino acid balance measurements is that they cannot
        determine which areas of the body the protein is coming from and going
        to. This would need extremely complex measurements of all muscle
        strengths and even then would be lacking in other axes of the body for
        which the protein content cannot be measured.

        > Additionally, I understand that exercise, especially weight-lifting and
        > other anaerobic exercise, strongly enhances insulin sensitivity and
        > glucose disposal.

        Do you currently have low insulin sensitivity, high fasting blood
        glucose with particularly high post-prandial spikes and a high HbA1C
        measurement? If so, then lifting weights would benefit you. If not, then
        at your age, you do not need to lift weights for this purpose. Remember
        that none of the CR experiments show any increase in longevity with
        weight lifting, and only those on very mild CR show any advantage to
        exercise beyond that normal in any healthy active individual in addition
        to the CR.

        > I have read several articles that specifically
        > advocated strength training as a treatment for type 2 diabetics to
        > improve insulin sensitivity. This is another benefit I see for
        > maintaining a strength-training protocol.

        Are you a type 2 diabetic with low insulin sensitivity?
        If it ain't broke, don't fix it! (which is very different than
        preventing it from getting broke, but the methods for the two are not
        necessarily the same).

        <Snipped some text not needing a response.>

        >>> It brings me happiness. However, does
        >>> the long-term negative consequences associated with weight-lifting
        >>> out-weigh the happiness I derive from it over my lifetime? The
        >>> answer to this is difficult for me to decide upon.
        >>>
        >> As long as you are certain that the happiness you derive from any
        >> activity is fully reasonable, then you should not totally eliminate
        >> it unless it is very clearly of major harm. OTOH, I cannot see how
        >> it would be possible to rationally continue to enjoy something that
        >> is harmful.
        >
        > Right, I agree. I think Nathaniel Branden explained this well in the
        > books of his I have read so far. The idea I got from him was that
        > continuing to enjoy (or participate) in something that is clearly
        > harmful harms one's self-esteem - and for good reason. One some level of
        > consciousness, one is aware that one's behavior is self-destructive, and
        > is good reason to be disappointed in one's behavior, and essentially, in
        > one's self.

        Yes. In the end it is the self-contradiction that is destructive - which
        is a point that I made above.

        [This addresses part of the reason why self-esteem must be
        self-acquired/earned - it cannot be given to someone. Parents *can*
        stiffle it in younger children (and unfortunately many do) but older
        children and adults must acquire it for themselves. Others can be
        sought for their assistance in understanding how to do this, but the
        individual *must* acquire hir own self-esteem. So statements by
        teachers and schools about ensuring that a child have self-esteem are
        muddled in lack of understanding of the concept itself. **Kitty]

        <snipped more text not needing a response>
        >
        >> [It is quite reasonable to get pleasure from encouragement and praise,
        >> but reasonably encouragement and praise should mean little from those
        >> one has little respect for (just as negative criticism from someone
        >> for whom you have no respect means little). **Kitty]
        >
        > I have found this to be true, and is generally the perspective that I have.

        But this is something that I went over again above, since your remarks
        there suggested that you really do not fully understand or have not
        fully adopted that approach.

        [Maybe that is why Max/Steve wrote "generally"...he appears to
        recognize that he has not fully integrated the concept. **Kitty]

        >> [In contrast, the praise
        >> and encouragement will mean far more from someone highly valued (as
        >> will also any negative expressions from such a person be more
        >> hurtful). So if you want to retain this type of pleasure, I suggest
        >> cultivating and/or increasing friendships with those you admire and
        >> in beneficial activities that you both/all enjoy. **Kitty]
        >
        > That is good advice. My current organic chemistry professor did to me
        > recently in class. First, I usually answer his in-class questions
        > correctly. However, I skipped class twice in the last two weeks and he
        > came to the lab I work in and asked me (playfully) if I was dropping his
        > course. I told him no, and that I was studying independently. The next
        > class session I answered some relatively difficult questions and he said
        > to me in front of the class: "Okay, Steve, you are the only one who is
        > allowed to skip my class". *laughs in enjoyment*. That felt good, even
        > more so because I know I worked to earn the praise.

        Good!

        [Here's a demonstration of the *earning* of self-esteem to which I
        referred above. **Kitty]

        >> [Paul and I are praise/encouragement sources for each other. **Kitty]
        >
        > This praise from other individuals whom I admire and respect is
        > something that does not come frequently for me, mostly because there
        > aren't many people regularly involved in my life whom I respect. So
        > that's great that you and Paul are a source of praise and encouragement
        > for one another.

        We also get little praise from others about things that are really most
        important to us (mainly only related to dancing abilities relative to
        our ages), except from one another.
        However, you now have the addition of us from whom to get praise and
        encouragement and vice versa (which is a major purpose for having good
        friends).

        >> [We do enjoy the praise we
        >> get from others when we dance, an activity that we have evaluated as
        >> being truly beneficial, partly because it has so many facets to it,
        >> and we certainly enjoy the praise more from a good DJ and/or other
        >> good dancers than from those who simply stand on the sidelines. **Kitty]
        >
        > Yes, I'd bet many DJs have seen quite a few dancers, so to receive
        > praise might be more pleasurable, given the DJs assumed experience.
        >
        >> [In your case, Steve, from what I read, you are motivated to do a
        >> thorough assessment. Based on your reported actions, I think you will
        >> be successful in making the choice that will best optimize your
        >> lifetime happiness. **Kitty]
        >
        > Thanks for the encouragement Kitty *warm smiles*. I read your
        > encouragement at an ironic time -- just after I was lamenting above
        > how there are very few people in my life from whom I would enjoy
        > encouragement. So the timing was excellent *big laughs*.

        [I could say this about my "previous life" too. Outside of my
        employment work and its aspects, there was only 1 person with whom I
        could discuss most of the highly important areas of life including of
        course philosophy - my former husband's regular comment was "What's to
        discuss? It's obvious." So life since Dec 1999 has been an enormous
        pleasant change. **Kitty]

        >>> I have been trying to evaluate
        >>> all of my preferences and behaviors in this manner and have begun to
        >>> feel ambivalent about nearly everything I enjoy. Most habits have
        >>> positive and negative aspects related to each of them.
        >>>
        >> Sometimes the negative effects can be reduced or eliminated entirely by
        >> practicing moderation in the activity. However, there are many activities,
        >> particularly mental ones, that have no negative aspects other than the
        >> use of your limited amount of time. I think that you need to develop
        >> many more enjoyable mental activities and only do physical ones to the
        >> extent necessary to stay healthy - which is actually very little once
        >> you are on a CR and fasting protein cycling diet.
        >
        > I think your suggestion above is accurate and useful for me. I do find
        > that I feel physically well nearly every day, and am ill very
        > infrequently, which indicates that I am in good health. However, I do
        > find that I get "bored" fairly often - when I'm not busy with
        > schoolwork. I think this boredom is a function of the limited number
        > of mental activities I engage in - just what you noted above.

        Frankly, any such notion of "boredom" is something that I have *never*
        experienced (except when in a restricted situation not of my own
        choosing), so I do not have much understanding of what your problem is.
        In fact, your statement causes me some irritation because I can think
        of no better mental stimulation than reading and attempting to
        understand the material on the SelfSIP website, which action and the
        ensuing questions and discussions would, in addition, be the best
        possible return of value that you, as a friend, could do for me.

        [Henry Hazlitt's book "Thinking as a Science" is particularly great in
        the chapter where he discusses the idea of simply doing purposeful
        thinking and the value that can provide. The fact that so few people
        actually do it these days is not surprising since the common
        distractions of reading material and computers abound. But this has
        definitely been to the detriment of acquiring the ability to develop
        and hone one's own thinking skills so that s/he can, in part, better
        assess and, if determined warranted, can assimilate what s/he does
        read and hear. In addition, by being able to *really* think, one can
        originate ideas that others have missed by just not noticing existing
        relationships. **Kitty]

        >>> One positive
        >>> aspect that must be weighed against the negative aspects of a
        >>> given habit is the enjoyment derived from that habit.
        >>>
        >> Absolutely true. But in the end your emotional response to the activity
        >> must become an integrated whole habit, rather than fragmented into
        >> negative and positive aspects depending on your thoughts. Perhaps you
        >> are still at the stage of constantly fragmented thoughts about the
        >> activity rather than having fully reprogrammed your emotions to become
        >> the subconscious and automatic *net results* of these thoughts.
        >
        > This describes exactly how I feel about many of my habits: that I have
        > not yet fully reprogrammed my emotions to be the automatic net result of
        > my thoughts about a given habit. There are some habits I have concluded
        > that I enjoy, and emotionally appreciate them when I engage in them. One
        > example is my enjoyment of ground flax seed, which I have a few
        > tablespoons per day of.

        Just be careful that either it is fresh when you buy it and then
        stored in the refrigerator or, best, you keep the seeds in the
        refrigerator and you only grind it when needed.

        > But, my special enjoyment of flax seed is the
        > aroma. I remember when I first started losing weight when I was 210 lbs
        > I decided that flax seed would be helpful in getting healthy fatty
        > acids, and fiber to keep me feeling fuller. I remember smelling the
        > ground flax, and the aroma was strange to me, as I had never eaten it
        > before. I was a little wary of eating it at first, since it was foreign
        > to me. But at the time I decided that I would lose the excess weight,
        > even if I had to "resort" to eating things that were foreign to me. Now,
        > the smell of flax seed reminds me of my previous determination to change
        > my habits, and that I have maintained those healthier habits. Knowing
        > this, and that flax is quite healthy, makes my eating flax enjoyable
        > to me in several ways.

        That's an excellent approach. We have the same for several things. There
        can be many reasons to enjoy things and interestingly enough those other
        reasons can even enhance the taste over time. This is the way that an
        integrated, non-contradictory body and mind work together.

        --Paul

        >> [Reprogramming one's emotions is not quickly done, but rather can take
        >> many months. And even then there will likely be times years later that
        >> a "reminder" pleasurable emotion will occur with an activity or person
        >> that has been determined to be rationally negative. (Many former
        >> smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers report this to be the case.) **Kitty]
        >
        > I also occasionally experience this related to eating too-large of
        > portions of treats.

        [Me too ;>) **Kitty]

        >> But if
        >> one is mostly consistent in hir values (no one is 100% consistent),
        >> and they have a foundation of principles valid for reality, then hir
        >> emotions and ideas/values will quickly come back into accord. **Kitty]
        >
        > ---
        > Max Peto / Steve Floyd
      • Steve Floyd Jr
        ... I did not realize that a Meta tag should be used when commenting about the nature of composition of a message. Since this comment is directly related to
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 5 9:22 PM
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          --- In morelife@yahoogroups.com, Paul Wakfer <paul@...> wrote:
          >
          > On 03/06/2009 06:50 PM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
          > > As an observation related to my composing of this message, I note that I
          > > am now sitting down to develop my reply to this message after several
          > > days has passed during which I have not done so. Now that I have not
          > > read the content of this message in several days, I notice that many
          > > of the things I had typed do not accurately communicate what I had
          > > initially wanted them to. I think Paul recently brought this idea up
          > > to Olafur in a private message as a recommendation of how one might
          > > proofread one's own writings. The method Paul described was that when
          > > one takes a break from writing a message and comes back to it after
          > > some time, one will interpret the initial message much like a person
          > > who has never read it.
          > >
          > > This enables the author to be an effective editor of hir
          > > own work, and in my case with this message, I find this to be true.
          > > However, it is also true that the amount of time required between
          > > writing periods may delay the message (as it has done for this message).
          > >
          >
          > Meta
          > Actually, since the above comment was *about* the message and composing
          > it, it should have been enclosed in Meta tags. Then my reply comment
          > below would have been placed within within those Meta tags. And this
          > Meta comment would have been in another set of Meta tags inside the
          > other. As it is, because this is a comment *about* that portion of the
          > message, I have placed it in Meta tags.

          I did not realize that a Meta tag should be used when commenting about
          the nature of composition of a message. Since this comment is directly
          related to your Meta comment above, I have placed it here, within your
          Meta tag. I will keep this Meta tag in mind and try to use it the next
          time I have such a comment.

          > /Meta
          >
          > And I have been delayed with this reply because of wiki website work.
          >
          > >
          > >> Re: Subjectivity of preferences, happiness, and evaluating habits
          > >>
          > >> On 02/20/2009 09:37 AM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
          > >>
          > >>> The following is a comment from Kitty to me in a private email
          > >>> regarding the evaluation of a purchase made by someone else.
          > >>>
          > >>>
          > >>>> When I do think of another's expenditures that I would not make, I
          > >>>> often then give a few minutes to consider why that person has made
          > >>>> that purchase (or made that choice if it does not apply directly to
          > >>>> a purchased item) - what is s/he deriving from it? There are many
          > >>>> possibilities when one doesn't know the other person well and the
          > >>>> better hir characteristics are known, the more likely one or two of
          > >>>> the numerous possibilities selected are the actual case.
          > >>>>
          > >>>>
          > >>> Good point Kitty. I have been trying recently to emphasize the
          > >>> subjectivity that is inherent in decisions, values, preferences, and
          > >>> choices of activities for enjoyment. I think for the past few years I
          > >>> have tried to discover "the one right way" of behaving, from an
          > >>> objective perspective. However, it is becoming increasingly evident to
          > >>> me that one's previous positive experiences are a large cause of what
          > >>> makes things enjoyable in the present.
          > >>>
          > >> This is entirely reasonable. It is a normal aspect of learning through
          > >> experience present in all animals. However, humans have mental faculties
          > >> that enable them to analyze any experience in terms of both its short
          > >> and long range aspects, including analyzing just why it is "felt" to
          > >> be a positive experience. After such analysis, if one sees that the
          > >> experience (and the emotion about it) is *not* beneficial because the
          > >> events of the experience are actually *not* going to optimally increase
          > >> one's lifetime happiness, then the emotional reaction to that kind of
          > >> experience needs to be modified accordingly (the emotion is not
          > >> consistent with one's rationally held analysis of one's life and
          > >> therefore is actually harmful to continue having - because it distorts
          > >> rational decision making).
          > >>
          > >>
          > >>> At the same time, I understand
          > >>> that new, positive experiences related to "better" habits can be
          > >>> nurtured. This is a cause of some recent frustration for me: which
          > >>> subjective preferences are "bad" and which are "good"? That is, which
          > >>> preferences or behaviors should be replaced with different ones? When
          > >>> one determines that a behavior needs replacing, one must ask: "with
          > >>> what do I replace it ?"
          > >>>
          > >> There are several things here.
          > >> A subjective preference is not the same thing as an emotional response
          > >> to some experience (set of events). A subjective preference should be
          > >> the rational result of your analysis of the contribution to your
          > >> lifetime happiness of "whatever" it is that you are preferencing.
          > >>
          > > I am still having difficulty distinguishing between preferences and
          > > emotional responses. In the way I was thinking of them prior to your
          > > reply, I had confused the two ideas. I thought that subjective
          > > preferences were based on prior experiences which have a positive or
          > > negative aspect to them. In other words, I was thinking of subjective
          > > preferences as emotional responses that have yet to be analyzed and
          > > rationalized that come from past experiences associated with that
          > > behavior/action/situation.
          >
          > Your statement is *almost* correct. Most certainly initial preferences
          > (all preferences are subjective!) come from past experiences. And the
          > learning experiences during one's development directly cause all one's
          > initial preferences. Besides some contribution from one's genetic
          > makeup, there is simply no other source for those preferences. However,
          > I think that it is important to clearly distinguish between an emotion
          > (a conscious result of wholly *subconscious* "evaluations") and a
          > preference (a conscious choice and action).

          I now understand the important distinction between emotional responses
          and preferences. The difference that stood out to me was the fact that
          emotional responses are *subconscious evaluations* and preferences are
          *conscious choices*. This now makes sense to me, and I agree.

          > >> Once that analysis and decision is done and the "whatever" is found
          > >> to contribute to increasing your lifetime happiness, you should
          > >> automatically begin to have positive emotions in proportion to such
          > >> contribution, whenever that "whatever" occurs.
          > >
          > > The skill of evaluating my preferences and the effect of each on my
          > > lifetime happiness is something that I am trying to develop further. For
          > > example, there are certain types of musics, or specific songs, that will
          > > predictably change my mood to a certain positive state (i.e. relaxed
          > > or happy). Only recently have I began to make a connection between the
          > > changes in my level of happiness and the activities I participate in.
          > > Well, of course it would be difficult to *ignore* the effect of
          > > activities on one's mood, but it is relatively recently that I have made
          > > an effort to pay special attention to these connections so that I can
          > > better understand them and actively seek out those happiness-increasing
          > > activities.
          >
          > Such "noticing" is, of course the necessary first step prior to making
          > connections and understanding, so it is good that you are increasing
          > your ability to introspectively notice your states of mind and their
          > possible meanings.
          >
          > [I have done a lot of this noticing in the past couple of years and
          > comparing them to emotional levels I experienced in the years prior to
          > about 2005. I think it took about 4.5 years with Paul to come to
          > understand myself much better than ever before so the most marked
          > upward change in my *overall* happiness state has been from about that
          > point. And I fairly often note to myself how different my general mood
          > is from what it was prior to the beginning of 2000. I don't remember
          > doing this kind of "inventory" consciously during the years of my
          > previous relationships, but I can easily look back and recall my mood,
          > which was most very one I would now loosely term a low-level anxiety. **Kitty]

          Kitty, it is encouraging to hear that you recall a relatively recent
          improvement in your ability to notice your emotional state and
          possible causes for it. I admit that, when writing this message, I
          felt a bit as though I might be one of only a few people who
          experienced this.

          > > What I describe next may sound strange to some readers. However, I
          > > think that many young people may be experiencing this same situation,
          > > so I wanted to discuss it here so that others may relate to it. I know
          > > of at least one person around my age who has told me she has developed
          > > very similar habits with regard to how she considers her state of
          > > happiness. One problem I think I am struggling with is that I repeatedly
          > > ignore, or fail to recognize, the effect of some experiences on my
          > > happiness. I think I have developed this problem from incorporating the
          > > idea of "biting the bullet". This phrase might be described as "doing
          > > the activities one is taught 'should' be done, regardless of whether
          > > the activities contribute positively to one's happiness". Through much
          > > of my life so far I have participated in the activities that I learned
          > > "should" be done, such as getting a college degree. Which activities
          > > *should* be done was determined by people other than myself, such as
          > > parents and family. I think that when I was younger (from the ages of
          > > 10-20), I wanted to be a "good" son to my parents, and thus performed
          > > those activities that would make them proud of me. Because some of
          > > these activities were not very enjoyable to me, I learned to ignore my
          > > state of happiness with regard to a given activity, so I could complete
          > > the project successfully without my negative thoughts of the task
          > > interfering with my performance.
          >
          > There is always a limit to which one can ignore the negatives of a task
          > and still effectively accomplish it and most minds will not allow such
          > inconsistencies with reality to continue without some negative effects
          > on health and longevity. This is because such "ignoring" means that one
          > is incorrectly evaluating the total effect on one's lifetime happiness.
          >
          > > One example of this is when one works
          > > at a job one does not particularly enjoy, but does so because s/he has
          > > few alternatives. From working at a series of projects with this
          > > perspective, I had learned to think "I must finish the current activity,
          > > regardless of my feelings for it". I know now that this way of thinking
          > > and acting is irrational and harmful, and I am making progress in
          > > changing it.
          >
          > Excellent!
          >
          > >> With respect to experiences to which you have positive emotions and
          > >> after analysis you now have a much lower subjective preference, what you
          > >> then need do is to modify your emotional response to that experience
          > >> so that it is proportional to that new subject preference. I have in
          > >> previous messages gone over how such emotional "modification" is
          > >> accomplished (similar to changing a habit).
          > >>
          > > Right. I agree with the above. I discuss this more below, but first I
          > > will define and give examples of my thoughts about my "neutral
          > > preferences". I define "neutral preference" as a disposition toward an
          > > action or adopting/preferring some aspect of reality that is "neutral"
          > > with regard to one's lifetime happiness. Some examples of a neutral
          > > preference (for me) are: my preference for having facial hair, my
          > > preference for maintaining a shaved head, and my preference for certain
          > > video games as a form of mental stimulation.
          >
          > In thinking of these as "neutral", you are guilty of the logical fallacy
          > of isolation of a choice or action from *all* of its surrounding harms
          > and benefits (similar to the broken window fallacy made famous by
          > Bastiat and elucidated superbly by Henry Hazlitt in his book "Economics
          > in One Lesson").

          I remember reading Hazlitt's account of this.

          > In fact, a rational preference choice or action can
          > never be actually neutral (in the sense of neither increasing nor
          > decreasing one's lifetime happiness) since there is always some choice that
          > one at least evaluates will cause one's lifetime happiness to not
          > decrease.

          If I'm understanding the above correctly, you saying that "a rational
          preference choice or action can never be neutral because there is
          always some other action or choice that would be more effective in
          increasing one's lifetime happiness". Is this correct? In other words,
          there is always an opportunity cost in choosing one action or behavior
          preference?

          > In thoughtfully considering my previous statement it is
          > imperative to remember that lifetime happiness is *not* the happiness up
          > to this point or even the happiness up to right after your next action.
          > Rather it is the estimated happiness that will be obtained for the
          > entire time of your life into the indefinite future (which, since you
          > cannot change the past, is actually the same as the accumulated total
          > happiness over the rest of your life).

          I think I understand this concept well. Although it *is* sometimes
          difficult for me to put the effects of decisions into such a
          far-reaching context. I *do* frequently try, though.

          > > All three of the above examples I periodically re-evaluate with regard
          > > to my lifetime happiness. My frustration is that each of these
          > > preferences of mine have positive and negative aspects to them,
          >
          > I have news for you. *Every* choice and action has both positive and
          > negative aspects to it, even if the negative is only that the time taken
          > to evaluate and do it cannot be spent evaluating other choices and
          > taking other actions. I face that dilemma every day. I have so many
          > things that I want to do, but only have time to do some of them.

          Yes, I face this everyday and it is frustrating to me that I sometimes
          spend too much time *evaluating* my choices and too little time
          *doing* anything.

          > I
          > constantly wish that I could duplicate myself dozens of times over in
          > order to be able to have all my goals accomplished.

