Tag Archives: the human mind

Is Loneliness Really THAT Bad For You?

I’d like to preface this article with what I hope is an exciting announcement. As I write this, I’m preparing to move to a new place. By nearly every measure, it’s a good thing. My living situation is set to change for the better.

Without getting into the specifics, just know that I’ve been living with roommates in a shared house for quite some time now. That has been my standard living situation since college. For a while now, I’ve been looking to upgrade that situation by buying my own condo. I’ve been working hard, selling as many sexy novels as I can, to scrap together enough money.

Finally, I had the money and I found the perfect place. In less than a month, I’ll be living on my own in a beautiful one bedroom, one bathroom condo that I won’t have to share with anyone else. I won’t just be able to sleep naked anymore. My entire living situation will be clothing optional. Just thinking about it brings tears of joy to my eyes.

I’m genuinely excited about this and not just because it will provide more opportunities for nudity. However, it does give me some pause in terms of the larger implications. Every major change in life, be it a living situation or a new lover, is bound to have unforeseen impacts. Moving to a new place certainly qualifies.

The most jarring change in this instance is that, for the first time in my adult life, I’ll be living completely alone. I won’t have to contend with roommates. I won’t have to share any ounce of my living space. Everything from the thermostat to the brand of toilet paper to the visibility of my Playboy calendar will be completely under my control.

I don’t deny that living alone has its appeal, but I’m somewhat used to always being in a place where I could just go talk to someone if I wanted. Living in this new place will mean fewer opportunities of that nature. Then, I found this distressing article from the New York Times on the potential health hazards of living alone and suddenly, the price for clothing-optional living seems a bit higher.

The hazards are not necessarily trivial. This isn’t something that can be fixed by eating an extra bowl of fruit, running a few miles, or getting a coffee enema, which is a thing. According to the article, these are some of the issues that loneliness and isolation can breed.

Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, and isolated individuals are twice as likely to die prematurely as those with more robust social interactions. These effects start early: Socially isolated children have significantly poorer health 20 years later, even after controlling for other factors. All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking.

While it’s important to note that the keyword in that conclusion is that it can incur these effects. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will. As I’ve noted before, human beings are frustratingly complex creatures. Anyone who claims that there’s a simple solution to a big problem is usually pursuing a bullshit agenda that makes lousy documentaries.

However, there is some relevant data behind this phenomenon of loneliness being detrimental to someone’s mental health. According to a 2013 study by the American Journal for Public Health, socially isolated men and women died earlier at a rate that was consistent with smoking and high blood pressure. Those kinds of correlations are disconcerting, even if they’re not akin to direct causation.

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Under the lens of caveman logic, that makes sense. Human beings are a very social species. Social interaction is a core need, right up there with food, water, and a regular orgasm. It’s because of our social nature that solitary confinement is rightly seen as torture.

While I do have plenty of other social outlets, primarily my friends and a very supportive family, living alone will make it easier to keep to myself more often. Granted, that could change fairly quickly if I fall in love and get into a relationship. That’s something I am actively working on. However, I’m not going to assume that’ll happen soon after I move in.

I’m taking these concerns seriously, but I’m still looking forward to the benefits. As if often the case with something as complex as human psychology, there are also potential benefits to living alone. There is some research that indicates that certain people do better when they live alone. I’m not sure that I’m one of those people, but Psychology Today summed it up nicely with the kind caveman logic that makes me smile.

For some people, living alone is not just a casual preference – it feels more like a need. What happens when you are deprived of a genuine need? You can’t stop thinking about it. You daydream about it, makes plans for when you will get to have that need fulfilled again. When living alone is a need and you finally get to do it after being deprived, you feel relief and a sense that your living situation is once again just what it should be.

So with these variations in mind, I’ve got a lot to think about as I prepare to take this big step in my life. I’m still excited about it. I’m really looking forward to actually owning my own place, having a space I can truly call my own. It goes beyond having an excuse to spend more time naked. It’s about me carving a real space for myself.

I don’t know entirely how I’m going to handle it. I like to think I know myself well enough to believe that I’ll be among those who benefit from living alone. I could very well be wrong, but I’ll finally have a chance to find out.

To everyone else who may be facing this issue, take some comfort in the knowledge that the question as to whether being alone is bad for you has no clear-cut answer. It varies from person to person. Some people benefit. Some people don’t. Human beings are kinky like that. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, that’s something I can appreciate.

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Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, War on Boredom

What If We Didn’t Have To Sleep?

Last week, I went to bed early in hopes of getting some extra sleep. The next couple of days were going to be long and busy. I wanted to be as rested as possible in anticipation. Any over-worked college student who ever tried to do this in anticipation of an exam probably knows where I’m going with this.

My hopes were quickly dashed because I ended up lying in bed for several hours, tossing and turning, trying to will myself to sleep. I was tired and usually I’m pretty good at falling asleep when I need to, but not on this night. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get the rest I wanted.

