Solipsist Interview-Zeb Blackwell

Q: Why do you not believe that other people’s minds exist?
A: It’s quite simple, really. I can be quite certain of my own existence – it’s the whole “I think, therefore I am” thing. But as for the existence of other minds, well, that’s a much trickier thing to prove. I can see that there are these funny-looking things that walk around and talk to me and generally do things that would indicate that they have minds like me, but I can’t really be sure. There’s nothing to distinguish my econ professor, for instance, from a robot that could pass the Turing test. Just because people act like they have minds doesn’t mean that they aren’t basically just machines responding to stimuli.

Q: But can’t you look in someone’s eyes when they’re hurting and see that they really feel that pain?
A: Furbies could make some pretty convincing displays of pain. People are just really complex Furbies.

Tetrapharmakos

Don’t fear god,
Don’t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure

The Restraint Bias

The Restraint Bias is the tendency to overestimate one’s ability to show restraint in the face of temptation, or the “perceived ability to have control over an impulse,” generally relating to hunger, drug and sexual impulses. The truth is people do not have control over visceral impulses; you can ignore hunger, but you cannot wish it away. You might find the saying: “the only way to get rid of temptation is to give into it” amusing, however, it is true. If you want to get rid of you hunger, you have to eat. Restraining from impulses is incredibly hard; it takes great self-control. However, most people think they have more control than they actually do. For example, most addicts’ say that they can “quit anytime they want to,” but this is rarely the case in real life.

Interesting Fact: unfortunately, this bias has serious consequences. When an individual has an inflated (perceived) sense of control over their impulses, they tend to overexpose themselves to temptation, which in turn promotes the impulsive behavior.

You see, we can feed the stomach with concentrates, we can supply microfilm for reading, recreation, even movies of a sort. We can pump oxygen in and waste material out, but there’s one thing we can’t simulate that’s a very basic need. Man’s hunger for companionship. The barrier of loneliness. That’s one thing we haven’t licked yet.
Ideologies Explained through Cows

  • Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.
  • Pure Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you all the milk you need.
  • Bureaucratic Socialism: Your cows are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs the regulations say you should need.
  • Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.
  • Pure Communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
  • Real World Communism: You share two cows with your neighbors. You and your neighbors bicker about who has the most “ability” and who has the most “need”. Meanwhile, no one works, no one gets any milk, and the cows drop dead of starvation.
  • Russian Communism: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the black market.
  • Perestroika: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the Mafia takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the “free” market.
  • Cambodian Communism: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
  • Militarianism: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
  • Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.
  • Pure Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
  • Representative Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
  • British Democracy: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps’ brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.
  • Bureaucracy: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
  • Pure Anarchy: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
  • Pure Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
  • Capitalism: You don’t have any cows. The bank will not lend you money to buy cows, because you don’t have any cows to put up as collateral.
  • Enviromentalism: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.
  • Political Correctness: You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is a symbol of the phallo-centric, war mongering, intolerant past) two differently – aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.
  • Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
Distorted Thinking.

1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.

2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.
3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.
4. Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. Mind reading depends on a process called projection. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. Therefore, you don’t watch or listen carefully enough to notice that they are actually different. Mind readers jump to conclusions that are true for them, without checking whether they are true for the other person.
5. Catastrophizing: You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start “what if’s.” What if that happens to me? What if tragedy strikes? There are no limits to a really fertile catastrophic imagination. An underlying catalyst for this style of thinking is that you do not trust in yourself and your capacity to adapt to change.
6. Personalization: This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself. For example, thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s smarter, better looking, etc. The underlying assumption is that your worth is in question. You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others. If you come out better, you get a moment’s relief. If you come up short, you feel diminished. The basic thinking error is that you interpret each experience, each conversation, each look as a clue to your worth and value.
7. Control Fallacies: There are two ways you can distort your sense of power and control. If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you. Feeling externally controlled keeps you stuck. You don’t believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world. The truth of the matter is that we are constantly making decisions, and that every decision affects our lives. On the other hand, the fallacy of internal control leaves you exhausted as you attempt to fill the needs of everyone around you, and feel responsible in doing so (and guilty when you cannot).
8. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what’s fair, but other people won’t agree with you. Fairness is so conveniently defined, so temptingly self-serving, that each person gets locked into his or her own point of view. It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you. But the other person hardly ever sees it that way, and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain and an ever-growing resentment.
9. Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem. Blaming often involves making someone else responsible for choices and decisions that are actually our own responsibility. In blame systems, you deny your right (and responsibility) to assert your needs, say no, or go elsewhere for what you want.
10. Shoulds: You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you, and you feel guilty if you violate the rules. The rules are right and indisputable and, as a result, you are often in the position of judging and finding fault (in yourself and in others). Cue words indicating the presence of this distortion are should, ought, and must.
11. Emotional Reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true-automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid and boring. If you feel guilty, then you must have done something wrong. The problem with emotional reasoning is that our emotions interact and correlate with our thinking process. Therefore, if you have distorted thoughts and beliefs, your emotions will reflect these distortions.
12. Fallacy of Change: You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough. You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them. The truth is the only person you can really control or have much hope of changing is yourself. The underlying assumption of this thinking style is that your happiness depends on the actions of others. Your happiness actually depends on the thousands of large and small choices you make in your life.
13. Global Labeling: You generalize one or two qualities (in yourself or others) into a negative global judgment. Global labeling ignores all contrary evidence, creating a view of the world that can be stereotyped and one-dimensional. Labeling yourself can have a negative and insidious impact upon your self-esteem; while labeling others can lead to snap-judgments, relationship problems, and prejudice.
14. Being Right: You feel continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness. Having to be ‘right’ often makes you hard of hearing. You aren’t interested in the possible veracity of a differing opinion, only in defending your own. Being right becomes more important than an honest and caring relationship.
15. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy: You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there were someone keeping score. You fell bitter when the reward doesn’t come as expected. The problem is that while you are always doing the ‘right thing,’ if your heart really isn’t in it, you are physically and emotionally depleting yourself.

