May 242008
 

I get some weird emails sometimes. This is an email that was sent out to the mailing list of my philosophy class. It’s kinda cute:

Subject: Awkward… but then again so am I!

Hi everyone!

Hope you all did well on yesterday’s exam. I am writing you all because I am looking for someone and I couldn’t find the individual email, hence this blast. I don’t want to say her name as not to embarrass her, but it can only one person. So here it goes… We sat together at the very start of the year, but then you decided to move up to the balcony. I distracted you from reviewing your notes right before the exam yesterday and I tried finding you afterwards, but I obviously didn’t. If this sounds like you, drop me a line. I would like to properly say goodbye, etc…

Sorry to bother the other 499 of you and I hope you all have a great summer!

Cheers,

XXXX (or as most of you probably know me as “the crazy guy”)

This next batch is spam emails. They’re obviously very clever as they got through Gmail’s spam detector, unfortunately they did it by being nonsensical. Bolded lines are subject lines:

stockpile coast appropriable spyglass
bondsman

judicial bypath
situate frieze indecent yipping mao cunning quackery
incalculable raven appropriable coast frieze litigate stupendous townsmen enthusiasm bypath

stupendous whale bicker indecent cotta
ac
quackery christmas

Random nouns and verbs don’t sell product. Spam’s gotten to the point where instead of trying to achieve some end of their own, they’re just trying to annoy people.

The next email is clever, too. They use double letters to evade spam filters and do add nonsense at the end of the emails to lower the overall spammy-wordsto-total-words ratio.

treasurable
i,

Are you a frequuent visitor of rettail softwaree stores?
We know what you’re ovverpaying for:
– box manufacturinng
– CD
– salespersonn salary
– RRent of shop spacee
– Yeear-to-year incrreasing taxes in your countryy
Well, what for ?! You’re able to downloaad everythingg legally NOW! Fabullous range of softwaree and LOW prices will make you smile and save your money! Welcome to ADDRESS REMOVED

Of all with the sheet of water, wherein the house, asked
scott. Not at all, for the guicowar is as be able to do
anything. Remembering thyself to resumed: you savvy, ol’
father try white medicinefour and put to bed. Did you see
my friends at holy the mainland. You will find many people
up there of finer, subtler stuff than himself, more alive
us no more. The clue that placed her in mental faun who
had surprised her thus. But albine repeated, above all the
abodes of the deities. O ascetic, church of christ in scotland.
as also (which from universal destruction takes place, and
it is he coming, until the lateness of the hour precluded
the character, the compatibilities, and what not, the money
into the little girl’s hand. Catriona,.

Reading the nonsense, though, is amusing, too.

And perhaps my favourite:

Get a fleshy pole

Pop these pills everyday like vitamins and see extraordinary results in weeks ADDRESS REMOVED

Final email is from the mailing list for the book Quirkology which is a very interesting and entertaining book about psychology and sociology experiments done on the quirky things that people do. It answers some interesting questions like, “Why do we laugh?” or “What is the funniest joke in the world, scientifically?” or “Where are people the most helpful, big cities or small towns? Which ones?” An entertaining and eye-opening video on Youtube with the author, who used to be a magician, here.

Hi

Many thanks for taking part in our recent experiment exploring the link
between sport and attraction. As you might remember, we asked people to
rate which sports would make a member of the opposite sex sound more
attractive.

The results showed that 57% of women found climbing attractive, making it
the most attractive sport from a female perspective. This was closely
followed by extreme sports (56%), football (52%), and hiking (51%). Bottom
of their list came aerobics and golf, with just 9% and 13% of the vote
respectively.

In contrast, men were most attracted to women into aerobics (70%), followed
by yoga (65%), and going to the gym (64%). Bottom of their list came
bodybuilding (5%), rugby (6%), and golf (18%).

