instrumentalism is the concept that we learn, disconnectedly particular systems which are alive in our brain, and, because of this learning, we learn how to….
In order to understand this particular part of Applied Instrumentalism, which is specifically, accessing pleasure by utilizing our systems. We can access different kinds of positive feelings.
One system which we are all aware of, but perhaps don’t yet think about in this way, is masturbation. In this section, I will describe how masturbating utilizes a system (our sexuality/genitalia) in order to produce pleasure. Then I will relate masturbation back to the
concept of applied Instrumentalism. Following in the next section, I will talk about other kinds of
masturbation, or rather, mental behavior which is related by metaphor to physical masturbation,
in which we become semi-conscious of the systems in our brain which produce pleasure, and
also learn techniques (just like we learn specific techniques of masturbation!) which work for our
In the next section, we will discuss other ways that we access and manipulate other systems in
our brain to produce particular effects in our brain. We begin with masturbatory systems,
because the seeking of pleasure is the easiest to understand. In later sections, we will discuss
systems which we utilize in order to produce feelings of realness, specifically autotelic action.
I. The concept of instrumentalism
II. Applied Instrumentalism is when we access and manipulate our biological/brain systems
a. Copernicus and Galileo
a. Masturbation is a system which we access and manipulate to produce physical
IV. Mental masturbation: there are ways in which we access and manipulate our mental
systems to produce pleasure
a. It is common, as pre-teens, to spend a lot of time thinking about a crush. We
discover that, simply by thinking about a person, but rather, qualities that we
identify as (helpful to our survival) desireable… (Zac Efron) diagram: picture of a
list I made of all the attractive male celebrities, drawing of Tom Welling
1. “when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when you’re feeling
blue…I simply remember my favorite things…and then I don’t
feel…so sad!” – in this scene, the main character gains the trust of
these kids by telling them about a system which they didn’t know
about that is in their brain. She is older, and therefore has already
had opportunities to put this system to use. The reason this works
especially well is that they find it already in their brains too,
therefore they feel that she is already a part of her. And they very
much trust her wisdom.
b. Nostalgia is like masturbating in our memories
c. Sometimes our brain spontaneously produces a “pleasant” image which
d. Escapism is a form of mental masturbation – personal experience
will provide dopamine or serotonin, in order to “regulate our happiness
levels.” This is a less conscious form of mental masturbation, or is not
really masturbation if it’s not conscious, it’s just a system in our brain.
“If I think about going to New York with my family, then I become
b. Masturbation is a step away from Realness. It is true, masturbation is bad. It is not
evil, but there is a reason it is taboo in society. Just as real sex may not be quite as
good if we masturbate (though sometimes it’s necessary) so to, life is not as good
when we engage in mental masturbation, because then the reasons for us being
happy are not grounded in reality, and…
a. When is it ok to mentally masturbate? When it is ok to mentally
masturbate – there are some situations where it would be unhealthy to
refrain from mental masturbation. If we are in an extremely emotionally
taxing situation in order not to be permanently psychologically damaged,
it can be helpful to mentally masturbate (think of something nice) to
temporarily restore our sanity until we can get out of the situation.
However, it is important to be aware/conscious that we are engaging in
mental masturbation, so that we do not feel unreal later. In Peace is Every
Step, Thich Nhat Hahn describes this as “closing the windows” ex.
Sometimes in a crowd we fell tired, cold, and lonely. We may wish to
withdraw to be by ourselves and become warm again, as I did when I
closed the windows and sat by the fire, protected from the damp, cold
wind. Our senses are our windows to the world, and sometimes the wind
blows through them and disturbs everything within us. Some of us leave
our windows open all the time, allowing the sights and sounds of the
world to invade us, penetrate us, and expose our sad, troubled selves. We
feel so cold, lonely, and afraid.
b. [Do you ever find yourself watching an awful TV program, unable
to turn it off? The raucous noises, explosions of gunfire, are upsetting. Yet
you don’t get up and turn it off. Why do you torture yourself in this way?
Don’ you want to close your windows? Are you frightened of solitude –
the emptiness and the loneliness you may find when you face yourself
alone?] The holocaust, getting broken up with etc. The main point is to be
aware that you are engaging in mental masturbation, and to separate the
reason for this need from our personal selves. Another time necessary is to
stop us from going into a downward spiral of our thoughts.
