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  1. #11
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    The books do work. Their purpose is to inform the person, not fix the person. Most self-help books do state that at the end of the day: It's up to the person to make the step.

    It's sort of like saying why are there so many tutorials on how to program/paint and so fourth. Granted, it's definitely true that it capitalises on the fact that people don't change with just one book. It's just easy market.
    C'mon, self improvement is a confidence trick carried out for profit by the most powerful culture on earth.

    This is a culture that exports its popular culture to the world for profit.

    But the very saddest thing is that the denizens of this culture believe their own propaganda.

  2. #12
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disregard View Post
    I don't think thinking inhibits self-improvement, but self-improvement comes from action. If the thinking actually leads to action, great. But the times I've really grown were when I bit the bullet and did something I wasn't used to doing and wasn't comfortable doing. I might have thought about it before, but it meant nothing until I'd actualised that intellection.
    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I think perhaps the one extreme of over-analysis exists because there is also a tendency to be in denial about reality. Modern culture has serious denial issues that range from destroying the planet to fostering tunnel vision on numerous social issues. There might need to be a redistribution of problem analysis.
    Allow me to elaborate a bit on my OP and your posts.

    The sickness I'm talking about is really not being present. Why aren't people present? They're too busy denying part of their experience. Sometimes it's guilt and shame, sometimes it's just thinking that there's something lacking or missing in their experience that turns them into thinking, planning, worrying, self-conscious creatures. Denial and rejection are good words to capture the essence of the problem. We can also think of it as a lack of faith or a lack of self-understanding and acceptance. The end result is that the person becomes so "heady" and self-conscious that they no longer experience simple joys like pizza, stupid movies, and ice cream. (Yeah, all food-related, whatever.)

    The self-improvement industry promotes that myth because it drives sales, and because it's run by stupid people who don't understand the mechanics and control and surrender. It may sound a little paradox to say that the problem is that we think we have problem, but it might be the truth too.

    Quote Originally Posted by toonia
    When I watch shows about rescuing animals from abusive scenarios, it often strikes me how quickly a dog can bounce back by being completely in the moment with his new, happy home. It has crossed my mind how helpful it would be if we could be more like that as people.
    I absolutely think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by SillySapienne View Post
    I think that there is a point when enough is enough, and too much anything is, well, too much.

    But how can one resolve any problem without identifying it first, and understanding why said problem exists in the first place?

    They simply can't.
    Right. So if thinking is both the cause of problems and a way to identify the problem (itself), it's ultimately self-cannibalizing; you can only so much until you realize that you've made yourself crazy with thinking.



    To all:

    So here's the question. Can all unhappiness be cured by stopping the relentless introspection and quest for completion and happiness, and simply doing things that give us simple joy, like toonia said with the dog in the new, happy house? Depression? Anxiety? Anger? (and all the related personality disorders?)

    How would you advise a person about dealing with bouts of anxiety, anger, and depression? Humor? Patience?

  3. #13
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    xanax, paxil, propecia, etc.
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  4. #14
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    I generally like the concept of self-help - literally, helping yourself, making yourself better. I'm wary of individuals who have no desire to improve their overall function.

    That said, most products in the "self-help market" are fluff and BS. They are meant to boost your self esteem. Sometimes*, a self esteem boost can be useful, but for the most part the effect is temporary. Some people just read lots of self-help for the high it gives them, but never take any actions to improve themselves.

    One SH book I read was Getting Things Done (David Allen). One amazon.com reviewer described it perfectly: out of 260 pages, 230 is fluff. But the 30 pages that count really do work, and if you take the advice, it's a very good program for getting organized and, well, getting things done. By actually distilling the information into actionable steps to follow, and doing it, self help works.

    And yes, it was less thinking. It took me less work and thought to just take someone else's system and adapt it to my needs. And as a result it took less energy, energy which instead goes to other tasks.

    *Self esteem boost can be good if you're depressed, for instance (pulls you out of hole), but of course, true self esteem comes from within, from your...wait for it...self.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  5. #15
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    One way out is to ask where does self improvement come from?

    Why is it taken for granted in the whole country?

    What is the historical reason for the cult of self improvement?
    It's not really taken for granted if there's a whole cult following and trying to include itself in the movement.

    But none of these books has been subjected to a double blind test to check their efficacy. This is just like the sect of any religion.
    Okay, but I think that's a weak criticism. The fact that it hasn't been validated is one way to criticize a therapy. A better way would be to point out why it's ineffective by design.