It was frustrating, but easily resolved the next day with more coffee. However, in recalling that frustration, I found myself thinking back to all the other nights where I just lay there in bed, trying to sleep and failing miserably. It led me to one inescapable conclusion. That’s a lot of wasted time that I could’ve used to do something else.

With that time, I could’ve written dozens of more sexy novels. For all I know, one of them might have been a masterpiece and a best seller. Sure, it’s more likely that most of them would either be average or crap, but the fact is I still would’ve written them.

With that time, I also could’ve read more books written more content for this blog, or worked out more. How much healthier or more well-read would I be? Sure, a lot of those books might have been comics, but I’ve shown before that comics can provide some pretty uncanny insights.

With that time, I could’ve just done more of the mundane stuff that gives me joy. I could’ve played more video games, danced to terrible pop music, or binged-watched more of the shows that my friends and family keep recommending.

My point is that I’ve wasted a lot of time in bed, failing to fall asleep. I doubt I’m alone either. How many others out there struggle to fall asleep at night? Seeing as how the market for sleeping pills is around $58 billion, I imagine it’s more than a few.

I’m not saying sleep is a waste of time. There’s a biological need associated with sleep. Like food, not getting enough of it will actually kill you in the long run. That puts sleep just above sex in terms of the needs hierarchy, albeit not by much. While the need for sleep is somewhat of a mystery, we know we have to do it. We just don’t realize how much of it consumes our lives.

As it stands, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. That means every day we’re alive, we’re stuck only living part of it. That’s a lot of time that we end up losing. That leads me to a simple, but colorful thought experiment. What if we could get that time back? What if we, as a whole, didn’t have to sleep or only needed a little to be refreshed?

This isn’t one of my overly sexy or overly disturbing thought experiments. This is basically akin to wondering what it would be like to have superpowers, something most people do on a daily basis when they’re stuck in traffic. Not sleeping may not be as impressive as flying like Superman, but it would incur an undeniable impact on our lives and our society.

Some of it might be good. Some of it might be bad. Some of it might be downright mundane. For certain people, not sleeping just means more time sitting on the couch watching “Star Trek” re-runs. Whatever the case, it has many possibilities for better, for worse, and everything in between.

As much as I enjoy sleeping naked, I would prefer to have more time and energy to do more things. I might even end up doing those things naked anyways so it wouldn’t be too much of a loss. Sure, that might cause some legal issues, but I’m willing to make that trade-off.

There are a lot of things I’d like to do, try, or explore. The problem is often a confluence of time, energy, and focus. I don’t always have enough of all three and sometimes one overcompensates for the other. The need to sleep is the only factor that ties into all them.

I get that there are some who genuinely enjoy sleep. I admit it’s a great feeling, waking up on a Saturday morning, feeling rested and refreshed. However, is it really worth all that time we miss? Who’s to say that what we do with that extra time won’t be just as rewarding? Like I said, there are trade-offs.

I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t have to sleep so much, but I like to think I’d be able to do more and be better. What about you, the wonderful readers of this humble, yet sexy website? What would you do if you had an extra eight hours of life every day? Would you be more productive? Would you be happier? Would you succumb faster to the looming plague of boredom?

It’s a non-disturbing, non-sexual thought experiment that I encourage everyone to try it and share your thoughts in the comments. We’re all the mercy of our need to sleep to some extent. It’s interesting to imagine what our lives would be like or what kind of person we’d become if we had more time to work with.

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Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, Thought Experiment

How Learned Helplessness Dooms Your Sex Life (Among Other Things)

When I was growing up, I considered myself lucky to be surrounded by so many loving people. I like to think my fondness of romance, as well as my desire to become an erotica/romance writer, is a direct result of seeing so much love among friends, family, and all those close to me.

It wasn’t all smiles, chocolate, and gratuitous tongue-kissing. Every now and then, I encountered certain couples that stood in stark contrast to the love I saw so much of throughout my life. They weren’t abusive or hateful. In a sense, they were their own tragedy, albeit not of the Shakespearean variety.

Picture a couple that’s about as passionate as a sick cat. There’s no fire in their romance. If there was, it burned out years ago and neither one of them cares enough to spark it again. They don’t necessarily hate each other. At best, they tolerate one another on a day-to-day basis, resigned to the fact that this is their life.

What I just described is not the kind of relationship that ends up on Jerry Springer or leads to protracted divorce hearings. They’re rarely that dramatic. If anything, they’re the antithesis to drama. That’s why those involved are so miserable. In a relationship like that, a clogged toilet counts as an adventure.

These kinds of relationships are not as easy to notice, but they do happen. You might even know a few, but I’d bet a stack of old Playboys that there are more than you think. Instead of love, passion, and heart, these relationships are fueled misery, laziness, and failure. At some point, those involved just stop trying to escape it.

In a world where people get worked up over dipping sauces and dress colors, it seems outrageous that anyone could be that callous and numb. It’s even more outrageous to think that a relationship could be built around it. However, there are powerful, unsexy forces at work and they’re not to be taken lightly.

