kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[Content notes: living with trauma, basically]

A thread that keeps coming up in speculative fiction I'm reading at the moment (which is probably more indicative of what I'm seeking out than any publishing trends?) is the necessity for artificial intelligences to have emotions, in order to facilitate making arbitrary choices (the Imperial Radch; the Wayfarers; ...). Logic alone isn't adequate for a complex responsive intelligence: they'd stall out agonising over minutiae.

I've also been having a fair few (they say, wryly) conversations around emotional reactions and responses to contexts and events. I've known for a long time that going "okay, but that's not what's going on, here's a coherent model for my actions and behaviour and motivations that demonstrates that the thing you're scared of isn't actually happening" doesn't actually seem to have as much effect on most people's decision-making and behaviour as I'd (naively) expect. And then yesterday my interlocutor said: doesn't impact how I feel about the thing ;-) just what I logically conclude

... and -- oh. oh. Between the BPD or c-PTSD or whatever and the depression, I've in fact had to spend a lot of time working on... precisely that, right? I have to spend a lot of time and energy directing myself away from reacting based on compelling emotional "truths" and toward responding based on logical frameworks. I don't have to act as though people I'm close to want me to vanish absolutely from their lives unless they directly tell me that in fact they have changed their mind and they do*. For me, having a logical framework that contradicts my emotional understanding of the world doesn't stop me having feelings. It just -- informs what I do with them? I can free up a lot of processing power because I stop "having to" worry about how accurate they are, how much I should be taking them into account, whether I should be acting based on them. The solution to the feelings then becomes self-validation ("wow yep feeling like this is pretty rubbish, have some hot chocolate and do some stretches"), rather than their being an additional constraint I have to try to solve for, that's usually mutually exclusive with what other people are actually telling me they want.

"This information changes what I logically conclude about the situation" seems to be pretty powerful for me in a way that, as far as I can tell, it perhaps isn't for many folk? And I'm just... amused by having fitted together a model for why "no, that's not what's happening" doesn't do what I expect, that is superficially such a contradiction to the fiction.

I think it isn't, of course: this is how emotion interacts with making big decisions, not trivial ones. I'm simultaneously (still) exploring the potential of having unjustified or arbitrary preferences, particularly in the context of modern art. Just: goodness, but the inherently contradictory nature of existing. Think, two things on their own and both at once.

* Yes, we're aware that puts them in potentially awkward positions, but we've negotiated this very carefully in specific instances where I get the strongest compulsions to Just Vanish.


Jun. 11th, 2016 06:23 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
I am on the East Coast Mainline, sat on the left-hand side in the direction of travel, getting to stare down the cliffs onto bays full of dykes (of the igneous rather than queer persuasion), having picked up a new-to-me wheelchair in Edinburgh by dint of a friend's willingness to collect it from West Lothian, and the gorse and red campions are out and the buildings are Old Red Sandstone and this is amazing (I'm in heaven, I'm in heaven, this is the best thing I have ever seen) -- just: yes, yes, thank you.
kaberett: curled decorative end of curtain rail casts a heart-shaped shadow on a wall (heartfruit)
One of the things I've been half-heartedly (ha) sorting through in the spin-off from The Emotional Labour Thread is the cultural construct of the Other Half. The primacy of the nuclear family in my current cultural context -- which as we know is a relatively recent and decidedly unusual invention -- shores up a system in which maintaining a full-time job and a social life is a massive undertaking:
Yes, life would be easier if I had someone who is always a few yards (or less) away from me when we're not at work and who can provide romance, friendship, emotional support, entertainment, household help, financial assistance, AND hot sex (and maybe eventually co-parenting) without me ever needing to seek out other people or even leave the house. But that's... horrifying.

And it is horrifying, but -- or and? -- humans aren't set up to work solo. We're not good at it: we're social mammals, and we need touch and engagement and interaction to survive.

When I'm living with someone we frequently end up joking that between the two of us, we just about add up to one competent adult -- in terms of executive function, and ability to do chores and care and so on. To some extent this is presumably an artefact of the unavoidable fact that I'm significantly disabled and prone to selecting people-I'll-spend-a-lot-of-time-with for criteria (like "not being shitty about disability") that have substantial overlap with "likely to also experience executive dysfunction" -- but even so and even still, the fact that we end up phrasing it that way makes me look at the concept of An Other Half and go "... huh."

