Preview KEW Episode 81: The Algorithm

You have surely heard of the YouTube algorithm. Or the facebook algorithm. Or the Google one. By this point ‘The Algorithm’ is in our vernacular to describe someone trying to control our attention.

In the docudrama ‘The Social Dilemma’, we are shown how these internet companies vie for our attention and our dollars by controlling what shows up in our social media threads.

I found the movie a bit conspiracy theorist, but it isn’t too hard to believe in at least some partial truth.

Advertisers have been vying for our attention for centuries. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and perhaps the second oldest profession.

I’ve always had a distaste for advertising that is aggressive or manipulative.

And it’s happened to all of us.

Have you ever been talking to your friends or partner or kids about some obscure thing only to have it show up in your facebook feed minutes later?

Weird, right?

That’s a long way for me to go to get to the algorithm, because in this week’s Episode I’m really just talking about what algorithms ARE.

In essence, they are models.

And models are just Simplifications.

This is a must watch to consider yourself an informed consumer.

Full Episode this Friday right here at KEW http://www.chrisburcher.com

Thank you for your attention:)

Preview KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Kate Stark

This week I chat with Kate Stark, parent and child advocate living in Sheffield, UK. She started off helping new parents learn to use baby carriers appropriately, and was so good she now coaches and teaches new parents all sorts of things.

Turns out, her work and beliefs touch upon the Are vs Should Problem in new and enlightening ways.

This was a fun, informative, and encouraging talk and you are going to enjoy it.

Below is a clip of Kate sharing her observations about something every new parent deals with: imposter syndrome.

Full Episode this Thursday right here at http://www.chrisburcher.com

Kates instagram, facebook, and blog links:

https://www.instagram.com/bcarried/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/Bcarried/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 1: Facts

To recognize the new year and the 100th Episode of KEW (including interview Episodes) I am starting over.

Not really, but on Mondays I will start over at the beginning by releasing all the FLASHBACK! Episodes in order from Episode 1: Facts.

As I do this, I hope to rewatch and revisit these Episodes and figure out how to update them as we move forward with the Are vs Should How-tos.

As future KEW Episodes focus on things we can do to live calmer lives it will be fun to revisit the ideas that led up to this point.

Episode 1: Facts is all about the truth, or lack thereof. I firmly believe humans have very little capacity to know the ‘truth’, and that we must learn to be ok with our best estimates of reality. These ideas have matured to question the value of science in our future, and to point me toward other tools for understanding what it means to be alive.

I hope you enjoy these FLASHBACKS, and especially Episode 1, which was actually recorded in late 2019, so upon this re-release it is around 2.5 years old.

Here’s the original post: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/04/24/episode-1-alternative-facts-proof-and-truth/

Change is the Only Truth We Can Know

Denying This Prevents Individual and Societal Growth

Forgive me for being a strong proponent of evolution. But, do what you know, right?

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

In all my studies. All the naval gazing. The psychedelic experimentation. The ‘college’. 

All the Knowledge I’ve gained. 

The Experiences I’ve had.

And whatever Wisdom resulted from all that.

The only thing I know to be true is that things change.

All the rest of the stuff has some probability of not being real. 

But this isn’t about truth, that’s another post. 

If you accept that our ‘humanness’. Our LIMITATIONS. Imply that we can’t know everything.

That we can be wrong.

That we can lack the capacity to know things. The truth, whatever.

Then you will experience a new level of freedom of understanding. 

And that’s when you will see that the only thing we can guarantee in life is that things will change.

Because they always do. 

Matter might not be created nor destroyed (any longer, post big bang). 

But it changes form. 

Change.

Time also moves.

Change.

The earth spins.

Change.

Anyway, that’s a long way to go to demonstrate my thesis. 

Since at least the industrial revolution, maybe the last 200 years or so, humans have launched a campaign to deny, avoid, reduce, and prevent change.

We try to manipulate what changes and what doesn’t. 

We light our homes even after sunset.

We regulate indoor temperatures.

We created a food economy by slowing the rate of decomposition.

We (insert thousands of other behaviors and technological advances) . . . . 

All leading up to manipulating (indirectly) the way water and air circulate around the planet on which we live.

Oops. In changing some things, we changed how the others change.

At least the central tenet still holds. The one thing we can depend on is that things change.

We spend a lot of time pondering metaphysical changes, too. Like how to change our moods. Our feelings. Our happiness.

But mostly we spend our time RESISTING change.

Here’s where we screw up royally. But it’s also another line of evidence supporting my hypothesis. 

By resting change, we create a set of entirely new problems. Problems that, guess what, we try to change.

So humans, so it seems, simultaneously desire and resist change. 

The problem appears to be in the details. We want some things to change, but we want other things to remain the same. 

And not being able to control those things creates suffering. 

And/or, we can’t agree on which things should and should not change.

It’s like the power to manipulate what changes and what does not has created novel problems we can’t handle. 

Perhaps what needs to not change is our desire to change things.

Go with the flow, right? 

Accept the things we cannot change and all that.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference

Yeah, that. I didn’t plan on going there but the ‘serenity prayer’ pretty much sums it up.