          It is often that I also feel like this. In fact, I was just doing some
          thinking about this last night, trying to put my time limitations into
          perspective, so I can better adjust to the fact that I have such
          limitations.

          > > which causes me to be ambivalent regarding my preference for them. For
          > > example, I prefer the look of my face having facial hair, compared to
          > > not having facial hair. However, I know that many people do not like
          > > facial hair, and many employers insist on employees not having facial
          > > hair. So I ask myself if the negative preferencing I will experience
          > > outweighs my enjoyment of having facial hair.
          >
          > This is the wrong approach. Negative preferencing by others says far
          > more about them than it does about you. It can be used by you as a great
          > tool for your own preferencing actions regarding the degree to which you
          > want to relate to others. Do you really want to work for someone or
          > associate much with someone who has that view of what your appearance
          > ought to be?

          This is a good point. No, I do not want to work for, or associate
          with, someone who has the view that they should control my appearance.
          However, in my experience, *many* employers have this requirement of
          conforming to what they call a "dress code", which includes both the
          clothes one wears and the facial hair one maintains. I see two
          opposing points on this subject. First, I have found it difficult to
          find employment while having facial hair. Since employment has been
          the best way by which to provide me with my needs, I have felt that I
          have little choice but to conform to their demands regarding my
          appearance. OTOH, it is true that *not all* employers (and more
          narrowly, not even every employer looking for people with skills that
          I possess), require such alterations to my appearance. So, by
          conforming to the appearance requirements of some employers, I was
          actually supporting their effort to dictate my appearance (and the
          appearance of others). If I had more actively sought-out an employer
          that did not have such appearance requirements, I would be supporting
          *them* by providing *them* with my skills and services, rather than
          the employer who required a change to my appearance. However, it
          almost certainly would have been more difficult for me to find
          employment, had I not compromised on my appearance.

          > > Both of these positive and negative aspects are small, since this
          > > preference is not critical to my life happiness.
          >
          > It could be so critical if it prevented you from being able to interact
          > sufficiently with others that you could not gain the necessities of
          > life.

          I have been concerned with this, regarding facial hair, as I discuss
          above.

          > And this is merely with regard to others simply refusing to deal
          > with you. It says nothing about the possibility of others actually
          > perpetrating physical harm because of some trait that you have or action
          > that you take that is of no physical harm to anyone else (as happens
          > all the time in less socially advanced countries).

          Yes, this is a frightening thought, but I understand it to be true.

          > > But I do periodically re-evaluate this cost/benefit
          > > situation *and it is this re-evaluation* that is frustrating. It is
          > > frustrating because I think doing so is a nonsensical waste of my time.
          > > I don't know why I can't just confidently conclude: "this is my
          > > preference. There is no harm being done to me for having this
          > > preference, and I enjoy this preference," and proceed to enjoy it,
          > > without periodically re-evaluating it. I have also come to think that I
          > > place too much value on the opinions others hold regarding these neutral
          > > preferences. If I essentially concluded: "I don't care what others
          > > think", then I would not re-evaluate these seemingly neutral
          > > preferences. However, what other people think about me is an important
          > > aspect of life which affects my happiness. I will continue to think
          > > about this.
          >
          > What you are missing is that the importance of what others think about
          > you should be directly proportional to your overall evaluation of the
          > benefit to your lifetime happiness of interactions with them.

          Your statement above makes sense to me, and I agree. However, I had
          never put others' opinions about me in such a long-term perspective. I
          think if I did this, I would, in general, not be so concerned with the
          opinions of others, since I would realize what little effect most
          peoples' opinions about me will have on my lifetime happiness.

          > It is
          > only rational to highly value the opinions (subjective evaluations) of
          > those for whom you have an overall high value for the purpose of
          > interaction. Generally this is because the thoughts and evaluations of
          > those people will generally be more logical and more compatible to
          > your own subjective preferences than are the evaluations of the
          > others.
          > (Note: I have made this evaluation of others here only relate to their
          > benefit to you for the purposes of interaction, precisely because you
          > were specifically discussing the reactions to you of others with whom
          > you are relating. This is quite different than one's evaluation of the
          > statements of someone knowledgeable with whom one does not relate.)

          I acknowledge the distinction.

          > So it is not correct to go from great caring about the opinions of
          > others to not caring at all.

          Right, one should evaluate the *degree* to which one should care about
          the opinion of another. This sounds correct.

          > In the end, the degree of caring for
          > others and their opinions about your actions are both integral parts
          > of the evaluation of the contribution of that action toward your
          > lifetime happiness. However, it is also important to use all actions
          > and all reactions of others towards you as tools by which to
          > continually reevaluate your measure of their worth to you.
          >
          > > Some of my frustration is that not all preferences are highly positive
          > > or highly negative. Some of them are relatively neutral with respect to
          > > my long-term happiness. However, I think I tend to re-evaluate these
          > > preferences that are neutral with regard to my happiness, and this
          > > re-evaluation is cumbersome. I think I do this because when a preference
          > > is neutral I find it difficult to conclude: "it is neutral, and
          > > therefore does not matter, so I no longer need to evaluate it". I think
          > > I need to learn to just *accept* these neutral preferences and
          > > confidently conclude that they *are* in-fact, neutral, and I can spend
          > > my time thinking about other things.
          >
          > It is clear now that by "neutral" you actually mean that taking an
          > action or not taking it will make little difference to your total
          > lifetime happiness.

          Correct. This is what I meant.

          > Again what I think that you are missing is that
          > most of life's actions are actually of that form. The lives of most
          > people consist of a majority of actions each of which contribute a
          > small amount to their lifetime happiness (only minimally more than
          > some alternate action) and a very few actions that either increase or
          > decrease their lifetime happiness a great deal.

          I hadn't thought of this, previous to your pointing it out.

          > But you are correct
          > that it is not time well spent (ie not conducive to your lifetime
          > happiness) to dwell on actions that can only possibly have a minor
          > effect on your lifetime happiness. My approach to such minor things
          > (most actions) is to make them into habits that I only occasionally
          > reconsider - generally when something brings it to my attention.

          This seems like an effective way to reduce the amount of time required
          by such small decisions.

          > >> There is no need to always have something with which to replace a
          > >> "whatever" that you decide is not as valuable as you formerly thought
          > >> (or more correctly, "emoted") it was. Rather you can simply spend more
          > >> time on "whatevers" that you already know you value highly and enjoy.
          > >>
          > >>> Furthermore, I have been frustrated in my attempts to make a distinction
          > >>> between those preferences of mine that I derive enjoyment from that are
          > >>> not harmful or destructive, with those that are harmful or destructive.
          > >>> An easy way by which to make the distinction is to evaluate the
          > >>> long-term implications of holding each preference. If the long-term
          > >>> outcome of an attachment to a preference is negative, then one must do
          > >>> one's best to eliminate that preference.
          > >>>
          > >> If it is negative, yes. But often one "whatever" is merely less
          > >> beneficial than another "whatever", rather than being actually
          > >> destructive/harmful.
          > >>
          > >> [In regards to food that is highly pleasurable tasting but is of
          > >> little nutritious value, one need not entirely eliminate that food
          > >> from one's intake, never partaking of it again. There are many
          > >> desert-type foods of which I and Paul take a small amount on the
          > >> infrequent occasions that we eat out. Since they are so rarely eaten,
          > >> I can enjoy a bit then - the chocolate volcano cake (small amount) was
          > >> one this past Thursday when we ate out on Paul's 71st birthday.
          > >>
          > >> For many of those we saw at the restaurant, it is clear that their
          > >> eating practices are mostly harmful. **Kitty]
          > >
          > > Good point Kitty. I think it is wise to keep a longer-term perspective
          > > on the "treat foods" that one only occasionally eats. One can eat these
          > > "treat foods", which have high pleasure and low nutritious value, and
          > > still be very healthy. It is the *frequency* with which one eats these
          > > foods that determines whether eating them is unhealthy.
          >
          > Agreed, of course :)
          >
          > [It is probably more the combination of frequency *and* amount of the
          > intake of low nutritional value food that can be detrimental to one's
          > overall health. A *very* small amount of such food taken frequently
          > (eg. every other day) will likely be of less harm (if any at all) than
          > a generous serving (pig-out) once a month. The "trick" I need to keep
          > in mind for myself is not to let those "very small" amounts get larger
          > and more often. ;>) **Kitty]
          >
          > >>> One example of this is my habit of,
          > >>> and preference for, lifting weights. I have regularly lifted weights
          > >>> for most of my life. Doing so makes me feel good, physiologically.
          > >>> For me, it has the effects of reducing stress, improving sleep,
          > >>> increasing motivation for other activities, and some others.
          > >>>
          > >> These last benefits are related to the physical exercise and
          > >> accomplishment aspects of lifting weights, and are all highly valuable
          > >> results that you need to continue gaining. What you need to ask
          > >> therefore, is "Is lifting weights the best overall way to gain such
          > >> results?" - "Might there not be some other activities that will cause
          > >> the same results and be beneficial in other ways also, or not have some
          > >> of the detrimental effects of lifting weights?" You might ask yourself:
          > >> "what am I doing with my mind while I am lifting weights?" - "Is that a
          > >> valuable mental activity?" Perhaps you find lifting weights to be very
          > >> mentally relaxing and good time for reflection and analysis of problems
          > >> that you have been working on - as I do when taking a relaxing shower -
          > >> at which I definitely take more time than I need in order get clean -
          > >> which results in the negative effects of extra usage of my time, costs
          > >> of water and electricity, but wrt which I long ago decided are
          > >> worthwhile expenditures - ie the long showers give me a net gain of
          > >> lifetime happiness. The result of this is that I do not think of the
          > >> negatives of the longer showers, but only enjoy the whole in degree to
          > >> the net sum of benefit.
          > >
          > > The above analysis is a good example of how one might analyze a given
          > > preference for an activity, and I find the example useful. Your
          > > comparison of the positive and negative aspects of long-duration showers
          > > is one that looks familiar to me, as I have analyzed some behaviors of
          > > my own in this same way. This leads me to think that it is not my
          > > ability to reason effectively, but my lack of confidence in my
          > > conclusions, that cause me to re-evaluate these behaviors too often. If
          > > this is true, then I have a confidence problem, which fits with other
          > > characteristics I have identified about myself.
          >
          > This is not something to be highly concerned about at your age. One
          > generally gains more confidence about one's evaluations as one gets
          > older and finds them to work out to one's benefit - after learning
          > better just how to effectively introspect and really determine whether
          > or not one has actually benefited.

          This is very encouraging to read. I have been especially concerned
          about my lack of confidence in some of my conclusions. However, when I
          evaluated this lack of confidence, I concluded that I really have no
          reason to be confident, since there are still (for me) so many aspects
          to consider. Your explanation makes sense, in that, as I accumulate
          more experience in evaluating whether I have benefited, my confidence
          in estimating my future benefit from some action will grow.

          > [And for me, I didn't learn how to have high confidence in myself (in
          > areas outside of a narrow range of work expertise) until after being
          > and "studying" with Paul for a few years. In fact, I think we were
          > both "studying" during the first 5 years in slightly different areas
          > areas of human interaction - and in actuality we continue to study
          > this aspect of reality all the time.

          I am very interested to know how you and Paul got into the habit of
          "studying" together. When I consider the activities for which I'd like
          to have a partner, *studying* is one of the activities that is
          foremost in my mind. I enjoy learning about, contemplating, and
          discussing reality, and one can only perform the latter if there is
          someone to discuss ideas *with* (much like we are doing in this
          forum). I think it's wonderful that Paul and Kitty each have a "study"
          partner. Most of the people I meet in my daily interactions don't
          think that "studying" is an enjoyable activity at all - which is
          depressing.

          > The various readings I've done in the past 8 years have been extremely
          > helpful in improving my introspection and communication - some of the
          > books/articles were a reread but many of them were new to me, most of
          > which I've shared in various posts. **Kitty]
          >
          > > This is a little discouraging to me, as I know I have struggled with
          > > this issue for a long time. However, one must identify a personality
          > > issue properly before one can effectively and efficiently improve it.
          >
          > Absolutely. And having done so and "owned" it (to use Nathaniel
          > Branden's great term), you are already past the most difficult part of
          > the process.
          >
          > >>> In the past I have often
          > >>> lifted weights with "lifting buddies", and our experience together
          > >>> were enjoyable. Even now, when I lift weights alone, I often recall
          > >>> these fond experiences of lifting weights with others.
          > >>>
          > >> Have you analyzed just *why* those experiences were "enjoyable" and
          > >> whether there were valid reasons for them being enjoyable, in light of
          > >> your new thinking? If you now find that the reasons for enjoyment were
          > >> *not* valid, then you must logically quit thinking of them with
          > >> enjoyment. There can be events in your past that you remember enjoying
          > >> (the memory is still there and certainly should be, otherwise you are
          > >> evading), but when you think of them now, it is with the thought of
          > >> "what a stupid thing to do and to enjoy". I think likely everyone
          > >> (at least every self-honest person) has such memories.
          > >
          > > This is a great question to ask Paul. I have considered this question
          > > in regard to my positive weight lifting experiences with my lifting
          > > buddies, and I concluded that I enjoyed the camaraderie and the fact
          > > that others shared my goal of improving one's body composition and
          > > overall health. I have also considered that this last may be a positive
          > > aspect to me because I feel mostly alone in my dedicated effort to
          > > constantly improve myself and my life.
          >
          > Well even though I and Kitty are rarely physically near you, you need
          > no longer consider that you are alone, since we are with you in our
          > thoughts and our encouragements whenever you need us.

          Reading the above line compelled me to smile quite happily. I
          appreciate your encouragement. :)

          > I can say that
          > unequivocally, precisely because I know that your sense of responsibility
          > will not allow you to abuse our time (ie. seek to gain more of our time
          > than value that you return for it).

          Right. I frequently consider value-for-value with regard to your (or
          anyone's) time.

          > Still I can certainly understand that you need some one or others with
          > whom you can associate more directly and regularly. I certainly could
          > not be and would not be functioning as I am without having found Kitty
          > and having her physically with me most of the time.

          I had thought this to be the case: that the constant, physical
          presence of a certain person could make a large difference in my
          happiness. I'm glad to hear that you have experienced this, which
          helps to support my hypothesis. Note, I understand it is not simply
          the other person's physical presence that brings benefit, but also the
          fact that hir physical presence enables easier communication and a
          wider range of activities that can be done together, relative to the
          lack of hir physical presence.

          > [I will concur on this point of enormous value of close human friendship.

          I have been trying to discover why I get a bit depressed and feel
          relatively unmotivated for a period of a day or two about once per
          month. After having considered vitamin deficiencies (i.e. vitamin D
          supplementation), lack of exercise, and some other possible causes, I
          think that my lack of close friendship may be a large part of the cause.

          > My level of productive output is far greater since joining with Paul
          > than in the years prior. I think that it is essential for optimizing
          > one's lifetime happiness that a person have at least one relationship
          > with another human that has foundational values in common as well as
          > numerous other interests (lesser values); it may not include
          > romantic (sexual) emotions but these may be almost an "automatic"
          > consequence of the breadth and depth of the values that each finds in
          > the other. **Kitty]

          The above really is wonderful to read, as it illustrates what I have
          to look forward to, should I find the right person for me.

          > > So I think I found my social
          > > weightlifting experiences encouraging that people other than myself
          > > have a desire to grow and improve. My weightlifting buddies and I also
          > > learned a lot from one another about weight lifting, health, and
          > > exercise physiology, as each of us were interested in improving
          > > different aspects of our bodies. So we had the opportunity to share our
          > > knowledge with one another - an activity I found enjoyable. However,
          > > my goals for "muscle-development" are now much lower than theirs, as I
          > > think I am at a satisfactory level in this regard. This means that I
          > > do not require the amount of weight, or the number of weightlifting
          > > sessions per week, to reach my goals, as they do. Therefore, I have
          > > spent a greatly decreased amount of time with my weightlifting buddies
          > > in the last six months, since our once-shared goals have mostly diverged.
          >
          > I see the above as all entirely reasonable. My expression for this is
          > that you had a "tiny perfect" relationship with these individuals for a
          > beneficial period of time that has now ended.

          Yes, I agree.

          > What you need now is to
          > find one or more other groups of people with whom to have such tiny
          > perfect relationships.

          After reading the above, I think about the relationship I have with
          two women from my Organic Chemistry 2 class. I have studied with the
          two of them throughout this semester, and found it enjoyable at first.
          However, I found that most of the time I spent with them was
          unproductive with regard to studying the material. Instead, we would
          often talk about other topics, some I found to be a waste of my time
          (like the color one girl painted her toenails), while others were more
          interesting (such as the difficulty in discovering what type of skills
          one would enjoy to make a living).

          > For example we have such relationships with our
          > dance/music friends, but with most of them nothing beyond that. And with
          > Jack (who is the only poster to this group who is "local" to us) we do
          > not have a dance/music relationship but have several others of a deeper
          > nature. Tiny perfect relationships are what you have with store clerks
          > whom you get to know from frequenting certain stores and from others
          > with whom your daily activities brings you into contact. I do not go
          > so far as to call any of them "buddies" (I think associates would be a
          > better term or even simply friends) ,

          I thought you had previously discouraged the use of the word "friends"
          for those with which one has a limited relationship with. I agreed
          with this idea.

          > I have had few buddies in my
          > lifetime and only one or two best buddies - none of the latter except
          > Kitty have ever remained in that status.

          I have always thought of the word "buddy" as the casual term for
          friend. It defines someone who is not a deep friend, but is also not
          simply an "acquaintance". Merriam-Webster seems to indicate both
          definitions (yours and mine):

          1 a: companion , partner b: friend
          2: fellow —used especially in informal address

          > [I would very much like to see more of our dance friends - a couple of
          > whom I know are members of MoreLife Yahoo but have never posted...-
          > deepen their understanding of the philosophical issues underlying
          > their frequently expressed dissatisfaction with current society. Most
          > are well aware that SelfSIP.org exists, but I do not think that very
          > many of them have even perused it, let alone studied it. So until they
          > do and begin having serious discussions with us (as does one
          > individual in person at most of the desert dance events) on the
          > principles that make up that website and MoreLife, we remain in a
          > tiny-perfect relationship.
          >
          > And as for retaining deep friendships over time, I think that those
          > that I and Paul have made in the past few years - yours being one of
          > the few - have happened almost certainly *because* of the philosophical
          > foundational basis that we have developed.

          Yes, I am very interested in the ideas, and I have found use for them
          (by being convinced of their accuracy) as I continuously modify my
          perception of reality. And the more I become convinced of the accuracy
          of these ideas with respect to reality, the more active I become in
          trying to influence others in considering such ideas. When trying to
          discuss ideas of importance to one's existence (i.e. happiness,
          value-for-value), I frequently get the impression that many people are
          a type of "zombie" - aimlessly roaming about their lives, applying no
          serious thought to their existence and living only to enjoy the next
          escapist activity ("escapist" is a great way to describe it - Kitty
          uses the word below).

          > Such a basis is something
          > that is missing currently in most relationships between people,

          Yes! I have also found this to be the case. It seems that nearly every
          person I interact with during my daily activities (and nearly everyone
          previously in my life) lacks a rational, philosophical basis for their
          existence. Rarely do I ever find a person who seems to have considered
          the meaning or purpose of their existence, let alone a person who
          thinks in the same ways as I do. It is difficult to have a close
          relationship with someone if they do not think about their life to the
          same degree, or in the same ways, as I do.

          > but
          > then for the very large numbers of people who never think beyond the
          > escapist activity for after work or the weekend, the longer term
          > friendships they maintain do not go very deep either. **Kitty]

          Agreed. And I think it quite possible that it is largely because the
          friendships they maintain have no philosophical basis, as you
          describe.

          I wonder if many organized religions (I'm thinking of Christianity)
          serve this purpose for many people - providing a philosophical basis
          around which people interpret their lives and give meaning to their
          relationships.

          > >> [There is another way to consider memories that elicit pleasant
          > >> thoughts about those previous times that include people for whom you
          > >> now have little in common as a result of your changed views on what is
          > >> important to you. As an example, I have personally found this to be
          > >> the case for numerous people, including ones to whom I am biologically
          > >> related. I still have very pleasant memories from many years ago, but
          > >> I have no desire to interact with these individuals now based on their
          > >> later - and even in some cases fairly recent - demonstrations of
          > >> values that are diametrically opposed to mine. One individual has even
          > >> clearly expressed a wish that I be harmed, but I still have many fond
          > >> memories of him that cover about 23 years. In contrast, I spend
          > >> virtually no time wishing that he, as well as the others, were
          > >> different since that is a waste of my time. **Kitty]
          > >
          > > I think it is an excellent conclusion you have come to - that it is a
          > > waste of your time to wish that these people were different. There are a
          > > couple people in my life whom I occasionally think about, and I think it
          > > is a waste of my time to do so. Again, I have a difficult time holding a
          > > firm conclusion about these people, and sometimes contact them to see
          > > how they are doing or to influence them.
          >
          > You might instead realize that if they really had changed/improved, then
          > they would contact you (as long as you have made yourself publicly
          > available), and *that* is why it is a waste of your time.

          This *is* a good point: if a person had really changed "for the
          better", they would be motivated to contact me again. OTOH ("on the
          other hand", for those unfamiliar with this acronym), I think there
          are some people who are interested in changing/improving, but need
          encouragement to do so. These are the types of people I am inclined to
          want to "check-up on". On the contrary, I know of some people who have
          convinced me that they are *unwilling* to change/improve, and these
          people I make no effort to contact.

          > This is my
          > approach to my sister and my daughter both of whom totally severed
          > relations with me about 8 years ago.
          >
          > [Ah, yes. Then there is the relationship with my son Andy (who goes by
          > the name Andrew, although it is actually Edward Andreas), and also
          > with his father and my former husband, Ed. Sometime in the future I
          > will have a Kitty Reflects entry that addresses this situation, which
          > is one where both those individuals have severed relations with me. **Kitty]

          I am interested in reading about this Kitty Reflects entry that you
          describe above. I often wonder if *I* will be the one to sever
          relations with most of my family, or *them*. I don't know if it is
          necessary for me to formally "sever" relations with my family.
          Instead, I would simply not interact with them. I think this would be
          the best thing to do with most people, since there is always the
          possibility that they will change, at which point I would *want* to
          speak with them again. But, if I had stopped initiating interaction
          with a person because I decided that hir characteristics did not
          benefit me, then I would wait for *them* to initiate interaction with
          me, as it may be an indication that they've changed (similar to the
          discussion on this above).