This brings me to the concept of learned helplessness. If you’ve every taken a psychology course, you know what it is and you probably have an idea as to how it acts as kryptonite to love, romance, and passion. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a fairly easy concept. According to Wikipedia, the phenomenon is defined as follows:

[A] behavior typical of a human or an animal and occurs where the subject endures repeatedly painful or otherwise aversive stimuli which it is unable to escape or avoid. After such experience, the organism often fails to learn or accept “escape” or “avoidance” in new situations where such behavior would likely be effective. In other words, the organism learned that it is helpless in situations where there is a presence of aversive stimuli, has accepted that it has lost control, and thus gives up trying.

In terms of common behavioral traits, it’s somewhat bland. That doesn’t make it any less powerful, though. There is real, distressing science behind it, starting with experiments conducted in the 1960s. If you’re a dog lover, though, these experiments should be particularly disturbing.

If you’re also a fan of meaningful love, then you should be even more disturbed because it’s not hard to see how something like learned helplessness can creep into a relationship. For those trying to tell powerful, sexy stories, it’s important to know the signs.

The challenge, however, is that learned helplessness is one of those things that doesn’t happen all at once. Whether it’s those cruel experiments on dogs that I mentioned or continuous torture by the CIA, one painful experience is rarely enough. While love can manifest in a single moment, as is the case with “love at first sight,” learned helplessness takes a longer, more tedious road.

Sometimes it starts with boredom, a powerful feeling that I’ve discussed before. Sometimes it starts with frustration. Maybe a couple tries a few times to spice things up, but it doesn’t work. Maybe they try to shake up their routine, but that doesn’t work either. The key ingredient here is failure and frustrations, two experiences that tend to accumulate rapidly.

The couple involved may never get angry, resentful, or bitter to one another. Learned helplessness rarely inspires abuse or outright hatred. However, that’s part of what makes it so debilitating. When a relationship becomes abusive, one part of the relationship has a much stronger incentive to either escape or fight back. It’s hard to be lazy or apathetic when you feel like your well-being is at risk.

With learned helplessness, laziness and apathy are weaponized. That’s because without that incentive, neither side has the energy or desire to shake up the situation. Ending a relationship always requires some amount of upheaval, work, or effort. Someone under the influence of learned helplessness sees that as more trouble than it’s worth.

Beyond just rendering a relationship stale, the effects on your sex life can be just as debilitating. Once a couple gets to a point in their relationship where they’re just resigned to the fact that this is their normal, sex becomes less a treat and more a chore. Even if the orgasms still feel good, they’re barely distinguishable from masturbation.

That, by far, is the clearest sign that learned helplessness has consumed a relationship. As soon as sex becomes a chore, then it’s safe to say that two people have crossed the point of no return. They are beyond the point of rekindling whatever flame they once had. They just accept their misery and dispassion.

In defense of those poor souls, they don’t always have the luxury of ending that relationship and starting fresh. Sometimes, it’s because of their age. Sometimes, they’re in an environment where they don’t have anywhere else to go and few resources to work with. Then, there are times when the inconvenience just doesn’t justify the cost. It’s just easier to stay miserable than deal with the stress of rebuilding.

There’s little question that misery, depression, and boredom are bad for your love life, your sex drive, and everything in between. Learned helplessness is just the catalyst. Instead of blowing up in your face, love just whithers slowly like a piece of rotting fruit, getting emptier and deader with each passing day.

In some cases, it’s difficult to avoid. Some people just find themselves in relationships where they lose control and accept their misfortune. They’re content to just accept the misery and make the best of it, however fruitless it might be.

In others, you can take steps to avoid that kind of misery. Think back to those awful experiments involving dogs. After a while, the dog just stops trying to avoid the pain. The key to avoiding that kind of misery is to keep making an effort. Don’t stop trying. Do what you can to avoid mistakes. Moreover, do what you can to improve your situation, however possible.

That might mean pushing yourself when you don’t want to. It’s like exercising, which sometimes requires extra motivation. Within a relationship, it’s even more difficult because both you and your lover have to share in that motivation. You have to want to maintain that passion, even as you get older, have less energy, and feel less sexy.

In my experience, the most successful couples I know never truly stop dating each other. Even when they’ve been married for decades, they still carry themselves as a couple that’s still dating. They still go to interesting places, try new things, and explore new activities. Some aren’t always sexy, but they have the potential to be.

Every couple is different, but nobody benefits from learned helplessness. Whether you’re a dog, a dumb-ass, or a hopeless romantic, falling into that pit of apathy will never inspire your passion or increase your sex appeal. It’ll drain it, bit by bit.

Nobody deserves that. I certainly want to avoid that if and when I ever find a steady lover. I’m not a relationship expert or a therapist, nor should anybody assume I’m one, but I hope to help in whatever way I can. Whether it’s making people aware of learned helplessness or writing sexy novels, I intend to do my part.

