Monthly Archives: August 2013
When did the cogs of fate begin to turn?
Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now,
from deep within the flow of time…
But, for the certainty, back then,
we loved so many, yet hated so much,
we hurt others and were hurt ourselves… –Schala “kid” zeal, excerpt from Chrono Cross, PSX, November 18, 1999.
Do you believe in predestined future? Or is it all just a mere delusion, perhaps from my narcissistic side of mine. Believing that I’m destined to become something big, I began to develop a “holier than thou” attitude. But that is true only on a certain day, for I am a confused man. Asking the eternal question to myself every day I woke up from my dreams, “who am I?”. The question drives me insane, day after day; seeking for the answers, although knowingly that I will never find the answers… Perhaps maybe, I am already insane to begin with. Restless, I destroy my own life subconsciously. On the verge of destruction, I started asking another question; instead of “why this happens to me?”, I asked myself, “when did all of this started?” instead.
The rustling sound of rain one lonely night, kneeling on the prayers mat; I held my arms, praying to god, “O dear lord, who am I? For what reason do we live besides worshiping you every day until we die? Is this all just an illusion, then, what is reality? All knowing lord, what is the truth? I beg you, please grant your servant, your wisdom, your knowledge. O ye creator, show me the truth”. The moment I woke up the next day, unbeknownst to me, my wish is granted, but not without a price to pay. Alone in my room, I stared at the blank wall for hours. One question came up after another, some which I already know the answers to, some which I know shouldn’t even be thought of in the first place. Alas, my greed of knowledge, or should I say, the truth, slowly devours my soul.
I still remember those particular days, when I started devouring countless data, whether if they’re necessarily beneficial or not. But surely, time is cruel. From dusk till dawn, my eyes fixated unto the monitor screen, at least, this time I’m not necessarily stared into the oblivion for hours. Then, it dawned on me. My body started to rebel against me, pain creeping upon my brain, my body’s getting weaker by each day. Thoughts after thoughts, it just couldn’t stop. I started sleeping my way through the day. Didn’t I have enough sleep? When I was aware, I could account that sometimes I sleep more than fourteen hours a day. Sometimes, I just fall asleep without any explanation. I didn’t know that you can even get addicted to sleep. What’s worst you asked? Living in dreams after dreams, each takes more than a few days in real time. Exhaustion and fatigue sucked upon my life force bit by bit. I force myself to avoid from sleeping at some point. I failed.
Ah, but that didn’t even make any sense. I hate the feeling of mediocrity. So do we live just to eat, sleep, excrete, work enough money to support our family? And then what, we repeat the steps until we die? What’s the sense of accomplishment in that? Don’t you have any self-fulfillment? You just exist to repeat the same steps in your life, how boring, no, how stupid is that! Ironically, I also wanted to know how it is to be in other people’s shoes. How do their mind works? What are they thinking of? What is their interpretation of life? I wanted to know everything. There’s no such thing as knowing too much. Even if it’s bad for you, I still wanted to know everything. Eureka! So that’s why I am cursed…or is it a curse to begin with? Who knows…
I just wanted to know… is that a sin?
You must unlearn what you have learned- Yoda, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Good day to you ladies and gentleman. Today I would like to share with you my understanding of a new concept on placebo effects that I’ve just learned recently. Mind you that this is just a theory and not a discovery, as there’s no one out there to carry out an experiment based on my theory. I don’t force you to accept my theory, it’s up to you whether if you wanted to believe it or not. This is just a sudden enlightenment that I have that I hope could furthermore improve our understanding of the human mind.
First and foremost, what does placebo means? From freedictionary.com, ” The beneficial effect in a patient following a particular treatment that arises from the patient’s expectations concerning the treatment rather than from the treatment itself”. Huh, what does that even mean? Now let’s think about it from a different point of view. Imagine that you’re a child; a few minutes ago you’ve just scraped your knee after you hit the edge of the table. You can’t stop crying because of the pain; your mom came to you and started blowing on your wounds, adding some kind of special chants while doing so. Apparently, it worked. You no longer felt any pain, and the next time you ever scraped your knee again, your mom would’ve just repeat the same thing over again. Simple isn’t it?
