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:

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.

Preview KEW Episode 79: Less Struggle, More Calm

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Do you get anxious sometimes?

Is anger part of your normal reaction to unexpected things?

Do tiny little things sometimes irritate the crap out of you?

Most of us struggle to some degree and could use a bit more calm in our lives.

And a lot of this discomfort is normal and unavoidable, but what if we could reduce it a bit? Wouldn’t that be nice?

One of the main goals, one of MY main goals, it to figure out easy ways to do this. Ways to simplify our lives and figure out how to suffer less and be more peaceful.

As KEW moves forward with the Are vs Should Problem, I’m learning a lot about you and what we need in order to live better lives.

This week I expand on Who can benefit from KEW and a bit more about HOW we can find more peace, feel more calm, and reduce the unpleasantness that comes with life.

Full Episode this Friday right here at KEW. Thanks for tuning in.

Preview KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Gretchen Winterkorn

Besides winning the ‘coolest name’ award, Gretchen is a wonderful person and I’m lucky to have met her.

This interview just made me feel good. And I’m fairly sure it was reciprocal. And I’m even more sure you are going to feel the same if you check it out.

Gretchen lives on her flower farm with her partner and child, having left the 60-hour-workweeks of New York City for a simpler life.

She is a psychotherapist and healer. As well as a flower grower. And she really gets the Are vs Should Problem. I can’t wait for you to meet her and listen/watch the wisdom she shares this week.

Here’s a quote from her website:

“Real growth is messy, dirty hard work that results in some of the most beautiful blossoming I’ve ever seen – from humans and plants.”

Full Episode Thursday at KEW.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 59: Are vs Should Challenges

Reposted:

Depending on how you define ‘uncomfortable’, 100-200 million people worldwide can’t meet their basic needs. Folks are born into societies and cultures where they are doomed to fail. Millions of people on this planet will live their entire lives worried about dying, finding food, or having a safe place to sleep. These are enormously huge problems that I truly don’t understand. Nor do I understand how complicated the solutions are.

But I do believe one thing: if we wanted to solve these problems, we could. We could at least make them better. And I truly believe that the solutions begin within each one of us.

To solve these problems we need to fix ourselves first. We each need to put on the proverbial oxygen mask so that we can take care of ourselves so that we can take care of each other. And right now there’s a lot missing from that equation.

  • First, many of us don’t care about ourselves. Some of us are so sad, stressed, malnourished, hungry, or whatever to take the luxury time necessary to change our beliefs, habits, and behaviors. And I’m not judging, that’s understandable.
  • Second, many of us who DO have the luxury of pondering our existence just don’t think it’s important to do so. Many of us are too wrapped up in our jobs, iPhones, addictions, or whatever.
  • And last, most of us wouldn’t know what to do if we DID figure out how to change ourselves because the rest of the world is out there running on autopilot. Once we figure things out, we need to share it with our community – and many of those communities just don’t exist any more.

What I’m trying to say is that I truly believe the Are vs Should Problem is the CAUSE OF and SOLUTION TO, all of our problems. That might be a stretch but let’s just go with the idea that this concept might help us solve some of our problems.

See, I think if we can figure out how to reduce our time spend doing things we feel like we SHOULD be doing then we would have more time to ponder who we really ARE. And if I think we can make that shift in how we spend our time, we will find out that we actually crave connections to our brothers and sisters. I think we actually are inspired to do good. I think we do actually want to share resources instead of horde them. I think we do actually want to take care of our planet. I think we do want to spend our lives finding solutions to issues like world hunger instead of becoming investment bankers and stockpiling financial wealth.

But I’m a naive naval gazer. Or I used to be. And now I want to be again.

I want all those things to be true so I’m believing all those things to be true.

And if you follow the assumptions I’ve made thus far:

DNA is the precursor to human magic and MUST be fully expressed.

Expressing our individual uniqueness is our human purpose.

Reducing the things we feel like we SHOULD do frees up time and space for us to do the last thing.

By becoming the people we are destined to be we will realize, as a species, the way things used to be.

Peace and happiness result from more ARE and less SHOULD.

The CHALLENGES we face as humans can be solved.

Then maybe you’re interested in learning more? That’s what I’m here for.

Please take the time and let me know how you feel.

Full audio podcast download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9044362-kew-episode-59-are-vs-should-challenges.mp3?download=true

or PLEASE subscribe to my podcast on your favorite podcast host (Spotify, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, etc.)

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/QDx82xqcqKA