V. Applied Instrumentalism and Rightness: Rightness is a way of producing pleasure in our
brain specifically by completing patterns and accessing our pattern processing system.
VI. Art is a way of producing (mental) pleasure for ourselves, by creating and consuming an
abundance of patterns
VII. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is based on solving an experienced lack of
rightness through increased pattern creation and consumption (whereas in art these are
two separate steps, in OCD they are one.
These concepts are related to vehicles, because we are using certain mental images as a
vehicle to get into a better state of mind.
Sweet foot and fast food is related, because we have made a product which is specifically
targeting our biological systems in order to produce pleasure. What I mean is that it made
sense for us to crave sugars, because they were less abundant (in the wild), and were
always found in food that would give us a lot of energy. Now, however, we are in
between humans and animals. The world has changed, and we do not have a shortage of
energy or sugar, but our bodies haven’t changed as quickly as society has progressed, (or,
they do not need to change), so we have learned that we can access this system by
making products which are especially endowed with sugars and fats, which we crave
because we still have that system.
ii. “The subject witnesses pleasant images popping up in his brain…he thought his brain was
trying to tell him something, then he realized the images were just pleasant. He experimented,
and saw that the images only came up when he was thinking something unpleasant.” Question:
have we trained ourselves to do this, or is it an inherent system in our brain. What is the lowest
level that we, through training, access our brain
I. Instrumentalism: theories viewed as tools: the belief that theories are useful tools for
making predictions but cannot be literally true or false
It would make sense to use a treadmill if there was a situation in which we were stuck in outer space. But we would feel better when we got off the treadmill, because we could run around and feel free. We do feel better when we are outside. We learn things from everything, then. In contrast to being in a bathroom in which each thing has a particular purpose. We are going to practice seeing things like this. We are not going to change our surroundings yet. There are things we can learn from experiencing bathrooms with new eyes. We are going to take a field trip to the bathroom to get toilet paper, and then we will make sculptures out of it.
Dialectical behavioral training in a conversation is hard because it forces us to temporarily or outwardly accept things that we do not believe. This can be a problem if we are not at a level that is enough different from the person we are conversing with, because we are changing ourselves too much. However, if we are already seeing the difference between what is spoken and what we are thinking about, then we are not putting what is being said into the truth category. Then ti is actually easier to see when our truth category is what we are saying overlaps with actual truth, if we read the signs of the person we are conversing with right and therefore w=know when we are thinking the same thing as each other.
Our switch from analog to digital time keepers removes the benefits of contextualizing ourselves in time, and viewing time as a cycle: time now feels like isolated moments, and encourages us to…
Synthetic learning syndrome comes in when we need to create new ways of contextualizng our lives and viewing time as cyclical.
Breaking up with people multiple times takes away the realness from a situation. At a certain point, there is no question about whether love is involved, and it becomes only about a mutually beneficial relationship. It takes away the possibility of finding real love by taking away the magic part of our minds, and putting things in the category of things that will help us “survive” or be comfortable. No longer do we have to survive. Our desire to survive though, if we have nothing else going on in our lives is directly translated to us wanting to
“need I point out that you seem to be wanting me to fail”
-find episodes of TV shows where direct referral occurs.
“I love you” confirms a pattern.
Since we are continuously trying to map things in our head, both real and imaginary things, therefore having maps makes certain ones of us feel secure. We are constantly adding pieces to maps, which are the visual representation of patterns (they are symbolically, not directly, related to the real world).
Similarly, categorizing things is beneficial to us. Keeping things organized. However, our brain has the capacity to remember where things are whether they are in drawers or not, just like we can remember things without writing them down.
Drawings from a certain age are like maps of our brain because they show us how we separate things by concepts. We are gradually splitting things up by concept more and more.
Texting as a way to feel that we are working on important things (relationships) when we are doing things we don’t care about. Because though our perception of experience seems continuous, it is actually additive.
Assignment in which they describe a situation that they have imagined. In which they are angry at someone, or in which they want to do something with someone. We want to see exactly how it will go. You are actually using…
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