Because when the assumption is that by default you're going to relationship escalate your way up to living with one other adult human, and that anything else is evidence of immaturity or failure or a shocking lack of moral rectitude, despite the fact that we by-and-large work best as interdependent networks with a range of specialisms... well, no wonder we end up feeling inadequate and incomplete, and no wonder that we cling so tight to anyone with a suitably complementary skill set to our own. The problem, as far as I can tell, isn't actually us: it's that we're measuring ourselves against unattainable ideals and finding ourselves wanting.

I don't think it's any surprise that in this frame breaking up turns into The Worst Thing In The World [cached version, because Pervocracy currently appears to be down].
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I think one makes belief as one makes love:
think drystone walls of balanced masonry--
think of the hand that fits and shapes the glove--
think every stone cradled by gravity
secured in place by virtue of its weight
and no two are alike, but each is key.
I find I shy away from all the freight
attached to "anchor" as a term of praise--
but still each kindness settles into place:
a piecemeal ballast for my listing days,
or bearings set toward a kind of grace--
something to trust when cast adrift in haze.
So: tell me who I am, as seen by you.
Tell me a story; I will make it true.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
(On til October 25th and highly recommended; if you have a wheelchair-using friend, persuade them to go with you and via the magic of concession + companion the price drops from a slightly eyewatering £18/head to a much more reasonable £7.75, I am just saying.)

Something I've been remarking on to pretty much anyone who's around when the topic comes up, recently, is that I Am Very Into Modern Sculpture These Days and I don't actually know why, in that I can't articulate what about abstract sculpture it is that does it for me (which I'd like to be able to if only so that, having articulated the matter, I can find more of it), and I'm also not terribly literate on the genre so am unaware of the conversations going on around me.

This exhibit made a point of emphasising that Hepworth's later work - the characteristic abstract carvings - were conceptualised by the artist as landscapes enfolding and embracing the viewer. 'I cannot write anything about landscape without writing about the human figure and human spirit inhabiting the landscape. For me, the whole art of sculpture is the fusion of these two elements.' (And here's the paper I'm quoting that from, on figure and landscape.)

In addition to which, something I had not previously consciously understood is that she adopted Cornwall, or Cornwall adopted her, or something; and even it was almost the right part, by which I mean almost the part of the coast path I - still - know so well that you can show me a photograph taken anywhere along a 10-mile stretch and I'll be able to tell you where the photographer was standing.

The exhibition included a film, part of her very careful curation of public images of her works, of her sculptures in situ in the liminal space that is beaches and coastal cliffs, with waves washing over them, as inherently tactile objects designed to be touched and lifted and moved and seen, and seen through, in the dual sense of transparency and lens.

Even I began, almost, to understand Cubism: in the gallery of her early work, exhibited alongside that of her partner Ben Nicholson, with which and with whom she was in dialogue.

The curation of this exhibition is thoughtful and kind and clever, but clever in that it invites you to join in its delight, rather than being at all remote or austere. It was an absolute joy to move around; there were felicities of alignment at my height that were simply deliciously sensual, and I gather it worked similarly well when standing. I was very, very glad to have spent an afternoon in its company.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
A concept I've been playing with over the past few days runs a little like this: you are the protagonist of your own story.

What's your character development?

-- simultaneously and consequently, I've been thinking harder about what constitutes character development. Where I am at the moment is at trying to tease out the difference between how one thinks and what one thinks; I suspect I would more reliably consider changes in or to the former character development than the latter.

(So what's my character development? Thought branches down two paths: the first, of internalities versus externalities, and legibility in each; the second, that an awful lot of CBT is aimed at facilitating what I've here described as character development, and the most obvious example in myself to me is, well, nobody has to be wrong, and the associated reduction in splitting.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
(or, Alex reinvents entire subfields of psychology in an extremely half-arsed fashion, Part N in an ongoing &c)

Read more... )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(Cis friends, by all means ask me questions to clarify, but maybe consider sitting out of actually having an opinion in comments on this one. Anon comments are permitted but will be screened; I expect to unscreen unless otherwise requested.)

