I was thinking about a manga comic book I’ve been reading. What makes it incredibly unrealistic isn’t the fact that it takes place in a fantasy world with demons, half-humans, monsters and magic. No, that’s just something you accept and go on.

The part that makes it unrealistic is the fact that the multiple main characters are reasonable, kind, respectful, compassionate people with pure emotions and thoughts, who are genuinely trying to do good things for everybody.

You’d sooner see unicorns and giant spiders here on Earth than such people. 🙂

Tuning out

Just to let you know why there are no new articles; I, for all intents and purposes, was so done with the kinds of crap that I read from various news sources, that I took an open-ended vacation from it and started reading litRPG and manga, as an equivalent of putting fingers in my ears and chanting “la la la I can’t hear you la la la”.

Basically, people lie, people hate, people create limitations for others with the goal of completely eliminating all freedoms, and I decided I’m done. What needs to happen is that God needs to type shutdown -h now into the root terminal, and in the meantime, I cannot even describe how done I am with this shit.


The Russian MOD reported two instances of destroying Ukrainian warehouses filled with depleted Uranium ammo and cruise missiles within a week. I would expect this to produce significant local contamination, and some of it might spread if a fire lifts the particles high enough into the atmosphere. I have been more-less consistently perceiving a 10% elevated radiation over natural background since this started, which makes me believe that more of this has been going on than officially reported, but the increase is still minuscule and wouldn’t be worthy of mention were it not the case that depleted Uranium is a low-radioactivity material, which means it would take quite a lot of it to make an impression in the gamma spectrum, but it’s quite toxic as a heavy metal. Also, if it’s detectable in Croatia, the concentration on the source has to be much worse, and since Ukraine is a major exporter of food, having soil contaminated by heavy metal particles that will eventually find their way to our food supply can’t be good. This is not something that is an immediate concern, as it will manifest itself in the following years, but nevertheless it’s a thing to consider.

There’s also that other thing I’m rather hesitant to mention because it might not be relevant to others at all, but still. Yesterday I was doing a budget calculation for October – a standard thing I always do, basically put together all the standard expenses, planned purchases, safety margins and so on, subtract from the expected income and if something is left over, buy gold. Well, what’s unusual is that I felt great unease and a feeling one would have when they’re out of money for something and no way of getting it in time, when I set normal, “peacetime” safety margins. When I increased them by the EUR value of one ounce of gold, the feeling changed to that of comfortably dealing with the situation and having no issues. The weird part of this is that I should not be having this kind of financial issues even if I miscalculated the budget and something unexpected did come up – it’s a matter of calling my precious metals dealer, and selling him a gold coin or two, and I would have the money on my account that or the following day. The situation where I’m out of money, I need it badly and instantly, and can’t get it anywhere, that’s not realistic unless something major is going on – a communications breakdown, nobody is working including the bullion dealer, I have to rely on what I have in Euros, in cash and on bank accounts, and I need more money than usual to do something, and quickly. The weird combination of factors required for me to get such a feeling is what prompts me to report it. It might be nothing, but I’m still obeying it diligently – I increased the safety margin by EUR value of one ounce of gold for the month of October, and I now have that comfortable feeling I associate with having acted appropriately and everything being fine. I would recommend postponing any extravagant spending you might have planned for other times, increasing your safety margins and not stretching yourself in any way, just as a precaution.

Self-confidence is useless

I’ll tell you a story about self-confidence.

When I was 20 and in driving school, I thought it would help to boost my confidence by giving myself suggestions such as “I’m going to do great”, “I’m going to succeed” and so on, before the driving test. As you can imagine, I messed up the test and failed.

This was quite a shock to me, in a sense that I really took the time to think about what happened and learn the lessons. The next time I took the test, I focused on doing every particular thing right, and nothing else. As a result, I passed the test and got my driving license.

This coloured my thinking about self-confidence, and, now that I think of it, about ego, to this day. Basically, if you want to do anything properly, there is no place for you in the process. Thoughts about success or failure are mere ego-musings and are irrelevant. What matters is to see what the situation requires and do it to the best of your abilities. Everything else contributes to failure.

The only self-confidence that matters is a result of having done many difficult and possibly dangerous things over the course of your life; you succeeded at some, failed at others, and you have a healthy attitude towards things – basically, you’re going to try very hard and be completely focused on it, but you know that either success or failure are not really up to you, at the end of it. To be very proud of your successes leaves you vulnerable to feeling humiliated by your failures, and I see little use for either.