          > > Perhaps a better behavior would
          > > be to: when I have this desire to ask about them, I should instead
          > > decide to make an effort to meet someone new instead. This would enable
          > > me to get to know someone new and possibly interesting, rather than
          > > continuing to interact with the same people that have repeatedly
          > > disappointed me in the past. This seems like a healthy habit with regard
          > > to reducing the amount of time wasted on disappointing people, while
          > > increasing the frequency with which I meet new people - both positive
          > > changes for me.
          >
          > Absolutely correct.
          >
          > >> [However, I also have
          > >> hundreds of photos (almost all neatly in albums) and dozens of hours
          > >> on video tape that I can - if I want to spend the time - view for my
          > >> own pleasure or show to others. **Kitty]
          > >>
          > >>> However, our
          > >>> previous discussions on the topic of building muscle and strength
          > >>> has made me question my preference for lifting weights.
          > >>>
          > >> Lifting weights may be of more value to the elderly to oppose sarcopenia
          > >> and reduction of bone density/strength, but I do not see it to be of as
          > >> good health/longevity value for younger people as are many other kinds
          > >> of exercise. In addition, I cannot see why pure physical grunt work is
          > >> as enjoyable as applying the same physical labor to something inherently
          > >> useful in its accomplishment.
          > >
          > > I have thought about your paragraph above quite a bit in the last few
          > > days. I have concluded that I lift weights to provide me with a more
          > > systematic protocol for maintaining my strength.
          >
          > By why do you want to maintain this strength to a greater degree than
          > would naturally happen from the activities mentioned below?

          I think that if I maintain my strength to a level slightly *above* the
          point my current activities require, I would be less likely to have
          accidents (i.e. falling off my bike, which I ride frequently). Having
          a level of strength that is slightly higher than what is required for
          daily living would make me safer than being at a level that was lower
          than what is required. Should I be at a level of strength that is
          lower, or even with, what is required for my daily activities, I think
          I would often struggle with activities, which may put me at risk of
          harm.

          OTOH, it may be that, if I must struggle a little with some daily
          activities, I would benefit from the increased exertion required to
          execute those activities (should I have an overall lower level of
          strength). I didn't think of this before you asked.

          > > I do take many
          > > opportunities to do something useful with my labor, such as chopping
          > > wood for my parents' wood burner when I lived with them to contribute to
          > > the household, as well as riding my bike to class instead of driving.
          > > However, from my understanding of the many muscle groups and ranges of
          > > motion in the body, I would be neglecting many of them if I only engaged
          > > in "useful" physical labor. For example, I have noticed that my hip
          > > flexors are quite weak, and I can not hold my leg straight out in front
          > > of me for very long before my hip flexors become very fatigued. I
          > > understand hip flexors to be important for posture and for avoiding
          > > falls, so I want to correct this.
          >
          > You are "putting the cart before the horse".

          Perhaps I am. However, WRT some muscle groups, I understood that a
          level of strength that is greater than the minimum necessary will
          lower the risk of accidental injury.

          > If you do maintain your
          > good posture, then those muscles necessary to do so will automatically
          > be maintained sufficiently to do so.
          >
          > [All that would be needed in addition, is some stretching activities.
          > The subject of "natural" vs "artificial" exercise is one for another
          > post (beyond what I say further below) if you or someone else wish to
          > pursue it. **Kitty]
          >
          > > However, I don't think my current
          > > bike-riding will help very much with this weakness.
          >
          > What weakness? Do you have bad posture? Do you fall easily?

          I was referring to my hip flexors. However, after considering this
          more, I think I may simply have the impression that I should be
          stronger than I need to be. Taking the time and effort to maintain
          this greater level of strength than is required is just a waste of my
          time.

          > > So my weight lifting protocol is to target those muscle groups that
          > > I don't normally use (which is many of them).
          >
          > So what?

          From my understanding, muscle mass and strength decline with age and
          non-use. Those muscles that decline in strength the quickest are those
          that are used the least. To prevent having problems with any muscle
          group that I do not normally use, I thought it would be prudent to
          design an exercise routine that would target the muscle groups that I
          rarely use. Besides my bike riding, I currently exercise a very narrow
          range of muscle groups (just some standing and sitting at the lab I
          work in). Because of this limited variation in the muscle groups I
          use, I thought I should make an effort to maintain the muscles I don't
          use, in case I wish to use them in the future, or in the event that I
          do not use those muscle groups for a long period of time.

          > Unless you are planning on major changes to the muscular
          > activities that you require to accomplish the goals of your life, then
          > why do you need to prepare muscles for such tasks?

          I am not sure which muscles I will need for the tasks in my future, so
          I thought a generally high level of strength would keep me prepared
          for anything.

          > Any healthy young
          > person will automatically exercise the muscles needed in hir daily
          > activities to the extent to which such exercise is needed to accomplish
          > such activities. Hell, even at the ages of me and Kitty, we do not do
          > any special exercises to prepare our muscles for the strenuous dancing
          > that we do

          I thought I saw pictures of Paul lifting weights on Morelife.org.

          > (Kitty describes her exception to this below). It happens
          > automatically through the activity. The secret is to have sufficiently
          > repetitive activity of the kinds that you want to do, rather than be a
          > once a month warrior. For us it appears that weekly high energy
          > dancing is sufficient. For myself I have always been able to keep in
          > excellent physical shape without exercise and then respond well to
          > strenuous work. Of course, I do walk around the house a bit (and even
          > dance occasionally), perform property/house maintenance tasks (3.5
          > acres in AZ), walk in the yard and take the steps two at a time
          > whenever I come up from the (AZ) basement.

          It does sound as though you get adequate exercise that includes work
          for various muscle groups. I had the impression that my normal
          activities excluded certain muscle groups. However, I'm beginning to
          think that my non-use of these muscles is not such a big deal,
          especially considering that I expect to be involved in many, many
          home-improvement projects in the next few months, which will give me
          the opportunity to use a variety of muscle groups. I may continue to
          do such a workout routine as I described, but perhaps I would only do
          it once per month (i.e. a fraction of the time I have in the past), as
          this may be sufficient to maintain a useful level of strength.

          I also just realized that I may be overcompensating with regard to the
          prevention of sarcopenia. This could be especially true in my case,
          since I have previously spent a large amount of time and effort
          developing muscle mass. So, while it is true that I can expect to lose
          muscle mass as I grow older (regenerative medicine notwithstanding),
          at this point, I start this "decline" process from a higher level of
          muscular development. Because of this, it may be that I need to invest
          *less* time in muscle maintenance than a person who has attained much
          less muscle mass at the same age.

          > [My daily "artificial" exercise is mentioned near the very bottom of
          > our Mental/Physical Activities page -
          > http://morelife.org/personal/physacts.html

          I tried several times to find the link above. I finally found what I
          think you were referring to (and what I was referring to when I stated
          that I saw Paul lifting weights). Here is the link:
          morelife.org/personal/health/physacts.html. Note that it appears you
          forgot the "health" subfolder after the "personal" subfolder.

          > This is done upon arising
          > before starting the day because I can easily remember to do them by
          > making it a part of my day. The purpose is as I've said on that page -
          > to keep my abdominal muscles particularly strong so as to protect my
          > lower back that was abused during my early nursing career days (and
          > with which I did continue to have problems up to the early 2000s when
          > I received treatments from an excellent chiropractor in Toronto, and
          > began these daily morning exercises).
          >
          > My daily routine is much like Paul describes for himself. I take every
          > opportunity to move horizontally and vertically. I've changed entirely
          > my way of thinking from one in which a person tries to economize
          > movement to one in which every movement is viewed as natural exercise.
          > I sit only when the activity requires it - transporting myself in the
          > car (or as a passenger when Paul is driving), much of our eating time,
          > working on the computer, and reading before going to sleep are the big
          > 4 I can think of. All the rest of the time I stand with as much
          > horizontal and vertical movement included as is appropriate for the
          > location. And at dancing events (special and regular) I get in lots of
          > both (it is rare that either of us ever sit at a dance event). Also
          > when the music being played at home is conducive to dancing, I take
          > the opportunity during my frequent breaks from the computer.

          I think I would benefit from taking frequent breaks from the computer
          (where I spend most of my time reading and writing). I'll keep this in
          mind.

          > And I too take the basement steps upward 2 at a time ;>) - except when
          > I'm carrying something heavy. **Kitty]
          >
          > > I want to clarify my weight lifting protocol for this discussion, since
          > > the term "weight-lifting" can be associated with many degrees of
          > > intensity. I currently lift weights for about 20 minutes, three times
          > > per week. During those sessions I do exercises involving my body weight
          > > (push-up derivatives, sit-ups), and some other exercises with 15 or 30
          > > lbs in each hand, depending on the exercise. I do not have a goal of
          > > lifting an enormous amount of weight, which can be very stressful on the
          > > immune system and joints. Instead, during my workouts I try to
          > > systematically "challenge" those muscle groups which are otherwise
          > > neglected by my daily activities. Some important areas to me are my
          > > shoulders (I had a shoulder injury due to a fall several years ago, and
          > > the resistance training helps), my lower back (which hurt in the past
          > > due to my sitting at a computer hunched-over for long hours - resistance
          > > training has improved this also),
          >
          > These last two are reasonable (similar to Kitty's exception above) if
          > you still have weaknesses/problems related to those areas.

          I have noticed that these problems have gone away with continued
          weightlifting. I notice that if I do not lift weights for several
          weeks I begin to feel lower back pain again.

          > However, I
          > want to mention that I too had lower back problems in my late 20's but
          > with use of better posture, particularly when lifting boxes or other
          > heavy objects during normal activities this totally want away and I have
          > had no sign of such problems for over 30 years now. In addition, since
          > meeting Kitty, and being reminded by her to stand up straighter
          > (something that I did not think would accomplish much because of my
          > natural "bird neck" - comes out more towards the front of my body), I
          > have been amazed to find that that also can be largely corrected. Of
          > course it also helps that life with Kitty has so greatly enhanced my
          > self-esteem and confidence that I very naturally go around feeling
          > straight and tall rather than slumped and depressed.

          Again, it's wonderful to read how another person can have such a
          positive effect on one's life (and posture *smiles*).

          > > and my upper back (I had never
          > > developed this area very much while previously weight-training, and I
          > > think it is important to have well-developed back muscles to support the
          > > spine).
          >
          > Again (as above) simply standing straight and supporting your spine will
          > automatically cause such muscles to be sufficiently developed. I think
          > that what you are missing here is that the human body is a wonderfully
          > self-organized and self-ordered system that will totally look after
          > itself if not abused and given the right nutrition.

          Again, perhaps you are correct and I am overestimating the amount of
          time and effort I need to put towards muscle development.

          > > I am happy with my current weight-lifting protocol, as I don't think it
          > > stresses my body very much due to the lower-weight compared to what I
          > > previously used (I once bench-pressed 300 lbs - excessive, I know),
          > > doesn't take up very much time, and it exercises those muscles that,
          > > with time, tend to be neglected and result in injuries.
          > >
          > >> The trick is to find useful physical labor in this day of so many
          > >> labor saving devices and a general trend toward reducing physical
          > >> labor for productive purposes. However, that is why I and Kitty always
          > >> eschew taking the easy way to do many things as long as we can afford
          > >> the time. For example I use hand saws for most of what I saw as long
          > >> as there is no necessity to get a very straight cut.
          > >
          > > Yes this is a good trick. On the rare occasion that someone helps me
          > > with my house projects, I often get asked why I choose to use a hand-saw
          > > for 2x4's instead of using the electric circular saw. I'm surprised to
          > > see most people eschew such an opportunity to get a little extra
          > > exercise and accomplish something by doing it.
          >
          > [I haven't yet gotten to creating that page of photos showing all the
          > wood cutting and splitting we did at the cottage this past October.
          > (I'm just now organizing the page showing the downing of 3 large dead
          > trees.) But the vast majority of it was done by us manually - great
          > exercise! **Kitty]

          Yes! And I assume you'll be using the wood you gathered, which is great.

          > >> When I "make" the water every few days (25 gallons of water after
          > >> reverse osmosis treatment), I always have to carry out the pails of
          > >> effluent water (slightly higher concentration of impurities than from
          > >> the tap - totaling about 100 gallons - 10 -10 gallon pails) one in
          > >> each hand and water the fir trees with them. (This is in addition to
          > >> their regular drip irrigation.) As I do, I lift each up with one arm
          > >> to get my other hand underneath it in order to pour it. That gives me
          > >> a little natural weight carrying and lifting activity.
          > >
          > > I think this is a great practice. I try to do something similar when I
          > > buy groceries. I only shop every few weeks to "stock up", so when I do,
          > > I usually get a fair number of things. When carrying them into the house
          > > I try to get them all in one trip, which can get quite heavy. But I
          > > think having both hands full of grocery bags is good exercise for one's
          > > arms and shoulders. However, I don't do this when I purchase eggs
          > > *laughs*. I had an accident doing this with eggs once and I'd rather
          > > avoid it in the future.
          >
          > Yup. Often on the way to the car from the store (we only use a cart on
          > those rare occasions when we have bought more than we can physically
          > manage to carry) , I will lift each bag in my hands up and down as I
          > walk along (ignoring the stares of any onlookers, of course - usually
          > all pushing carts).

          This sounds like a healthy practice.

          > [It's a rare occasion in grocery stores in Arizona that we use a
          > wheeled cart, but rather make use of a hand basket. In Ontario,
          > however, because we only shop every 2 weeks, a wheel cart is a
          > necessity in the 1 of the 2 large grocery stores in Bancroft. And then
          > we most often use our backpacks and walk between the 2 health food
          > stores, and smaller errand stops in Bancroft itself.

          I have considered using a backpack for produce, especially once the
          weather is nicer out and it is comfortable to ride to a nearby produce
          market. I have considered getting most of my food from this market,
          but it is a little far to ride when it is freezing out.

          > It's been an
          > annoyance that one of the 2 large grocery stores (Price Chopper) is
          > built on the northern outskirts of the town and is not at all a
          > reasonable walk from the center of town containing No-Frills, bank,
          > the health food stores, my hairdresser, post office, etc.
          > Interestingly, many other people must think the same because the
          > traffic at Price Chopper is always much less than at No-Frills. **Kitty]
          >
          > >> When coming back from the basement, I only go up the 14 steps one at a
          > >> time if I am carrying something heavy and/or awkward, otherwise I go 2
          > >> at a time. Unfortunately with most of the buildings being only one
          > >> floor, Arizona presents little opportunity for taking stairs instead
          > >> of elevators and escalators - although there are certainly lots of
          > >> rocky hills to climb.
          > >>
          > >> When in the supermarket I generally use a hand basket instead of a
          > >> cart, and it is also faster to get around through the aisles that way.
          > >> I and Kitty also always carry our groceries in cloth bags that we
          > >> bring into the market (to save on plastic bag waste - and sometimes to
          > >> get a reward for doing so), back to the car, which in turn is parked
          > >> at the far end of the parking lot (again, unless we are in a hurry).
          > >>
          > >> [We've gotten into the habit of looking at the need to make an extra
          > >> walking trip (down to the basement, or in a store looking for
          > >> something, or back out to the mailbox, etc) as "opportunities", rather
          > >> than a nuisance. **Kitty]
          > >
          > > This seems like a good perspective to have about a brief, physical
          > > errand. Currently I try to minimize my *time spent* on these types of
          > > errands, as I think I get enough cardiovascular exercise by riding my
          > > bike to class four times per week. But for someone who gets relatively
          > > little exercise this is a healthy way to look at such an opportunity.
          >
          > [This is the concept of "natural" vs "artificial" exercise. One need
          > only stop and think about physical activity by the regular Jane/Joe
          > 100 years ago. If coupled with nutritious eating, restful sleep and
          > reasonable practices of cleanliness, they were in decent physical
          > condition. The idea of stopping productive activity to purposefully do
          > "exercise" would have been bizarre.

          Yes, I imagine that doing so would seem bizarre to people at the time.

          > All the activities each of them
          > did each day provided a wide array of opportunities for all their
          > muscles used to perform the tasks that were part of their
          > responsibilities. Children grew up participating in these same
          > activities and developed those muscles that were needed. Boys
          > naturally have more upper body strength, but I'm sure that plenty of
          > girls and women in rural areas chopped wood and performed other
          > strength-requiring tasks at times when the "men" were unavailable.
          >
          > It was the idea of being wealthy enough to hire someone else to do the
          > work and eventually to purchase "labor-saving" devices that has
          > contributed greatly to the demise of natural exercise. So now large
          > numbers of people pay money (often large amounts) to health clubs to
          > have a place where they can move weights (owned by the club)
          > vertically and horizontally and move their entire body in various ways
          > - all for the purpose of using muscles they do not use in their
          > regular daily activities. **Kitty]

          All of the above is true. It is interesting to think about, and a bit
          ironic by the way you describe the situation. Labor saving devices
          were invented that enabled many people to reduce the amount of time
          they spend on daily exercise. Due to this, the average amount of daily
          exercise performed by many people decreased enough to warrant going
          out of the way to perform extra exercise. In this way, many labor
          saving devices could be seen as silly, since this "saved labor" may
          need to be replaced by other exercise to maintain optimal health. This
          replacement exercise also requires time, so no real saving of time by
          use of many time-saving devices occurs.

          > >> [Even our manual garage door is an opportunity for me
          > >> to weight lift - Paul does most of the driving here in AZ and I get
          > >> the door honors ;>) The heavy double door had an automatic opener that
          > >> was not working when Paul started living here half a year at a time,
          > >> but neither of us has had any interest in seeing if it can be fixed
          > >> and even less in replacing it.
          > >> I think far too many people fail to make opportunities for physical
          > >> activity in their regular daily lives, and spend money to let a
          > >> fitness club, they hope, make them fit.... **Kitty]
          > >
          > > I emphatically agree with your very last comment Kitty. Nearly everyone
          > > I interact with at the university think it is strange that I ride my
          > > bike to school. They say it's strange because it's winter and can get
          > > quite cold. Some of these people pay for gym memberships and make
          > > frequent trips out of their way to get exercise. However, some of these
          > > same people could ride their bike to class without undue risk of harm
          > > and perhaps save money on a gym membership, and additionally save the
          > > time they would otherwise spend driving to and from the gym. I'm really
          > > happy with my decision to ride my bike to work/class (both at the
          > > university). I get approx. 2 hours of bike-riding per week, spend an
          > > average of approx. $60/year on gasoline, and save time by riding my bike
          > > (compared to driving). It was a great decision for me to do this.
          >
          > With you driving so little and the cost of insurance being not
          > sufficiently related to the miles driven, would it not be actually
          > cheaper for you to rent a car for those rare times that you use one?

          I have seriously considered this possibility. I have already changed
          my insurance coverage to the minimum possible, and emphasized to my
          insurer that I wanted a rate to reflect the amount I drive. They have
          a use-category called "recreational driver". I explained that this
          would be appropriate for me, since I ride my bike to school and work.
          Groceries are a bit more difficult to obtain without the car, and I
          pay a higher cost at the produce market nearby. However, I also save
          money by not having the car.

          > But
          > I suppose this would not be true, particularly with the time and delay
          > necessary to rent a car, if you are making many, many very small trips.

          Yes, and additionally, I would need to transport myself to the place
          where the rental car is located.

          > I have known people who lived in a downtown area of a large city
          > (Toronto) and wisely did not own a car, but rented one when they wanted
          > to take trips outside the city. The only reason that I have never done
          > this is because I have always needed a car either for my work or for
          > frequent trips outside the
          (Message over 64 KB, truncated)
        • Paul Wakfer
          Meta The previous message on this thread is far too long, involving several distinct subjects. It would have been best to have already broken my own last reply
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 17 2:09 PM
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          • 0 Attachment
            Meta
            The previous message on this thread is far too long, involving several
            distinct subjects. It would have been best to have already broken my
            own last reply into parts, but better late than never. I will do so
            now. I will also snip as much as possible form both parts. This is my
            response to part one which is directed at the psychological and social
            parts of the previous message. My response to the physiological parts
            of that message will come separately.
            /Meta

            On 04/05/2009 09:22 PM, Steve Floyd Jr wrote:
            > --- In morelife@yahoogroups.com, Paul Wakfer <paul@...> wrote:
            >
            >> On 03/06/2009 06:50 PM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
            >>
            >>> As an observation related to my composing of this message, I note that I
            >>> am now sitting down to develop my reply to this message after several
            >>> days has passed during which I have not done so. Now that I have not
            >>> read the content of this message in several days, I notice that many
            >>> of the things I had typed do not accurately communicate what I had
            >>> initially wanted them to. I think Paul recently brought this idea up
            >>> to Olafur in a private message as a recommendation of how one might
            >>> proofread one's own writings. The method Paul described was that when
            >>> one takes a break from writing a message and comes back to it after
            >>> some time, one will interpret the initial message much like a person
            >>> who has never read it.
            >>>
            >>> This enables the author to be an effective editor of hir
            >>> own work, and in my case with this message, I find this to be true
            >>> However, it is also true that the amount of time required between
            >>> writing periods may delay the message (as it has done for this message)
            >>
            >> Meta
            >> Actually, since the above comment was *about* the message and composing
            >> it, it should have been enclosed in Meta tags. Then my reply comment
            >> below would have been placed within within those Meta tags. And this
            >> Meta comment would have been in another set of Meta tags inside the
            >> other. As it is, because this is a comment *about* that portion of the
            >> message, I have placed it in Meta tags.
            >
            > I did not realize that a Meta tag should be used when commenting about
            > the nature of composition of a message.

            By using "should" above, I did not mean to imply that you ought to
            have done so (which would have been unreasonable on my part since I
            only just began to use the Meta tags here myself), but rather that it
            would have been best (clearest for communication) if that comment had
            been placed in Meta tags. Here once again is the ambiguity of meaning
            problem which is so prevalent in natural languages, particularly with
            words like "should".

            > Since this comment is directly related to your Meta comment above, I
            > have placed it here, within your Meta tag.

            That was correct. Same for these comments. And if I made a comment
            about the nature of your meta comment, then is would properly go
            inside another set of meta tags inside the first set.

