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Boris Rarden

Addiction: Coffee, TV, and laziness

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On fighting lazy thinking, I think a good antidote is to do things that interest you. Staying interested keeps you positive and motivated about your life generally, staving off laziness of all kinds, including lazy thinking. Staying interested in life precedes the thinking activities you suggested.

On coffee and TV, both can be used for the "forces of evil" or for the "forces of good." Maybe instead of singling out these things, you might attack the notion of addiction itself. With little knowledge on the subject, I would guess that literally anything in life could become an addiction.

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I agree with you JASKN that fighting ‘lazy thinking’ is to do things that interest you. Before I started to correct my own mind-body dichotomy and incorrect morality I used to look at life as dull and boring and did not set out to learn much. Once I realized that I should and have the right to use my mind to pursue what I rationally consider is my values and points me to more life things changed. Now I confidently peruse the goals I have without feeling guilty. Life has become interesting and I want to learn and know more about life.

Boris Rarden, Coffee and TV are two of my main vices. Your article is interesting, enjoyed it very much. I grew up with a family that drinks a lot of coffee. There is nothing so enjoyable than being with your mates at a coffee house. Oh, how I love the smell of freshly ground coffee. Coffee in moderation can be good for you but I agree that I myself need to cut down more. I have been using the following strategies that I share here.

Firstly, I cut sugar out of my coffee. It took me so very long to get used to but eventually I loved it. I cannot imagine drinking coffee with sugar now, it tastes awful.

Secondly, I have now cut out milk. This I have only done recently. I am starting to get used to it now. Somehow coffee without milk is more refreshing. I like it but sometimes I still miss my skim milk in it.

Another thing that I tried that helped at one stage is having a cut off time. I would drink coffee until 9:00 in the morning but not later. This helped a lot since I felt that I slept better. I did not keep it up but it worked and I will try it again. When I have as you stated Boris, ‘reach a conviction to escape a comforting but unnatural pattern.’

As you said Boris drinking too much coffee produces a lot of adrenaline that is bad for you. I do not think cutting out coffee completely is worth it. Coffee makes life a bit brighter.

With TV I try and look at more documentaries than just normal TV. Now that I have rediscovered my love for learning I am starting to read again and it feels like my mind has gone ‘on line’ for the first time. But I do agree if you go watch a good movie in a cinema cut off from ‘reality’, a bad premises can bypass your rational mind but not totally ‘brainwashing’. As you said having an active mind should protect you from this. And this applies to music as well.

Very interesting article, something I wanted to post but you beat me to it.

Now, I let me get my coffee.

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+1 for mentioning how great Seinfeld is, but..solving logic puzzles during parties? :huh: Strange idea.

Also, I never thought that music could be an addiction. I mean yeah, we all over-play songs we really like.. but to me, addictions get in the way of living a normal life (ie when you have to drink coffee every morning to have any energy, or when you have to smoke a pack everyday to concentrate at all). I think people who are actually addicted to music make a living out of it by becoming rock stars (or trying to).

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I'd argue that "overlistening" *is* the intended way of listening to music. Being surprised by the turns of melody would actually be unusual, since part of the experience of listening to music is the ability to predict what is to come. Melody is repeated throughout a song, that's exactly what makes it a melody. Same with rhythm. In fact, the more I listen to a song, the more I can get out of it. It's funny how repeating a word twenty times in a row leads to the word losing meaning. But music includes repeating the same set of notes many times in a row.

Edited by Eiuol

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Here is something I been thinking of. A lot of Ayn Rand’s characters seem to smoke. She even defends smoking in Atlas Shrugged. What I cannot understand if Ayn Rand wanted to portray the ideal man how come she would want them to smoke which is an addiction. Even if she did not know how harmful it is for your health when she lived. I cannot think that Ayn Rand would not realize that it is an addiction. Would a rational man choose to be depended on something physically and emotionally, wouldn’t that be a weakness or character flaw.

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Here is something I been thinking of. A lot of Ayn Rand’s characters seem to smoke. She even defends smoking in Atlas Shrugged. What I cannot understand if Ayn Rand wanted to portray the ideal man how come she would want them to smoke which is an addiction. Even if she did not know how harmful it is for your health when she lived. I cannot think that Ayn Rand would not realize that it is an addiction. Would a rational man choose to be depended on something physically and emotionally, wouldn’t that be a weakness or character flaw.

Here's a link to that discussion.. I think the answer can be found in the way she portrays smoking. "I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind--and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression." The long term effects of smoking weren't discovered until the 60's, and even then half of American still smoked. So I don't think it's that strange that she condoned smoking since she (and most likely her friends/lovers) did it most of their lives. Habits are hard to break.

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The symbolism she ascribed to it is quite powerful so it makes sense in that context. (Different example: her account of the origin of the dollar sign is factually incorrect but also symbolically powerful.)