Some of you might say something like, “Well, it did worked when I was 7; I’m 21 now and if I ever have cut or bruises, those magic chants won’t do anything”. Well, that’s why I wrote about this particular topic in the first place. Ever had one of those moments when you have a severe migraine and you started saying to yourself, “a bottle of aspirin would do the trick”. After taking a bottle, the migraine stopped. When you told your dad that aspirin can be good for relieving migraines; he quipped out “how I wish it could do the same to me. I usually just drink some pickle juice, works like a charm to me”. So, does that means pickle juice may have analgesic effects? Enlightened by your discovery, the next time you suffered from migraine; you started drinking some pickle juice, only to be disappointed that it didn’t worked. So now we started asking, “does it only works with an old man or something?”.
The answer is, yes, but only to a certain groups of people. Wait, does that mean that pickle juice chemicals only worked for a certain person in relieving pain? Maybe, but there’s a better explanation to that, which is the placebo effect. After understanding the analogies given above, let’s move on with the topic. Again, imagine yourself in high school (or equivalent). Today you’re learning algebra. After doing a few exercises on algebra, you easily answered every question that you came across. Over the next few years, whenever you came across it, you solve them within a few minutes. When you graduated from high school, you met an old friend. He’s currently studying literature in college. Whenever you met him, he always tell you how much he despised algebra; he also posted on facebook, saying things like, “it’s not like we’re using it in our daily life”. It’s never been a problem to you, so you started asking about his problem with algebra. It turns out that he was never good at algebra since high school. Fast forward 20 years into the future, you met up with him again. But you’re surprised that he is now a professor who teach calculus in MIT. He told you that he become obsessed with mathematics when helping his niece with some algebra homework a few years ago, and was surprised on how easy it was compared when he was studying it in high school.
I hope you understand a bit of my point in the previous analogies. So here’s my explanation:
A. Sometimes, when doing something new; you succeeded with the task given, and the next time you ever done the same thing again, you succeeded easily or even better at the task.
B. Sometimes, when doing something new; you failed miserably, and the next time you ever done it, you always failed at doing the task.
C. Same as B, but after a long time; you have already forgotten about it, but the next time you did the same task, you find that it is easier compared to your past attempts doing the same task.
You might say that A have a natural talent or that C might be thinking in a different kind of way; compared to when he was younger. There might be some truth in that. You see, when we succeeded at a task for the first time, our mindset changes and we felt that the task was easy and you could perform even better the next time. But, if you failed at the task firsthand, no matter how many times we did the task, we would only failed miserably. This is true until you forget about it at some part in your life, and the moment you did the same task again; your brain thinks that we never did the task before, and you perform better than when you did the task before. So my advice to you, if you’re bad at something, stop saying to yourself “if first you didn’t succeed, try and try again” or the equivalent. Stop focusing on that task and concentrate on doing something else.
Now I would like to explain about the extremum effect. Chances are, you’ve already heard of stories on how a man survived after falling from the 30th floor of an apartment, survived a devastating earthquake unscathed, etc? How about a neighbor which suddenly kills a man in a fight even though that he was known as a man who would never do such a thing? Here’s when the extremum effect applies. During a certain event, say, a life or death situation, or maybe an extremely stressful situation; our brain shuts off the limiting mindset that we have, for example, you always think that you could never survive a jump from the 30th floor, only to woke up a few hours later with only minor injuries. Extremum means the point located farthest from the middle of something or, the most extreme possible amount or value. Looking back at the last paragraph, it turns out that time may also have a connection with the extremum effect. As of how our mindset affect our body in a way that you could survive the impact from falling from extreme heights, or how you’re getting better at doing something after a few years is still a mystery.
In the end, I apologized if you didn’t understand any of my writings, and I hope that I could present it to you in the simplest form as possible. If you have any question or would like to criticize me; please do so in the comments section below in a polite way. Last but not least, let’s imagine what we could achieve by manipulating our mindset at will. See you in the next article. Peace be upon you.