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Filed under gender issues, Marriage and Relationships, War on Boredom

Virtue Signaling: How It Creates Beta Males And Bitchy Girls

They’re weak, pathetic, gullible, whiny, sullen, and boring. They lack confidence, charisma, and any meaningful personality trait that might help them stand out and accomplish something of value. They do nothing to excite the opposite sex and make only the most asinine of efforts to do so. They are the beta males, an inane segment of the male population that I’ve protested before.

Now, allow me to describe a different crop of annoying people whose presence pollutes the collective gene pool. They’re loud, obnoxious, arrogant, impolite, dense, unreasonable, vindictive, and crass. They are unflinching, unfeeling, and utterly devoid of empathy to anyone who isn’t like them. Their disdain of others and perpetual victimhood complex is the only thing that gets them up in the morning.

I’m talking, of course, about bitchy girls. If beta males are a bane to all those with a Y-chromosome, then bitchy girls are repugnant stain on the feminine mystique. I call them girls because there’s a difference between women and girls. Being a woman, just like being a man, requires some measure of maturity. Girls, like their beta male boys, have none of that. As such, they don’t deserve to be called women.

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I bring up these two case studies of festering warts within the human condition to help make another point about virtue signaling. I know some people are probably tired of this topic. Believe me, I feel your pain. However, this last point is more relevant because it affects our personal lives, as well as my efforts as an erotica/romance writer.

Beta males and bitchy girls are sometimes a necessary component of a story, especially one that relies on major antagonistic characters. You need a male or female character that is easy to hate and easy to root against. That’s why we have characters like Biff Tannen and Regina George from “Mean Girls.”

It used to be that we needed those characters to be alpha males or alpha females. They had to be tough, mean-spirited jocks or cruel, cold-hearted bitches that nobody rooted for when they got gutted by a crazed killer in a hockey mask. It’s crude, but it did the trick. Unfortunately, new trends in character development, as well as real life, are tweaking that script and not for the better.

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Beta males and bitchy girls may not be natural allies on paper, but they occupy the same space in terms of being utterly contemptible on multiple levels. They just take different routes and virtue signaling is how they get there.

The best contemporary example are certain breeds of those who call themselves “male feminists.” By the way, anyone who actually has to preface feminism like that should raise a few red flags. That’s usually a sign that they’re already retreating into beta male mode and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

These types of men are habitual virtue signalers, routinely bashing their own gender and agreeing with the bitchy girls about everything involving some “cisgendered white male patriarchy” conspiracy. They essentially emasculate themselves, shunning any male traits, and associating every masculine trait with being Biff Tannen.

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It’s a form of self-flagellation, an effort to alleviate the sheer guilt they feel with being male and trying to earn attention and/or pity from others. That’s how they seek their validation and when they interact in groups, they can’t help but reinforce those efforts. Virtue signaling is just the proverbial gasoline they use to keep the fire going.

For bitchy women, the virtue signaling is much more overt. Unlike the beta males, they’re exceedingly vocal with their efforts. They don’t discuss, debate, or rationalize. They just yell, whine, and groan. Virtue signaling is just how they stay on topic.

Bitchy women don’t care about anyone’s voices, except their own. They loudly whine and bemoan about everyone who doesn’t buy into their view of the world. They will yell about the oppressive white male patriarchy at the top of their lungs. Then, when someone calls them out on their bullshit, they dare to play the victim.

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In the mind of a beta male and a bitchy girl, they are the underdog hero of their own story and everyone else is an evil demon-possessed Nazi working on behalf of reincarnated slave-holders from the 1850s. Virtue signaling allows them to prop up this inner narrative, as though they have to keep it going in order to ensure they get the same ending they’ve seen in every Rocky movie.

It isn’t just that this inner narrative is utterly false and devoid of substance. It isn’t just that it gives them too many excuses to cling to these annoying tendencies, which constitutes excuse banking of the worst kind. The biggest tragedy here, beyond the people they annoy, is that with their virtue signaling, they champion traits that naturally drive people apart.

Beta males and bitchy women do not conduct themselves in ways that inspires intimacy, progression, and growth. They present themselves as heroes of their own story, an ideal for what a man and woman should be, but they cannot and will not realize that the picture they’re paintings is both flawed and repugnant.

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A beta male, in his meek ineptitude, barely qualifies as a pet to a bitchy girl. A bitchy girl, in her immature arrogance, is just another bully that a beta male tolerates. Together, they reinforce a brutal cycle of bitterness, self-loathing, and arrogance that ensures isolation, apathy, and loneliness.

For an aspiring erotica/romance writer, that’s a triple dose of narrative kryptonite. For characters like the ones in “Passion Relapse” or “Skin Deep,” it’s important I strike a particular balance. I can’t have characters being too much like Biff Tannen or Regina George. I can’t have them be like the entire cast of the “Big Bang Theory” either. If I want those characters to be more than mere foils, they need to have some complexity.

