Feeling-Making Machine: An Interview with Mary Karr – R A I N T A X I o n l i n e Spring 2010

This interview is such a gold mine.

I differ from the most diseased part of myself, and I think that an irony of spiritual practice is that when you get out of yourself you kind of more become yourself. When I was a little kid I was bouncy and I made a lot noise and I broke shit. I ran around, I was very enthusiastic. In all the pictures of me I’m smiling. Now, I’m pretty happy. I laugh a lot. I have joy on a given day. I’m not a blithering idiot, and I suffer when it’s hot out or it’s raining and I can’t get a cab. I worry about my kid or my friend getting chemo or whatever. I suffer. But I’m pretty happy. And it’s almost like, I remember my mother saying when I was getting sober, “you’re going to come back to that [childhood happiness].” And I said, “Mother, I don’t even fucking remember that.” I just don’t remember feeling that way. But I really think that voice—not the one that says, fuck you, you stupid bitch, you’re a whore, but the one that says, you can do better than this, honey—that voice is God. And that’s actually who you really are. The other stuff that’s telling you what an asshole you are all the time is fucking noise, your ego or your head or whatever. The Buddhists would call it your ego. Pentecostals would call it Satan. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s my fucking head talking.

Feeling-Making Machine: An Interview with Mary Karr – R A I N T A X I o n l i n e Spring 2010

Both male and female INTPs may end up feeling guilty for having forsaken their social duty in favor of their own Introverted needs, perhaps not having satisfied either. While feeling true to themselves, they may be thinking, ‘I’ve screwed up again.’

Ha! Man oh man. Took the words right out of my mouth. I found this when I was reading Type Talk at Work yesterday. Definitely worth flipping through.

Are people who dwell on their problems more creative? – Barking up the wrong tree

Because rumination may allow an idea to stay in one’s conscious longer and indecision may result in more time on a given task, it was expected that these two cognitive processes may predict creativity. Self-report measures of rumination, indecision, and creativity were electronically distributed to 85 adults (28 men, 57 women; M age = 32.96 years old). Reflective rumination significantly predicted creativity, moderated by high levels of indecision. This study may resolve previous conflicts between findings on rumination and creativity and introduces indecision as beneficial in the creative process. This study also provided important clinical implications in distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive rumination suggesting a new cognitive link between creativity and depression.

Insert the “One Single Study Often Means Jack Shit” disclaimer here. But it reminded me of Alain de Botton:

Being cheerful is really no recipe to get down to work: nothing happens until paranoia, jealousy, competitiveness and guilt arrive.

And also of Roz Chast:

I kind of tend to stay up late just about every night, anywhere from 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. I putter. I nurse old grudges. I fold origami while nursing old grudges. I think about the past. I wonder if there’s any grudges I should start.

Are people who dwell on their problems more creative? – Barking up the wrong tree

Magical Thinking – Psychology Today

5. To name is to rule. […] After watching sugar being poured into two glasses of water and then personally affixing a “sucrose” label to one and a “poison” label to the other, people much prefer to drink from the “sucrose” glass and will even shy away from one they label “not poison.” (The subconscious doesn’t process negatives.) Rozin has also found that people are reluctant to tear up a piece of paper with a loved one’s name written on it. Arbitrary symbols carry the essence of what they represent.

I also like this bit on rituals and luck:

People who truly trust in their rituals exhibit a phenomenon known as “illusion of control,” the belief that they have more influence over the world than they actually do. And it’s not a bad delusion to have—a sense of control encourages people to work harder than they might otherwise. In fact, a fully accurate assessment of your powers, a state known as “depressive realism,” haunts people with clinical depression, who in general show less magical thinking.

Woody Allen nailed it:

We need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t.

Magical Thinking – Psychology Today

More and more, a psychiatrist is approached today by patients who confront him with human problems rather than neurotic symptoms. Some of the people who nowadays call on a psychiatrist would have seen a pastor, priest or rabbi in former days.

Viktor Frankl. For better or worse, who knows?

A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little.

Viktor Frankl. Remembered this while I was sick the past few days.