Read more... )
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. Counselling is just around the corner from the V&A. [personal profile] aella_irene likes the V&A. Ergo we had lunch sat on the art installation You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well as by Reflection, having spent the morning hanging out in the ironwork collection. (My plan for next time involves making friends with the glass gallery; wrought iron is something I just... find incredibly soothing, for reasons I haven't quite articulated but that include the fact that it's very stark in terms of colours involved, and has lots of nice bold lines and repeating patterns.)

2. Relatedly, plants: the hydrangeas up the sides of the central courtyard are currently fantastic, as are the other plantings, and [personal profile] aella_irene very generously gave me a bag of her household's surplus raspberries, so that was a joy and a delight.

3. Our internet connection is unstable enough (and I'm undermedicated enough) that I don't particularly feel like coding; nonetheless I made lots of progress with my Dreamwidth todo list today.

4. Benefits-related discussion. )

5. Peak 90s Kid: my mum frantically facebook IMing me for tech support. I sort of provided it, ineffectually, and she actually sorted the problem out by herself, and that means there exist more photos on the internet of me & largest smallcousin.

6. We had tinned pineapple in the house; we now have pineapple upside-down cake.

7. Another batch of rosemary sourdough is rising on the side, to be breakfast-and-lunch food.

8. I have Steam installed on the new laptop and it was rapid and painless and completely unlike most of my other attempts to install Steam under Debian. This means that I now have a MOUNTAIN yes yes.

9. Every time I reread your blue-eyed boys I find more things in it, and they are comfort and they are in their fragmentary way moments of peace.

10. Externally-sourced self-worth: my comments on the MeFi thread are getting favourited by lots of people & positively engaged with. Hurrah for managing to say things that are useful to people.


Jul. 29th, 2015 07:49 pm
kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.

Read more... )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
These are ones I'd already internalised as true so didn't excerpt last time around, but probably bear repeating anyway.

From the author of the sparking article:
The switch from men's default "I will if you ask me" to "I will if you don't ask me not to" is simple but really powerful in terms of where it sites the responsibility.

This is already someting I do in set-ups where I'm in a caring role (because I know that accepting help can be very difficult, whereas not refusing it is easier -- setting up a default course of action is to some extent a way of handling people, but what that also means is facilitation, so). It has always been a genuine surprise and delight when people have spotted that me doing this works for them and have reciprocated it.

And, as linked to [personal profile] sebastienne, the idea that keeping track of what needs doing is significant emotional labour in itself:
Another puzzle piece: was thinking about religious life. Convents, monasteries. We think of these things as big sacrifices, but in fact, they are places designed to dial the emotional labor burden way, way down. You are removed from regular family and social life. You don't have to stress about the cleanliness and conditon and chores around the places, because all of these things are taken care of in a fair and equitable rotation of tasks - when it's your turn to do the dishes, you do the dishes, but on the other days, you blissfully ignore the dishes. Life is so regulated and organized that you really can be mentally and emotionally free to concentrate on the tasks you are there to do - whether it's contemplation, human services, or whatever. This wasn't a stupid organization of life. Religious orders recognized that emotional labor had to be wrestled to the ground before anyone stood 5 minutes' chance of being able to devote attention to anything else.

I also think this is what drew me to life in summer camps and residential education settings for many years: a similar level of organization of chores, and an equitable sharing. Men and women alike did their duties when it was their turn, and were penalized for shirking. Both the emotional and the menial labor were sorted - labor was never a negotiation; you never had a long-running standoff as to who was going to take out trash or scrub the pots: it was all written there right on a rotation chart. This did more to create gender equality than any number of manifestos or heartfelt discussions. A basic rota. A recognition that everyone needed to contribute equally to the boring work of daily life. The beauty of it: when you're on, you're on: you do the work outlined in the rota. When you're off, you devote not a second's thought to the condition of the kitchen or the bathrooms or the trash. It's a big old SEP until it's your turn in the rota again.

