On Day 3 I could not pivot from the orange/fifth aspect.
Too much ambiguity on what to do next. So I ended up… reading “The Wandering Inn” till 1am. But that was good. I was quite afraid, I would read till 6am, like some days before.
I ended up dreaming about my own “magic” practice combined with TWI-story aspects. Fairly coherent and compelling dreams that just… continued telling the story.
My theoretical understanding of my own magical practice actually improved from those!
Aside: roughly the second, yellow aspect “metacognitive introspective awareness” being related to the eight, brown aspect of “projection”. I shall describe my color-based/synesthesia/magical mediation practice once it’s more mature.
But on Day 4 I ended up reading 16 hours of TWI today. After an hour, I was vaguely aware, that I was getting close to the end of the published material. So I skimmed the boring/less salient/non-main story stuff… and actually am caught up to the end. Closure.
Now there’s still interesting stuff to read there, but it’s below threshold.
I will continue to get daydreams about it, but since there’s no actual strongly associated, fueling behaviour to it, I’m sure it’ll be not that much trouble.
TWI was dominating my waking experience, the last few weeks.
But that also meant, that it replaced all other “addictive” behaviours.
Took away their oxygen.
If I decided to stupidly go on YouTube or look, another book to read or read an interesting blog which I must comment on…
I’d definitely be lost in hyperfocus again.
But there’s no compulsion now, forcing me to start.
In a way TWI was a uniquely destructive memetic hazard.
But losing weeks to it… it made me also realize what I lacked from my own life.
Stories are compelling to me, because the characters have a more interesting experience, that I would have, if I did not read the stories.
Part of it, is the montage-effect or time compression.
Read a couple paragraphs about how a character trains, then in the next paragraph, the character gets the fruit of their effort.
The “numbers going up”-charm of LitRPGs.
Another part of it, is the “slice of life”-aspect. Particularly in TWI you can vicariously experience the joy of friendship… without needing the overhead of RL-friends.
Hmm… that sounds super lame of me, as if I couldn’t make friends or lacked any and all social graces. That is not the case.
But it’s compression again, allowing you to have the distilled experience of several relationships. “The Wandering Inn” is part LitRPG, but large part slice of life.
Hmm… actual life isn’t all cake slices, though.
And of course, in a fictional universe, there is always… meaning, clear goals and reward for introspection and derived action.
For example, all rationalist fiction uses fictional settings. HPMOR has magic.
“Worth the Candle” is a LitRPG. Origin of Species plays in the Pokémon-universe.
Taking action is a lot more salient, if everything you do has the force multiplier of magic/game-system and well… Pokémon.
The last setting also has something quite uniquely compelling. The world of “Pokémon: Origin of Species” has a world where people by and large are… actually reasonable and fairly virtuous.
People make sense and are not… idiotic or weak-willed.
[not that I am not a weak-willed idiot myself, but at least I know it!]
Time and resources are not wasted. There is extremely little bureaucracy.
Hierarchy and competition are abound and are all competence-based.
Humanity makes an effort, so they don’t get destroyed by the monsters.
Similar to this:
Is it a realistic depiction of humanity? No.
Can a society really be like that? No.
But… there’s still a yearning for that better place.
Where you are easily understood. Where our expectations are not so low.
I have… mostly…. overcome my disgust with the way the world is.
Not useful to be resentful or feel haughtily superiour.
But still there’s a longing for that better world.
And few people have the kind of vision of how “things should or could be”.
I even understand why people are not like that. Cannot be like that.
At least not so easily.
Of course, I myself fall short of any and all of the most basic ideals of rationality or as the Stoics would put it… virtue.
That’s the crazy thing about hyperfocus of that kind.
I may read Seneca and think… that man…. 2000 years ago already understood so much. And revel in the ancient wisdom.
Hmm… but insight porn is just that.
Intellectual understanding of virtue or rationality is inspiration… or it feels inspiring.
I wish to be wise, rational and capable. Live my life with skill.
But people are social animals.
It is difficult to do this alone.
To have to lead by example.
All those stories and ideas… they shaped me into… having values I suppose.
But figuring those out… I ended up being extremely withdrawn from the world, that I live in.
Not being able to take the world seriously.
Not having the strength for a serious effort.
Failing over and over again and not understanding why I am failing.
Understanding my own weakness, when the strength I seek, I cannot observe in others.
Hmm… but anyway. ..
I’m on a good track.
Determination and all that, I have it.
My past failures have been lessons, my understanding of myself is… good enough now.
I think, I am now finally over wasting hours and days in hyperfocus.
Or at least uncontrolled or idle/non-productive hyperfocus.
No more TV, no more binge-reading. No more… uncontrolled research rabbit-holes.
There are conditioning techniques, I could or should have used before…
creating physical pain or disgust-associations.
That would have worked.
But since the escapism kept me sane over the years, gave me vision… I never had the heart to use them, after I experimented with thenm and learnt that they worked.
They did not occur to me to use as tools.
I guess… in a way those hyperfocus-fueled escapist tendencies… they were load-bearing walls. Essential aspects of myself.
Now I know, that they are no longer.
They inform my values and may give inspiration, but when I spend hours reading/fantasizing…. they are in the way.
I am inspired enough.
And I know enough, to have the confidence, that my own life and with my own goals can compete with the richness and meaning of the stories/philosophy, I used to escape to.