Mo Bitar

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Notes to self. Working on Standard Notes, a simple and private notes app.

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The storyteller

I’ve been playing images in my head. Sort of making believe how things might go, were I actually to act on them. When I’m imagining the things I would do, or the things I would say, or the places I’d go, I receive a small compensation for it. A tiny bubbling taste of serotonin. Yum. That was delicious.

Now let’s not change a single thing and go back to life exactly as it was.

Every action requires some sort of positive energy expenditure. And unfortunately, my inner brain optimizations are on the highest setting.

> Optimizing for minimum energy expenditure...

What!? No! Don’t do that! Override optimization levels to nominal!

Override failed. Insufficient privileges.

Damn it.

Well okay. This is my life now.

So, in the wee hours of the night, I sit now in surreptitious contemplation. How shall I hack this impenetrable son of a bitch?

Reality is merely a projection of the brain. All inside that little box that I can touch. Right...there. My entire universe just inches above my brows. And yet I can’t dictate its decisions with sudo level privileges?

Absurd. Totally, wholefully absurd.

Surely there must be a way in. A way to play games with your brain, to get it to do what ~you~ want it to do.

To date, and on this quest for probably the entirety of my waking life, I have not found a working solution.

But if our world is merely the fictitious story we tell ourselves, could we not intersperse our own fictional elements where we see fit? In the beginning, sure, it will feel awkward and downright fictional. But the habit-machine enclosed in your skull will be none the wiser. Tell or be told the same story hundreds of times, and your life-projector will gladly welcome the new element into its narrative. Probably even irreversibly so.

So, I’m going to pretend.

When faced with a task I don’t seemingly want to do, I’m going to simulate performing that task for as long as I can keep up the charade.

Here we have a messy kitchen.

I should clean it? I should clean it. I should clean it?

Stop. The fact you’re even contemplating it is signs enough you’ve already made your decision.

Instead of making a large commitment you'll probably fail on and later feel double bad for, decide you’re going to pretend to clean. Do the movements. Tell the lie that you’re going to give it a shot.

Fake pick up a dirty dish. Fake take it to the area where it will be cleaned. I mean, actually do those things. But you’re just pretending. You’re not actually going to finish this whole operation. Psht. You’re just simulating a small part.

Does anything stop you?

If not, keep pretending. Open the dishwasher. Pretend you’re going to empty it, so you can put in the dirty load.

Does anything stop you? Do you feel a strong resistance to pretending further?

If not, keep acting. Keep pretending for as long as you can keep up the charade. The end result of course is that you've pretended your way to a clean kitchen. You've overriden the relentless optimizations your brain has enacted on your action potential.

If you do feel a resistance, then ok, stop. Step away. Say, I’m sorry. Not today.

You’ll walk away with the dishes not having been done, but with at least the satisfaction that you tried, and when you did, you uncovered that the problem was more complicated than picking up a few dishes. I’m out of detergent. That’s why I was resisting. You know now what you could work towards next time.

In this case, an even more complicated task: You need to head to the store.

But, you don’t feel like it.

Tomorrow, you'll pretend to. You'll put your wallet in your pocket. You'll put on your shoes and strap your shoelaces. You'll take a few steps towards the front door. Does anything stop you? Keep pretending. Keep pretending until you’re stopped by thorough resistance. Understand that resistance. And relax. Cross off that task for today. You did good. You can try again tomorrow.

I've had the repeated inclination to write some thoughts into a journal for several weeks now. To document my current world for my future self. But I couldn’t get myself to put pen to paper.

So this is me pretending to write.


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