    But you probably live in a country that cut itself off from history at the revolution and so has no alternative but to look to the future.

    And not knowing or understanding your own history, you are trapped forever in your own cult of self improvement.

    But what is worse is that you want to sell the cult of self improvement to the rest of us, along with guns and pornography.
    I love you Victor.

    Will you acknowledge the irony here, of trying to disabuse the cult of their misconceptions (improve them, illuminate them) while bemoaning the self-help cult?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by xNTP View Post
    Can all unhappiness be cured...
    A disease is caused by an infectious agent or a lesion. And as unhappiness has no infectious agent or a lesion, unhappiness is not a disease.

    Therefore unhappiness cannot be cured.

    And those who claim to cure unhappiness are simply confidence tricksters.

    But the situation is worse than that. You probably live in a country devoted to the pursuit of happiness in the interests of profit, so you are set up as a sucker from the day you are born.

    And in pursuing happiness, happiness never finds you, and so you keep on pursuing, like a rat in a spinning wheel, you keep on going round and round, forever looking for happiness and forever unhappy.

    So every huckster can sell you something to make you happy.

    Are you happy yet?

  7. #17
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xNTP View Post

    To all:

    So here's the question. Can all unhappiness be cured by stopping the relentless introspection and quest for completion and happiness, and simply doing things that give us simple joy, like toonia said with the dog in the new, happy house? Depression? Anxiety? Anger? (and all the related personality disorders?)

    How would you advise a person about dealing with bouts of anxiety, anger, and depression? Humor? Patience?
    Free form list:

    Exercise. Seriously.

    Really. Really. Really. Exercise works.

    Play.

    Go out and do things. Accomplish things. Little things. Then big things.

    -------

    1. Identify what skills that you will need to get to a point you want to get to.
    2. Figure out how to develop said skills. To do this step may require you develop this skill of project planning. May I recommend GTD^? Worked alright for me.
    3. Follow the plan. Adapt as needed.
    4. Aquire skill.
    5. Use skill for whatever purpose.

    Take pride in the skills you aquire. See how knowledge enriches your world. See how when you have capacities and abilities it opens up ways of fixing problems and improving situations.

    Have self esteem stemming from the abilities you have and the work you have put in. Learn from mistakes.

    Then, after a while, you'll be dead.

    Cheers.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by xNTP View Post
    Will you acknowledge the irony here, of trying to disabuse the cult of their misconceptions (improve them, illuminate them) while bemoaning the self-help cult?
    Touché.

  9. #19
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xNTP View Post

    So here's the question. Can all unhappiness be cured by stopping the relentless introspection and quest for completion and happiness, and simply doing things that give us simple joy, like toonia said with the dog in the new, happy house? Depression? Anxiety? Anger? (and all the related personality disorders?)

    How would you advise a person about dealing with bouts of anxiety, anger, and depression? Humor? Patience?
    I did read some reports lately about an evolutionary reason for depression, in that it is designed to make you introspect and analyze yourself, and detach you from an environment or behavior that is causing a problem. Basically, people that didn't pump the brakes didn't get out of destructive situations. So I don't think that introspection is necessarily the evil-doer in this instance, but maybe [as you've said] the assumption that the problem is within creates the expectation that the inside must be changed to deal with an immutable environment, instead of the other way around? I'm not really sure if I'm grasping you correctly.

    I agree mostly with what Silly Sapienne said about analysis being important in identifying problem areas in the first place, but that it's first step towards corrective action.



  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xNTP View Post
    The fact that it hasn't been validated is one way to criticize a therapy. A better way would be to point out why it's ineffective by design.
    I am told the world has been created by Intelligent Design. But so far there is no evidence at all for Intelligent Design. So you can believe in Intelligent Design or not as a matter of blind faith.

    However since the Enlightenment in the seventeenth and eighteen centuries, we have a better way of determining what is reasonable to believe and that is by evidence and reason.

    Evidence and reason has given us the modern world from the computer you are using to modern medicine and everything in between, while blind faith had remained stagnant and in some places violent.

    So the very least the Enlightened reasonably can ask from a claimed therapy is evidence.

    And we know how to gain evidence for any therapy and that is through a double blind experiment.

    And when the whole genre of self help is devoid of double blind experiments, we know we are dealing with blind faith.

    And blind faith is no more than a confidence trick.

    And no one likes being tricked. Unless of course we are paying a prostitute to turn a trick. Then we are paying to be tricked in exactly the same way we are paying to be tricked when we buy a self help book.

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