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for characters like this. Someone needs to be Freddy Kruger’s first victim in a horror story. However, virtue signaling and those who abuse send a toxic message about what makes a man or a woman moral within the context of a story.

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Beta males and bitchy girls don’t deserve to be heroes, ideals, or examples. More than anything else, they are cautionary tales of what happens when virtue signaling goes too far and infects someone’s mind. They should not be encouraged, nor should they be ignored either.

There are many different dynamics that go into making a character, real or fictional, into who they are. If they need something like virtue signaling to function, then that’s a sign there’s something inherently flawed. People have enough excuses to be mean to one another, some of which they can’t do a damn thing about. It’s better for society, our live lives, and erotica/romance novels if we don’t provide them with more.

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Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

The (Hopeful) Features Of My Future Brain Implant

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In talking so much about the possibilities and implications of brain implants, like the ones Elon Musk wants to build with his new company, Neuralink, I’ve strained my own brain trying to grasp the bigger picture. I don’t know if that counts as irony, but it feels oddly appropriate.

It’s an exciting topic to write about and discuss. The idea that we may one day think beyond the limits of our crude, error-prone caveman brains is so intriguing. So many of the problems we face today, both as individuals and as a society, can be attributed in some way to our collective brain workings. What will happen to us an those around us when those workings are tweaked?

It’s hard, if not impossible, for us to know for certain. I’m sure someone like Elon Musk knows more than an aspiring erotica/romance writer like me. I’m sure he sees the same societal conflicts we all do and understands that his company, Neuralink, will be the first step towards transcending them.

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Having contemplated the bigger picture and all the implications that come with it, I thought I’d take a step back and try a different mental exercise. Hopefully, it’s one in which other regular readers of this blog can participate. It involves a much simpler, less mind-bending thought experiment. If you can make a Christmas list, you can participate.

It involves a simple question. If you could create your own advanced neural implant to tweak/enhance your brain, what kinds of features would it have? Take yourself 30 years into the future. Put yourself in a Neuralink clinic. Someone has kindly paid for the best, most customization neural implant on the market. What would you want it to do?

There are so many aspects of our lives that our brain controls. Everything from our attitudes, our competence, our happiness, and even our capacity to love others begins in our brains. Every skill we have or want to have requires some aid from the brain. Any effort to tweak or enhance that is going to affect all of those features.

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To get things started, I’ll share my own personal wish list. It will likely be different than everyone else’s to some extent, but I’m sure there will be some similarities to. So here’s Jack Fisher’s top features for his future neural implant. I hope Elon Musk is taking notes.

  • The ability to remember, recall, and comprehend anything on demand, ensuring nothing is forgotten.

  • The ability to do advanced math in my head so I can calculate complex financial decisions on the spot and/or check the claims made by others.

  • The ability to read over vast quantities of text, be it a novel or a user agreement, and retain the information at greater speeds.

  • The ability to revise and edit large quantities of text quickly and efficiently.

  • The ability to process emotions faster and read the emotional queues of others with far greater efficiency.

  • The ability to focus on a given task and not be easily distracted.

  • The ability to learn or download new languages on demand to facilitate communication with others.

  • The ability to learn or download new mental or physical skills on demand.

  • The removal of any prejudicial inclinations or irrational assumptions when encountering a new person or situation.

  • The ability to minimize the need for sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

  • The improvement and enhancement of sexual function, including the ability to perform and sustain sexual arousal, as well as the ability to experience more intimate sensations.

  • The ability to communicate directly with the minds of others with a similar neural implant in order to share experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

  • The ability to search the internet for new information with only thoughts.

  • The ability to link my mind with a computer and turn my thoughts into text or images.

I know this is a long list of reasons, some of which are more feasible than others. I’m sure features like memory and math skills will be among the first major features of neural implants. I imagine features that improve sexual function will be next. If any technology can improve sex, then that’s going to have priority. That’s just an inescapable fact.

Other features like downloading knowledge and skills will probably be trickier. I imagine we won’t have that ability for decades. However, there are still plenty of smaller, more subtler abilities that would definitely enhance our everyday lives. Just being able to focus better without the aid of dangerous ADHD drugs is a pretty big deal.

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That’s just my list though. What about everyone else? What would you want your advanced brain implant to do? How would you improve the functioning of your caveman brain? Please share your wish list in the comments. If you want to open up this discussion even more, let me know. I’ll be happy to expand it because it’s just that interesting/sexy.

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How To Manage Your Excuse Bank (Within Reason)

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When I did my first post on reasons versus excuses, I challenged readers to take a closer look at their actions and decisions. Why did they end up doing what they did? Was there a reason for it? Was that reason actually an excuse? Did that reason or excuse end with you getting laid, fired, or slapped in the face?

Given how many actions and decisions unfold on a day-to-day basis in the massive doughnut shop that is life, it’s hard to make sense of them all. I’m sure those without OCD or a personality disorder was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of reasons and excuses they came up with for their behaviors. Don’t worry and put down the vodka. That’s entirely normal.