            > I will keep this Meta tag in mind and try to use it the next
            > time I have such a comment.

            Excellent. Such usage will help you fully understand its meaning (and
            test such understanding), which I think is quite important for fully
            understanding reality and particularly the usage of symbol/languages -
            representatives in general.

            Note below that I realized that the "snip" comments were also Meta and
            so have now enclosed them in Meta tags.

            >> /Meta
            >>
            >>>> Re: Subjectivity of preferences, happiness, and evaluating habits
            >>>>
            >>>> On 02/20/2009 09:37 AM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
            >>>>
            >>>>> The following is a comment from Kitty to me in a private email
            >>>>> regarding the evaluation of a purchase made by someone else.
            >>>>>
            >>>>>> When I do think of another's expenditures that I would not make, I
            >>>>>> often then give a few minutes to consider why that person has made
            >>>>>> that purchase (or made that choice if it does not apply directly to
            >>>>>> a purchased item) - what is s/he deriving from it? There are many
            >>>>>> possibilities when one doesn't know the other person well and the
            >>>>>> better hir characteristics are known, the more likely one or two of
            >>>>>> the numerous possibilities selected are the actual case.
            >>>>>>
            >>>>> Good point Kitty. I have been trying recently to emphasize the
            >>>>> subjectivity that is inherent in decisions, values, preferences, and
            >>>>> choices of activities for enjoyment. I think for the past few years I
            >>>>> have tried to discover "the one right way" of behaving, from an
            >>>>> objective perspective. However, it is becoming increasingly evident to
            >>>>> me that one's previous positive experiences are a large cause of what
            >>>>> makes things enjoyable in the present.

            Meta
            Snipped my own previous comment not responded to.
            /Meta

            >>>>> At the same time, I understand
            >>>>> that new, positive experiences related to "better" habits can be
            >>>>> nurtured. This is a cause of some recent frustration for me: which
            >>>>> subjective preferences are "bad" and which are "good"? That is, which
            >>>>> preferences or behaviors should be replaced with different ones? When
            >>>>> one determines that a behavior needs replacing, one must ask: "with
            >>>>> what do I replace it ?"
            >>>>>
            >>>> There are several things here.
            >>>> A subjective preference is not the same thing as an emotional response
            >>>> to some experience (set of events). A subjective preference should be
            >>>> the rational result of your analysis of the contribution to your
            >>>> lifetime happiness of "whatever" it is that you are preferencing.
            >>>>
            >>> I am still having difficulty distinguishing between preferences and
            >>> emotional responses. In the way I was thinking of them prior to your
            >>> reply, I had confused the two ideas. I thought that subjective
            >>> preferences were based on prior experiences which have a positive or
            >>> negative aspect to them. In other words, I was thinking of subjective
            >>> preferences as emotional responses that have yet to be analyzed and
            >>> rationalized that come from past experiences associated with that
            >>> behavior/action/situation.
            >>>
            >> Your statement is *almost* correct. Most certainly initial preferences
            >> (all preferences are subjective!) come from past experiences. And the
            >> learning experiences during one's development directly cause all one's
            >> initial preferences. Besides some contribution from one's genetic
            >> makeup, there is simply no other source for those preferences. However,
            >> I think that it is important to clearly distinguish between an emotion
            >> (a conscious result of wholly *subconscious* "evaluations") and a
            >> preference (a conscious choice and action).
            >
            > I now understand the important distinction between emotional responses
            > and preferences. The difference that stood out to me was the fact that
            > emotional responses are *subconscious evaluations* and preferences are
            > *conscious choices*. This now makes sense to me, and I agree.

            It is good that you see this most important difference. However, too
            many people still continue to equate the two and make their decisions
            about far too many things based on subconscious emotion rather than
            conscious preferencing. Now I am the first to agree that it is
            impossible to make all choices by fully consciously evaluating all the
            pros and cons before taking action. Life is simply far too complex and
            the number of choices made everyday far too large to be able to
            consciously dwell on each one. So the way that one must practically
            operate is to go through this process (of conscious evaluation) a few
            times initially with all important choices and then automate such
            methods of choice into habits. The trick to make this work well,
            however, is to also lay down as part of the habit, the environmental
            circumstances under which the automated methods can be relied on to
            produce a good result. And if these environmental circumstances do not
            hold, to consciously intercede with a "Whoa, wait a minute here!".

            >>>> Once that analysis and decision is done and the "whatever" is found
            >>>> to contribute to increasing your lifetime happiness, you should
            >>>> automatically begin to have positive emotions in proportion to such
            >>>> contribution, whenever that "whatever" occurs.
            >>>>
            >>> The skill of evaluating my preferences and the effect of each on my
            >>> lifetime happiness is something that I am trying to develop further. For
            >>> example, there are certain types of musics, or specific songs, that will
            >>> predictably change my mood to a certain positive state (i.e. relaxed
            >>> or happy). Only recently have I began to make a connection between the
            >>> changes in my level of happiness and the activities I participate in.
            >>> Well, of course it would be difficult to *ignore* the effect of
            >>> activities on one's mood, but it is relatively recently that I have made
            >>> an effort to pay special attention to these connections so that I can
            >>> better understand them and actively seek out those happiness-increasing
            >>> activities.
            >>>
            >> Such "noticing" is, of course the necessary first step prior to making
            >> connections and understanding, so it is good that you are increasing
            >> your ability to introspectively notice your states of mind and their
            >> possible meanings.
            >>
            >> [I have done a lot of this noticing in the past couple of years and
            >> comparing them to emotional levels I experienced in the years prior to
            >> about 2005. I think it took about 4.5 years with Paul to come to
            >> understand myself much better than ever before so the most marked
            >> upward change in my *overall* happiness state has been from about that
            >> point. And I fairly often note to myself how different my general mood
            >> is from what it was prior to the beginning of 2000. I don't remember
            >> doing this kind of "inventory" consciously during the years of my
            >> previous relationships, but I can easily look back and recall my mood,
            >> which was most very one I would now loosely term a low-level anxiety. **Kitty]
            >
            > Kitty, it is encouraging to hear that you recall a relatively recent
            > improvement in your ability to notice your emotional state and
            > possible causes for it. I admit that, when writing this message, I
            > felt a bit as though I might be one of only a few people who
            > experienced this.

            [I sure hope not, but it is very possible that many people do not make
            /take the time do this evaluating. It seems to me that very many
            people do all sorts of things that eliminate the opportunity to
            actually think about what they are and/or have done/thought. I think
            of this very often when I see people engaging in cellphone discussions
            or listening to music on headphones while walking/jogging, an occasion
            that could be used for some introspection, choice evaluation, etc.
            Many modern conveniences are used as avoidance mechanisms for
            beneficial activities, which in the wider range, longer view will
            likely be detrimental to the individual doing so. **Kitty]

            Meta
            Snipped previous comments not responded to.
            /Meta

            >>>> With respect to experiences to which you have positive emotions and
            >>>> after analysis you now have a much lower subjective preference, what you
            >>>> then need do is to modify your emotional response to that experience
            >>>> so that it is proportional to that new subject preference. I have in
            >>>> previous messages gone over how such emotional "modification" is
            >>>> accomplished (similar to changing a habit).
            >>>>
            >>> Right. I agree with the above. I discuss this more below, but first I
            >>> will define and give examples of my thoughts about my "neutral
            >>> preferences". I define "neutral preference" as a disposition toward an
            >>> action or adopting/preferring some aspect of reality that is "neutral"
            >>> with regard to one's lifetime happiness.

            I think that after the confusion of meaning it is worth commenting
            here on your original attempted definition. The confusion arose
            because you attempted to use the very same word "neutral" to define a
            "neutral preference". Upon re-reading the above, I realize that I
            would not have mistaken your meaning if you had *not* tried to define
            that phrase. However, when you then went and used the phrase "neutral
            with regard to one's lifetime happiness" (which implied to me neither
            increasing nor decreasing in absolute terms rather than having little
            effect on the amount of change) then I certainly got the wrong idea of
            your intended meaning. Part of the reason for this is that a constant
            increase in lifetime happiness is not guaranteed and should never be
            taken for granted. It always requires effort on the part of the
            individual.

            [I think of it as an extension of the old phrase (which those less
            that 50 may never have heard), "The world doesn't owe you a living." -
            The world doesn't owe anyone happiness. (A more modern equivalent is
            the libertarian loved phrase - originating in Heilein's important
            novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" - TANSTAAFL - "There ain't no
            such thing as a free lunch".) Unfortunately in the current US society,
            government - and those who support the more recent Western ideas of
            ruler/ruled - is viewed by the majority as the proper provider for
            "the general Welfare". And what a Pandora's box that wording in the US
            Constitution has created. **Kitty]

            >>> Some examples of a neutral
            >>> preference (for me) are: my preference for having facial hair, my
            >>> preference for maintaining a shaved head, and my preference for certain
            >>> video games as a form of mental stimulation.
            >>>
            >> In thinking of these as "neutral", you are guilty of the logical fallacy
            >> of isolation of a choice or action from *all* of its surrounding harms
            >> and benefits (similar to the broken window fallacy made famous by
            >> Bastiat and elucidated superbly by Henry Hazlitt in his book "Economics
            >> in One Lesson").

            Again I stated the above because of my (at that time) misunderstanding
            of your intended meaning of a "neutral preference". OTOH, once again
            your examples actually strengthened that misunderstanding because I
            did not see (and still do not see) that having facial hair is neutral
            with with respect to the amount of lifetime happiness generated.
            Either having facial hair (or not wearing a tie, etc) clearly gives
            you more pleasure or it does not. And if it does clearly provide more
            pleasure to you, then it should be worth some costs with respect to
            its social effects. Whereas if it is truly neutral (has a trivial
            effect on your lifetime happiness) then it is not worth any cost at
            all and you would not even be discussing it here.

            >> In fact, a rational preference choice or action can
            >> never be actually neutral (in the sense of neither increasing nor
            >> decreasing one's lifetime happiness) since there is always some choice that
            >> one at least evaluates will cause one's lifetime happiness to not
            >> decrease.
            >
            > If I'm understanding the above correctly, you saying that "a rational
            > preference choice or action can never be neutral because there is
            > always some other action or choice that would be more effective in
            > increasing one's lifetime happiness". Is this correct?

            Yes, except that if by "neutral" one means neither increasing nor
            deceasing one's lifetime happiness (which is what I originally took
            your meaning to be), then I would rephrase your statement above as "a
            rational preference choice or action can never be neutral because
            there is always some other action or choice that one would judge to be
            likely to increase one's lifetime happiness" I put it in terms of "not
            causing one's lifetime happiness to decrease" rather than "increasing
            one's lifetime happiness" to account for the situation where one
            rationally judges that continuing to live will only cause a decrease
            in one's total lifetime happiness. (An example might be a person in
            constant pain with no foreseeable hope of cessation of the pain). OTOH
            now that I think of it, the very idea of any action being neutral (as
            I originally understood your meaning) is actually impossible for such
            a person, so I guess my completeness of the statement was not really
            necessary in this instance.

            Of course, now that I realize (from your later remarks) that your
            meaning of "neutral" was simply that taking one decision or another of
            a few possibilities would make minimal difference, if any, to your
            lifetime happiness, I need to withdraw my statement altogether, since
            you are quite right, many choices related to things of very small
            importance are neutral in that sense.

            > In other words,
            > there is always an opportunity cost in choosing one action or behavior
            > preference?

            The definition of "opportunity cost" is the value to one of the next
            best alternative to the choice and action that one takes. There is
            some notion in the minds of some that such a value is "forgone" or
            "given up" when one makes the choice/action of higher value. Of course
            it should be clear that such a notion is totally irrational because
            one did not ever *have* the alternative value and one cannot logically
            give up or forgo something that one has never had in the first place.
            Put another way, if one were to think of the next higher valued choice
            as a "cost" or "loss" as a result of the choice actually made, then
            why not the one next higher below that, and so on. Since it is most
            often the case that the values of alternative choices are not highly
            different (at least as seen at the time of choosing), it would then be
            clear that the sum of all these "costs" or "losses" would quickly
            overwhelm the value of the actual choice taken. Therefore, if one were
            to be logically concerned about "opportunity cost", one should never
            make any choice at all, because doing so would always lead to a net
            loss of value.

            Certainly there are real costs in making any decision, if nothing more
            than the time taken to make the decision and take the action, but the
            values of all the other things that might have been done with that
            time are certainly not part of these real costs. For this reason, I
            consider that entire notion of "opportunity cost" to be an irrational
            idea and an obfuscating red herring foisted upon the innocent by
            pseudo-intellectuals so that they can both confuse the innocent and
            appear erudite to them.

            So my statements above most certainly did not relate to any silly
            notion of opportunity cost.

            >> In thoughtfully considering my previous statement it is
            >> imperative to remember that lifetime happiness is *not* the happiness up
            >> to this point or even the happiness up to right after your next action.
            >> Rather it is the estimated happiness that will be obtained for the
            >> entire time of your life into the indefinite future (which, since you
            >> cannot change the past, is actually the same as the accumulated total
            >> happiness over the rest of your life).
            >
            > I think I understand this concept well. Although it *is* sometimes
            > difficult for me to put the effects of decisions into such a
            > far-reaching context. I *do* frequently try, though.

            Rest assured that it gets easier as you do it more and more, until it
            becomes pretty automatic. I now rarely find that I have any need for
            so-called "will power" in order to prevent myself from taking the
            short range more immediately gratifying choice. Part of the reason for
            this is that I have learned to not require myself to always worry
            about the most long range optimal choice for every single little
            thing. For those things that make little difference (are essentially
            neutral to use your terminology) I simply go with my current desires
            and enjoy the results rather than attaching any blame or having any
            pangs of conscience. Anyway some variety is beneficial and a little
            bit of a bad thing can have a positive hormetic kind of effect, both physiologically and psychologically.

            [I too no longer have to exercise "will power" - or at least very
            rarely - for the same reasons that Paul has given. **Kitty]

            >>> All three of the above examples I periodically re-evaluate with regard
            >>> to my lifetime happiness. My frustration is that each of these
            >>> preferences of mine have positive and negative aspects to them,
            >>>
            >> I have news for you. *Every* choice and action has both positive and
            >> negative aspects to it, even if the negative is only that the time taken
            >> to evaluate and do it cannot be spent evaluating other choices and
            >> taking other actions. I face that dilemma every day. I have so many
            >> things that I want to do, but only have time to do some of them.
            >
            > Yes, I face this everyday and it is frustrating to me that I sometimes
            > spend too much time *evaluating* my choices and too little time
            > *doing* anything.

            This will ameliorate as you develop more efficient methods and gain
            confidence in your ability to evaluate. Realize that for now with your
            limited experience, and the fact that so many evaluations are highly
            personal and/or highly dependent on current environmental conditions
            (and therefore that for these you cannot use the experiences of others
            to aid your decision), you often have little choice but to go with the
            reasonable best choice that you can, after trying your best to see any
            major problems with it, and then learning by experiencing the results.
            In the end, the experience of the "school of hard knocks" is the best
            teacher and often the only effective one. I am convinced that for most
            people who appear to have "made the right decisions" and "gained
            success", luck played more of a role in the process than did wise
            planning. That does not mean, of course, that such people have not
            earned or do not deserve the value that they have gained. They have
            earned such value precisely because the result of their choice was the
            production of great value for other people, whether or not it was the
            result of good planning on their part or entirely fortuitous. Still I
            must admit that I personally feel a certain amount of annoyance at so
            many very wealthy people who do not use their wealth in what I
            consider to be a rational manner. Much of this annoyance is because I
            know that a very large number of such people (perhaps the vast
            majority these days) have only arrived at such a wealthy state because
            of the irrational state of government interferences and regulations in
            current society.

            Meta
            Snipped text not needing a response.
            /Meta

            >>> which causes me to be ambivalent regarding my preference for them. For
            >>> example, I prefer the look of my face having facial hair, compared to
            >>> not having facial hair. However, I know that many people do not like
            >>> facial hair, and many employers insist on employees not having facial
            >>> hair. So I ask myself if the negative preferencing I will experience
            >>> outweighs my enjoyment of having facial hair.
            >>>
            >> This is the wrong approach. Negative preferencing by others says far
            >> more about them than it does about you. It can be used by you as a great
            >> tool for your own preferencing actions regarding the degree to which you
            >> want to relate to others. Do you really want to work for someone or
            >> associate much with someone who has that view of what your appearance
            >> ought to be?
            >
            > This is a good point. No, I do not want to work for, or associate
            > with, someone who has the view that they should control my appearance.
            > However, in my experience, *many* employers have this requirement of
            > conforming to what they call a "dress code", which includes both the
            > clothes one wears and the facial hair one maintains.

            Then look for employers who have such requirements only within
            reasonable limits (cleanliness and tidiness appropriate to the nature
            of the job). Realize that any such unreasonable requirements should be
            viewed as a kind of fraud or deception perpetrated on their clients
            and is not a mark of a truly honest, forthright company. Here is an
            example of where you should always look *beyond* the immediate example
            of irrationality to find the more general and more fundamental error,
            illogic and even unethical characteristic of which that simple,
            seemingly unimportant example is merely the immediate symptom. For
            this reason (that such irrationalities are not isolated by are related
            to more philosophically fundamental negative practices), you will
            generally find those who have no such unreasonable requirements to be
            more rational and compatible in other ways.

            [Sometimes if one makes a counter well-presented argument in a
            courteous manner, the other party will see the logic of their
            positions. Not guaranteed of course, but worth a try. And if nothing
            more it gives you practice in presenting the points. **Kitty]


            Or, better still by far, develop areas of expertize wherein you can be
            self-employed. Particularly since the late 1980's, when I operated a
            successful full service computer business in support of several medium
            sized business clients, I have realized that being employed or being
            in many service areas (not all), essentially means that one is
            promoting projects and activities that others think are important
            rather than those that oneself thinks are most important. This
            realization came from continuing to be bothered by the fact that the
            business activities of two of my major clients were not ones that I
            thought should exist at all, in the sense that a rational person would
            have no interest in the products and services provided by those
            businesses. It was not as bad as when, 10 years earlier, I was
            instrumental in the computer control of a major Canada Post parcel
            processing plant, since that was supporting a government monopoly
            organization, but it was still not acceptable to me.

            Since that realization, I have always sought to only work at those
            projects that I personally thought were most important (and it should
            go without saying that my estimation of importance is solely based
            upon whether or not I think the success likelihood times the success
            value of the project will increase my lifetime happiness more than any
            other project of which I can currently conceive). It is also
            necessary, of course, to find a way to enable any such project to also
            be sufficiently income producing in the near term, that one can
            continue to satisfy one's basic necessities. Either that or to be
            fortunate enough or to have saved enough from previous work to be able
            to live off the income from one's assets alone for some major time
            until the project gets to a stage where sufficient number of others
            appreciate its value to them.

            > I see two
            > opposing points on this subject. First, I have found it difficult to
            > find employment while having facial hair.

            If this is truly the case, then it is clear that you need to either
            change location to where employers in your your area of knowledge are
            more reasonable, or you need to change areas of knowledge. As with
            "Atlas Shrugged", do not sanction such practices by continuing to
            associate with those who practice them. Remove your expertize and
            abilities from their control and thereby diminish their power.

            > Since employment has been
            > the best way by which to provide me with my needs, I have felt that
            > I have little choice but to conform to their demands regarding my
            > appearance.

            Again you need to take the long view and avoid such employers, even if
            it means satisfaction of fewer of your needs for a while. At your age
            you can afford to do with less until you reorganize your life.

            > OTOH, it is true that *not all* employers (and more
            > narrowly, not even every employer looking for people with skills
            > that I possess), require such alterations to my appearance. So, by
            > conforming to the appearance requirements of some employers, I was
            > actually supporting their effort to dictate my appearance (and the
            > appearance of others). If I had more actively sought-out an employer
            > that did not have such appearance requirements, I would be supporting
            > *them* by providing *them* with my skills and services, rather than
            > the employer who required a change to my appearance. However, it
            > almost certainly would have been more difficult for me to find
            > employment, had I not compromised on my appearance.

            But the effort would be worthwhile, even if the choice of facial hair
            itself is not that important to you, since you would be socially
            preferencing and refusing to sanction such irrational behavior. In
            this regard it would be important to publicly declare just why you
            made the choice of employer that you did and the philosophical basis
            for that choice (which is actually the deception - faking of reality,
            rather than the mere ability to have facial hair).

            >>> Both of these positive and negative aspects are small, since this
            >>> preference is not critical to my life happiness.

            Actually in view of several things now discussed above, I think your
            statement above is wrong. In making such a statement you have not
            fully evaluated the importance of some of these personal practices to
            your lifetime happiness (they must be far from "neutral" or you would not even have raised them here) and you have not realized the full
            depth what such restrictions on the part of employers say about them.
            I would maintain that it certainly *is* critical to your lifetime
            happiness (in the long run, which at your age is most likely a very
            long time) to not sanction such behavior and to not associate with
            such people (and to explain why to the world).

            Meta
            Snipped more text to which a reply is not now appropriate.
            /Meta

            >>> But I do periodically re-evaluate this cost/benefit
            >>> situation *and it is this re-evaluation* that is frustrating. It is
            >>> frustrating because I think doing so is a nonsensical waste of my time.
            >>> I don't know why I can't just confidently conclude: "this is my
            >>> preference. There is no harm being done to me for having this
            >>> preference, and I enjoy this preference," and proceed to enjoy it,
            >>> without periodically re-evaluating it. I have also come to think that I
            >>> place too much value on the opinions others hold regarding these neutral
            >>> preferences. If I essentially concluded: "I don't care what others
            >>> think", then I would not re-evaluate these seemingly neutral
            >>> preferences. However, what other people think about me is an important
            >>> aspect of life which affects my happiness. I will continue to think
            >>> about this.
            >>>
            >> What you are missing is that the importance of what others think about
            >> you should be directly proportional to your overall evaluation of the
            >> benefit to your lifetime happiness of interactions with them.
            >
            > Your statement above makes sense to me, and I agree. However, I had
            > never put others' opinions about me in such a long-term perspective. I
            > think if I did this, I would, in general, not be so concerned with the
            > opinions of others, since I would realize what little effect most
            > peoples' opinions about me will have on my lifetime happiness.

