Me Too, But No One Else

Recently my Facebook wall was covered with “Me Too” hashtags.

I support good intentions of the campaign. Awareness is important. The hope is that awareness will change the events that take place in reality, but often leave out how.

“Me Too,” like other campaigns about harassment, lacks this substance. Status updates feel good, but they change nothing. So instead I propose something you may have thought about before. We can petition the BC government to implement a province wide change to education for highschool age women. You might like this idea a lot once you read further.

As a disclaimer, you will note that I am proposing a solution, not just raising awareness. I am a man and this is a women’s issue, so my credibility is zero. It’s up to women to decide what to do with this. There is probably an improved version of this idea available, and that’s okay with me. I trust this starting point will allow a smart reader to take it somewhere better. So hang tight, one sec. I’ll explain.

I recently read about a woman walking through a crowded bar with a male friend when someone cat called her. He didn’t know that she had trained to the black belt level in a martial art. She pivoted to face him and get in his face without hesitation. Details aside, he was soon holding his beer with two hands, a makeshift barrier between them. Scared. Her male companion didn’t even get involved.

Note that while this particular woman also lifted weights, and probably did other activities to make herself more imposing, I believe that confrontation is a bad idea if you have another option. With the exception of people who have professional training, the right choice is almost always running away. It’s just good to have self defense as an option when you need it for your own physical safety.

Now with some context, we can think a bit about what has been tried, and what we can do differently in the future.

I study influence. As a student and practitioner, I know that social proof is a powerful tool for some things, but it does nothing for others. Why?

You feel shame when you act against the norms and values of your tribe. Rape and sexual harassment is illegal and socially discouraged. Yet it still happens because rapists are motivated towards their actions in spite of social values. So social proof doesn’t work here. We don’t need it though, because there is another tool that works much better.

Fear. Especially when it’s presented visually. Do me a favor and keep this in mind for a moment while you read ahead.

My proposal is that women petition the BC provincial government to fund martial arts education.

Make it either a voluntary or mandatory part of highschool gym education for girls only. Make two years mandatory in the middle school years, then optional in highschool, but still free. This will ensure that some women end up as brutal asskickers. (Boys can have the martial arts funding in their last year of highschool. This is unequal on purpose.)

The first one or two years of funding will show no results. Then by year three there will be a viral YouTube video of a girl just slaughtering some asshole. Picture a teenage girl delivering a knockout punch or a headlock. Like that. Women will cheer and some men will probably ridicule him.

And that’s just the first time it happens.

As self defense education improves, women beating the shit out of would be assailants will become more frequent, and more visible.

Within five to ten years, videos of women from BC kicking ass will be all over the Internet. It will be common knowledge among men here that at least some women trained self defense. It doesn’t even matter if only about 20% of women achieve prowess with a martial art. Fear generally keeps you away from even perceived risks, so we can go without all women becoming accomplished practitioners. Eventually, it will simply be common practice among men to keep your hands to yourself.

The very worst outcome of trying this solution is that we teach women a valuable way to stay fit and healthy, while preventing at least a few incidents. But suppose it does work well. Women here would be a leading example for the rest of Canada.

Since it is a women’s issue, I feel that my credibility here is zero. Men have no skin in the game, no personal stake, and so they should not be arguing for or against this particular idea. My opinion is that if women decide they want to try this solution, and petition the government successfully, I support that. Most other men would agree, especially after I remind them that they may eventually have a daughter (like I just did).

So if you got this far, and you are a woman, find two or three others who posted a “Me Too” Facebook post. Invite them to read this post or tell them about it yourself.

Politicians monitor social media for political will. Outrageously, they can’t do anything with expressions of pain directed nowhere. But they surely understand that half of their voters are angry — and this issue does make you angry, doesn’t it? That an entire generation of women have gone without a fix to an old, old problem. And anger gets people to the polls.

So if they think supporting some easy-to-implement education funding will get them votes, what might they do?

It’s a little known fact that emailing and phoning your local representatives actually works. Voter behavior is studied well. Everyone in politics knows that when people are calling the office about something, it’s time to pay attention. But effort stops a lot of people, so I’m even doing the contact info retrieval for you.

