It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sweet Revenge

How do you know when a revengeful act is worth it? Well, that's it, you don't. For me, revenge is like any other desires like eating, sleeping, or shopping. You think that doing a desirable act would make you feel good, but afterwards, you end feeling even worse than before. Consider an example when you're fasting in Ramadan. When it is time for you to buy food to break the fasting, you think that you would be able to finish all those foods, and they look very delicious. But as soon as you have crossed your limit, and you realize there are still more foods left, and you feel so bloated and so close to vomiting out all the excess in your stomach - you realize, it was a bad decision after all.

I've had my fair share of revengeful act in my life, and the exact same thing happened. None of them made me feel good afterwards. But, what makes the pre-revenge feeling so strong? Why even after learning again and again that it doesn't make us feel good, we cheat away and still be able to convince ourselves that "this time, it is different"? Psychologists from Germany, Ernst Fehr and Simon G¨echter, suggested that revenge (like eating and sleeping and having sex) is an evolutionary behavior. It is evolutionary because, 1) without it, it is assumed that the society will collapse, 2) we grow up watching/being taught at/believing/being brainwashed by our environment asking for retribution everytime a transgression happens. It's like, when something bad occurs and we don't do something to "correct" it, there's something wrong with us. Although it can be a bad thing sometimes, we still keep it as part of our value system.

So, when it's part of your life, you do it because you believe it's okay to do it, until you realize you do it excessively that it is not okay anymore. It's like eating, again. You eat because we eat to survive, then you eat and eat and eat until you realize you should have stopped 4 plates ago. You try to get revenge, and try and try and try, until your acts have gone so far that it doesn't only hurt the person you have revenge at, but also yourself and possibly other people you care about.

So, I guess it takes a strong and really determined person to know when to stop before it gets worse. The willpower needs to be trained to taught so you have the vigilance and the wisdom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We See What We Want to See

So, yesterday I was having a chat with my neighbor. But first, let me describe you how he is. He is energetic, very well-traveled, is now considering getting married, about to finish his masters, and quite intelligent. He has black hair, and quite a thick beard, and he is from Maldives. He has a small figure and likes to laugh. When I first met him when I just registered for a room beside his, I had this feeling that he was in his 20's. Because of that presumption, he looked young, added with the young-related characteristics that I described above. But yesterday, when we were talking about passport, I was taken aback when he finally revealed his age after all this while, "I am actually 34..."

I couldn't be more surprised. Not at my false presumption, but at how quickly his face and stature changed before my eyes. Right after he told me that, I suddenly could see his 34-year-old skin, some of his gray hair, and he suddenly talked like his age. I couldn't unsee what I saw last night and the young impression that I had on him earlier was gone forever. So, I thought, it's amazing how we can trick our brain into seeing what we want to see.

This is the difference between sensation and perception. Sensation is registering the data that you get from your environment into your senses. Perception is more of a brain's work - it is to translate those data into a more meaningful form. So, those descriptions I mentioned above, those are the data of this guy registering into my eyes, I saw that. But to believe that he was in his 20's, thus making him look younger because of my belief, that's perception.

When I took Intro to Psych in my bachelor's, our class did not make Sensation and Perception as part of our reading. But the little reading I did when I was teaching it in one university, made it worthwhile to know this basic thing that happens to all of us. How amazing Psychology is?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friendship Again

I don't know why I need to keep posting about friendships - perhaps it is one of the most constant matters that I have to deal in my life. Apparently, the more I learn about friendships, the more I don't know about them. The more I am experienced in handling friendships, the more dazzling they can be. It is like the levels have been upped just because I passed the earlier test. It's like a freaking game, with puzzles that I need to solve to ensure that I survive at the end.

I wrote a post about how we need to earn friendship, and some time later, I wrote about how we need to accept our friends as a whole, then we need to find friends who can support our identity. For this one, I would like to ask you to listen to Christina Perri's Distance (I know it is about love of two lovers, but I can totally see this being applied in friendship setting). From my perspective, the person who sings the song says that she has to keep a distance because her efforts to tell her friends that she loves them goes to waste. Apparently, there is no mutual feeling between them. The friends might be nice to the person, but niceness doesn't equal to closeness.

Have you had a friend who makes you feel like an ugly used rag? They'd remember you, listen to you, ask about you, when only they need to. They would easily, for example, tell you to cancel a lunch, or purposely forget that you ask her about something. For them , this might not be as impactful to you as they thought it would be, "He wouldn't mind," is exactly what they thought. Obviously they don't know you enough because some of you might think of a simple lunch as a big important friendship "event". Yes, some of you are lonely that way.

If you are lonely that way, you might be hurt. You might feel as if you are a used rag where you are used when only you are needed. You'd be thrown away to the side just because you are no longer of use anymore. Is this friendship?