Cherish trauma

I was thinking about the extent to which past trauma and frustrations condition my actions, and whether that is something that should be remedied, or accepted.

You see, people usually assume that conditioning by trauma is a bad thing, but if you know anything about how neural networks are trained, you would know that trauma is an excellent way to condition a neural network to avoid a certain path. For instance, fall from great height is deadly. In order to avoid death, it would be a good idea to condition oneself to avoid situations that can lead to fall from height. In case of humans, it’s an instinct, hard-wired in our brains from the beginning, as something that is always necessary. Don’t fuck around at heights. Don’t eat foods you never ate before if you’re lost in the woods. Be afraid of the dark. Basically, try to survive long enough that your conscious mind can guide you, but before that, rely on instinct. Also, if you barely survived something, it creates a strong trauma-imprint in order for you to avoid things that might bring you close to such a near-miss in the future. You can see where I’m going there – fear and trauma can be a very good way not to get poisoned, raped, robbed or killed. It’s much safer for you to be afraid of snakes and spiders, than to handle them. The worst thing that can happen to you if you fear them is fear. The worst thing that can happen if you don’t fear them is death. From the evolution standpoint, fear is preferable, and trauma is a way to store personal experience in actionable, useful form – if you hit your toe on a rock once and broke it, trauma-caused imprint will make you careful about it in the future. If you got raped in a corn field once because you weren’t afraid to walk alone in the dark through desolate places, trauma will change your dangerous behaviour in a hurry.

The problem is neither fear nor trauma – rather, the problem are all those “positive thinking” nonsense books from America, authored in the 1990s or earlier, where fear, stress or trauma are seen as a philosophical substitute for evil in a worldview that tries very hard to avoid evil as a concept. They thought that, if you removed all trauma-imprints, you will psychologically return to the innocence of childhood which they for some reason see as perfection. I don’t share that opinion, because you know what the difference is between a child and an idiot? A child is younger; that’s all. I don’t wish to be an idiot again, because I worked quite hard to learn what I have, and if I have scars from trauma, they all contain a lesson – if you do this, you might get wrecked again.

Sure, sometimes trauma generalises things too much, to the point where very specific bad experience can “poison the well” in a very broad way that isn’t really helpful – for instance, you get scared of heights even when it’s pointless and not at all useful. Such things need to be worked on, of course, but if I have traumatic experiences caused by a computer that ran a shitty Win98 OS with too little RAM, and repeatedly froze and crashed when I tried to edit a 300DPI TIFF image for the cover of my first book, and as a result I couldn’t finish the edit in time and I ended up submitting the version that’s not properly sized and text ended up being too close to the margins, and so on? What if those traumatic experiences cause me to over-specify my computers in order to avoid situations of this kind, where the computer runs perfectly fine 99% of the time, but when I need to do some graphics work, it turns out to be unfit and causes me to fail at important tasks? What’s the worst thing that can happen if I listen to my experience and buy over-specced equipment whenever I can? I can waste some money, and that’s it. For 99% of the time, I will have a computer that’s vastly over-specified for the task at hand, but at that instance when I need to prepare a meter-sized high-res photographic print, I will be able to do it without a problem. Also, with cars – I have trauma caused by cars with insufficiently powerful engines, because my first car had 54HP and overtaking was always scary and dangerous. I also have issues with bad tyres. As a result, I avoid cars that are underpowered or in some other way unsafe, and I try to always have excellent tyres. Again, what exactly is the problem with trauma here? It causes me to spend more money on really important things that prevent dangerous situations? How terrible. 🙂 I also have trauma caused by food poisoning that makes me wary of things that caused food poisoning before – that jar of pickled olives with only a few remaining ones that’s been sitting in the fridge, or that opened cup of sour cream that’s been in the fridge for a week, especially in the summer, and stuff that tastes a bit “off” – what’s the worst that can happen if I “succumb to my fears”? I throw away suspicious foods and not get sick? That’s terrible, I must immediately return to childhood where I had no such fears and would eat any kind of toxic garbage including leaked batteries and dog shit. What an ideal state of spiritual perfection that was. 🙂

In short, we’ve all been told all kinds of stupid bullshit, and we need to un-learn it all, especially the stuff that came from America, because that’s simply a motherlode of nonsense.