Go here to the BC government’s website and call them. Go here to find the BC Liberals office phone number. Go here to contact the BC Conservatives. And go here to contact the BC NDP, who are the most important because they currently hold the most power. 

#MeToo

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Raves, Did I Die?

I just read a Facebook post by Ed Latimore. It’s amazing what a small change can turn into.

This is how I feel often at raves. I’ve even had the same thought as Latimore: Did I die and not notice?

I was the only kid in my highschool who listened to dance music. The only one. I remember one dude shouting “fag!” at me for it. One friend encouraged me to go to raves in 06-07, but I objected because “People just go there to do drugs, and I can listen to the music at home.” Those words really did come out of my mouth.

The truth is more like, I was shy. My own self-imposed limitation. I was lucky to stumble into a job where my coworkers went to nightclubs on their days off. And then around Christmas, they brought me to my first rave.

Six month after joining the rave scene, I wandered into an arena bathed in shadows and light, where reality not only carried the vibrations — it was made for them. And now I am coming up on four years of this magic.

Never stop the rave.

The Friendly Hypnotist

Most people have no idea what it means to go into a trance.

They feel scared by the concept and wonder what it’s really about, yet mistrust anyone who seems to know the answer — what if he’s a hypnotist?!

The good news is that you’ve been in one at least a few times, and you were perfectly safe. Let me show you what I mean by telling you about last night.

I was walking back home from visiting a woman in another part of town. It was dark and I couldn’t see very far ahead of me. I just knew the lights meant there were cars around. I’m 27 and I’ve walked around a lot, so my body is trained to do it subconsciously (except when it briefly needs my attention). This frees up enormous cognitive power for imagination.

If your mind is wandering around internally, you are in a trance. You are probably getting into one just reading this post, and it’s mostly fine. If you want it to be even better, focus on the pleasant parts that come to mind here, and throw away discomfort. Much like life, the trip can be whatever you want.

Knowing that the walk was at least an hour long, I had turned on a voice recorder in case I wanted to fire off blog ideas.

When I checked the recording later, I counted how long I spoke for.

22 minutes! And my entire conscious attention was directed to speaking during that time. I think I crossed a few streets without noticing.

And here we get to another part where you will realize what you’ve learned.

When I crossed the street, if there was something worth my attention — an oncoming car, for instance — I paid attention to it. Your subconscious does a very good job learning via fear. I’m glad some of you already realized that.

So your subconscious will direct you away from things that scare you. Sometimes needlessly — and I’m not talking about cars.

There are some scary things in your head, but your subconscious takes care of them, just as it is doing right now.

That’s my story. Now you know a little more.

Skills for Anxiety Management

I am going hard in this post, but it isn’t medical advice. Go see a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist if your anxiety issues are problematic. I also caution anyone who knows they have PTSD because that’s what came up when I asked a therapist if I should caution anyone. Onward.

I used to be anxious upwards of half the day. I didn’t even know how to tell when I was anxious and when I wasn’t because I was so used to it. It was my default state of being.

Somehow, it’s improved over time. The improvement seems strongly correlated with my self-taught hypnotism skills. As a result, I spend less and less time feeling a crippling level of indecision.

I am not a therapist and will never be one. Again, I encourage you to go see one! It’s chill. BUT we’ve already established that my personal experience is not medical advice.

Now I explain three techniques.

1. I take deliberate control of my breathing. I’ve practiced relaxed breathing enough to begin noticing when you feel relief. You can begin feeling different things depending on how you expand and contract your breath.

The key is to know that your feeling of anxiety is somehow linked to the way you are moving your muscles. So when you breathe in and out slowly, you are communicating to your body, “Hey, it’s time to feel relaxed now.”

[ FIND A VIDEO ]

2. I do deliberate tense and release exercises with my muscles. I first heard of this with Michael Phelps. His coach used to teach him to clench his fists and then relax them before a race.

