I had some subconscious resistance to posting on CF for the past week (and a little bit I think in the preceding week, but not enough to be noticeably prominent or problematic).
I think there were three main parts behind my resistance.
Part 1: Overload
One was being a bit overloaded. I was working on a programming project all of last week and put 70+ hours in to it. I’ve done this sort of thing a lot, but I don’t think I’ve done it in a self-aware way before. So I’m still coming to understand just how much impact this has on me. Roughly speaking, after spending a week like that I seem to take about 3-4 days in burnout, and roughly seem to have about 50% (or maybe even less) capacity for complex thinking for those days.
I don’t think this a bad thing as such, I can get a lot done in a super focused way and I enjoy it. But I’m trying to be more self-aware of the impact so I can more effectively plan around it. There may also be ways I’m doing it that make the burnout more impactful than it needs to be.
I don’t know exactly what those 3-4 days are about. I have some guesses of what could be happening.
- My subconscious is processing the intense work I did, making connections, spotting errors, and so on. Sometimes this comes into my conscious (those moments where I have a realisation suddenly that I did something wrong and there’s a better way I could have done that thing).
- My subconscious is “unloading” the work, clearing it from memory or moving it to long-term memory or something like that. Maybe something equivalent to defragmenting.
- There were some subconscious wants/needs that I had suppressed with being busy. Such as things I wanted to do or chores that I skipped because I didn’t want to get distracted. These end up stuck in the backgrounding for the week, and occasionally resurface to my conscious thoughts. I think doing this (leaving a task unfinished even though I do want to do it) has a non-zero impact, maybe as something that takes up a small amount of short-term memory/conscious thought.
I expect this issue to recur in this topic, I know I’ve mentioned overloading myself before elsewhere. I’m going to label this my Overload conflict.
Part 2: Writing about intuition
I’ve been mentioning subconscious thoughts and conflicts on and off for a few weeks now. Not thoughts I necessarily agreed with, but just going through my understanding of my subconscious and sometimes how I argued with it and disagreed with it. Some specific occasions recently were more in the “stuff I disagreed with” category and I was a bit uncomfortably in hindsight looking at the way I had brought them up.
This part is what prompted me to start this topic. Unless I actually agree with my intuitions I don’t think it’s good to reply to someone else’s post with them because it’s a largely irrelevant tangent. So for that sort of post analysing my intuition, I’m going to use this thread. I’ll typically quote the original topic that I had the intuitive response to (so the OP will get a notification about it and can comment if they want to) but it wont start so many largely-irrelevant tangents in other topics.
I think this is a short-term conflict that came up from doing something in an experimental way, I don’t think this is part of some deeper pattern. But it would be better to identify and solve this kind of conflict more quickly. This took over a week to make sense of.
Part 3: Tribalism
There’s another deeper subconscious issue at work. One that I think is a significant part of the work I have to do on myself. There’s some part of me that doesn’t want to acknowledge this which makes it a little bit more difficult to write about as I’m frequently having internal conflicts (including during this sentence).
Roughly speaking, there’s a significant part of me that thinks in tribalistic terms and is trying to be recognised and approved of, and trying to avoid being outcast. It’s motivated by fear, trying to find a “safe space” to “be itself” (which roughly equates to “not be criticised”). This causes distracting emotional responses, anxiety, and confusion when communicating with people. When this comes up I can be pretty dysfunctional with people (though in forum discussion it’s largely manageable). I can’t really predict when it will be a problem or what context is required, hopefully by analysing it in this topic I’ll understand it better.
More specifically, some part of me is constantly on the lookout for rejection/dismissal, and starts massively overthinking situations where that might be the case or looking for cues that it might be the case. When it finds something it can construe as rejection, it wants to bail (i.e. quit and never come back). There’s a lot of defensiveness that comes up around it.
Rejection is of course possible on CF (or other discussion groups) too. There are rules, there are expected ways of doing things, there are individuals who perhaps have ways they want things to be done too. There are people who exist that, even if not part of the organisers, may try to pressure or manipulate the organisers (I don’t consider this realistic on CF in particular).
This rejection-sensitive part of me isn’t looking for explicit rules, it’s looking for unstated rules. Things people are being silent about. It expects people to have unstated rules or standards which, if broken, they will violently (or at least aggressively) attempt to enforce. A significant part of my subconscious really dislikes all people.
(while writing this post, this part of me is very active and is coming up with all sorts of ways that the act of posting this will result in rejection/dismissal/harassment, my answer to it is: this is basically a jerk-test, so far there has been no reason to expect everyone on CF to be a bunch of jerks that will turn into a nasty mob, and if they are really a bunch of jerks then it’s better that I find out for sure)
I only started learning about philosophy about 10 years ago, so I think it’s basically the preceding rest of my life that is the root of the conflict. There’s a lot of my previous subconscious thought that conflicts with my current explicit philosophical ideas. It may take a long time to resolve this set of conflicts. I’m going to call this my Tribalism conflict.
I’ve tagged my main two persistent issues: the Overload conflict and the Tribalism conflict. I don’t know of a better way of working on these beside continuing to write and think about them, and connect in new ideas I’m learning to answer them. I expect they will both come up a lot in this topic.