We don’t know the difference. We don’t believe there is a difference.

We don’t believe there are things we cannot change.

We don’t understand why anyone would believe that.

We have become arrogant in our abilities.

Yes, we have reached a point in human evolution where we have the unnatural ability to change many things. 

But we probably shouldn’t. 

And during our evolution we have forgotten why we wouldn’t want to grant ourselves license to change anything we want to change.

As a result, we changed a bunch of stuff that is making our lives more difficult.

And we incorporated a bunch of beliefs that exacerbate these difficulties.

The desire to manipulate, and not coexist with, the natural landscape has created new factors that dramatically increase the rate of increased discomfort on Earth.

  1. We (falsely) believe we control everything including what changes and what does not
  2. We resist the natural changes inherent to the universe 
  3. We resist the natural changes inherent to our daily life experiences
  4. We can’t (won’t) coexist within the constraints of natural change
  5. We are afraid of relinquishing (the illusion of) control
  6. We have forgotten that the universe is in control of many things

So. What can we do about this?

The answer is simple but not easy. 

We have to change our limiting beliefs and rethink our fears. 

We have to learn to live with change. And loss. 

We have to make room for better things to come.

We do this using all of the tools you see advertised every day.

Meditation.

Mindfulness.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Journaling.

Communication.

I will expand on these in future articles, and there are nearly 100 podcast Episodes related to these things here: https://chrisburcher.com/direct-links-to-individual-episodes/

KEW Episode 80: Simplicity, Parsimony, and Occam’s Razor

Thank you for following along as we gear up for the ‘how-to’ section of the Are vs Should Problem.

We spent over 30 Episodes outlining various elements within the Are vs Should Problem. Turns out this fairly universal issue has a lot going on inside. Because I let these Episodes unfold organically, I didn’t know what to expect. The same thing is happening as we transition from the ‘whats’ to the ‘how-tos’.

In my experience as an academic scientist, I came to rely on a non-traditional approach to my experimentation. I wanted to take the simplest, most sincere, and least complex approach I could to answering a problem. In part, this strategy aimed to oppose something I saw a lot of among my colleagues and peers: smoke screening. I saw a lot of academic research that was overly and unnecessarily complex. I always suspected that this strategy aimed to confuse the reader and distract from what was typically pretty weak science.

I try my best to aim for the least number of parts, the easiest approach, and tend to favor the explanation that has the fewest parts. I find this attractive and neat. But most importantly, I find these types of approaches and explanations to be the most useful.

So in this Episode I lay out the approach I will take in the following Episodes 81-??? where I explain what I have learned with respect to ‘living a better life’ or ‘reducing the struggle’ or ‘living more in the are and less in the should’. I hope you find it helpful in deciding if this is something you’re interested in or something you think might agree with your preferred way or learning and understanding.

Podcast audio can be downloaded here to listen to in your browser:

But please follow or subscribe to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom wherever you get your podcasts.

Unfortunately, I was unable to load my video so the YouTube video is just an audio file, but can be found here: https://youtu.be/4HTy-q8PMT0

Upcoming Episodes will address The Algorithm and Meditation.

KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Stephanie Mitchell

If you follow Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom you will be familiar with IFS. If you are not familiar, Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a psychotherapy model used to heal past trauma.

In IFS, we view ourselves as being comprised of ‘parts’ that resemble siblings in a big family. These parts have taken on roles over time that we continue to implement as they all serve some purpose in our internal ‘family’.

The process of working with IFS is to help these parts figure out why they do what they do and offer them new roles that might better serve the family. Through this process, parts become aware of each other, learn to interact, and learn to trust a central figure referred to as Self with a capital S.

Stephanie Mitchell is an Australian dynamo who specializes in using IFS to heal people with significant psychological issues including schizophrenia. She is well known and runs a practice with many supporting staff.

She lives and breathes IFS because she strongly believes in the utility of the model. She has seen it work in extreme cases and, especially, with herself.

Anyone interested in personal growth, therapy, or coaching will enjoy this interview. You get insight about how IFS works both in therapy and in a day-to-day practice. You’ll learn about some typical parts and how they interact and heal. And you’ll get the gospel straight from the source.

I am proud to present this interview and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Links to information about Stephanie Mitchell; the first is her webpage:

https://www.ifsconnections.com.au

https://ifs-institute.com/practitioners/all/63770

Stephanie Mitchell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-mitchell-ifs/?originalSubdomain=au

You can download the podcast audio direct to your computer: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9868800-kew-the-are-vs-should-interview-series-stephanie-mitchell.mp3?download=true

But please subscribe to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom wherever you get your podcasts.

You can also link to the KEW YouTube channel and watch there: https://youtu.be/pW8StIWUWqA

Here’s a short video from the interview featuring Stephanie talking about her own parts using the IFS model:

Preview KEW Episode 80: Simplicity, Parsimony, and Occam’s Razor

Simplicity: easy; not overly complex

Parsimony: careful use of resources

Occam’s Razor: the model with the fewest assumptions is best

So, yeah.

