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The extremum theory: Understanding the placebo effect

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.

Descent into madness: Threshold theory

Greetings dear netizens to the other side of the internet. Well, not really…since you could stumble upon this blog by chance from using the mother brain (googol, I meant Google. Can someone tell me why there’s a red line under the 1.0 x 10100 ?)

Enough with the introduction, which sounds like a bad attempt to sound like someone with an above average I.Q. Today we are going to discuss a theory which I came up with while exasperatingly yelling in front of my laptop, due to the fact that a creeper killed me in Minecraft (curse you, you little green exploding imbecile).

Why do I write like this you ask? Well, the preexisting style of writing is too mainstream, not that I’m a hipster or something, I simply hate those pretend hobos. No,it’s because a scientific journal bores me to death. I mean, sometimes I just wanted to tell the professors, “You know what?

You keep using these words, but I don’t think you know what it means”. Seriously, I came to read about the methods to study a brain, not about scintillation counter! They didn’t even mention what the hell scintillation counter is. I have to look up and study it’s mechanisms. Oh, so that’s the reason? Only people qualified in the field should read your notes and journals? Screw that, because you’re feeling so high and mighty, I decided to introduce a new style of scientific writing (which you all would call rambling and ranting).

And screw all of you, because you can’t stand reading something long without any pictures in between. I mean, I don’t see any problem reading Reece et.al biology 9th edition (except when you really need to see a diagram). What? It’s counter productive you say? Here’s a reminder, “I don’t care”. There, now you too should experience the feeling of euphoria. Oh, if you need to really enjoy this stupid rambling, you must first be in a shaky state of mind. Okay, maybe I should write that in the first line.

So, this is the line you should really read. Whoops, I did it again. Kinda hard with all this voices in my head. First and foremost, to test this theory, I need to descent into insanity. You might think that I took a drug or something. No, I did not. I use the pure mental ability bestowed upon humanity. Which in this case, watching the weird part of youtube and looping some games midi file over and over. See, you don’t even need drugs to become insane. Well, the internet is a type of electronic drug anyway.

During the first hour of watching “ran ran ru remix of Flandere theme of Touhou Project” (Japanese bullet hell game in case you didn’t know) at first I was thinking “Oh, I’m in that weird part of  youtube again”. But after watching it for the third time, I started to love it. By the time I move on to watch the Hatsune Miku version of the video, I started laughing hysterically (but I did it inside my mind, cause you know, someone might get irritated by the laughing).

And then the second day dawned on me. I started playing Yume Nikki (you can download this gem for free, ask mother brain google) I love how the theme is filled with, how can I say this, imagery which is produced only when you use acid (or maybe a fan of the ancient Cusco arts). A feeling of  euphoria…or maybe dysphoria? It seethes within me (and for the last time wordpress, stop bringing my cursor back to a few paragraphs back, ruining the text and all). Where was I just now? Oh, it seethes within me, causing my inner self to ask me some questions. What is life? What is our purpose in life? God, what have I done all this time? And that was before I maniacally laugh and stared at the wall and ceiling for an hour while thinking about, you got it, absolutely nothing. Must be a man “thing” I guess, I never knew any women who stares at the wall for an hour or so…they would all be like, “I’m fine!” And then proceeds to throwing hateful words at you just because you wouldn’t sweep the floor for the 10th at 3 A.M. Oh wait, that’s just a women on her period. Looking back, maybe I should sweep the floor again, for about 40 times till dawn. I mean, it’s better than staring at an empty wall for an hour. Win-win situation everybody.

So what’s the final result? After lathering, rinsing and repeating the process again and again (hey, we need a control here everyone), I started to have this weird personality, which I can control, but feels extremely weird. Imagine feeling high and mighty, but at the same time down to earth..analyzing things through purpose and reason but at the same time laughing maniacally inside. Oh, and somehow I started talking in japanese…and my english gets better too. It lasted a few minutes until my friend called and asked me about which Yu-gi-Oh card combo is the best. Oh well, it’s time for another hurr hurr, kore ka? Ran ran ruu!! asdfghjkl @#$%^& (computer crashed, luckily there’s autosave…just kidding, I lied!!)

If you read until this line,..No one does…so I didn’t know what to write over here…

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