Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lying to Ourselves

I have an annoying (to me) tendency to be overly meta at times.  As an example, I'll be having fun playing a game only to be distracted by wondering why I am having so much fun.  Then I'll start wondering if I should write down my thoughts about why I'm having fun only to be distracted by curiosity as to why I enjoy writing down such things.

I've made a habit of privately writing down thoughts such as these for years, occasionally not-so-privately in the form of a response to some post, and now publicly in the form of my own blog.

And, surprise, surprise, all this activity has gotten me thinking about all this activity.

And all this thinking has led me to want to clarify what exactly I'm doing here.  Put simply, I'm merely trying to better understand myself.  I'd love to make some sort of grand claim that all of us are merely trying to better understand ourselves, but grand claims are usually wrong (see what I did there?) and tend to provide a nice opening for people to tell us that we're wrong.

Such a topic could obviously fill volumes if treated comprehensively, and I have no desire to write volumes.  Heck, if I go on for too long even I will stop reading what I'm writing.  So I'll generally try to limit meta-posts to a handful of observations.

Without further ado, one may classify activities into four types.
  • Type 3 (or 11) -- Things one enjoys or would enjoy and correctly knows or believes this.
  • Type 2 (or 10) -- Things one enjoys or would enjoy but doesn't know or aren't willing to admit this.
  • Type 1 (or 01) -- Things one doesn't enjoy but believes they would.
  • Type 0 (or 00) -- Things one doesn't enjoy and correctly knows or believes this.
Not only is such a classification personal, it also varies in time.  So if one had access to the relevant statistics, one could classify activities further by adding qualifiers such as "for most people" and "for most of the time" or even "for most of the time during the last year" or whatever time interval seems relevant to the discussion at hand.

As an example, it could be the case that playing a story-heavy mmo with a primary focus on immersion used to be a Type 1 activity for most people and has now migrated over to the Type 0 category.  Of course, the answer would depend on the specific mmo in question, but as the statistics are unobtainable, further refinement of the activity in this example serves no point.

I bring up this classification because in my experience a significant percentage of blogging boils down to a discussion as to which of these categories a given activity falls under.  Any time someone says: "I think most people enjoy ..."  or "People often claim to enjoy ... but the numbers paint a different picture." they are essentially making a claim as to what type the given activity is for the majority of people.

And I'm certainly no different.  My blogging adventure will most likely trend in much the same way.  I do feel that types 1 and 2 are the interesting ones.  As a person who is always on the lookout for activities to enjoy, it would serve me well to identify any type 1 or 2 activities and promptly move them to types 0 and 3 respectively.  The fact that the classification varies in time, even for an individual, greatly complicates the situation and necessitates constant self-re-evaluation, but it seems rather clear that I have a penchant for just that.

Obsessive self-analysis is obviously a type 3 activity for me.

1 comment:

  1. I was T2 and upgraded to T3 over time. It was good. I'm also T0 of course, I think everyone keeps being a a bit T0 too.