Saturday, May 5, 2018

unparalleled solipsism

"To argue that, in a universe which seems to have no purpose, our existence itself is without meaning or value is unparalleled solipsism, as it suggests that without us, the universe is worthless.  The greatest gift that science can give us is to allow us to overcome our need to be the center of existence, even as we learn to appreciate the wonder of the accident that we are privileged to witness."
A paragraph towards the end of Lawrence Krauss' latest work, where I wonder if this is something that he worries about.  There's almost this assumption that this is something we should worry about.  He seems a bit defensive, but his solution has a nice poetry to it.  The book is full of stories.  I was hoping for a little more science, little less history of science, but it was still interesting.  Not as good as the first half of his previous book, which I never finished a few years ago, for no good reason.
"The story I have told is not the whole story.  There is likely to be far more that we don't understand than what we now do.  In the search for meaning, our understanding of reality will surely change as the story continues to unfold."

"The greatest solace that science provides, comes from perhaps its greatest lesson: that the best parts of the story can yet be written."
It helps to look forward to things.  In getting through our days, our years, and even in trying not to forsake the entire human race.  In our willingness to put up with the very universe itself.  I don't think it has anything to do with meaning.  I don't think it means anything.  It's just the way we're coded.  A cognitive fabrication that keeps us moving forward, which helps propagate our genes, or at least not starve to death.

It might be important for a well functioning human psyche, if you're into that sort of thing.  I guess I'm giving it a try.  My days have more shape lately, I look forward to some more than others.  I'm a little vague on where it's going, but have a sense that I might figure something out.  I'm happy to be doing martial arts again, in the meantime.  Even if it does turn out that I am in fact a bit fragile.

The important thing is to find a reason to place the next step, a sense of direction, going somewhere for some reason.  If we're pretending that anything is really important, per se.  If we want to get from one day to the next, we probably should be.



Almost looking forward to reading this one next.




Thursday, May 3, 2018

anticholinergic antagonism

Little over a month ago, my psychiatric nurse practitioner and I decided to try stacking antidepressants to see if that helped.  I've taken lots of different ones, but never tried combining them.  Low dosages of meds with a good synergy could be a good idea.  Bupropion seemed like a good choice, as I seem to have dopamine issues, and that one inhibits dopamine reuptake.

Instead I've only been reminded of why I gave up on psychiatric meds in the first place.  Sertraline has been unique in that it actually seems to do some good.  Most do nothing good, while wreaking havoc with side-effects. 

As I've been diligently meditating every morning, I've been noticing that my thoughts are all over the place for a month or so now.  My mind wanders so much, I keep forgetting my breath entirely for five minutes at a time.  Bring the mind back to the breath again, only to be lost in thought again a few seconds later.  Normally, it's not good for practice to worry about this.  Just keep at it.  Practice.

I did notice it though, as well as the timing of it.  Why would Bupropion do this?  Is it just my imagination?  Is dopamine just distracting?  Why would it cause the same problem coffee does?

I remember reading about acetylcholine and coffee.  It's part of the Bulletproof™ schtick.  They say coffee gobbles up choline, so it's a good idea to stack a choline supplement with it.  That whole bit about adinosine receptors seemed like a bigger deal to me, but I've been rethinking that.  Bupropion also antagonizes choline, possibly more so.  Suddenly my floundering attention span makes sense.

Reading the list of side-effects for anticholinergics, I couldn't stop taking the this useless med fast enough.  I've tried alpha-GPC supplements a bit, but I'm thinking of testing what happens if I take a more serious stab at that.  I avoid high doses of anything, but like the idea of using lower doses to hit a target from multiple angles.  Maybe I'll try stacking alpha-gpc, citicoline, and bacopa.  

Monday, April 30, 2018

recovery time

I remember reading a while back, about some parallels between depression and our innate responses to being sick or injured.  Maybe it was just one particular type of depression.  The symptoms being like a protective response, the drive to recover, going all wrong.  As if a reflex is being tripped, and feeling like we desperately need to recover, far too often, for no good reason.

There could be some truth to that.  Maybe not that it's the root of the whole depression problem, but possibly a piece of it.  I've been thinking about this feeling, that the more I'm doing, the more I start letting myself lay around doing nothing again.  It's a feeling of needing to recover, of being justified in taking time to do so.

Entirely reasonable in a way, but it's still a feeling that comes over me far too easily.  The more depressed, the more easily.  It helps that now I have a good excuse for it at least some of the time.  I hope that means I'm still moving in the right direction.

I missed a class tonight that I wanted to go to.  A guest instructor was teaching Muay Boran, but I had to call my doctor, pick up some groceries, and walk a dog.  I got the date mixed up, saw the reminder in my feed too late. 

I worry about how little it takes to get me mixed up.  Grown-up school coming up in like two weeks or something.  It's May, right?

Friday, April 20, 2018

few minor hiccups

Finally went back to training on Wednesday, and it was fine, aside from a few hiccups.  Ok, lots of hiccups.  It started towards the end of class, and I couldn't stop.  It was problematic on a number of levels, and by the time I got home and could relax, that spastic valve in my throat somewhere was getting really sore. 