            I expect that you will now be altering this lack of long-term
            perspective and will realize that the opinions of others only matter
            to the extent that those opinions lead to the use of force against
            you. The irrational people in the world (at least in North America)
            are not yet such a large majority that you cannot find sufficient
            numbers, with whom to associate, who understand well that your
            personal choices are your own business, as long as they have no
            reasonable negative effects on the productive work for which they are
            paying you, and who fully appreciate and esteem the rational,
            self-responsible approach that you take to reality.

            Meta
            Snipped more text not requiring a response.
            /Meta

            >>> Some of my frustration is that not all preferences are highly positive
            >>> or highly negative. Some of them are relatively neutral with respect to
            >>> my long-term happiness. However, I think I tend to re-evaluate these
            >>> preferences that are neutral with regard to my happiness, and this
            >>> re-evaluation is cumbersome. I think I do this because when a preference
            >>> is neutral I find it difficult to conclude: "it is neutral, and
            >>> therefore does not matter, so I no longer need to evaluate it". I think
            >>> I need to learn to just *accept* these neutral preferences and
            >>> confidently conclude that they *are* in-fact, neutral, and I can spend
            >>> my time thinking about other things.
            >>
            >> It is clear now that by "neutral" you actually mean that taking an
            >> action or not taking it will make little difference to your total
            >> lifetime happiness.
            >
            > Correct. This is what I meant.

            Meta
            I leave the above in only to show that it is because of this that I
            needed to change some of my statements above.
            /Meta

            >> Again what I think that you are missing is that
            >> most of life's actions are actually of that form. The lives of most
            >> people consist of a majority of actions each of which contribute a
            >> small amount to their lifetime happiness (only minimally more than
            >> some alternate action) and a very few actions that either increase or
            >> decrease their lifetime happiness a great deal.
            >
            > I hadn't thought of this, previous to your pointing it out.

            Even more, it is often impossible to tell beforehand whether a
            choice/action will have little effect or will have a major effect. And
            this is independent of the also important fact that the best planned
            choices and actions may prove highly detrimental, if only because of
            some chance or completely unforeseeable event which totally eliminates
            any possibility of benefit. In the words of the Scottish poet Robbie
            Burns: "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley,", which
            translated into English says: "The best laid plans of mice and men go
            oft astray" (a line in a famous poem: "TO A MOUSE - ON TURNING HER UP
            IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH"). Still, planning to the best of one's
            ability using an amount of time appropriate to the reasonable
            expectation of the likelihood of value gained or lost by the action,
            is the best that can be done and is always better on average than no
            planning at all.

            Meta
            Snipped more text either not requiring a response or not responded to by
            Max/Steve.
            /Meta

            >> [And for me, I didn't learn how to have high confidence in myself (in
            >> areas outside of a narrow range of work expertise) until after being
            >> and "studying" with Paul for a few years. In fact, I think we were
            >> both "studying" during the first 5 years in slightly different areas
            >> areas of human interaction - and in actuality we continue to study
            >> this aspect of reality all the time. **Kitty]
            >
            > I am very interested to know how you and Paul got into the habit of
            > "studying" together. When I consider the activities for which I'd like
            > to have a partner, *studying* is one of the activities that is
            > foremost in my mind. I enjoy learning about, contemplating, and
            > discussing reality, and one can only perform the latter if there is
            > someone to discuss ideas *with* (much like we are doing in this
            > forum). I think it's wonderful that Paul and Kitty each have a "study"
            > partner. Most of the people I meet in my daily interactions don't
            > think that "studying" is an enjoyable activity at all - which is
            > depressing.

            It is not only "depressing', not constantly attempting to better
            understand reality (to study it) is contrary to life. Babies, toddlers
            and young children are all enormously eager to learn everything about
            the world in which they have recently come to exist. This is the
            fundamentally natural human condition and method for maintenance and
            promotion of life - to understand one's environment so that one can
            control and mold it to optimally increase one's lifetime happiness. As
            I argue in my essay about Social Meta-Needs, there really can be no
            other possible purpose for any human, which is consistent with hir
            nature in reality. How it can be that so many seemingly intelligent
            people do not understand this, is beyond my comprehension. However, I
            have given up being concerned about it, but instead look to associate
            only with those for whom it is not so.

            [This nature of very young children is one of the fascinations
            experienced by parents/guardians who have chosen to be in that role. **Kitty]

            Meta
            Snipped more text not responded to.
            /Meta

            >> Still I can certainly understand that you need some one or others with
            >> whom you can associate more directly and regularly. I certainly could
            >> not be and would not be functioning as I am without having found Kitty
            >> and having her physically with me most of the time.
            >
            > I had thought this to be the case: that the constant, physical
            > presence of a certain person could make a large difference in my
            > happiness. I'm glad to hear that you have experienced this, which
            > helps to support my hypothesis. Note, I understand it is not simply
            > the other person's physical presence that brings benefit, but also the
            > fact that hir physical presence enables easier communication and a
            > wider range of activities that can be done together, relative to the
            > lack of hir physical presence.

            Yes the immediate sharing of experiences and immediate ability to
            comment and respond is what is mainly necessary. The physical nearness
            is simply a necessary prerequisite for that immediacy, and when a
            romantic relationship is also enough physical presence is "icing on the cake".

            >> [I will concur on this point of enormous value of close human friendship. **Kitty]
            >
            > I have been trying to discover why I get a bit depressed and feel
            > relatively unmotivated for a period of a day or two about once per
            > month. After having considered vitamin deficiencies (i.e. vitamin D
            > supplementation), lack of exercise, and some other possible causes, I
            > think that my lack of close friendship may be a large part of the cause.

            Well you simply have to keep looking, never get "hard boiled"
            (unreceptive and unopen to others) and never give up. As my mother used to say to me when I was in my late teens and never had even had a
            "girl friend": "your time will come". At age 22 I thought my time had
            come when I married my first wife and two years later started a
            family, only to have the whole thing fall apart 12 year later. Little
            did I or my mother know when she told me that in the late 50's that it
            would be more than 50 years before my time really did come (when I
            found Kitty). Unfortunately my mother never lived to see it happen and
            to meet Kitty.

            In the meantime you must learn to do with many less complete relationships that are each of benefit in an important but different
            area of your life, and perhaps a few longer distance, less immediate
            relationships that are more complete. Of course, you can also consider
            relocating to where there exist one or more people with whom you do
            have a more complete relationship. I have always been amazed (and
            delighted, of course) that Kitty was so totally ready to leave a good
            job, a husband, a lovely home, a climate and social environment she
            had known for over 25 years, and even her native country, to join me
            in my one bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto. Boy, did that tell me
            how much she esteemed and loved me! (Note that I used both words
            because so often today the word "love" is used without implying
            concurrent great esteem - a usage totally irrational in my view.)

            >> [My level of productive output is far greater since joining with Paul
            >> than in the years prior. I think that it is essential for optimizing
            >> one's lifetime happiness that a person have at least one relationship
            >> with another human that has foundational values in common as well as
            >> numerous other interests (lesser values); it may not include
            >> romantic (sexual) emotions but these may be almost an "automatic"
            >> consequence of the breadth and depth of the values that each finds in
            >> the other. **Kitty]
            >
            > The above really is wonderful to read, as it illustrates what I have
            > to look forward to, should I find the right person for me.

            Meta
            Snipped more text not responded to.
            /Meta

            >> What you need now is to
            >> find one or more other groups of people with whom to have such tiny
            >> perfect relationships.
            >
            > After reading the above, I think about the relationship I have with
            > two women from my Organic Chemistry 2 class. I have studied with the
            > two of them throughout this semester, and found it enjoyable at first.
            > However, I found that most of the time I spent with them was
            > unproductive with regard to studying the material. Instead, we would
            > often talk about other topics, some I found to be a waste of my time
            > (like the color one girl painted her toenails),

            I am left to wonder about the type of girl that would even bring up a
            topic of such minor importance and totally subjective value, particularly to a man. Part of the trouble may be that you are likely
            a little older (and certainly far more matured) than most of those in
            your undergraduate class).

            > while others were more
            > interesting (such as the difficulty in discovering what type of skills
            > one would enjoy to make a living).

            This indecision about what young people want to do for a living seems
            to be much more rampant in society than when I was in my teens. I
            wonder if it is perhaps because there is so little of anything
            practical and avocation related that is currently taught in the
            schools.

            Personally, I always knew that I wanted to work in the area of
            mathematics, science and engineering. It was only later when I matured
            much more that I realized the philosophy is really the basic of
            everything and that the philosophical basic of mathematics and science
            is of paramount important both to their usefulnes, but even to their
            very meaning. Still later I realized that the human condition was so
            inoptimal that social and psychological philosophy must necessarily be
            my work. And since it is the hardest of all (at least to make progress
            with change), it is also the most enjoyable to me - I have always
            sought out the most difficult and most important task as also being
            the most enjoyable to pursue as my major work.

            >> For example we have such relationships with our
            >> dance/music friends, but with most of them nothing beyond that. And with
            >> Jack (who is the only poster to this group who is "local" to us) we do
            >> not have a dance/music relationship but have several others of a deeper
            >> nature. Tiny perfect relationships are what you have with store clerks
            >> whom you get to know from frequenting certain stores and from others
            >> with whom your daily activities brings you into contact. I do not go
            >> so far as to call any of them "buddies" (I think associates would be a
            >> better term or even simply friends) ,
            >
            > I thought you had previously discouraged the use of the word "friends"
            > for those with which one has a limited relationship with. I agreed
            > with this idea.

            Yes, you are right about my previous discouragement. The reason for
            that was a difference in the scope of the use of the term. I am very
            cautious about who I call a friend (with nothing more stated), but if
            I include another word, such as "dance friend", then I tend to use
            "friend more loosely. But as I stated above, perhaps "associate" would
            be a better term so that I could be more consistent and less ambiguous
            in my usage. Since our main social activity right now is dancing,
            while I and Kitty have very few friends (less than fingers of one
            hand), we do have many, many (probably 20 or so) dance associates with
            whom we converse in the limited way possible over the music (or even
            just wave, hug - a few, or glad-hand) when we attend dance events.

            [Paul gets more of these expressions of friendliness and admiration
            from dancers than I do. Including hugs from young women. :>) **Kitty]


            When we are in Ontario at the cottage, our social life is virtually
            non-existent because there are no dance events anywhere near. But I
            think neither of us really misses that lack of social life, since from
            a real friendship pov the dance associate relationships are
            inconsequential compared with the depth and breadth of our
            relationship with each other.

            >> I have had few buddies in my
            >> lifetime and only one or two best buddies - none of the latter except
            >> Kitty have ever remained in that status.
            >
            > I have always thought of the word "buddy" as the casual term for
            > friend. It defines someone who is not a deep friend, but is also not
            > simply an "acquaintance". Merriam-Webster seems to indicate both
            > definitions (yours and mine):
            >
            > 1 a: companion , partner b: friend
            > 2: fellow —used especially in informal address

            Yup. It's another example of ambiguities in the English language - and
            its getting worse every year - to the end result where every word will
            mean the same as every other! Now won't *that* be a real tower of
            Babel situation, particularly since everyone will still think that
            they understand what the others are saying.
            The phrase "buddy-buddy", in particular, as a description of closeness
            definitely implies a strong and fairly complete friendship. To me a
            "buddy" is someone upon whom you can really count when you need hir,
            but then that is also true for a true friend. I also think that my
            sense of its meaning was greatly influenced by some popular songs
            using the term and perhaps some movies and fiction early in my youth,
            which used the term. In addition, my boyhood dog was named "Buddy",
            which naturally makes me think of a loyal and understanding companion.

            >> [I would very much like to see more of our dance friends - a couple of
            >> whom I know are members of MoreLife Yahoo but have never posted...-
            >> deepen their understanding of the philosophical issues underlying
            >> their frequently expressed dissatisfaction with current society. Most
            >> are well aware that SelfSIP.org exists, but I do not think that very
            >> many of them have even perused it, let alone studied it. So until they
            >> do and begin having serious discussions with us (as does one
            >> individual in person at most of the desert dance events) on the
            >> principles that make up that website and MoreLife, we remain in a
            >> tiny-perfect relationship.
            >>
            >> And as for retaining deep friendships over time, I think that those
            >> that I and Paul have made in the past few years - yours being one of
            >> the few - have happened almost certainly *because* of the philosophical
            >> foundational basis that we have developed.
            >
            > Yes, I am very interested in the ideas, and I have found use for them
            > (by being convinced of their accuracy) as I continuously modify my
            > perception of reality. And the more I become convinced of the accuracy
            > of these ideas with respect to reality, the more active I become in
            > trying to influence others in considering such ideas. When trying to
            > discuss ideas of importance to one's existence (i.e. happiness,
            > value-for-value), I frequently get the impression that many people are
            > a type of "zombie" - aimlessly roaming about their lives, applying no
            > serious thought to their existence and living only to enjoy the next
            > escapist activity ("escapist" is a great way to describe it - Kitty
            > uses the word below).
            >
            >> Such a basis is something
            >> that is missing currently in most relationships between people,
            >
            > Yes! I have also found this to be the case. It seems that nearly every
            > person I interact with during my daily activities (and nearly everyone
            > previously in my life) lacks a rational, philosophical basis for their
            > existence. Rarely do I ever find a person who seems to have considered
            > the meaning or purpose of their existence, let alone a person who
            > thinks in the same ways as I do. It is difficult to have a close
            > relationship with someone if they do not think about their life to the
            > same degree, or in the same ways, as I do.
            >
            >> but
            >> then for the very large numbers of people who never think beyond the
            >> escapist activity for after work or the weekend, the longer term
            >> friendships they maintain do not go very deep either. **Kitty]
            >
            > Agreed. And I think it quite possible that it is largely because the
            > friendships they maintain have no philosophical basis, as you
            > describe.
            >
            > I wonder if many organized religions (I'm thinking of Christianity)
            > serve this purpose for many people - providing a philosophical basis
            > around which people interpret their lives and give meaning to their
            > relationships.
            >
            >>>> [There is another way to consider memories that elicit pleasant
            >>>> thoughts about those previous times that include people for whom you
            >>>> now have little in common as a result of your changed views on what is
            >>>> important to you. As an example, I have personally found this to be
            >>>> the case for numerous people, including ones to whom I am biologically
            >>>> related. I still have very pleasant memories from many years ago, but
            >>>> I have no desire to interact with these individuals now based on their
            >>>> later - and even in some cases fairly recent - demonstrations of
            >>>> values that are diametrically opposed to mine. One individual has even
            >>>> clearly expressed a wish that I be harmed, but I still have many fond
            >>>> memories of him that cover about 23 years. In contrast, I spend
            >>>> virtually no time wishing that he, as well as the others, were
            >>>> different since that is a waste of my time. **Kitty]
            >>>>
            >>> I think it is an excellent conclusion you have come to - that it is a
            >>> waste of your time to wish that these people were different. There are a
            >>> couple people in my life whom I occasionally think about, and I think it
            >>> is a waste of my time to do so. Again, I have a difficult time holding a
            >>> firm conclusion about these people, and sometimes contact them to see
            >>> how they are doing or to influence them.
            >>>
            >> You might instead realize that if they really had changed/improved, then
            >> they would contact you (as long as you have made yourself publicly
            >> available), and *that* is why it is a waste of your time.
            >
            > This *is* a good point: if a person had really changed "for the
            > better", they would be motivated to contact me again. OTOH ("on the
            > other hand", for those unfamiliar with this acronym), I think there
            > are some people who are interested in changing/improving, but need
            > encouragement to do so. These are the types of people I am inclined to
            > want to "check-up on".

            I agree, and an occasional "check-up" would show that you care, which
            should give them both more confidence in their own worth and more
            appreciation for your worth and ideas, both of which should help them
            change in the right direction. Unfortunately, very few of the people
            that I have ever "written off" had shown any willingness to change or
            any thought that I might possibly be correct, and them wrong.

            > On the contrary, I know of some people who have
            > convinced me that they are *unwilling* to change/improve, and these
            > people I make no effort to contact.
            >
            >> This is my
            >> approach to my sister and my daughter both of whom totally severed
            >> relations with me about 8 years ago.
            >>
            >> [Ah, yes. Then there is the relationship with my son Andy (who goes by
            >> the name Andrew, although it is actually Edward Andreas), and also
            >> with his father and my former husband, Ed. Sometime in the future I
            >> will have a Kitty Reflects entry that addresses this situation, which
            >> is one where both those individuals have severed relations with me. **Kitty]
            >
            > I am interested in reading about this Kitty Reflects entry that you
            > describe above. I often wonder if *I* will be the one to sever
            > relations with most of my family, or *them*. I don't know if it is
            > necessary for me to formally "sever" relations with my family.

            Unless such people continue to bother you, then any such formal
            "severing" is quite unnecessary. It would only be useful if you are
            stating all the reasons in order to give them one last chance to
            change (and that would be only useful if you really do think there
            still is some chance for change). I have done this a few times,
            particularly when I had had some previous good relationships with such
            people (or so I thought), but it has never worked to effect any
            change.

            > Instead, I would simply not interact with them. I think this would be
            > the best thing to do with most people, since there is always the
            > possibility that they will change, at which point I would *want* to
            > speak with them again.

            I don't think that actually clearly telling them that you were
            severing relations with them would preclude them coming back to you
            again.

            In most situations where a person has stopped interacting with me it
            has been clear to me that they do not wish to hear from me again, so I do not try to contact them. Partly this is because in most of these
            same situations, even though the other party ceased/broke off the
            relationship, I was nevertheless convinced that the major part of the
            harm within the relationship was from them harming me, and they broke
            off the relationship because they would not accept my contention. With
            such people I do not try to restart things since I think that unless
            they first see the light and apologize to me, any attempted contact on
            my part would be effectively admitting that I had changed my mind and
            now accepted their previous action as at least tolerable. This is the
            essential situation with my daughter. With my sister, just "down the road" in Tuscon, the situation is different. She has apparently broken off the relationship with me in order to side with my daughter, to
            whom she has always been very close as a kind of surrogate mother. I
            have sent her a birthday card and one other contact over the last 7
            years, and I even got an email from her husband (new, so we never knew
            each other well) about the death of their pet dog, which I knew well, but there has never been any response from anything that I have sent
            to them. In my experience, each case of a break-off of an old
            long-term relationship is highly unique and needs to be considered
            separately.

            > But, if I had stopped initiating interaction
            > with a person because I decided that hir characteristics did not
            > benefit me, then I would wait for *them* to initiate interaction with
            > me, as it may be an indication that they've changed (similar to the
            > discussion on this above).

            Don't forget that most people have such busy lives and so many others
            around them to interact with that they don't even think about long
            gone people that they once knew. OTOH, if this takes place then it
            clearly means that they did not see anything really special about you
            to remember and to want back again. So the continuing disconnection is
            probably in your own best interest anyway.

            Although I still feel sadness for what might have been, that is the
            way that I currently think of my daughter - I am convinced that she
            never did really understand and appreciate my most important and
            self-cherished qualities (and those which Kitty so quickly saw,
            understood and esteemed). As for my older brother and younger sister,
            each in their own way they too never appreciated me for what I really
            am (but, of course, they might say the same in reverse). So I have
            determined through experience that it is best to forget these
            potentially good but broken past relationships and simply continue to
            be open to new people coming along who *do* appreciate the qualities
            that you most cherish about yourself.

            Meta
            Snipped more text not responded to and text about exercise
            physiology,biochemistry and psychology, to which I will respond in part 2
            /Meta

            >>>>> It brings me happiness. However, does
            >>>>> the long-term negative consequences associated with weight-lifting
            >>>>> out-weigh the happiness I derive from it over my lifetime? The
            >>>>> answer to this is difficult for me to decide upon.
            >>>>>
            >>>> As long as you are certain that the happiness you derive from any
            >>>> activity is fully reasonable, then you should not totally eliminate
            >>>> it unless it is very clearly of major harm. OTOH, I cannot see how
            >>>> it would be possible to rationally continue to enjoy something that
            >>>> is harmful.
            >>>>
            >>> Right, I agree. I think Nathaniel Branden explained this well in the
            >>> books of his I have read so far. The idea I got from him was that
            >>> continuing to enjoy (or participate) in something that is clearly
            >>> harmful harms one's self-esteem - and for good reason. One some level of
            >>> consciousness, one is aware that one's behavior is self-destructive, and
            >>> is good reason to be disappointed in one's behavior, and essentially, in
            >>> one's self.
            >>>
            >> Yes. In the end it is the self-contradiction that is destructive - which
            >> is a point that I made above.
            >>
            >> [This addresses part of the reason why self-esteem must be
            >> self-acquired/earned - it cannot be given to someone. Parents *can*
            >> stifle it in younger children (and unfortunately many do) but older
            >> children and adults must acquire it for themselves. Others can be
            >> sought for their assistance in understanding how to do this, but the
            >> individual *must* acquire hir own self-esteem. So statements by
            >> teachers and schools about ensuring that a child have self-esteem are
            >> muddled in lack of understanding of the concept itself. **Kitty]
            >
            > Yes, it is clear that one must develop one's self-esteem for
            > themselves. To say that "teachers and schools must ensure" the
            > development of self-esteem may not make sense. However, it could mean
            > that teachers and schools should understand self-esteem and its
            > development, and encourage children to think about themselves in a way
            > that is conducive to the development of self-esteem. I think this
            > would be appropriate, but I estimate many teachers and schools far
            > fall short of this goal.

            [Making sure that children and young people have the natural
            opportunities for self-responsibility will provide them with the
            opportunities for building and nurturing their own self-esteem. And
            here is where governments have created the problem they then try to
            "solve". This can be a whole 'nother thread. **Kitty]

            Meta
            Snipped more text not requiring a response.
            /Meta

            >>>> [In your case, Steve, from what I read, you are motivated to do a
            >>>> thorough assessment. Based on your reported actions, I think you will
            >>>> be successful in making the choice that will best optimize your
            >>>> lifetime happiness. **Kitty]
            >>>>
            >>> Thanks for the encouragement Kitty *warm smiles*. I read your
            >>> encouragement at an ironic time -- just after I was lamenting above
            >>> how there are very few people in my life from whom I would enjoy
            >>> encouragement. So the timing was excellent *big laughs*.
            >>>
            >> [I could say this about my "previous life" too. Outside of my
            >> employment work and its aspects, there was only 1 person with whom I
            >> could discuss most of the highly important areas of life including of
            >> course philosophy - my former husband's regular comment was "What's to
            >> discuss? It's obvious."
            >
            > I estimate that that kind of outlook about life made for shallow
            > conversation.