This gets discussed elsethread in terms of being The Knower Of The Things, and division between Knowing and Doing; the idea of the Deal Token comes up too, of "I am responsible for making sure this thing Gets Done; I can delegate every single task comprising the Thing but I am responsible for tracking that everything that needs to happen for the Thing to get done happens", which is pretty much how I run committees when I'm on them. (There's something related, about how similar skills in men and women get designated "leadership" and "teamwork" respectively - women doing emotional labour is consistently devalued, because the hard work of knowing how your team's doing in detail and who might need a break and so on is fundamentally exactly the same thing as keeping track of which of the kids have activities this afternoon and when their homework's due, and that shit isn't important. I have a lot of bitter feelings about parenting related to all of this, okay, because - yeah - so much of it is about who, and what, matters.)

And finally: on tumblr there's a discussion of why tumblr's fantasy man is like he is, and over on AskMe people are working out an emotional labour checklist for self-assessment.
kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
Defining my terms at the top of the page. )
The part where I wryly tell anecdotes so you can gauge your interest in reading several thousand words on the topic
I've been talking intermittently over the last little while about shit like theology as repository of psychosocial extelligence (e.g.). Thursday lunchtime I realised with some dismay that I needed a purification ritual and I needed one fast and all of this is stuff I'm cobbling together as I go along, but I ended up with: sorting out my hair; showering even though it was hard; scrubbing my face and hands with some of the nice salt we keep in; moisturising with the E45 that I stuck a couple of bay leaves in lo these many years ago; eating half a teaspoon of honey from a friend's parents' hives; and then I spent the journey over to the tattoo shop meditating, and now I have symbology etched on me, and it is good -- but I have also realised that I've been doing most of my talking about this stuff via chatting with people one-on-one and I might perhaps benefit from going into a bit more detail, a little more formally.

So. )
kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
... and I've now watched it about five times. It is, for me, glorious reassuring comforting fluff approximately as effective as 10 Things I Hate About You, and simultaneously I think it actually has a very great deal to say about choosing who to be and shit.

So let's start with a link to a meta round-up. In particular, this discussion of the economics that would be involved in dismantling the galaxy-wide industry of choice.

And here's another one about "geneticism".

More discussion of the film! )
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
klar, dass sind nur Träumen
und dass sind nicht deinen
dass sind meinen
doch die funktionieren dafur
(Virginia Jetzt!)

On good days it's progress. On bad days it's submission. ([personal profile] recessional)

(I was explaining to [personal profile] sebastienne earlier that I don't have much by way of volition at the moment; wanting things is something people get to have, not something I deserve. So, yes, I'm substituting other people's judgment for my own at the moment, but what this means in practice is that the gulf of knowledge-not-belief is one I will cross - or perhaps, merely, not be swallowed by - on the tightrope of other people believing for and about me, for now. I don't think this is a healthy long- or even medium-term strategy; I do think that at the moment it is less bad than my other options. And, importantly, so far as I am ceding judgment and decisions to others, it's people I know will hold them in trust for me, to be returned when they're a load I can bear again without breaking.)
kaberett: A photograph of a dark-grey train with white cogs painted on the side, with a bit of station roof visible above. (trains)
Periodically I will have a lot of FEELINGS about something at someone, and will get to the end of the feelingsdump, and say, somewhat sheepishly, "... I HAD A LOT OF FEELINGS sorry".

Facesfriend is in the habit of responding - rather drily - "gosh, how unlike you."

This exchange happened earlier today. (In this instance the topic was Explaining The Manics to him; over the past couple of weeks topics I have Had A Lot Of Feelings About include comparative bus etiquette, the second world war, the Green Party boyband video, the RNLI, space robots, etc.) And it finally twigged that no, actually, I do think of it as Unlike Me and something sufficiently out of the ordinary to be apologised for, and this is probably because I spent at least ages 13 to 21 with untreated severe depression, and one of the symptoms of my depression is generally anhedonia, and I just... am not even a tiny bit used to being able to experience intense positive emotion at the drop of a hat. It's strange and unsettling and I don't know what to do with it.

It's very disconcerting to learn that's not how others perceive me, these days. Internalities and externalities.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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