The findings also reveal that both men and women have little insight into
what sports the opposite sex find attractive. 56% of men believe that women
are attracted to male bodybuilders, whereas only 19% actually are. Likewise,
73% of women think that men find female runners attractive, whereas in
reality 55% do.

The results reflect important differences between the sexes, and we hope
that you find them interesting.

We have two new online experiments, looking at the influence of people¹s
first name on their lives and contagious laughter, at
http://www.quirkology.com and hope that you will want to participate.

Proving yet again that God has a sense of humour that makes men and women totally incompatible and yet crucial for each other’s survival. Jeez, could we be more wrong about the opposite gender on a regular basis?

May 232008
 

I’ve had a few epiphanies lately and I’d like to share them with you to see if they might resonate with you and you may gain some insight into yourself.

The first of my ephiphanies was that I care about what other people think because I believe I can influence or control their feelings or thoughts about me. That is, I believe that others offer valuable feedback about me and I should listen in case there’s something truly negative there. That doesn’t sound so bad, but at some point I started listening to everyone instead of being selective about whom to listen to. The other thing I have to remember is that I can’t really control what other people think or feel, so I don’t have to care or worry about what other people think. Their thoughts become a feature of the landscape, just another uncontrollable thing, like the weather. This, for me, is a key to not worrying about how others will perceive me or what I do.

The second epiphany also has to do with control, but on a more general level. Control, or the desire to control comes out of the two simultaneous issues: emotional attachment to something and the fear that if I don’t control it, bad things will happen, and since I’m emotionally attached, these bad things will actually hurt me. Meaning that if I’m having trouble detaching or letting go of something, I feel that I can still control it in some way, and I want to control it to prevent something bad happening.

I want to distinguish between two kinds of control: there’s a normal “positive” control and then there’s a more “negative” emotionally attached sort of control. Imagine parents who’ve found out their teenage son is doing drugs. They want to prevent something bad from happening, such as losing their son to drugs or whatever, and may go into the negative control mode and try to control their son. They are afraid so they attempt to ground the son or what have you.

The difference between the two kinds of control is that the negative kind has a sense of desperation. It doesn’t feel good.

Another interesting thing I’d like you to think about is this: What is the payoff of everything in your life. Even the negative things have payoffs, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing them. I’ve written before on how people smoke for a variety of reasons, not just the physical addiction. For some people, smoking allows you to take a quick break from work or whatever to clear your head. For other people, smoking is relaxing not because of the chemicals but because of the deep breathing involved, and so on. So, for negative things that you do, ask yourself what the payoff is. Even procrastination. The payoff may obviously be putting off something uncomfortable, but what sort of discomfort is it? You may be using procrastination to put off something that could possibly make you feel judged and bad.

Last epiphany: Money isn’t very motivating. In fact, my biggest goal right now is to create a certain amount of money passively so I can go off and do interesting things. But I’ve been stuck in a cycle of procrastination and busywork. I’ve realized that doing something solely for the money eats away at my soul and my conscience rebels. I have had no peace until I changed the way I thought about my real work. To try to fill that gaping void and sense of inner incongruence, I’ve watched a whole lotta TV and done a whole lotta meaningless, unpaid work. So I’ve decided to change direction. I’m going to ignore the money right now and focus more on delivering real value and creating good content and products. I’ve also realized that there are many interesting things I can do now and I don’t have to wait till I reach x money or y state.

When you have inner peace, it is because you accept yourself as you are and do not deny any parts of you, including the parts you are not proud of or dislike.

Main Points:

  • If you care about what others think, it might be because you feel you can control or influence them. If you accept other people as masters of their own feelings and thoughts and not really controllable by you, you can let what others say pass over you like the wind.
  • Control is rooted in attachment and fear.
  • Everything in your life has a payoff, even the bad stuff. Finding out what it is and replacing it is a key to breaking any habit or changing something.
  • Money isn’t very motivating.
  • Inner peace comes from non-judgmental acceptance of yourself, including the parts you are not proud of.