            [You bet! And was a major deteriorating factor in the relationship.
            The initial reason for our introduction to each other by mutual
            friends was that we both admired/read Ayn Rand, but it took a number
            of years for me to realize that this "admiration" was not particularly
            philosophically deep on Ed's part. **Kitty]

            Meta
            Snipped more text not requiring a response.
            /Meta

            >>>>> I have been trying to evaluate
            >>>>> all of my preferences and behaviors in this manner and have begun to
            >>>>> feel ambivalent about nearly everything I enjoy. Most habits have
            >>>>> positive and negative aspects related to each of them.
            >>>>>
            >>>> Sometimes the negative effects can be reduced or eliminated entirely by
            >>>> practicing moderation in the activity. However, there are many activities,
            >>>> particularly mental ones, that have no negative aspects other than the
            >>>> use of your limited amount of time. I think that you need to develop
            >>>> many more enjoyable mental activities and only do physical ones to the
            >>>> extent necessary to stay healthy - which is actually very little once
            >>>> you are on a CR and fasting protein cycling diet.
            >>>>
            >>> I think your suggestion above is accurate and useful for me. I do find
            >>> that I feel physically well nearly every day, and am ill very
            >>> infrequently, which indicates that I am in good health. However, I do
            >>> find that I get "bored" fairly often - when I'm not busy with
            >>> schoolwork. I think this boredom is a function of the limited number
            >>> of mental activities I engage in - just what you noted above.
            >>>
            >> Frankly, any such notion of "boredom" is something that I have *never*
            >> experienced (except when in a restricted situation not of my own
            >> choosing), so I do not have much understanding of what your problem is.
            >> In fact, your statement causes me some irritation because I can think
            >> of no better mental stimulation than reading and attempting to
            >> understand the material on the SelfSIP website, which action and the
            >> ensuing questions and discussions would, in addition, be the best
            >> possible return of value that you, as a friend, could do for me.
            >
            > Good point. I have deeply considered your above comments about boredom
            > in the past several days, and I have discovered some important ideas.
            >
            > First, after evaluating whether I was really experiencing "boredom", I
            > realized that what I had called "boredom" above was actually my
            > indecisiveness in choosing an activity (which I discussed in earlier
            > comments in this message). That is, I had called "boredom", my state
            > of "not knowing what to do with myself", even though I knew there were
            > many things I *wanted* to do.

            If, after a little consideration, you can't decide what activity to do
            next, then it is a waste of time to continue trying to decide. Simply
            use your *whim* and pick any one of the choices and *get at it*. It is
            *not* always necessary to have carefully calculated all the pros and
            cons to death before you take action and it is not always necessary to
            have a full rational justification for every action that you take.
            Life is simply too short and full for that. It is perfectly okay to
            sometimes act just because you "felt like it". Particularly this is
            correct if you constantly work to get your "feelings" to be consistent
            with your consciously held principles and methods. Just getting
            started and doing the activity is often more happiness conducive than
            spending addition precious time in evaluating.

            When you need a break from that one activity (usually it is best to
            take breaks because the subconscious will proceed with the thinking
            anyway), then *get at another one*, preferably one that uses a
            different combination of your body and mind. It is like one of the
            humorous dance songs says: "What fxxk are y'all standing around for?
            Get in there and DANCE!!"

            > Second, I realized that perhaps I have developed the habit of enjoying
            > the feeling of being "entertained", without my effort. That is,
            > throughout my life I, my acquaintances and family, have often
            > participated in (or more appropriately, "surrendered to") activities
            > such as watching movies, television, or playing video games.

            Unfortunately this is true for the vast majority of people in current
            society. It is why the government has so little problem with protests
            to its actions. This keeping the masses happy was the function of
            gladiator tournaments in ancient Rome, whence the notion that
            providing "bread and circuses" is all that is necessary to keep a
            dictatorial regime in power.

            > The form
            > of entertainment that I often engaged in is video games.

            Video games are, at least, active rather than totally passive. I find
            the logical, non-action games (such as patience and sudoku) to be
            mentally stimulating and a pleasant diversion at times. Although I
            must admit that playing them a lot is also a sign to me that there is
            something else important that I really ought to get done, but find
            somewhat unpleasant in its immediate execution work.

            > This form of
            > entertainment grew into a habit, an activity I would engage in at the
            > end of the day, usually in the last hour or two of being awake, as I
            > was becoming sleepy.

            I have also been in the same state with respect to the game Patience
            (particularly related to the reason described above), but I eventually
            get out of it and I no longer beat myself up over it as I often used
            to do about such things (which then made things worse). IOW, I have
            learned to forgive myself for my indulgences and, lo and behold,
            because of that I actually indulge far less often. I have been working
            on the wiki stuff so diligently (and enjoying it so much) that I have
            not played patience or sudoku in weeks now.

            > While I think there are a number of positive effects I benefit from my
            > previous playing of video games, in the past I have clearly spent too
            > much time playing them. I have made a strong effort in changing this
            > habit in the past several years, and especially in the past year. I
            > recognize video games to be enjoyable to me, and they can be
            > mentally-stimulating, relaxing, or motivating. But recently I have
            > noticed that
            (Message over 64 KB, truncated)
          • Paul Wakfer
            Meta This is the separated second part of my response to the previous, much too large message. /Meta ... This is true, but what you do not realize is that the
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 18 8:41 PM
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              Meta
              This is the separated second part of my response to the previous, much
              too large message.
              /Meta

              On 04/05/2009 09:22 PM, Steve Floyd Jr wrote:
              > --- In morelife@yahoogroups.com, Paul Wakfer <paul@...> wrote:
              >
              >> On 03/06/2009 06:50 PM, Steve C. Floyd Jr. wrote:
              >>
              >>> Paul wrote:
              >>>
              >>>> Steve wrote:
              >>>>> However, our
              >>>>> previous discussions on the topic of building muscle and strength
              >>>>> has made me question my preference for lifting weights.
              >>>>>
              >>>>>
              >>>> Lifting weights may be of more value to the elderly to oppose sarcopenia
              >>>> and reduction of bone density/strength, but I do not see it to be of as
              >>>> good health/longevity value for younger people as are many other kinds
              >>>> of exercise. In addition, I cannot see why pure physical grunt work is
              >>>> as enjoyable as applying the same physical labor to something inherently
              >>>> useful in its accomplishment.
              >>>>
              >>> I have thought about your paragraph above quite a bit in the last few
              >>> days. I have concluded that I lift weights to provide me with a more
              >>> systematic protocol for maintaining my strength.
              >>>
              >> By why do you want to maintain this strength to a greater degree than
              >> would naturally happen from the activities mentioned below?
              >>
              >
              > I think that if I maintain my strength to a level slightly *above* the
              > point my current activities require, I would be less likely to have
              > accidents (i.e. falling off my bike, which I ride frequently).

              This is true, but what you do not realize is that the body does that
              naturally (ie maintains level of strength sufficiently in excess of
              normal activity levels to enable the needed occasional excursions and
              to prevent accidents). You do not have to attempt to order and direct
              from on-high what is an age-old far more optimally ordering system
              than you can possibly do with your conscious mind based on very
              limited knowledge of its detailed intricacies. What you are trying to
              do for your body is much the same as governments trying to direct the
              naturally self-ordering free market. This is far different than what I
              am doing with respect to my nutrition and supplements. Here I am simply providing to the body everything that I think might be useful to
              it. The body is left to its own decision making whether and how much to
              use that which I provide for it. My view is that the body knows best -
              at least at the present level of knowledge - and will do far better
              than anything that I can currently direct it to do.

              > Having
              > a level of strength that is slightly higher than what is required for
              > daily living would make me safer than being at a level that was lower
              > than what is required.

              Yes, except that if your daily living activities are not enormously
              variable in strength requirements, then it is simply impossible for
              your strength to be too low to do them effectively and safely, with
              the possible exception of when a person is very old. As I said above
              and previously, the body will look after itself extremely well if you
              simply give it the necessary substrate, are sensitive to its wants for
              activity and leave it look after itself.

              Kitty and I were discussing this need for exercise and strength
              training as a readiness factor and the only current occupation in
              which we could see that as necessary was with firemen and emergency
              rescue personnel. These people are often doing nothing relative to
              their direct work for many days (or even sometimes weeks) and then are
              suddenly required to have enormous strength, stamina and endurance.
              Therefore, it is imperative that they be in constant training to be in
              a state of readiness for such a crisis situation.

              > Should I be at a level of strength that is
              > lower, or even with, what is required for my daily activities,

              The normal healthy young body *cannot* be in such a state, unless
              after a period of sickness and/or other cessation of those daily
              activities.

              > I think
              > I would often struggle with activities, which may put me at risk of
              > harm.

              Forget this "possibility", since it cannot happen!!

              > OTOH, it may be that, if I must struggle a little with some daily
              > activities, I would benefit from the increased exertion required to
              > execute those activities (should I have an overall lower level of
              > strength). I didn't think of this before you asked.

              That is correct. You *can* only struggle with some activities that are
              in fact quite a bit *above* those of your normal daily level. And to
              the extent that you do start doing such activities and struggling a
              bit with them, then in no time at all (2 or 3 weeks at most) your
              strength will increase above the level necessary so that you are no
              longer struggling. You will effectively have increased the level of
              your daily activities to a higher plateau.

              >>> I do take many
              >>> opportunities to do something useful with my labor, such as chopping
              >>> wood for my parents' wood burner when I lived with them to contribute to
              >>> the household, as well as riding my bike to class instead of driving.
              >>> However, from my understanding of the many muscle groups and ranges of
              >>> motion in the body, I would be neglecting many of them if I only engaged
              >>> in "useful" physical labor. For example, I have noticed that my hip
              >>> flexors are quite weak, and I can not hold my leg straight out in front
              >>> of me for very long before my hip flexors become very fatigued. I
              >>> understand hip flexors to be important for posture and for avoiding
              >>> falls, so I want to correct this.
              >>>
              >> You are "putting the cart before the horse".
              >
              > Perhaps I am. However, WRT some muscle groups, I understood that a
              > level of strength that is greater than the minimum necessary will
              > lower the risk of accidental injury.

              Yes, but the healthy young body maintains that naturally without any
              special attention and "forcing" on your part.

              >> If you do maintain your
              >> good posture, then those muscles necessary to do so will automatically
              >> be maintained sufficiently to do so.

              Note that I have been saying the same thing all along, but you still
              are not getting the message (or perhaps simply don't "believe" me).
              Once again the healthy young body is an enormously complex and highly
              optimal self-ordering system in all its aspects. All that it needs is
              the right substrate (nutrients), environment (sleep, clean air,
              appropriate temperature and humidity) and stimulation (constant daily
              physical and mental activities appropriate to the state that it needs
              to be in for your ongoing requirements of it) and then to be left
              alone to work its own amazing and wondrous self-ordering processes. It
              is totally arrogant of anyone to think that s/he knows better than
              millions of years of evolutionary development about what the body
              should be doing. Note that I am talking here about the normal healthy
              young body that is in a high state of homeostasis. I am not talking
              about diseased states including aging decline and dysfunction. In the
              short run the body knows best, but in the much longer run (dozens of
              years) then it will have to be tweaked in many ways to prevent so much
              change that the potential for homeostasis is eventually lost.

              >> [All that would be needed in addition, is some stretching activities.
              >> The subject of "natural" vs "artificial" exercise is one for another
              >> post (beyond what I say further below) if you or someone else wish to
              >> pursue it. **Kitty]
              >>
              >>> However, I don't think my current
              >>> bike-riding will help very much with this weakness.
              >>>
              >> What weakness? Do you have bad posture? Do you fall easily?
              >
              > I was referring to my hip flexors. However, after considering this
              > more, I think I may simply have the impression that I should be
              > stronger than I need to be.

              You certainly do. Worse, you have this crazy idea that *you* must
              order your body what to do because it (your body) is too stupid to
              know how to look after itself. Instead, you need to do less thinking
              and ordering and more listening and observing. I do not "exercise" at
              all and my body, even at 71, still responds beautifully to the need
              for a high rate of activity.

              [An explanation - we have not this 6 months in AZ made use of the
              exercise equipment in our basement. We have been so busy that we
              haven't wanted to take the time to do so and Paul does not enjoy it
              anyway. I've instead a number of times purposely gone out in the yard
              to do maintenance work just to breakup the computer sets and at times
              Paul has joined me. (We have some of the best manicured creosote
              bushes around and the remaining rose bushes are in plentiful bloom
              right now.) Despite this lack of purposeful artificial exercise, we
              have not at all lacked for lots of energy when dancing at numerous
              regular and special events. Remember, we make use of all the
              opportunities for natural exercise everyday and they are numerous. Our
              every 3 month order from LEF just arrived and there was lots of
              lifting, bending, stretching, stair climbing with just that! **Kitty]

              > Taking the time and effort to maintain
              > this greater level of strength than is required is just a waste of my
              > time.

              Absolutely! I hope that you will really start to understand that and
              respond to it. There are so many other important and much more
              mentally stimulating things to do with the time.

              >>> So my weight lifting protocol is to target those muscle groups that
              >>> I don't normally use (which is many of them).
              >>>
              >> So what?
              >
              > From my understanding, muscle mass and strength decline with age and
              > non-use.

              Not until much later years, not likely till 80-90 plus if you maintain
              excellent health. Certainly at 71+ I still have no sign of any such
              aging decline. In any case if you do not use them, then what does it
              matter if they decline in strength beyond just above what is required
              for your normal daily activities? As for muscle *mass*, I can only see
              negatives to any rational evaluation of that.

              > Those muscles that decline in strength the quickest are those
              > that are used the least. To prevent having problems with any muscle
              > group that I do not normally use, I thought it would be prudent to
              > design an exercise routine that would target the muscle groups that I
              > rarely use.

              I am getting tired of having to repeat myself. Once again what does it
              matter if you lose strength in those muscles which you use very little
              in daily activities and only maintains a little more than sufficient
              strength for those activities, which, as I said before, the body will
              do quite will without your *enforcement*, thank you.

              > Besides my bike riding, I currently exercise a very narrow
              > range of muscle groups (just some standing and sitting at the lab I
              > work in). Because of this limited variation in the muscle groups I
              > use, I thought I should make an effort to maintain the muscles I don't
              > use, in case I wish to use them in the future, or in the event that I
              > do not use those muscle groups for a long period of time.

              In that case (you are about to significantly change your level of
              activities) you can either get them ready beforehand by exercising
              them or simply do so "on the job" when the time arrives. I am reminded
              here of the old Chinese Kung-fu martial arts movies, where a young lad
              comes to the Shoalin temple to learn martial arts and they accept him,
              but all he is told to do is to clean the whole place from top to
              bottom. Of course, this is all very hard work carrying large water
              pails, washing floors, etc, (all important muscle groups, I expect)
              and he struggles with it very unhappily because he so wanted to learn
              martial arts and become an expert fighter (often to right a wrong done
              to his family). However as the picture progresses we soon see him
              lifting the pails and washing the floors with speed, joy and high
              agility and ability. He is *now* ready to begin martial arts training!
              Again the body will do what is appropriate to your situation if you
              only provide the situation and leave it to do so.

              >> Unless you are planning on major changes to the muscular
              >> activities that you require to accomplish the goals of your life, then
              >> why do you need to prepare muscles for such tasks?
              >
              > I am not sure which muscles I will need for the tasks in my future, so
              > I thought a generally high level of strength would keep me prepared
              > for anything.

              Wait until you know if you will need some more muscles rather than
              wasting your time (not to mention stressing your whole system
              unnecessarily) preparing for something that may never come.

              >> Any healthy young
              >> person will automatically exercise the muscles needed in hir daily
              >> activities to the extent to which such exercise is needed to accomplish
              >> such activities. Hell, even at the ages of me and Kitty, we do not do
              >> any special exercises to prepare our muscles for the strenuous dancing
              >> that we do
              >
              > I thought I saw pictures of Paul lifting weights on Morelife.org.

              No. The only weights I ever use are 5 lb hand dumbbells, one in each
              hand when I am running or dancing around the basement and swinging my
              arms around. My upper body strength is a bit lower than I would like
              by which I mean it is not really sufficient to do some lifting
              activities that I am very occasionally (once every few months) called
              on to do. Unfortunately, I do not do these frequently enough that my
              body keeps itself read for them (not like my dancing, which I only do
              it once a week but my body keeps fully ready for). If you have some
              such exercise then it would perhaps make sense to exercise to keep
              your strength ready for it. But I really don't have the interest in
              doing so. I can either simply struggle with those occasional
              activities (not a big deal and soon over with) or I can use a carrying
              cart, levers or get help from Kitty. It is not worth all the ]
              preparation time to have the strength ready to do them since it is not
              a matter of life and death.

              >> (Kitty describes her exception to this below). It happens
              >> automatically through the activity. The secret is to have sufficiently
              >> repetitive activity of the kinds that you want to do, rather than be a
              >> once a month warrior. For us it appears that weekly high energy
              >> dancing is sufficient. For myself I have always been able to keep in
              >> excellent physical shape without exercise and then respond well to
              >> strenuous work. Of course, I do walk around the house a bit (and even
              >> dance occasionally), perform property/house maintenance tasks (3.5
              >> acres in AZ), walk in the yard and take the steps two at a time
              >> whenever I come up from the (AZ) basement.
              >
              > It does sound as though you get adequate exercise that includes work
              > for various muscle groups. I had the impression that my normal
              > activities excluded certain muscle groups. However, I'm beginning to
              > think that my non-use of these muscles is not such a big deal,
              > especially considering that I expect to be involved in many, many
              > home-improvement projects in the next few months, which will give me
              > the opportunity to use a variety of muscle groups. I may continue to
              > do such a workout routine as I described, but perhaps I would only do
              > it once per month (i.e. a fraction of the time I have in the past), as
              > this may be sufficient to maintain a useful level of strength.

              Now you are thinking more the right way. Your body will respond to
              produce the necessary strength when and as necessary.

              > I also just realized that I may be overcompensating with regard to the
              > prevention of sarcopenia. This could be especially true in my case,
              > since I have previously spent a large amount of time and effort
              > developing muscle mass.

              And that muscle mass is a continuous drain on the servicing resources
              of your body. You would be better rid of it.

              > So, while it is true that I can expect to lose
              > muscle mass as I grow older (regenerative medicine notwithstanding),

              Not until many decades from now and perhaps not then if you use the
              correct prevention methods. You are taking what is true for the
              average person on the SAD (standard american diet) as *necessarily*
              being also true for you!! I *never* accept what is true for the
              average person as being true for me. I am a unique individual in every
              way and am determined to continue to be far different than the
              average. Who wants to be average? - YUCK!!

              [Especially when the average is derived with currently so many in such poor state of physical well-being. **Kitty]

              > at this point, I start this "decline" process from a higher level of
              > muscular development. Because of this, it may be that I need to invest
              > *less* time in muscle maintenance than a person who has attained much
              > less muscle mass at the same age.

              Again you are planning too much (yes one *can* plan too much,
              particularly when you have so little knowledge and control over what
              will happen in the future). You have bought into a bill of goods on
              this silly notion that sarcopenia for no good reason must necessary
              happen to everyone. Nonsense!

              >> [My daily "artificial" exercise is mentioned near the very bottom of
              >> our Mental/Physical Activities page -
              >> http://morelife.org/personal/physacts.html
              >
              > I tried several times to find the link above. I finally found what I
              > think you were referring to (and what I was referring to when I stated
              > that I saw Paul lifting weights). Here is the link:
              > morelife.org/personal/health/physacts.html. Note that it appears you
              > forgot the "health" subfolder after the "personal" subfolder.

              The dumbbells that you seen in my hands in the one picture are the 5
              lbs ones mentioned above (hardly lifting weights). However, while I
              did last winter here (2007-2008) use the gym equipment downstairs
              reasonably often (still disliking it but mainly accompany Kitty who
              enjoys it more), this last winter I have had far more important things
              to do and neither of us have been down to use the basement gym once or
              even fast walked/jogged around the block for that matter. I am
              particularly negative on doing the exercise because I find that not
              doing so (as this year) makes no difference on my readiness ability
              to dance very hard and long when I feel like it and get the chance. So
              if there is no sign of benefit and need of the exercise then why
              should I waste my time (and time of very reduced happiness rate) doing
              it?

              Meta
              Snipped text not needing a response.
              /Meta

              >>> I want to clarify my weight lifting protocol for this discussion, since
              >>> the term "weight-lifting" can be associated with many degrees of
              >>> intensity. I currently lift weights for about 20 minutes, three times
              >>> per week. During those sessions I do exercises involving my body weight
              >>> (push-up derivatives, sit-ups), and some other exercises with 15 or 30
              >>> lbs in each hand, depending on the exercise. I do not have a goal of
              >>> lifting an enormous amount of weight, which can be very stressful on the
              >>> immune system and joints. Instead, during my workouts I try to
              >>> systematically "challenge" those muscle groups which are otherwise
              >>> neglected by my daily activities. Some important areas to me are my
              >>> shoulders (I had a shoulder injury due to a fall several years ago, and
              >>> the resistance training helps), my lower back (which hurt in the past
              >>> due to my sitting at a computer hunched-over for long hours - resistance
              >>> training has improved this also),
              >>>
              >> These last two are reasonable (similar to Kitty's exception above) if
              >> you still have weaknesses/problems related to those areas.
              >
              > I have noticed that these problems have gone away with continued
              > weightlifting. I notice that if I do not lift weights for several
              > weeks I begin to feel lower back pain again.

              If this were not fixable by any other method then it would be a good
              reason to lift weights. However, I think it is more likely that this
              is a result of your high BMI (due to all the muscle mass sitting
              there) combined with bad posture or at least insufficient constant
              attention on your posture - head high, chest out, belly in, back
              straight, bounce in your step, air of great lighlness and confidence.
              Think of the image of Howard Roark - and can you ever imagine him
              *exercising*?? NO. he had no need of it. His body was always ready
              because his mind and spirit was. (Mind you, he also needed to provide
              it with good nutrition, something unfortunately for her about which
              Ayn Rand knew nothing and paid for it by death at a far too early age.)