I don’t think it matters which muscles you start with, or end with, how many you do at once, or if you cover all of them or only some. As you try it out, you’ll begin to notice what works for you. Squeeze your muscles, then release. The idea here is that you are controlling the tension in your muscles, instead of the tension controlling you.

3. Narrate your own experience of reality. My anxious feelings are often a mess. While it doesn’t make any logical sense, I bet most anxious people agree, it isn’t an organized  feeling. So it is strangely sensical that when you begin to calmly narrate your internal and external reality, the rest of your body will follow suit.

Specifically, I try to mix the narration like this:

First, I mostly comment on things that are plainly true. “The walls are white. I am thinking. My hand is holding a coffee cup. The other hand is moving my computer mouse.”

Then, I begin to add some calming suggestions about what might happen next. Here the italics indicates a kind of calm suggestion. “I might breathe gently soon. The sky is pretty. I can feel my thoughts calm me down. I can see out the window. That breeze keeps cooling me down, and I like it more and more.”

At some point I begin actually directing my body to relax. This can be done in any way that you want so long as you keep it simple. If you catch your body relaxing on its own, you can calm down further by mentally narrating the calm parts of the experience. Repetition helps a lot. “My eyes are relaxing and I am going to write the next part with my eyes closed. Now I am becoming tired.”

I hope this helps.

Submodality Study

This is part of a transcription of the Sam Harris and Scott Adams discussion on President Trump, called “Triggered”. You can find the podcast here.

@JasonL3d has added some notes already on his blog, which you can find below. As I work through the transcript, I will be noting two things.

First, the persuasion that Jason doesn’t mention. You’ll find new stuff here if you read his blog. Then the second part is an exercise in modalities. I don’t recognize all of the modality words yet. I will mark V for Visual, A for Auditory, and K for Kinesthetic.

Part 2: minutes 20 – 35. Starting at 20:20.

Adams: So you see that process in a number of ways. [Visual] You saw that when he talked about fighting ISIS. He said [A] we’re going to go back to waterboarding and maybe kill the families of the terrorists, and a lot of people said [A] “Oh my god, you can’t do that, that’s going too far,” and there’s lots of, plenty of good, practical reasons why you don’t do those things. Then he became president, and what did he do? He got pretty tough on ISIS, and I would argue that civilian casualties probably have gone up, as a result of that extra toughness, but we’re not, you know we’re not seeing [V] the big outcry, because he’s been successful apparently, against ISIS on the battlefield. So we see [V] this pattern which he has broadcasted for decades. He actually wrote a book on it, The Art of the Deal, in which he talks [A] explicitly about using hyperbole – in other words things that don’t pass the fact checking – and making [K] big first offers to give [K] him lots of room [K] to negotiate toward the middle. So that the thing that his supporters believe that his critics do not, is that he is emotionally and intellectually on their side, and that he will work [K] out the details when he needs to. So that’s what his supporters believe, and I think we’ve seen a pretty unbroken [K] pattern of exactly that happening. And I predicted this pattern long before he even got nominated because he has that skill set, he repeated that pattern often, and it was the was the only rational thing that I could see, unless he was, you know, unless you imagined [V] he was actually, literally insane, it was the only thing I could imagine [V] happening. And sure enough, it’s happening just as I predicted.

Harris: OK well there’s a lot in there that strikes [K] me as fairly strange ethically. For instance, this idea that he’s making [K] this first offer that is extreme, that then he walks [K] back to something more reasonable, and that this is a technique for which he pays [K?] no penalty, is just an unambiguously good technique that his fans recognize —

Adams: Let me interrupt you. I would never say he doesn’t pay a penalty. This is a technique that absolutely by design has a penalty. So in other words he’s saying “This is going to cost me because the fact checkers are going to be over [K] me, and blah blah blah, I’m going to do it anyway.”