We’re all human. We’re all bound to make bad decisions or bad reasons and/or lousy excuses. That’s part of life. The key is learning from those bad decisions and improving the skills that help us better our loves, help those around us, and even get us laid from time to time. Since I’m an erotica/romance writer, that last one was worth adding.

It’s also worth offering whatever help I can to others in developing those skills. Again, I need to remind everyone that I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer. I’m not a scientist, a therapist, a psychologist, or doctor. I may write about people in those occupations getting involved in sexy situations, but I’m not at all qualified to offer the kind of substantive advice, complete with technical charts and an hourly bill.

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However, in dealing with plenty of colorful personalities throughout my life and writing various personalities in my novels, I do feel like I can at least offer some insight that can help people use my colorful ramblings in pragmatic ways. I can’t guarantee they’ll work, get you laid, or make you rich. This is just me trying to make my words both sexy and useful.

In discussing reasons versus excuses, I brought up the concept of excuse banking. It’s almost exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of acting, believing, and learning in a way that effectively pockets an excuse to use to justify decisions later on. Since our brains are wired to decide first and then justify those decisions, excuse banking is very much a pragmatic manifestation of our collective psyche.

It’s not inherently good or bad. It can certainly get pretty darn bad, as I pointed out when I tied excessive excuse banking to political and religious extremism. Most people, though, don’t operate in extremes and if they do, it’s usually out of fear and survival, which are among the most valid reasons we can have for doing something. For the purposes of providing useful advice in excuse banking, I’d like to focus on the good.

In that spirit, I’d like to offer a quick rundown of tips and tricks for managing your excuse bank effectively. We’re all going to make excuses at some point. We’re all going to bank those excuses in some form or another. We might as well figure out how to do it in a way that improves our lives and gets us laid.


Tip #1: Maintain A Balance, But Avoid Hoarding

Like any useful bank account or credit card, it’s important to maintain a balance. You always want to have some reserves, just in case it’s an emergency and you need a valid excuse to explain why your pants are in the refrigerator. You don’t want to be stuck relying on reasons that may or may not apply. That’s just going to make you look stupid, incompetent, and decidedly unsexy.

Unlike a traditional bank account, though, you don’t want to let your excuse bank get too bloated. That’s because excuses aren’t hard assets. They’re intangible, malleable, and much easier to abuse. You may be able to use a dollar bill to snort a line of blow, but with an big enough excuse you can justify snorting blow off a stripper’s tits.

That’s why you should not hoard your excuses the same way I hoard comic books. As I noted in my post on extremism, having too many excuses that are too malleable creates all sorts of nasty temptations. Having those excuses is like having a loaded AK-47 in a traffic jam. Even if you can resist the temptation, the potential is still there and the danger of that potential can be pretty vast. Just ask any experienced traffic cop.


Tip #2: Invest With Other Peoples Whenever Possible

This part of excuse banking also highlights one of the key differences from other types of banking. In a sense, excuse banking is almost always a joint effort. It’s not enough to just have an excuse. You also need other people to believe them in order for them to be useful.

An excuse with a random stranger and an excuse with a close family member is not going to have the same value. At the same time, an excuse you bank on your own isn’t going to be as valuable as one you bank with other people. Human beings are very social creatures. When you forge close social bonds, be they with family or lovers, your excuses carry more weight and so do those of others.

In a sense, it’s a win-win investment. By banking excuses within a social group, you develop a sense of trust and understanding. That makes deposits and withdraws from your bank easier and less likely to blow up in your face. Just watch any Ben Stiller movie to see why that’s so important.


Tip #3: Know Which Investments Grow And Which Are Toxic

It’s true. Excuse banking sometimes deals in toxic assets. I’m not just talking about bad mortgages or too much stock in Enron either. When your excuse bank has toxic assets in it, you’re in big trouble.

A toxic asset in an excuse bank is often one we don’t realize is toxic. Sometimes, we even refuse to realize it. That’s what often happens with dictators, religious zealots, and child actors. Their excuse bank is so full of toxic assets that they don’t know how bad their excuses are and if someone tries to tell them, they don’t listen. That often leads to the kind of tragic self-destruction that becomes an A&E documentary.

That’s why it’s so important to identify these toxic assets before they poison you. Those assets will undermine your ability to work with others and gain their trust, two things everybody needs to survive in a functioning society. So how do you know if an asset is really toxic? Just follow these simple steps:

  • Step One: Ask yourself, “Would this excuse allow me to punch someone in the face and make them apologize for hurting my hand?”
  • Step Two: If you answered yes to the following question, then the excuse is toxic.

Tip #4: Understand An Investment’s Potential, But Don’t Ignore The Risks

Like any investment, there are risks and rewards that you have to weigh. Sometimes the risks are minimal. When you fake sick just a couple times and don’t announce to the world on FaceBook that you’re running a marathon, the risks are pretty minimal. Those risks escalate when you let them pile up, so much so that your girlfriend won’t believe you when you say you need to perform brain surgery on the President.