              Meta
              Snipped text not needing a response.
              /Meta

              >>> There is one other possible positive aspect of weightlifting that helps
              >>> me to justify to myself my current weight lifting protocol. I also have
              >>> a hypothesis that weight lifting while restricting calories (which is
              >>> what I do) will improve autophagic proteolysis and protein recycling.
              >>>
              >> Not any more than any other activity which requires energy. It is a pure
              >> calorie balance situation and the source from which the energy can come.
              >> See the current thread "vigorous exercise followed by single meal" for
              >> details.
              >
              > I have read this, and I agree that protein recycling is partly a
              > function of energy requirement. However, I understand weight lifting
              > to have a higher protein requirement than aerobic exercise.

              Only because weight lifting is more damaging to proteins, but that is
              not any kind of benefit. The proteins that it damages and has to
              recycle are not the functional proteins that contribute to aging
              dysfunction (those are mostly structural and enzyme proteins). If
              anything, the aerobic exercise should promote more building of new
              enzymes because these are part of the necessary pathways of aerobic
              metabolism and energy production. Aerobic exercise is much more
              related to the whole body and to the energy production mechanisms than
              is weight lifting. That is why it has been shown to be more health
              promoting in general than weight lifting.

              > Additionally, I understand the act of weight lifting to increase
              > protein requirement for muscle repair *after* exercise, and hence,
              > would be more effective at enhancing protein recycling than aerobic
              > exercise alone.

              Yes, weight lifting is a great way to first damage your specific
              muscle fiber proteins, to break them down to their component amino
              acids and to then use those amino acids to construct new proteins to
              replace the ones that were damaged and eliminated. Now I ask you to
              explain to me what good does this do for you? More specifically, in
              what way does it promote longevity?

              >>> I found one article that found that, after a fasted weight lifting
              >>> session, protein synthesis was greater than protein degradation. From my
              >>> limited understanding of protein balance, this would require the body to
              >>> use its current sources of nitrogen and amino acids to have a positive
              >>> protein synthesis value in the fasted state.
              >>>
              >> Yes, but not any source of nitrogen that is not in the form of an amino
              >> acid, since the body cannot build amino acids from scratch. And the
              >> amino acids are only needed for protein building - not for
              >> gluconeogenesis for energy production.
              >
              > Hmm, I did not know this is the way it works. I still have plenty of
              > biochemistry reading to do!

              In rereading my statements above, I don't think I was sufficiently
              clear. Let me try again.
              1) The human body cannot use any form of nitrogen which is not part of
              an amine group of an amino acid for any anabolic purposes, although it
              does make great use of other nitrogen compounds, notably NO.
              2) The human body cannot make any amino acids from other nitrogen
              compounds, although it has a limited ability to transform some amino
              acids into others. But this still leaves about 20 unique amino acids
              which it must get from food and these are what are called "essential".
              3) OTOH, the human body does not need much of these amino acids in its
              daily diet because it can simply recycle the ones in the proteins that
              it has on board. This is so as long as it is not forced by lack of
              sufficient energy sources in carbs and fats to turn those on-board
              amino acids into fuel and thereby make them no longer available for
              protein regeneration.
              4) Note that while it is generally stated that the human body does not
              store amino acids as it does both carbs and fats (which makes many
              people think that one must have a constant daily input of them - I
              used to think that), this is highly misleading if not dead wrong! In
              fact, the body does have an enormous store of amino acids since it is
              composed mostly of proteins the components of which are all amino
              acids. One can look at proteins as the store of amino acids in the
              same way that fat cells are the store of fatty acids and glycogen is
              the store of glucose.
              Yes is true that amino acids from proteolysis are not as quickly
              available as is glucose from glycogen (fatty acids from fat cells is
              somewhere in between). But so what? If your body need the amino acids
              from proteolysis then this will cause the proteolysis to be
              upregulated and to produce them. That is the purpose and mechanism of
              fasting macroautophagy and proteolysis. Not all of them are used for
              fuel by any means.

              Meta
              Note that at this point, I have decided that I am really, really
              getting tired of this discussion, which is not anything in which I am
              highly interested. So I am going to skip all of what follows to get
              through with this response and I will not be responding again to this
              part of the thread, unless there are responses from others which
              contain grave errors and misunderstandings.
              /Meta

              --Paul
            • Paul Wakfer
              Meta After a social evening of dancing, last night in the shower (where I get many of my best ideas), I had a thought about the portion of this message which I
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 19 12:32 PM
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                Meta
                After a social evening of dancing, last night in the shower (where I get
                many of my best ideas), I had a thought about the portion of this
                message which I address below having snipped all the rest.
                /Meta

                On 04/17/2009 02:09 PM, Paul Wakfer wrote:
                > On 04/05/2009 09:22 PM, Steve Floyd Jr wrote:
                >
                >> Paul wrote:
                >>
                >>> Still I can certainly understand that you need some one or others with
                >>> whom you can associate more directly and regularly. I certainly could
                >>> not be and would not be functioning as I am without having found Kitty
                >>> and having her physically with me most of the time.
                >>>
                >> I had thought this to be the case: that the constant, physical
                >> presence of a certain person could make a large difference in my
                >> happiness. I'm glad to hear that you have experienced this, which
                >> helps to support my hypothesis. Note, I understand it is not simply
                >> the other person's physical presence that brings benefit, but also the
                >> fact that hir physical presence enables easier communication and a
                >> wider range of activities that can be done together, relative to the
                >> lack of hir physical presence.
                >
                > Yes the immediate sharing of experiences and immediate ability to
                > comment and respond is what is mainly necessary. The physical nearness
                > is simply a necessary prerequisite for that immediacy, and when a
                > romantic relationship is also enough physical presence is "icing on the cake".
                >
                >>> [I will concur on this point of enormous value of close human friendship. **Kitty]
                >>>
                >> I have been trying to discover why I get a bit depressed and feel
                >> relatively unmotivated for a period of a day or two about once per
                >> month. After having considered vitamin deficiencies (i.e. vitamin D
                >> supplementation), lack of exercise, and some other possible causes, I
                >> think that my lack of close friendship may be a large part of the cause.
                >
                > Well you simply have to keep looking, never get "hard boiled"
                > (unreceptive and unopen to others) and never give up.

                Meta Snip of unneeded text /Meta

                > In the meantime you must learn to do with many less complete
                > relationships that are each of benefit in an important but different
                > area of your life, and perhaps a few longer distance, less immediate
                > relationships that are more complete. Of course, you can also consider
                > relocating to where there exist one or more people with whom you do
                > have a more complete relationship.


                You could use the Internet to search your area for groups and activities
                where people more compatible to your character and interests might be
                more easily found than merely during your normal daily activities.
                Here are some suggestions in that direction:
                1) There are "meetup" groups of all interest types in all major cities.
                Check out http://meetup.com
                2) Categories of interest that you might look for would be: libertarian,
                liberal, humanist, objectivist, philosophy, activism, life extension,
                cryonics. atheist, free thinker, utilitarian, Bright

                There is an interesting one that I found right off, at meetup.com,
                with the title of Positive Thinkers & Doers.

                Good luck!

                --Paul
              • Steve C. Floyd Jr.
                Meta I have snipped all other portions of this message, except for the thread to which I reply. /Meta ... Thanks for keeping me in mind, Paul. It sometimes
                Message 7 of 11 , May 21, 2009
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                  Meta
                  I have snipped all other portions of this message, except for the thread
                  to which I reply.
                  /Meta

                  Paul Wakfer wrote:
                  > Meta
                  > After a social evening of dancing, last night in the shower (where I get
                  > many of my best ideas), I had a thought about the portion of this
                  > message which I address below having snipped all the rest.

                  Thanks for keeping me in mind, Paul. It sometimes takes me a
                  considerable amount of time to read and fully consider your messages,
                  but I do get to them :) I have made good use of your suggestion below,
                  which I discuss later.

                  > /Meta

                  [snip]
                  >> In the meantime you must learn to do with many less complete
                  >> relationships that are each of benefit in an important but different
                  >> area of your life, and perhaps a few longer distance, less immediate
                  >> relationships that are more complete. Of course, you can also consider
                  >> relocating to where there exist one or more people with whom you do
                  >> have a more complete relationship.
                  >
                  > You could use the Internet to search your area for groups and activities
                  > where people more compatible to your character and interests might be
                  > more easily found than merely during your normal daily activities.
                  > Here are some suggestions in that direction:
                  > 1) There are "meetup" groups of all interest types in all major cities.
                  > Check out http://meetup.com

                  I have just investigated this website and I found several interesting
                  groups in Toledo. I hadn't heard of this website until you suggested it.

                  > 2) Categories of interest that you might look for would be: libertarian,
                  > liberal, humanist, objectivist, philosophy, activism, life extension,
                  > cryonics. atheist, free thinker, utilitarian, Bright

                  I will certainly keep these in mind when I look for more groups.

                  > There is an interesting one that I found right off, at meetup.com,
                  > with the title of Positive Thinkers & Doers.

                  I just registered for meetup.com and for this group, Positive Thinkers &
                  Doers. This group is having a picnic at the Wildwood Reserve this
                  Sunday, and I think I am going to attend it, weather permitting. There
                  are 60 people total in this group, 4 are attending the picnic, and
                  another 5 have RSVP'd as "maybe". This was a great idea Paul, thanks for
                  the recommendation.

                  --Max Peto (previously Steve Floyd Jr).

                  > Good luck!
                  >
                  > --Paul
                • freechad480
                  Meetup.com does a good job of connecting groups of people together that share a common interest. However, I do not want to be around people who think like me
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 10, 2009
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                    Meetup.com does a good job of connecting groups of people together
                    that share a common interest.

                    However, I do not want to be around people who think like me once a
                    month or once a week. I want to be around people who think like me
                    80-100% of the time. Life is too precious to spend it with
                    individuals that do not share similar goals, interests, values, and
                    ideas.

                    My mission is to surround myself with people that think like me or as
                    I like to call them "kindred spirits". This mission can be
                    accomplished by creating a website that connects people one-on-one
                    based on the common interests and ideas. Meetup.com does a good job
                    of connecting one person to a group of people, but no efficient
                    mechanism is provided to determine whether or not the individuals in
                    the group are similar to me. Determining similarity requires me to
                    attend a couple meetings and get to know everyone. This can be very
                    time consuming. What I really want to do is give everyone I encounter
                    a questionnaire so that I can discover the people with which I want to
                    interact.
                    This one-on-one sort of solution is partially implemented on dating
                    sites, as well as, myspace and facebook. Yet, these sites typically
                    focus on shallow issues like personal appearance, star signs, and what
                    happened on American Idol last night :(. I am designing a site that
                    connects people based on as many features as they are willing to
                    share. For instance, I would like to be able to go online and find
                    someone that wants to talk about Austrian Economics that also rides
                    the same train as I do or works near me and likes Thai food for lunch.


                    This sort of system would revolutionize the way in which relationships
                    are established. It would also revolutionize the manner in which
                    people choose the community in which they live. Before looking for a
                    place to rent I could go online to discover the locations with the
                    greatest density of people that are similar to me. There is no better
                    way to live than next to kindred spirits. Sure beats the old way of
                    looking for a place to rent/buy without ever meeting the neighbors!

                    Chad Nelson
                  • Paul Wakfer
                    ... Meta As I often do, particularly for those whose thoughts I value, within my replies I will be including comment/critiques on your writing in order that
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 13, 2009
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                      On 06/10/2009 06:01 AM, freechad480 wrote:
                      > Meetup.com does a good job of connecting groups of people together
                      > that share a common interest.
                      >
                      > However, I do not want to be around people who think like me once a
                      > month or once a week. I want to be around people who think like me
                      > 80-100% of the time. Life is too precious to spend it with
                      > individuals that do not share similar goals, interests, values, and
                      > ideas.

                      Meta
                      As I often do, particularly for those whose thoughts I value, within my
                      replies I will be including comment/critiques on your writing in order
                      that you may hone it to be clearer to all readers.

                      In the paragraph above the meaning of the first two sentences was not
                      clear until it could be inferred from the third (last) sentence. Your
                      intended meaning that was not clear was whether the clauses "once a
                      month or once a week", in the first sentence, and "80-100% of the
                      time", in the second sentence, (both clearly verb modifier clauses)
                      are supposed to modify "be around" or "think like me". The general
                      rule in English is to put the modifier clause directly after the noun
                      or verb that it modifies, if there is any chance of confusion.
                      However, in the above sentences the object of the sentence, "people"
                      both needs to come first and also needs to have its own modifying
                      clause, "who think like me". This is a situation that therefore
                      requires a reconstruction of the sentence to make it clear. It
                      would have also helped to insert "only" in the first sentence before
                      "once a month". Here is my rewrite:

                      "However, I do not want to be around similar thinking people to me only
                      once a month or even only once a week. I want to be around those kind
                      of people 80-100% of the time."

                      Note that the reason why this modification works to make the intended
                      meaning clearer is because there is now only one verb, "be around",
                      for the modifier clauses to relate to.
                      /Meta

                      > My mission is to surround myself with people that think like me or as
                      > I like to call them "kindred spirits".

                      This is a goal that I also have had all my life. However, much
                      experience and failure to realize such a goal has taught me that people
                      are so enormously unique and different from one another that the best
                      that I can hope for is to find a handful of people who are "kindred
                      spirits" wrt all the most important aspects of my thinking, and many
                      dozens, hundreds or thousands of others who are kindred spirits on only
                      one or a few of those most important aspects. Moreover, this is not such
                      a bad thing. If you were truly surrounded most of the time by people who
                      thought like you, then from where would your stimulation of novel and
                      perhaps highly important ideas come? Just because someone does not think
                      like you, does not mean that hir thinking is all bad and does not have
                      some important ideas for you to both consider and integrate into your
                      own current thinking.

                      > This mission can be
                      > accomplished by creating a website that connects people one-on-one
                      > based on the common interests and ideas. Meetup.com does a good job
                      > of connecting one person to a group of people, but no efficient
                      > mechanism is provided to determine whether or not the individuals in
                      > the group are similar to me. Determining similarity requires me to
                      > attend a couple meetings and get to know everyone. This can be very
                      > time consuming.

                      Not only time consuming, but unless the meetup is related to some quite
                      fundamental interest, it is not a good filter to enable you to have any
                      much better chance to find kindred spirits than any other method of
                      meeting people. Furthermore, it is not easy to immediately get to the
                      core of the most essential things that you want to know about someone
                      else's thinking. So the process can actually take many months before
                      getting far enough to make a decision to continue or cut your losses.

                      > What I really want to do is give everyone I encounter
                      > a questionnaire so that I can discover the people with which I want to
                      > interact.
                      > This one-on-one sort of solution is partially implemented on dating
                      > sites, as well as, myspace and facebook. Yet, these sites typically
                      > focus on shallow issues like personal appearance, star signs, and what
                      > happened on American Idol last night :(. I am designing a site that
                      > connects people based on as many features as they are willing to
                      > share. For instance, I would like to be able to go online and find
                      > someone that wants to talk about Austrian Economics that also rides
                      > the same train as I do or works near me and likes Thai food for lunch.

                      You remind me of myself back in the days when I joined an objectivist
                      group and later worked with libertarians. Each time I thought "Here is a
                      group where I will find more people who are like me". In the end I
                      realized that almost the entire profile of human characteristics was
                      represented in people who were in such groups. This has turned out to
                      be the same no matter what groups I have dealt with. Cryonicists, life
                      extensionists, etc. My point here is that the fact that someone wants to
                      talk about Austrian Economics may lead to a narrow and even beneficial
                      relationship with you, but you would be unwise to count on such a person
                      having any other thinking in tune with yours. This does not mean that
                      you should not always be open to such a full relationship happening. If
                      I had not remained open to that then my email contact with Kitty (over a
                      cryonics related matter) would never have developed into by far the
                      fullest relationship with anyone that I have ever had in my life - she
                      is the only kindred spirit that I have ever had.

                      > This sort of system would revolutionize the way in which relationships
                      > are established.

                      I fully agree. However, it will need a lot of work to design a
                      questionnaire that fully brings out the most important essentials of both
                      what a person is and what others are really wanting. Part of the problem
                      here is that most people do not know what it is that they really want in
                      another person. If people do not really understand the essence of their
                      own "spirit", then how can they possibly either describe that essence or
                      detect someone who also has that same essence? Your questionnaire will
                      therefore need to probe people beyond what they even know about
                      themselves. I think that I and Kitty can be of great help to you here.

                      > It would also revolutionize the manner in which
                      > people choose the community in which they live. Before looking for
                      > a place to rent I could go online to discover the locations with the
                      > greatest density of people that are similar to me. There is no better
                      > way to live than next to kindred spirits. Sure beats the old way of
                      > looking for a place to rent/buy without ever meeting the neighbors!


                      Your enthusiasm is great to see and I am not trying to be a spoil sport,
                      but again in my lifelong experience, people are so highly diverse that
                      real kindred spirits are very few indeed (at least with respect to my
                      kind of spirit). Therefore it is highly unlikely that there will be
                      any appreciable density of them anywhere. In addition, for those whose
                      spirit fundamentals include not sanctioning and not accepting the
                      mandates of authority, it is most certainly not a good idea for such people
                      to be geographically concentrated or else a Waco type event can very
                      easily occur. So the best that can and should be done, IMO, is to
                      promote such camaraderie via the Internet and to have frequent invited
                      get-togethers at rotating locations of such people.

                      --Paul
                    • freechad480
                      [Meta I changed the subject because the new messages do not relate to meetup.com /Meta --Paul] ... Thanks for adding clarity. ... Agree that diversity of
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jun 16, 2009
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                        [Meta
                        I changed the subject because the new messages do not relate to meetup.com
                        /Meta --Paul]

                        --- In morelife@yahoogroups.com, Paul Wakfer <paul@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > On 06/10/2009 06:01 AM, freechad480 wrote:
                        > > Meetup.com does a good job of connecting groups of people together
                        > > that share a common interest.
                        > >
                        > > However, I do not want to be around people who think like me once a
                        > > month or once a week. I want to be around people who think like me
                        > > 80-100% of the time. Life is too precious to spend it with
                        > > individuals that do not share similar goals, interests, values, and
                        > > ideas.
                        >
                        > Meta
                        > As I often do, particularly for those whose thoughts I value, within my
                        > replies I will be including comment/critiques on your writing in order
                        > that you may hone it to be clearer to all readers.
                        >
                        > In the paragraph above the meaning of the first two sentences was not
                        > clear until it could be inferred from the third (last) sentence. Your
                        > intended meaning that was not clear was whether the clauses "once a
                        > month or once a week", in the first sentence, and "80-100% of the
                        > time", in the second sentence, (both clearly verb modifier clauses)
                        > are supposed to modify "be around" or "think like me". The general
                        > rule in English is to put the modifier clause directly after the noun
                        > or verb that it modifies, if there is any chance of confusion.
                        > However, in the above sentences the object of the sentence, "people"
                        > both needs to come first and also needs to have its own modifying
                        > clause, "who think like me". This is a situation that therefore
                        > requires a reconstruction of the sentence to make it clear. It
                        > would have also helped to insert "only" in the first sentence before
                        > "once a month". Here is my rewrite:
                        >
                        > "However, I do not want to be around similar thinking people to me only
                        > once a month or even only once a week. I want to be around those kind
                        > of people 80-100% of the time."
                        >
                        > Note that the reason why this modification works to make the intended
                        > meaning clearer is because there is now only one verb, "be around",
                        > for the modifier clauses to relate to.
                        > /Meta

                        Thanks for adding clarity.

                        > > My mission is to surround myself with people that think like me or as
                        > > I like to call them "kindred spirits".
                        >
                        > This is a goal that I also have had all my life. However, much
                        > experience and failure to realize such a goal has taught me that people
                        > are so enormously unique and different from one another that the best
                        > that I can hope for is to find a handful of people who are "kindred
                        > spirits" wrt all the most important aspects of my thinking, and many
                        > dozens, hundreds or thousands of others who are kindred spirits on only
                        > one or a few of those most important aspects. Moreover, this is not such
                        > a bad thing. If you were truly surrounded most of the time by people who
                        > thought like you, then from where would your stimulation of novel and
                        > perhaps highly important ideas come? Just because someone does not think
                        > like you, does not mean that hir thinking is all bad and does not have
                        > some important ideas for you to both consider and integrate into your
                        > own current thinking.

                        Agree that diversity of opinion is important. However, the point still
                        remains that common ground is necessary. If everyone around you is a
                        Jew and you are Muslim, then you might have some problems.

                        > > This mission can be
                        > > accomplished by creating a website that connects people one-on-one
                        > > based on the common interests and ideas. Meetup.com does a good job
                        > > of connecting one person to a group of people, but no efficient
                        > > mechanism is provided to determine whether or not the individuals in
                        > > the group are similar to me. Determining similarity requires me to
                        > > attend a couple meetings and get to know everyone. This can be very
                        > > time consuming.
                        >
                        > Not only time consuming, but unless the meetup is related to some quite
                        > fundamental interest, it is not a good filter to enable you to have any
                        > much better chance to find kindred spirits than any other method of
                        > meeting people. Furthermore, it is not easy to immediately get to the
                        > core of the most essential things that you want to know about someone
                        > else's thinking. So the process can actually take many months before
                        > getting far enough to make a decision to continue or cut your losses.

                        Agreed. This is something I learned about by interacting with Ron
                        Paul supporters. Basically 30% of them lean toward libertarianism in
                        all areas. The other 70% like the libertarian view on the three or
                        four things that they want to be allowed to do.

                        > > What I really want to do is give everyone I encounter
                        > > a questionnaire so that I can discover the people with which I want to
                        > > interact.
                        > > This one-on-one sort of solution is partially implemented on dating
                        > > sites, as well as, myspace and facebook. Yet, these sites typically
                        > > focus on shallow issues like personal appearance, star signs, and what
                        > > happened on American Idol last night :(. I am designing a site that
                        > > connects people based on as many features as they are willing to
                        > > share. For instance, I would like to be able to go online and find
                        > > someone that wants to talk about Austrian Economics that also rides
                        > > the same train as I do or works near me and likes Thai food for lunch.
                        >
                        > You remind me of myself back in the days when I joined an objectivist
                        > group and later worked with libertarians. Each time I thought "Here is a
                        > group where I will find more people who are like me". In the end I
                        > realized that almost the entire profile of human characteristics was
                        > represented in people who were in such groups. This has turned out to
                        > be the same no matter what groups I have dealt with. Cryonicists, life
                        > extensionists, etc. My point here is that the fact that someone wants to
                        > talk about Austrian Economics may lead to a narrow and even beneficial
                        > relationship with you, but you would be unwise to count on such a person
                        > having any other thinking in tune with yours.

