Author Topic: "The Benefits of Madness"  (Read 19146 times)

Jasper

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"The Benefits of Madness"
« on: April 26, 2011, 07:51:50 pm »
A less wrong post I thought was interesting.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/5dj/the_benefits_of_madness_a_positive_account_of/#more

Quote
The ability to loosen one's associations and build bridges between disparate ideas seems to help us solve problems not amenable to direct, formal computation: to intuit mathematical truths before sitting down to prove them, for example, or to recognize that a pattern seen in one system is reflected in another, totally unrelated system.  A state of mental excitation, even to the point of fervour, is also useful for overcoming akrasia, and promotes the quick thinking necessary when you don't have time to sit around and compute.  If this is the case, then there is considerable benefit to be had in learning to depart from rationality in a safe and controlled manner.  I say safe and controlled because, as we have seen, there are real dangers in overextending oneself; but with proper technique, I believe these dangers can be minimized while still reaping the benefits.

Telarus

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 09:33:39 pm »
:mittens:
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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 10:08:15 pm »
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 01:19:14 am »
We just started suscribing to that magazine and my 13 year old made off with it, so now I need to get it back from him and read it!

Jasper

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 03:18:17 am »
More and more I come to believe that complete insanity is the only reasonable behavior.

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 05:47:43 am »
Quote
. . . to recognize that a pattern seen in one system is reflected in another, totally unrelated system.

This shit will get you in trouble and drive your friends/roommates/SOs/fellow inmates crazy.
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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 09:34:39 am »
More and more I come to believe that complete insanity is the only reasonable behavior.

Been there, worn the teeshirt back to front. Doesn't work. This, however...

Quote
Part 2: How I learned to stop worrying and use my madness

Once you've been in a deep psychosis part of dragging yourself back to sanity is to discount the things you experienced and the ideas and visions you had during the downtime or, at least, it was for me. The tendency is to throw the baby out with the bathwater as you err on the side of caution. Caution is still required but, once the door to those states are opened they're never fully closed again and I'd have to agree with the author that there are 'states' or 'circuits' or whatever you want to call it that can prove useful in the right circumstances.

Handle with care, tho. It may be true that mental dynamite is one of the quickest ways to circumvent a wall or barrier but it's also one of the quickest ways to fuck yourself up completely :wink:
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Jasper

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 06:07:04 pm »
Mm.

Really though, my only experimentation with madness is from ecstatic states brought on by music and visualization.

Dunno if there's a word for that, but I find myself in the doldrums if I don't do it at least once a week.  It's addicting.

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 06:14:12 pm »
Really though, my only experimentation with madness is from ecstatic states brought on by music and visualization.

That's not even close.
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Jasper

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 06:29:17 pm »
No, probably not.  I'm really no good at madness.  I'll probably need some kind of aftermarket upgrade to do it properly, like senility or brain syphilis.

navkat

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 02:25:59 am »
Real and true madness isn't fun or pretty.

Imagine being in a state where pissing yourself appears to be the only logical answer to someone's questions and you've got an idea.

Now, imagine living in a state where you've worked out a series of equations in your head to replace the "piss response" with other variables so you can respond to people and things in ways that won't get you locked up or stinky...except you lost track of the algorithm a long time ago and now the secure token just spits out numbers randomly and you're left with no choice but to type them in and hope they don't get you killed or worse.

Yeah, not even that.

Sitting around in your house doing drugs is like petting kittens compared to this shit.

Jasper

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 02:33:43 am »
I've studied abnormal psychology, and I know what serious, clinical insanity is.  I distinguish that from the kind you can use to approach problems in fresh and relevant ways.

navkat

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 04:14:40 am »
You have to remember that some of us are neurologically atypical. Rubbing ice cream on your testicles and running around your house with a sheet tied around your neck is just wonderful for loosing the creative juices for you because at the end of the day, you get to wipe off the pistachio swirl with those 480 thread counts and dump the whole fucking thing into the hamper.

I have to fight the natural inclination towards the hysterical on a daily basis. I am Eris incarnate in this way. I have worked my entire life to stop indulging in "intuition" and look, look at the goddamned facts for fuck's sake.

What you're suggesting is not actually blurring the lines between mental function and malfunction, but rather an internal dadaist, new-age TED Convention from which you're hoping to glean videos that no one else will understand because the problem with going off into a cardboard box with your G.I. Joes and a puppy is that whatever you produce in there isn't much use to anyone but yourself.

I'm not saying this is a waste of time, but why bother? We've already got scientifically proven methods...standard operating procedures n shit. Optimization is a fantastic word. So are relevance and altruism--the quest to discipline the self in such a way as to produce things which are beautiful and useful to others. Elegant solutions hardly ever result from complicating the recipe with a bunch of "fun shit" you tossed in just to "mix things up." You may think your own cupcakes are beautiful (everybody thinks they own cupcakes is byootiful) but I guarantee you, no one's gonna appreciate oregano-mint-hotsauce frosting except other whackadoodles producing much of the same.

That's not to say I'm suggesting you conform, just that the goal should be to produce. Make a message, make a song, make a supaFuck automated robotic Loch Ness Monster to clean up the Oil spill and piss your FAYCE, just don't think that "altering your consciousness" so you can watch the Woody Woodpecker cartoons on your frontal cortex is going to get things done any faster or better than grabbing some markers, paper and a stapler and going full-frontal trial-and-error.

But hey, you know how dey say in New Orleans: "Errybody got dey own Gumbo."
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 04:20:58 am by navkat »

Jasper

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2011, 04:18:30 am »
Ah.  I've always had the opposite problem.  I test as starkly neurotypical, I've never once hallucinated, and I've never really been "out of my head".  I need a bit of crazy to feel human.

navkat

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Re: "The Benefits of Madness"
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2011, 04:21:38 am »
Ah.  I've always had the opposite problem.  I test as starkly neurotypical, I've never once hallucinated, and I've never really been "out of my head".  I need a bit of crazy to feel human.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgxpDgSjxkA&feature=player_detailpage#t=75s