It was still sore the next day, which can cause the hiccups to start again, so I took aggressive measures of prevention at the first sign of that.  A variety of tricks I know, because I've always been hiccup prone.  I've never gotten them during a martial arts class, which was particularly inopportune, and it's been years since I've gotten them at all.  I had to use every trick I know.  These were persistent.

So, upon googling it, I learn that it's not an uncommon effect of rib injury.  There's a nerve that runs right through base of the rib cage, which has the odd function of stimulating hiccups.  That must be torturous when you've got broken ribs.  I find myself wondering when this has ever been useful to our survival as a species.

I'm mostly recovered, but it must still be sensitive.

Friday, April 13, 2018

wet paper bag

It's kind of like when you think of a great retort the next day, but it's way too late.  If I'd taught myself Russian twenty years ago, while Daniel was still alive, that would have made a world of difference.  He would have taken me travelling to Russia with him. Doing so would suddenly make a whole lot more sense, and it would have shown interest on my part, engagement.

I couldn't seem to figure out how to actually be interested or engaged.  Only anxious and lethargic.  It didn't occur to me that I could teach myself Russian.  Nor did it cross my mind, the various connections doing so potentiates, to life, to people, to living in the world.  I'd always been stuck in this limbo of thinking I'd be capable of things like learning languages, in general.  If I set my mind to it.  Yet, afraid get specific and set my mind to it, only to find that I couldn't.  Afraid it would be too difficult.  To concentrate, really.  To simply sit down and do it.  This is perplexing to me now, as I'm doing it and for no good reason.

I still haven't been back to training.  I went as far as to get all ready the day before yesterday, left my apartment, but my ribs were still pretty sore.  If my self diagnosis is accurate, it should take at least another week, while aggravating it will just make it worse.  I started thinking about how rough class can be even when I'm at my best, and decided it was probably still a bad idea.  I'm afraid of taking this much time off, though.  I don't trust my neurophysiology not to shift in some way for some reason, negating all of this.  I'm afraid breaking the routine of it might risk that.

It makes no sense and I really sympathize with how hard it can be to sympathize, but I'm afraid of how easily it seems I can open my eyes in the morning, unable to think of a single damn reason to ever get out of bed again.  Let alone reasons to do all sorts of other things.  Thinking can be a lot harder than it looks.

Friday, April 6, 2018

donut fries

Not to be confused with doughnuts.  Americans have a way of simplifying things, their bad spelling aptly reflects that.  It's like a step and a half up from neanderthal grunting.

Judging from the commercials that find me even on the internet now, this is how they eat.  It's a lot cheaper, too.  Buying any variety of vegetables adds up quickly, and most of them rot in just a few days.  It's taken me like twenty years to figure out how to cook them, and like realizing the emptiness of emptiness, that sometimes it's better not to.

I've been doing ok, I use lots of legumes, but I've known a lot of people who just grab something like donut fries instead.  Coffee, to help trick the body into thinking we just ate something substantial.  Not that I'd know anything about that myself. I've always liked simple coffee though.  The sorts of things they grab at Starbucks can be something else.

I get the munchies at night when I'm fasting, and I see videos like this in my feed.  Reading through as I ponder my latest one line critique of capitalism, there it is, taunting me.  I seem to have some kind of willpower, but getting myself to do things gets so much more complicated.  I keep slipping.  I figure it out again.  It's not that complicated, but I forget that I just need to decide to do things.  Wait, how does higher executive functioning work again?

My ribs are still too sore to do much, so I've become more acutely aware that I've been gradually doing less and less, already.  As if taking judo is some sort of excuse not to do much else.  Like there's some sort of "done stuff" quota that I need to fill - so that I can spend the rest of my time bored, wondering why I'm not doing anything?  I'm having trouble getting it through my head that doing stuff is good.  It even seems to put me in a better mood.  Doing nothing hasn't worked out well, and yet still, it's this incredibly labyrinthine task to keep that in mind, to keep pushing forward.

ya eshe ochen lenivets

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

month two

..and yeah, I've been overdoing it.  Trying to do BJJ/Judo twice a week, and my ribs are getting really sore.  Not quite healing before the next class, and getting a little worse each time.  Went up against this big guy today, easily more than twice my weight, and not afraid to use it to his advantage.  My ribs being weak and sore to begin with, did not handle that well.  It hurts to sneeze, let alone try to pull an armbar from guard.

I'm pretty sure I'll need to take a few days off, and switch to one grappling class a week.  Go back to more kickboxing classes instead.  They're ok, but they lack competition.  In my old school, we sparred just about every class, but here, they only spar during saturday's open gym, and I haven't made it to that, yet.  The free-form nature of it bothers me.  Finding someone to spar with becomes a more social process.

I think this is probably the only context in which I enjoy competition.  I've learned not to care about winning individual matches, so much as getting better at winning more generally.  Although I have gotten really good at losing.  I enjoy the practice, but without the competitive part, it feels like it's missing something important.

Not that big of a deal, but it's frustrating.  I'm bored and restless and not so good at pacing myself.  I'm pretty sure this is bordering on intercostal cartilage strain, though.  One of those things that doesn't get stronger with the stress, but rather gets worse and worse if not given time to heal.  It should get stronger if I do that.