                        This would be accommodated by the system in that more than a single
                        parameter could be matched. Personality tests, other user's reviews,
                        etc. could be used to determine compatibility.

                        >This does not mean that
                        > you should not always be open to such a full relationship happening. If
                        > I had not remained open to that then my email contact with Kitty (over a
                        > cryonics related matter) would never have developed into by far the
                        > fullest relationship with anyone that I have ever had in my life - she
                        > is the only kindred spirit that I have ever had.
                        >
                        > > This sort of system would revolutionize the way in which relationships
                        > > are established.
                        >
                        > I fully agree. However, it will need a lot of work to design a
                        > questionnaire that fully brings out the most important essentials of both
                        > what a person is and what others are really wanting. Part of the problem
                        > here is that most people do not know what it is that they really want in
                        > another person. If people do not really understand the essence of their
                        > own "spirit", then how can they possibly either describe that essence or
                        > detect someone who also has that same essence? Your questionnaire will
                        > therefore need to probe people beyond what they even know about
                        > themselves. I think that I and Kitty can be of great help to you here.

                        Exactly! This is part of the plan.

                        > > It would also revolutionize the manner in which
                        > > people choose the community in which they live. Before looking for
                        > > a place to rent I could go online to discover the locations with the
                        > > greatest density of people that are similar to me. There is no better
                        > > way to live than next to kindred spirits. Sure beats the old way of
                        > > looking for a place to rent/buy without ever meeting the neighbors!
                        >
                        > Your enthusiasm is great to see and I am not trying to be a spoil sport,
                        > but again in my lifelong experience, people are so highly diverse that
                        > real kindred spirits are very few indeed (at least with respect to my
                        > kind of spirit). Therefore it is highly unlikely that there will be
                        > any appreciable density of them anywhere.

                        This may be true for us right now, but it will not be true in the
                        future. The system will change the way people think about themselves
                        and the world.

                        > In addition, for those whose
                        > spirit fundamentals include not sanctioning and not accepting the
                        > mandates of authority, it is most certainly not a good idea for such people
                        > to be geographically concentrated or else a Waco type event can very
                        > easily occur.

                        This is exactly why such a system must be embedded in a persons mind
                        first. Throwing off the yoke of government involves modification of
                        the ideas and character traits that generated this situation.

                        >So the best that can and should be done, IMO, is to
                        > promote such camaraderie via the Internet and to have frequent invited
                        > get-togethers at rotating locations of such people.
                        >
                        > --Paul

                        Physical communities do not need to pose a threat to governments (the
                        Mises Institute has a physical location). The communities would work
                        within the law to modify the law via the mechanisms currently in place
                        all the while challenging individuals to modify their thinking. The
                        communities may take on the form of a community organization that
                        meets one or more times per week. It might take the form of a college
                        or university that tends to attract liberty and freedom minded
                        individuals. It might take 100 years, but such goals should be part
                        of the plan even if they may not fully materialize in our lifetime.

                        Chad Nelson
                      • Paul Wakfer
                        ... Meta snipped critique of sentence structure needing no response. /Meta ... Unfortunately common ground is one of those amorphous, presumptively
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 18, 2009
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                          On 06/16/2009 10:18 PM, freechad480 wrote:
                          > [Meta
                          > I changed the subject because the new messages do not relate to meetup.com
                          > /Meta --Paul]
                          >
                          > --- In morelife@yahoogroups.com, Paul Wakfer <paul@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >> On 06/10/2009 06:01 AM, freechad480 wrote:
                          >>
                          >>> Meetup.com does a good job of connecting groups of people together
                          >>> that share a common interest.
                          >>>
                          >>> However, I do not want to be around people who think like me once a
                          >>> month or once a week. I want to be around people who think like me
                          >>> 80-100% of the time. Life is too precious to spend it with
                          >>> individuals that do not share similar goals, interests, values, and
                          >>> ideas.

                          Meta
                          snipped critique of sentence structure needing no response.
                          /Meta

                          >>> My mission is to surround myself with people that think like me or as
                          >>> I like to call them "kindred spirits".
                          >>>
                          >> This is a goal that I also have had all my life. However, much
                          >> experience and failure to realize such a goal has taught me that people
                          >> are so enormously unique and different from one another that the best
                          >> that I can hope for is to find a handful of people who are "kindred
                          >> spirits" wrt all the most important aspects of my thinking, and many
                          >> dozens, hundreds or thousands of others who are kindred spirits on only
                          >> one or a few of those most important aspects. Moreover, this is not such
                          >> a bad thing. If you were truly surrounded most of the time by people who
                          >> thought like you, then from where would your stimulation of novel and
                          >> perhaps highly important ideas come? Just because someone does not think
                          >> like you, does not mean that hir thinking is all bad and does not have
                          >> some important ideas for you to both consider and integrate into your
                          >> own current thinking.
                          >>
                          > Agree that diversity of opinion is important. However, the point still
                          > remains that common ground is necessary.

                          Unfortunately "common ground" is one of those amorphous, presumptively
                          understood and agreeable, feel-good expressions that are among the
                          many platitudes of social intercourse. Those who use such expressions
                          (I don't, unless caught up without sufficient thought into some else's
                          usage) always appear to think that others attribute the same meaning
                          to them, totally missing the fact that such meaning is generally
                          highly unique to the individual and may be very different from one
                          individual to another.
                          Two ardent Catholics likely think that "common ground" is being an
                          adherent to Catholicism, whereas two ardent golfers likely think that
                          "common ground" is having golf as one's major avocation.

                          Since you do not define what you mean by "common ground" (just what
                          precisely are the "grounds" - essential ethical principles and actions
                          I would hope - that are in common), I cannot comment further on your
                          meaning.

                          I will merely say that there are a number of character traits that I
                          consider to be completely essential that a person have before I would
                          even consider hir to be a "kindred spirit" to me. The most important
                          of these is honesty with respect to all thoughts and actions. In fact,
                          it goes further. That personal quality is paramount in any person for
                          any possibility of an ongoing relationship.

                          > If everyone around you is a
                          > Jew and you are Muslim, then you might have some problems.

                          I always have difficulty attempting to analyze situations in which the
                          parties involved are fundamentally irrational. (My difficulty is
                          reasonable since once irrationality reigns in any area, then anything
                          else is possible.) However as best as I can do so, I still reject your
                          example as a misunderstanding of the relationship of Jews and Muslims.
                          As long as those around the person of Muslim faith deal with him
                          honestly and fairly (as they should deal with anyone) and s/he with
                          them, realizing that doing so will promote the lifetime happiness of
                          all at the same time, then it does not matter of what faith they are.
                          It is only because the majority of such religious adherents do not
                          think rationally and do not deal honestly and fairly with all other
                          people in their social interactions that these decades of violence
                          between them continue. But please this is not on the main topic of any
                          discussion that I wish to have, so I will not respond to any response
                          you make about this. In the future please do not make examples using
                          such irrational people. I am first of all interested in deciding
                          whether or not the goal society that I have described, and for which I
                          have set up the guidelines, will be viable and optimal for rational
                          people.

                          [I and Paul are well aware that not all Jews and all Muslims are

                          irrational in regards to their dealings with others who are not
                          adherents of the same religious faith - the degree of irrationality in
                          this regard may parallel the orthodoxy of the individual's religious
                          faith, but I do not have statistics to draw on.

                          There are some Jews in Israel who are adamantly against the manner in
                          which Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated and are also not
                          willing to serve in the Israeli army because of the actions in Gaza
                          and the West Bank. http://december18th.org/ as just one example of
                          many sites/articles.
                          There are even Israeli Jews and Palestinians who actually encourage
                          reasoned thinking on the political issues in that area rather than
                          initiate acts that are physically harmful to the "opposition" - an
                          example is http://www.bitterlemons.org/about/about.html
                          Again these are simply to illustrate that we do not live in a vacuum,
                          and not to encourage any discussion on these purely current event
                          issues. **Kitty]

                          >>> This mission can be
                          >>> accomplished by creating a website that connects people one-on-one
                          >>> based on the common interests and ideas. Meetup.com does a good job
                          >>> of connecting one person to a group of people, but no efficient
                          >>> mechanism is provided to determine whether or not the individuals in
                          >>> the group are similar to me. Determining similarity requires me to
                          >>> attend a couple meetings and get to know everyone. This can be very
                          >>> time consuming.
                          >>>
                          >> Not only time consuming, but unless the meetup is related to some quite
                          >> fundamental interest, it is not a good filter to enable you to have any
                          >> much better chance to find kindred spirits than any other method of
                          >> meeting people. Furthermore, it is not easy to immediately get to the
                          >> core of the most essential things that you want to know about someone
                          >> else's thinking. So the process can actually take many months before
                          >> getting far enough to make a decision to continue or cut your losses.
                          >>
                          > Agreed. This is something I learned about by interacting with Ron
                          > Paul supporters. Basically 30% of them lean toward libertarianism in
                          > all areas. The other 70% like the libertarian view on the three or
                          > four things that they want to be allowed to do.

                          This is not dissimilar to what I observed among Objectivists and
                          Libertarians 40 and 30 years ago respectively. (There was no
                          distinction made between "L" and "l" libertarians at that time to my
                          knowledge, though there were some who took no active interest in
                          politics.) A large number of people were attracted to Objectivism
                          because that were fundamentally egocentric SOB's who had little
                          concern for others, not having enough sense, of course, to realize
                          that concern for others, in addition to oneself, was the ultimate way
                          to have concern for themselves. Most people were attracted to
                          Libertarianism because they wanted to keep all their taxes for their
                          own narrow selfish interests, totally oblivious to the fact that the
                          major negative effects of government are the disallowance of all
                          manner of activities and the enormous regulatory burden that is placed
                          on all productive activities. Obviously I did not find such people to
                          be my kindred spirits. At the time I tolerated them and tried to work
                          with them, but now after a little time spent ascertaining if they are
                          fundamentally of that ilk while attempting to persuade them
                          differently, if they show no sign of agreement and possible change
                          then I make it very clear that their views are unacceptable to me and
                          I cease initiating interaction with them or responding to any contact
                          by them that do not substantially address our differences.

                          >>> What I really want to do is give everyone I encounter
                          >>> a questionnaire so that I can discover the people with which I want to
                          >>> interact.
                          >>> This one-on-one sort of solution is partially implemented on dating
                          >>> sites, as well as, myspace and facebook. Yet, these sites typically
                          >>> focus on shallow issues like personal appearance, star signs, and what
                          >>> happened on American Idol last night :(. I am designing a site that
                          >>> connects people based on as many features as they are willing to
                          >>> share. For instance, I would like to be able to go online and find
                          >>> someone that wants to talk about Austrian Economics that also rides
                          >>> the same train as I do or works near me and likes Thai food for lunch.
                          >>>
                          >> You remind me of myself back in the days when I joined an objectivist
                          >> group and later worked with libertarians. Each time I thought "Here is a
                          >> group where I will find more people who are like me". In the end I
                          >> realized that almost the entire profile of human characteristics was
                          >> represented in people who were in such groups. This has turned out to
                          >> be the same no matter what groups I have dealt with. Cryonicists, life
                          >> extensionists, etc. My point here is that the fact that someone wants to
                          >> talk about Austrian Economics may lead to a narrow and even beneficial
                          >> relationship with you, but you would be unwise to count on such a person
                          >> having any other thinking in tune with yours.
                          >>
                          > This would be accommodated by the system in that more than a single
                          > parameter could be matched. Personality tests, other user's reviews,
                          > etc. could be used to determine compatibility.

                          I think that you are not yet thinking sufficiently in terms of the
                          essentialness of certain types of personal characteristics for one to
                          be a kindred spirit (at least to my spirit). Your system will not only
                          need to match personal characteristics and interests, but it will need
                          to also attach weighting factors to all such. Most difficult of all
                          will be to ascertain the existence and moreso the esentialness within
                          a given person, to hir very being - of those characteristics that are
                          truly necessary for kindred spirit status (to you or whoever is
                          seeking the kindred spirit).

                          >> This does not mean that
                          >> you should not always be open to such a full relationship happening. If
                          >> I had not remained open to that then my email contact with Kitty (over a
                          >> cryonics related matter) would never have developed into by far the
                          >> fullest relationship with anyone that I have ever had in my life - she
                          >> is the only kindred spirit that I have ever had.
                          >>
                          >>> This sort of system would revolutionize the way in which relationships
                          >>> are established.
                          >>>
                          >> I fully agree. However, it will need a lot of work to design a
                          >> questionnaire that fully brings out the most important essentials of both
                          >> what a person is and what others are really wanting. Part of the problem
                          >> here is that most people do not know what it is that they really want in
                          >> another person. If people do not really understand the essence of their
                          >> own "spirit", then how can they possibly either describe that essence or
                          >> detect someone who also has that same essence? Your questionnaire will
                          >> therefore need to probe people beyond what they even know about
                          >> themselves. I think that I and Kitty can be of great help to you here.
                          >>
                          > Exactly! This is part of the plan.

                          Not sure precisely to which part the "exactly" is in response, but I
                          would suggest that you start by reading the books on Cognitive
                          Behavioral Therapy that Kitty recommended.

                          [I want to emphasize that these books (and some others) present an
                          excellent explanation of how one's thoughts (including beliefs and
                          images), physical reactions, moods, behaviors and environment (past
                          and present) are interconnected and influence each other. **Kitty]

                          >>> It would also revolutionize the manner in which
                          >>> people choose the community in which they live. Before looking for
                          >>> a place to rent I could go online to discover the locations with the
                          >>> greatest density of people that are similar to me. There is no better
                          >>> way to live than next to kindred spirits. Sure beats the old way of
                          >>> looking for a place to rent/buy without ever meeting the neighbors!
                          >>>
                          >> Your enthusiasm is great to see and I am not trying to be a spoil sport,
                          >> but again in my lifelong experience, people are so highly diverse that
                          >> real kindred spirits are very few indeed (at least with respect to my
                          >> kind of spirit). Therefore it is highly unlikely that there will be
                          >> any appreciable density of them anywhere.

                          It needs to be made clear that we are both using the term "kindred
                          spirit", not in its usual general meaning, but rather for one type of
                          kindred spirit - someone who is a kindred spirit of either me or you.
                          However, even there it is not yet clear that we both have the same
                          type of person in mind whom we would call a "kindred spirit". Mainly
                          this is not clear because it it not yet clear that you and I are
                          kindred spirits. As Kitty just pointed out to me the (mis)use of the
                          expression "kindred spirits" is very similar to the (mis)use of the
                          word "friend". In fact, in my usage anyone who I would call a very
                          good friend would necessarily also be a kindred spirit and vice-versa.
                          Someone who remains not a kindred spirit would never be able to be a
                          really close friend.

                          I am assuming that your matching system is not intended to find people
                          who are thorough going statists (for example) and match them together
                          as "kindred spirits", even though they may be that. But rather your
                          matching system is intended to find people who *you* would consider to
                          be kindred spirits. (It occurs to me that perhaps my degree, of
                          similarity of essential personal characteristics before I would call
                          someone a friend or, more strongly, a kindred spirit, is much higher
                          than yours.)

                          Therefore, in my paragraph above, I did not mean that there do not
                          exist high density pools of kindred spirits in general - obviously
                          there do or society would not be in the mess that it is right now.
                          Rather I meant that there does not exist any density of people who I
                          would call a kindred spirit to me. I am now going to stop using this
                          term "kindred spirit" since it presumes a knowledge of just what are
                          the essentials of my spirit and without such prior knowledge is as
                          meaningless as the expression "common ground" without details about
                          the meaning of "ground" for the specific person involved.

                          > This may be true for us right now, but it will not be true in the
                          > future. The system will change the way people think about themselves
                          > and the world.

                          I am not sure just what system you refer to here, but of course that
                          is the goal of the entire Self-Sovereign Individual Project.

                          >> In addition, for those whose
                          >> spirit fundamentals include not sanctioning and not accepting the
                          >> mandates of authority, it is most certainly not a good idea for such people
                          >> to be geographically concentrated or else a Waco type event can very
                          >> easily occur.

                          Since the below response does not address the crux of my statement
                          above, I am emphasizing that residential concentrations of individuals
                          openly espousing non-authoritarian ideas and promoting the end of the
                          State, even by totally peaceful means, would be an easy target for
                          government to eradicate just as they did the Branch Davidians near
                          Waco Texas. (I have no agreement whatsoever with any ideas of the
                          Branch Davidians - I don't even know what they were. But I do agree
                          with their liberty to think and act as they please so long as they
                          were not harming others and interrelations were totally voluntary.
                          But, please, I do not want to get into any discussion about the Waco
                          event.)

                          > This is exactly why such a system must be embedded in a persons mind
                          > first.

                          Again I am not sure to what "system" you are referring, and I would
                          rather use the term "integrated" than "embedded", since the latter
                          implies more a form a brain-washing of rather than reasoned
                          understanding acquired by individuals followed by the modification of
                          now inconsistent emotional reactions. (See several posts to the group
                          about the subject of reprogramming one's emotions and a brief item at
                          MoreLife.org - http://morelife.org/lifequal/life_outlook/practicalideas.html )

                          > Throwing off the yoke of government involves modification of
                          > the ideas and character traits that generated this situation.

                          It is most important to emphasize that any such modification can only
                          be done by the individual for hirself and that it must be combined
                          with emotional modification or the result will be inconsistent and
                          impractical for living.

                          >> So the best that can and should be done, IMO, is to
                          >> promote such camaraderie via the Internet and to have frequent invited
                          >> get-togethers at rotating locations of such people.
                          >>
                          >> --Paul
                          >>
                          >
                          > Physical communities do not need to pose a threat to governments

                          In terms of many events that have taken place in the world, some even
                          in the US, I find this a to be very naive statement.

                          > (the Mises Institute has a physical location).

                          1) It is not a physical community where all those of like mind are
                          living close together.
                          2) Being associated with universities (via their Faculty, several of
                          whom are with nearby Auburn University), and having no one there in
                          any manner doing anything illegal, it is not likely to be a target.
                          However for the same reasons, it is not likely to have much practical
                          effect on creating a new society of self-sovereign individuals.

                          [Mises Institute's physical campus is described at
                          http://mises.org/campus.asp It's facilities in Auburn Alabama (at an
                          expansion of 518 Magnolia Ave) are comprised chiefly of libraries,
                          offices, meeting rooms, lecture hall, retail bookstore and grounds for
                          the purpose of research in and dissemination of the ideas of Ludwig
                          von Mises, Murray Rothbard and a few others in the same tradition of
                          thought. There are no residential facilities for staff or its faculty
                          (the vast majority of which are not physically present and only a
                          relative few for specific events) and student attendees of
                          conferences, including the "Mises University" (a 1 week instructional
                          program in Austrian economics) - the latter makes use of private
                          dormitories in the area. The listing of senior and adjunct faculty
                          make it clear that almost without exception they are primarily
                          associated with other educational institutions -
                          http://mises.org/faculty.aspx Recapping, the Mises Institute is not
                          an educational institution with a large campus of buildings containing
                          classrooms, offices and dormitories for a sizable number of resident
                          faculty and full-time students. **Kitty]

                          > The communities would work
                          > within the law to modify the law via the mechanisms currently in place
                          > all the while challenging individuals to modify their thinking.

                          To the extent that this is not self-contradictory (how can one logically
                          continue to sanction and accept something that one knows is totally
                          contrary to one's lifetime happiness), it can be done just as well
                          without the need for any communities of people in nearby physical
                          association. Besides there are already lots of organizations working
                          "within the law to modify the law via the mechanisms currently in
                          place" - eg the Cato Institute. The whole problem is that all such
                          organizations are all doing a very poor job of helping to change any
                          fundamental thinking of people, particularly with regard to
                          essentials. (Simply arguing and even convincing someone that less
                          government is good, is not a sufficient change in essential social
                          thinking to help in the long run). This is precisely because the
                          philosophical basis of such groups is flawed and cannot stand against
                          the constant hammerings of the philosophical nihilists.

                          > The
                          > communities may take on the form of a community organization that
                          > meets one or more times per week.

                          Far better to do it on the Internet. Written words are clearer, more
                          understandable, analyzable and memorable.

                          [Even podcasts and other video presentations are of limited value if
                          there is not a written transcript available on which one can
                          specifically comment or make a reply. The tendency to quote out of
                          context or incorrectly is only diminished from a live presentation if
                          the viewer watches the presentation several times and carefully
                          transcribes the spoken words (or makes use of some software to do so). **Kitty]

                          Podcasts appear to be a favored method for guru-type individuals who
                          really do not want any substantive critical analysis of their
                          statements.

                          > It might take the form of a college
                          > or university that tends to attract liberty and freedom minded
                          > individuals. It might take 100 years, but such goals should be part
                          > of the plan even if they may not fully materialize in our lifetime.

                          All a step in the right direction, but until these attracted people
                          start rebelling, refusing and disobeying, it is all just so much
                          theory and will have no practical effect. You need to read the three
                          book series: _The politics of Nonviolent Action_ by Geen Sharp and the
                          review of all such actions in the 20th century _A Force More Powerful_
                          by Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall (Kitty has already mentioned these
                          in her writtings).

                          But you keep using terms like "such goals" that are not yet clearly
                          defined. If the "such goals" is merely the formation of communities
                          like "of a college or university that tends to attract liberty and
                          freedom minded individuals", then I do not see why it should take 100
                          years. Since if it does, then progress toward a society of total
                          liberty would be so slow that it is unlikely to even be possible
                          because statism will be so strong by that time (or more likely
                          civilization as we know it will have ended) that any chance for a
                          society of liberty will be gone. I am hoping that there is just enough
                          time left (a window of opportunity) for success, but as the years go
                          by with no further progress in getting my ideas understood and
                          accepted by others I am losing the initial great hope that I had.

                          --Paul
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