Harris: I guess I’m emphasizing something else here. It’s not so much the lying part, or the failing the reality testing part, it’s more like: if I’m going to say [A] to you, “You know what I think we should do?” – let’s just say this on the podcast [auditory setting] – “You know I think we should round up those 12 million people and deport them.” If I commit to that position that’s my position. Well, when you unpack [K] that position, that commits me to some things which I really must have thought about or at least am pretending to have thought about, which are fairly unethical. It gets much worse than what you describe. It’s not just the fellow gang member or very close to being a gang member who gets deported along with the convicted killer. It’s the mom of you know an 8 year old kid who is an American citizen, right, so you have these just, just families broken apart. [Visual description] And so if I’m going to pretend to be so callous [K] as to happily absorb [K] those facts like, “Yeah send them all back. You know, they don’t belong here in the first place” or if I’m going to take the ISIS case I’m going to say “Yeah we’ll torture [K] their kids we’ll kill their kids. Doesn’t matter, right? Whatever works.” If that’s going to be my opening negotiation I am advertising, I’m going to advertise a level of callousness [K] and a level [K, spatial] of unconcern for the reality of human suffering [K, feeling] all around me that will follow upon [K] my actions that should I get what I ostensibly want it’s like in these 2 cases a nearly psychopathic ethics that I’m advertising as my strong [K] suit [V], right? So how this becomes attractive to people, how this resonates [Auditory AND kinesthetic, see note] with their values… I mean I get [K] what you said about people are worried about immigration, they’re worried about jihadism. I share those concerns. But when you cross the line [V] with this opening overture [A] that has these extreme consequences on its face – I mean you don’t have to think deeply on this, right [Harris seeking confirmation?], these are the things that get pointed out [K] in 30 seconds when he, whenever he opens his mouth [K] on a topic like this – I don’t understand how that works for him with anyone.

I wanted to highlight that “resonates” can totally be kinesthetic too! It’s a

This transcript is copied from a friend’s blog here.

My MacGuyver Solution for Neuralink

I preface this idea by saying that it would be hard for me to invent a worse idea. Executing this one actually endangers my life. But it would be really cool, so I don’t mind.

Elon Musk is currently in the founding stages of Neuralink.

Neuralink aims to invent a brain-to-AI communication channel. Meaning, their final product will allow your mind to communicate with an AI, which can then communicate back… via implants.

When I tell you how simple my idea is, it will at first sound terrible, terrible terrible. That’s fine. Just come with me to the end. You’ll find out why I call it the “MacGuyver Solution” along the way.

Any time you are embarking on a long journey, it’s nice to have some small stops along the way that let you know you are heading in the right direction.

In this case, I am offering to be one of the small stops.

Specifically, my suggestion is that Neuralink invent a non-deteriorating implant that can emit and detect a very fine electrical charge. Like the kind that my brain’s neurons use to communicate back and forth. A separate part can handle communication between the computer and the implants. All the implants need to do besides send and receive a small, simple electric charge is be self-contained, last for a few years, and not deteriorate. They need to be sufficiently small (non-lethal), but that’s easy at this point. I really don’t think this criteria will be the hard part of my idea.

Once the implants are ready, bring me down to California. Jam those bad boys right in Broca’s area, which is the linguistic portion of the brain. Now the MacGuyver part.

Since the implants can detect, send and receive — albeit in a simple manner — the next thing to do is collect data on what kind of signals they notice while I think, speak and write simple English sentences.

It might take a few months but over time, a few unique patterns will emerge. My bet is that I can learn to fire the patterns at will. Once I recognize how to fire a particular pattern — I might think “piano!” as an example — that will be the first “letter” of the language between me and the computer I am talking to. (A more advanced version would result in the computer understanding words I am thinking before they register in my consciousness.)

After my outbound communications are established, it would be a good time to teach a computer to communicate an “inbound” signal. If the electrical signal is small enough, my brain might mistake the implants for other neurons. This would be harder to handle, because I would have to learn when the computer is “talking” to me.

Over time, I would learn to distinguish between my own associations coming into consciousness and things caused by the computer. Here things means “unexpected movements, objects appearing in my mind,” etc. Anything. I would eventually notice because each time the computer sent that signal, it would become stronger, just like any repetitious learning experience.

From there, the computer and I can start “talking” via some programming magic. I just assume that if the computer can learn to send me some signals, and I can send it some signals, I’ll at least be able to play Tetris with my mind. That’s cool.