This is especially important for anyone in a position in power, be they the despot of a country or a manager at Walmart. Having power offers a lot of potential because it creates both excuses and reasons for people to do what you tell them. However, the risks are much greater, especially if you want to use that power competently.

It’s easy to lose yourself in power. Anyone who used cheat codes in old Mario games understands that. That’s what makes it so dangerous because it prompts us to ignore the risks. When we do that, we’re less likely to realize when our excuses become toxic. People don’t trust us and look for ways to get us out of the way. No matter how much power you have, you won’t be able to use it effectively if your excuses are toxic.


Tip #5: Avoid Banking Excuses As A Means To Improve Past Investments

This tip is directly tied to a little something called the sunk cost fallacy. Anyone who has ever had a gambling problem or knows someone who would bet their shirt at a blackjack table knows it well. It’s this annoying quirk in our psyche that compels us to keep throwing resources into a game we’ve already lost to justify past investments.

In a sense, it’s an excuse to justify stupid risks that didn’t pay off. It’s a way to alleviate the mental stress of knowing just how badly we’ve lost. In the context of excuse banking, it applies to more than just a bad run of luck at a casino.

Like trying to win back what you’ve lost, banking excuses to improve toxic assets rarely works out. When an excuse has become toxic, it usually stays that way. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. Even if the wolf does come once in a while, there isn’t much you can do to improve the utility of the excuse.

Excuses, like fresh fruit, can perish quickly. They can be finite and applicable only to specific circumstances. Once those circumstances pass, trying to cling to those excuses is like trying to make spoiled milk taste good. It just can’t be done.


Tip #6: Long Term Investments Usually Pay More Than Short Term Investments

This is where we kind of have to battle our inner caveman here. As I’ve covered before, caveman logic compels us to think primarily in the short-term. We prioritize the potential for avoiding tigers and mating with fertile partners. Those short-term investments worked well in the caveman days, but they work less well in more complex societies.

The key purpose of excuse banking is to ensure you can justify your decisions to others. If you can’t do that, then other people aren’t going to trust you, work with you, or want to have sex with you. Now there’s a time and place for short-term investments, but they’re usually very specific and rare.

Long-term excuse banking involves crafting excuses that build trust and understanding with others. Ideally, they have some amount of reason to support them, if only in part. Bank enough long-term excuses and you’ll find people who are eager to work with you, ready to trust you, and eager to take their clothes off with you.

That kind of investment usually takes a lot more time and effort, but the payoffs can be pretty damn awesome.


These are just a few tips to start out. If I come up with others or learn from someone else, I’ll share them in another post or list. If anyone else has investment advice in the world of excuse banking, please share it.

Excuses may be one of the most important investments we can make. It’s one of the few currencies that is valid in every country, culture, and society. Sure, we can’t use them to tip strippers, but they’ll help us in negotiating our lap dance.

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Reasons Vs. Excuses: Why The Difference Matters

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Has anyone ever asked you to do something you really don’t want to do? Actually, let me rephrase that. How many times does someone ask you to do something you don’t want to do in the past 24 hours? Let’s face it. Unless you’re a king, a dictator, or Taylor Swift, it’s happened at least once.

Whatever was asked of you, how did you try to get out of it? I know some people will just grit their teeth and do it. Those people deserve ten times the respect they get. Every now and then, if not most of the time, we try to do something to get out of doing what we don’t want to do. Whether you’re in New York City or the Gobi desert, you can’t escape these situations. They’re just part of life.

Whenever we’re in these situations, we usually try any number of things to get out of it. Whether it’s chores, homework, or ballet recitals, we all have our own set of tactics. Some are more elaborate than others.

I knew a kid in school who could throw up on demand. He didn’t even have to put his finger in his mouth. He could just concentrate, cough, and then spew the kind of chunky bile that would dissuade any teacher from giving him an exam. I lost count of how many times that skill got him out of trouble.

Most of us don’t have that talent though. We all still look for ways to get out of things we don’t want to do. I sure have. I don’t deny that. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either. It’s a good skill to have, knowing how to avoid situations that make you miserable. However, it does reveal an important concept that I find myself noticing more and more as I get older, although sometimes I wish I didn’t.

It has to do with two simple words: reasons and excuses. They both have similar definitions. Most of the time, outside of a scientific context, we use these words interchangeably. For the most part, we understand the meaning behind them.

However, for the purpose of this discussion, as well as future discussions since this is a big topic, I’d like to focus on a particular context. Specifically, I’d like to focus on the situations and justifications we individually use to do or avoid doing something. Make no mistake. There is a difference between a reason and an excuse.

A reason is logical, narrow, and concise. It can be understood by anyone with a functioning brain and verified with simple tools. That’s not to say a reason has to be cold and callous like a Vulcan. It just has to be valid and clear.