ENFJ Personality

The Giver


As an ENFJ, you’re primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. They understand and care about people, and have a special talent for bringing out the best in others. ENFJ’s main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people. They are focused on understanding, supporting, and encouraging others. They make things happen for people, and get their best personal satisfaction from this.

Because ENFJ’s people skills are so extraordinary, they have the ability to make people do exactly what they want them to do. They get under people’s skins and get the reactions that they are seeking. ENFJ’s motives are usually unselfish, but ENFJs who have developed less than ideally have been known to use their power over people to manipulate them.

ENFJ’s are so externally focused that it’s especially important for them to spend time alone. This can be difficult for some ENFJs, because they have the tendency to be hard on themselves and turn to dark thoughts when alone. Consequently, ENFJs might avoid being alone, and fill their lives with activities involving other people. ENFJs tend to define their life’s direction and priorities according to other people’s needs, and may not be aware of their own needs. It’s natural to their personality type that they will tend to place other people’s needs above their own, but they need to stay aware of their own needs so that they don’t sacrifice themselves in their drive to help others.

ENFJ’s tend to be more reserved about exposing themselves than other extraverted types. Although they may have strongly-felt beliefs, they’re likely to refrain from expressing them if doing so would interfere with bringing out the best in others. Because their strongest interest lies in being a catalyst of change in other people, they’re likely to interact with others on their own level, in a chameleon-like manner, rather than as individuals.

Which is not to say that the ENFJ does not have opinions. ENFJs have definite values and opinions which they’re able to express clearly and succinctly. These beliefs will be expressed as long as they’re not too personal. ENFJ is in many ways expressive and open, but is more focused on being responsive and supportive of others. When faced with a conflict between a strongly-held value and serving another person’s need, they are highly likely to value the other person’s needs.

The ENFJ may feel quite lonely even when surrounded by people. This feeling of aloneness may be exacerbated by the tendency to not reveal their true selves.

People love ENFJs. They are fun to be with, and truly understand and love people. They are typically very straight-forward and honest. Usually ENFJs exude a lot of self-confidence, and have a great amount of ability to do many different things. They are generally bright, full of potential, energetic and fast-paced. They are usually good at anything which captures their interest.

ENFJs like for things to be well-organized, and will work hard at maintaining structure and resolving ambiguity. They have a tendency to be fussy, especially with their home environments.

In the work place, ENFJs do well in positions where they deal with people. They are naturals for the social committee. Their uncanny ability to understand people and say just what needs to be said to make them happy makes them naturals for counseling. They enjoy being the center of attention, and do very well in situations where they can inspire and lead others, such as teaching.

ENFJs do not like dealing with impersonal reasoning. They don’t understand or appreciate its merit, and will be unhappy in situations where they’re forced to deal with logic and facts without any connection to a human element. Living in the world of people possibilities, they enjoy their plans more than their achievements. They get excited about possibilities for the future, but may become easily bored and restless with the present.

ENFJs have a special gift with people, and are basically happy people when they can use that gift to help others. They get their best satisfaction from serving others. Their genuine interest in Humankind and their exceptional intuitive awareness of people makes them able to draw out even the most reserved individuals.

ENFJs have a strong need for close, intimate relationships, and will put forth a lot of effort in creating and maintaining these relationships. They’re very loyal and trustworthy once involved in a relationship.

An ENFJ who has not developed their Feeling side may have difficulty making good decisions, and may rely heavily on other people in decision-making processes. If they have not developed their Intuition, they may not be able to see possibilities, and will judge things too quickly based on established value systems or social rules, without really understanding the current situation. An ENFJ who has not found their place in the world is likely to be extremely sensitive to criticism, and to have the tendency to worry excessively and feel guilty. They are also likely to be very manipulative and controling with others.

In general, ENFJs are charming, warm, gracious, creative and diverse individuals with richly developed insights into what makes other people tick. This special ability to see growth potential in others combined with a genuine drive to help people makes the ENFJ a truly valued individual. As giving and caring as the ENFJ is, they need to remember to value their own needs as well as the needs of others.