 

I never said it would yield anything good.

The Man Who Moved A Mountain

My hometown of Vancouver BC is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Our traffic is awful and most young adults can’t afford to move out, or live in tiny overpriced housing units. I want to change that.

In the past few years I’ve watched Elon Musk start a revolution in the car industry, the solar industry, and privatize rocketry. Now he is building tunnels under Los Angeles to solve their traffic nightmare.

I’m sure he faced doubters and has many memories of people laughing at his ideas. That’s generally what happens when your ideas seem too big. But the big ideas are the ones that change the world.

When people doubt Elon Musk, I wonder if they realize they are missing the point. Elon Musk’s ideas might come from him, but they are executed by the teams he hires. I don’t believe that Elon Musk can change the world. But I believe that the rest of us can, together. When you look at things from a larger perspective, you can fit a lot more into the frame.

So today I’m going to suggest a previously unthought of idea to solve Vancouver’s housing nightmare. Hold your judgement. This will be a wild ride.

First, it’s important to note that Vancouver is popular in part because of its beauty. It is a beautiful city. We have oceans to the west, dense forest and mountains to the north and east. During some parts of the year, you can tan on the beach and snowboard on our northern mountain ranges in the same day.

It’s those northern mountain ranges that hold the key to lower housing prices.

The distance between Granville St and Boundary Road, and then Hastings St and Marine Drive, is about ten square kilometres. That ten square kilometres is a plot of land worth a pile of money you could see it from the moon. The trouble is, Vancouver doesn’t have any more land left over. It’s water to the west — we can’t build houses on that — houses to the east — and mountains to the north.

If you look at a topographic map of Greater Vancouver, you’ll also notice that there is about ten square kilometers between … wait for it … yep, between Capilano Lake, Mount Seymour, and Cathedral Mountain to the north.

Yes, in case you haven’t got there yet, I really am suggesting we flatten a few mountains. There’s an area twice the size of North Vancouver we could reasonably terraform without disturbing the mountain range we see from Vancouver proper. No one will notice the downside, and everyone will appreciate having more land to develop. Check out the map here.

I don’t want to disturb any of the lakes, since we use those for water, but anywhere downstream of them looks like great terrain to me.

People will be horrified by the idea at first, so it would make sense to start the negotiation by suggesting that we will flatten all of the mountain ranges in sight. Then once people are properly outraged by that idea, we can negotiate down to “let’s just flatten the stuff we can’t see.”

Even better, developers could be challenged to make the developed land look more appealing than the mountainous ridge it replaced. It’s just a bunch of trees anyways. If you think they couldn’t make some pretty attractive buildings, ask some Vancouverites how attractive the downtown skyline is. I think most people will report a loving feeling towards it.

We can sell the idea to developers by getting their egos involved. Some big geological engineering firm CEO will get to be “the man who moved a mountain.” That title could easily go to the mayor of the District of North Vancouver or the premier of BC.

To offset the cost of flattening mountains, the new space will open up opportunities for:

  • High end developments like what we have already at the British Properties. (Partially — most space needs to be for apartments. But the high quality space near the treeline will sell.)
  • New ski resorts. Previously, mountains past Seymour and Grouse were inaccessible. That might change if we remove everything up to Cathedral Mountain. Are Grouse, Cypress and Seymour packed with skiers and snowboarders in the winter? If so, everyone would benefit from the competition a new resort would provide.

If the initial project was successful, flattening the area between Mount Fromme and Mount Elsay, more space could be reclaimed by going north towards Appian Mountain. That would be a real sight.

If you doubt the feasibility of this task, remember that up until recently, we thought the Sahara was permanent. But scientists have recently begun testing animal-produced fertilizer on desert sand, reforesting parts of previously barren desert. I don’t see why we can’t move a little dirt to lower housing prices.

As I wrote about Elon Musk, doubting his ideas is no reflection on him, despite what you may think. He doesn’t build the rocket by himself. He has help from other people. So if this idea seems impossible, remember, it isn’t up to me.

My belief in humanity is pretty strong. What about yours?