Life should be simple (not easy), parsimonious (nothing wasted), and reductive (few parts).

Makes sense to me.

And that is the skeleton of the KEW model of ‘living a better life’, or

Suffering less, or

Finding less dis-satisfaction, or

Being more peaceful, or

Experiencing more calm.

Call it what you want. We are preparing for a journey whose ultimate destination or goal is to live more easily. To experience less turmoil as life unfolds. To realize joy more often. And to more easily let go of the stress and turmoil that often comes with this thing called life.

I’ll expand a bit on all of that in this Episode, before launching into more explicit action steps or how-tos in Episode 81.

Unfortunately, there is no video for Episode 80 but I will still upload the audio to both podcast and YouTube.

Full Episodes this Friday, right here at Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom

Don’t forget to follow KEW here, on your favorite podcast app, on YouTube, or over at Medium. You can find KEW on facebook, instagram, and twitter, but the main source is http://www.chrisburcher.com

Preview KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Stephanie Mitchell

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Stephanie Mitchell this week.

Stephanie is a psychotherapist, trainer, and consultant residing in beautiful Adelaide, Australia. She primarily works with complex trauma and psychosis and is very much focused on using the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model to help people live better lives.

I met Stephanie on a facebook IFS group and she graciously agreed to talk with us about IFS. You can get a glimpse of this in the short video below.

If you have listened to any of my last 30 or so Episodes, you’ll know that I am working with an IFS coach and have found success using this model after being unable to change using traditional talk therapies.

If you have any interest in IFS, are looking for a potential coach or healer to help you on your journey, or are just curious about Stephanie’s interesting life please stay tuned. The full audio and video from our talk is coming this Thursday right here on KEW.

Thank you for following, commenting, and subscribing. Your attention is encouraging.

https://www.ifsconnections.com.au

https://ifs-institute.com/practitioners/all/63770

http://www.internalfamilysystemstrainingaustralia.com.au/person/stephanie-mitchell/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-mitchell-ifs/?originalSubdomain=au

How Do You Know You’re OK?

The evidence I was looking for was there all along.

Do you ever beat yourself up?

Can you be your own worst enemy sometimes?

Ever struggle with imposter syndrome?

Feeling not good enough?

Feeling like there’s something wrong with you.

Well, I do those things, too.

And during the decade of various therapies I have often been told that I’m ok.

But I’ve never FELT like I’m ok.

In fact, I have been downright angry about all these people telling me things like:

You’ll be fine.

You’re normal.

You’re ok.

It’s ok to feel that way.

Even though I know they’re trying to help. And knowing, deep down, that they are right.

It hasn’t ever mattered because I have never really BELIEVED them.

I always felt like they were just being nice.

Or trying to help.

Or even trying to get rid of me.

I liken it to when you’re mom tells you your handsome or pretty. Of COURSE they think that, they’re your MOM.

So I have been searching – for over a decade – for an answer that is satisfying.

An explanation that helps me understand the truth.

For something to happen that makes me see the light.

And understand that it’s true.

And now I have.

The reason I am ok. And not wrong. Or broken. Or spoiled. Or damaged. Or selfish. Or needy. Or a snowflake.

The reason I can feel ok about whatever it is I am experiencing.

Is because I am asking the questions.

I am self-aware.

You are trying.

You are growing.

We are making progress.

We care enough about ourselves and each other to try and be better. Separately and together.

For that reason. We are ok.

We are getting better.

We are progressing.

We are enough.

All the evidence we need to let ourselves off the hook is knowing we are trying.

We want to be better people.

And so we are.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 60: The Are vs Should Problem – Jobs and Careers

Do you love your job? Are you happy with your career?

Many of us will answer no to both of these questions.

And it seems to me we visit these questions at two key moments in life:

  1. When we leave the nest, usually around 18 years old
  2. Sometime in midlife when we wonder how we got there. Maybe between 40 and 50 years old

Lucky for me, I’m almost 50 AND I have daughters who are 18 and 19. So I’m having my own moment and simultaneously and vicariously experiencing my daughters respective moments.

And it’s so messed up.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to balance our happiness with our financial comfort.

We measure safety in dollars.

We reduce possibility by focusing so narrowly on vocation.

And I get it. You gotta have money.

And, to some degree or another, money translates to safety, comfort, and happiness.

But also it doesn’t.

How many people do you know who are truly happy with their job or career AND their personal lives.

It’s like these things have become mutually exclusive.

As I watch my kids struggle with the ‘what do I want to do with my life‘ questions(s) I am saddened.

It’s like they’ve already conceded that their lives are going to suffer because they will pursue a job that makes them feel safe and financially secure.

I can see the sacrifices they have yet to make.

One daughter appears less constrained by the American Dream. More open to discovering her own way. I hope it lasts.

And I wish the other daughter could have a bit more of this . . . . naïveté? Belief? Hope?

Whatever it is, I wish we didn’t do this to our children. To ourselves.

In this Episode I explore why we do these things and hopefully provide some hope that we can do things differently and be more open minded about what makes a good life.

Original post here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/08/27/kew-episode-60-the-are-vs-should-problem-jobs-and-careers/