I am sure that many people realized smoking was harmful before the 1960s (note here for instance that the slang "coffin nail" predates the 1940s: http://www.urbandict...=coffin%20nails ). All that happened then was it had been rigorously and formally shown in studies and parts of the government began to campaign against it (while other parts continued to subsidize tobacco farming). And even then, if I am not mistaken, Ayn Rand rejected the conclusions of the study and only quit smoking when she herself was diagnosed with cancer.

Edited by Steve D'Ippolito

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True, but it wasn't formally announced until '57, when the SG "declared it the official position of the U.S. Public Health Service that the evidence pointed to a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer." In '64 the SG actually took these studies seriously and released conclusive evidence supporting the links between smoking and cancer/death. And then it wasn't until the '70's that cigarette advertizing was banned on TV [which is probably the reason it became so popular to begin with].

"Can it be a value to smoke cigarettes--and if so, in what quantity? This is the sort of judgment that properly belongs to every individual, based on his assessment of the evidence concerning smoking’s benefits and risks, and taking into account his particular circumstances (age, family history, etc.). If others believe the smoker is making a mistake, they are free to try to persuade him of their viewpoint. But they should not be free to dictate his decision, any more than they should be able to dictate his decision on whether and to what extent to drink alcohol or play poker." [1] If you think about it like this, then there's really no reason to judge a person for smoking/non-smoking. To each his own. I agree though, that it was probably just a habit she picked up and enjoyed.. until she, errr, got lung cancer. :(

It's kind of interesting though, because I've seen a lot of articles saying that Rand mandated smoking [2] - I assume for practicing Objectivists? I'm not sure where this accusation is coming from (just that one line from AS?), but it's pretty surprising to see!

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I do not smoke.

As far as I am concerned if people want to smoke let them as much as they want!

I tend to try and keep away from too much exposure to secondhand smoke.

Edited by Superman123

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The thread title instantly made me think of this song.

That was an interesting article. My main point of disagreement is with your claim that listening to the same song repeatedly causes it to lose meaning or makes it harder to appreciate the quality of it. There are songs, such as "Time" by Hans Zimmer, which I have listened to hundreds and hundreds of times and still I am amazed at how well produced it is, and how glorious it sounds.

Also, I think you might have mischaracterized "searching for shortcuts" as laziness. I don't think this is really laziness necessarily - it could certainly be accompanied by or motivated by laziness, but if someone is searching for shortcuts in order to do work more efficiently, that isn't laziness since being able to do work more efficiently means being able to do more work overall, or at least produce more value.

I thought you did a good job characterizing what you called the second kind of laziness, though.

Tristan

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The original article is interesting if not awkward thinking at some points. I would argue the house analogy needs a lot of work as well... If you find a more efficient way to build a house, there is nothing lazy about it.. In fact I would argue this is inspired by very motivated and active thinking. If you build a house faster, you can build another house sooner and you have become productive.

I will definitely agree there is a major problem with lazy thinking as you call it.. A lot of my friends have beliefs and refuse to hear a logical argument against it, simply because they would then have to think, see the flaw in their logic and then correct it.

The biggest issue, is when we discuss "over listening to music" I think we have to keep in mind I listen to say.. Pain Redefined by Disturbed and reflect on it think about it.. I actually hear the words.. Where as all of my friends listen to.. oh... I don't know.. 0.o um... Lets just say insert generic rap here.... They can listen to the song 50 times on repeat and have diminishing value in the song.. Because the song was only a back ground track for whatever they were doing in the first place.

The over all point I am making is that there was a point you missed in your discussion where "the smart get smarter, the unthinking keep refusing to think".

I don't watch T.V. If I do I actively watch T.V. What I am watching has some value to me and I am watching it for a reason. A lot of people just go brain dead and zone out while watching the boob tube. Then again, I like playing video games which require thought more than watching T.V.

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On 11/13/2011 at 8:15 PM, Eiuol said:

I'd argue that "overlistening" *is* the intended way of listening to music. Being surprised by the turns of melody would actually be unusual, since part of the experience of listening to music is the ability to predict what is to come. Melody is repeated throughout a song, that's exactly what makes it a melody. Same with rhythm. In fact, the more I listen to a song, the more I can get out of it. It's funny how repeating a word twenty times in a row leads to the word losing meaning. But music includes repeating the same set of notes many times in a row.

There is a problem with the statement "over-listening". How would one determine "I have listened enough to this music?".  It also depends on if the music is all-consuming, turning one into an unmoving vegetable or allowing one to tolerate a difficult task.

My understanding is that to determine if something is an addiction, it is interfering with one's proper function as a whole, that one's life is not at its best because a particular action/process is taking most of the available resources, like time or money. A person without goals would have a hard time determining if they have an addiction.

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