I’ll offer a simple example. Growing up, there were a certain set of chores for which me and my siblings were responsible. If we didn’t do these chores, we didn’t get an allowance. It was that simple. The one chore I did most often was mowing the lawn. I didn’t enjoy doing it, but I still did it.

Then, one day, I got sick. I’m not talking about a headache either. I mean I got really sick, so much so that I ran a 102-degree fever. I know because my mother took my temperature twice. I was then bed-ridden for the next two days. Somebody else mowed the lawn, but I still got my allowance because I had a valid reason. My parents understood that. I understood that. There was no need for debate.

Using this same example in lawn care, I’ll highlight why an excuse is so different. If I wanted to use an excuse to get out of mowing the lawn, I sure as hell wouldn’t have chosen something that could be verified. Sure, I could’ve claimed to be sick, but that would’ve been pushing it because they could check. They could take your temperature and see if you’re running a fever.

On top of that, your parents may be really good at knowing when you’re lying. Mine certainly were. It might as well have been their mutant power. They knew when I was lying and if I ever tried, I’d just make an ass of myself.

Plus, lying to your parents isn’t just a dick move. It’s a bad long-term investment. If you lose your parents trust, especially over something as trivial as mowing the lawn, then you’ll give them way too many valid reasons not to trust you in the future, even when you have a good reason of your own.

So in order to make a more valid excuse, you need to come up with something more believable. It doesn’t have to be a lie. It doesn’t have to be completely true either. You could claim you’re depressed that your lover broke up with you. You could say there’s a movie you’d rather watch instead. You could say you just don’t feel like it. These aren’t lies. However, they are still excuses.

The primary trait of an excuse is that it doesn’t physically prevent you from doing whatever is asked of you. It defends and/or justifies your particular decisions, preferences, and what not. Being on vacation in Fiji ensures I can’t physically mow the lawn. That’s a reason. Being in a lousy mood and just wanting to sleep in does nothing to prevent me from operating the lawnmower. That’s an excuse.

With that in mind, let’s take the concept of reasons and excuses to a larger stage. Let’s assess how this applies to the overall process we use in rendering the various decisions and actions of our lives. What we do and why we do it is at the core of what it means to be a conscious human being.

For practical purposes, we like to think that we’re reasonable people. We like to think that we have valid reasons for what we do and why we do it. We break up with a lover because they’re not right for us. We buy organic food because it’s better for our health. We smoke pot because it makes us more fun to be around. Some of that may be true, but we still think of them as reasons and not excuses.

The problem with this is basically everything about it. Once again, caveman logic enters the picture and spits all over that rosy picture we have of ourselves and others. Based on our growing understanding of cognitive science and neurobiology, we have a better idea of how we make decisions and how we justify them.

When it comes to reasons and excuses, the two main factors are choice-supportive bias and cognitive dissonance. I know those sound like terms that Sheldon Cooper would use in a skit on “The Big Bang Theory” that somehow makes him sound like more of an asshole, but unlike 98 percent of what Sheldon says, these concepts are useful.

Choice-supportive bias is our tendency to ascribe positive attributes to the choices we make. It’s also a byproduct of cognitive dissonance, which is just a fancy way of saying our brain feels stressful and uncertain.

In essence, our brain is wired to avoid wrong decisions and for good reasons. Back in the caveman days, if we made a wrong decision, it usually meant we ended up as dinner for a hungry grizzly bear or ate poison berries that made us shit out our lower intestines. We’re alive because of this wiring so let’s not discount its use.

Unfortunately, nature is still a blunt instrument and our brains don’t know we only encounter bears in zoos that charge ten bucks for a soda. That aversion to making wrong decisions is still there, even when we decide something as simple as which breakfast cereal to buy.

With that in mind, we’ll do anything and everything to avoid wrong decisions and the brain stress they cause. Unfortunately, that often means making excuses to reduce the stress and justify our choice, even if it ends up being wrong.

If that weren’t bad enough, our brains don’t run our decisions through a logic filters first. Don’t worry though. That filter is still there in our brains. It’s just not at the front of the line like we all wish it were. If it were, then half the videos on YouTube wouldn’t exist.

Instead, according to current neuroscience, we make most of our decisions on snap judgments and emotions. Then, we’ll use reasons and excuses to justify those decisions after the fact. Unfortunately, since reasons are so rigid and stubborn, we’re more inclined to make excuses. Even if those excuses are mostly true, they’re still excuses.

There are so many other dynamics behind reasons and excuses. There’s no way I’ll be able to cover even half of them in a single blog post. However, there is a reason why I’m discussing this topic and it’s a good reason. It’s applies to both my novels, as well as other topics with very sexy implications.

That reason will become clearer in later posts. For now, consider this a trailer of sorts, minus the cheesy one-liners and explosions. If possible, take a moment to analyze how many excuses you make for your decisions compared to reasons. You may be shocked/appalled/disgusted by what you uncover. I promise you, though, it gets much crazier.

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