Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I wonder if we can improve our own behavior by telling ourselves the right stories? And what would those stories be?

(One phrase that sometimes helps me avoid bad habits is telling myself: "You've been down this road. The consequences won't be good!")




I think there are 2 main techniques in the article.

The first one are stories to prevent something. These stories are completely made up, but put fear in the kids to they behave as they should.

The second one is looking from a distance (or a 3rd person) at yourself.

I wonder if religion falls into the first bucket. "Behave or you will go to eternal hell". Lots of people already figured out that it's all made up. What is not clear is that, although made up, it could still have a lot of benefits.

The second technique is probably what meditation and NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) do. Take a step back and look at yourself, your emotions, your behaviors, as an observer.


NLP is pseudoscience, unfortunately. Research has failed to turn up evidence that it works, and it’s generally incompatible with our modern understanding of how the brain works.


I'm not an expert on NLP, and I don't know the exact claims that NLP makes, but I'm sure some of the exercises work.

One for example, is conflict resolution from a past event. You had a conflict with someone, you feel treated unfairly etc.

This exercise lets you go back to that situation in memory, as yourself. Next step is to go back as an observer of yourself, looking at what you felt, etc. Then you are an observer of the whole thing. And finally, you go back as the other person, trying to understand why they acted like that, trying to understand how they felt.

After such a thing, a certain "wrong" situation can suddenly become way better, by understanding the other person and their drives. Understanding what other people feel, stepping in their shoes, can be very beneficial. Stepping "outside" of yourself and observing your feelings can also give a lot of insight.

So that was basically what I was referring to.


Although it's not completely pseudoscience, in a sense that microexpressions do exist. You can't detect most of them with your bare eyes, and those you can detect (pupil dilatation) are not significative and can be caused by external factors. I heard in a skeptic podcast that the "ripple under the eyes" in case of a true smile is not fake though, its one of the few thing they got right (not the first time a pseudoscience got some part right, but this time it not just lucky).


I think it might be opposite, and combined. They have a set of stories, called legends in other First Nations cultures (in English); every knows them. If each parent made up their own story to put fear into their child, the child just has to compare the story they hard with a different story their friend heard and voila, the kids realize it’s all made up. This way, the older kids can reaffirm the story to the younger ones because they heard it too (although are at a point where they understand the point). These stories/legends are often told in a third person perspective too.

Religion... if you believe the tenets of your religion it most likely isn’t understood to be _just_ a made-up story (even if others think it is). As an example, all the Christians I personally know didn’t simply believe a story about some guy named Jesus and thus started living in fear of his judgement. They believe the bible as a historical record, and live in a way that Jesus taught, and in a way that brings glory to Jesus. No fear. In fact, they might get even say the bible helps with something like nlp since it is God who has “stepped back” and looked at human emotions, behaviours, etc. I guess that comparison falls short of how to deal with trauma-induced behaviour.

I wish I could personally meet a cultural Christian (someone who is Christian only because everyone else is), the kind that atheists or anthropologists or secularists point to as their own example of someone following a made-up story, and ask them why they believe it/align their lives to _just_ a story.


> I wish I could personally meet a cultural Christian (someone who is Christian only because everyone else is)

Aren't most religious people like this? If you are born in Pakistan, chances are pretty high that you believe in Islam. Cambodia? Probably a Buddhist.

All Christians that I know, are born out of a Christian family. I see culture as the main driver of religion. Or do you expect if you take a Cambodian baby and place them in Pakistan, that they will grow up to be Buddhist?

I'm an atheist, and almost all people around me are atheists. What a coincidence! My wife is from a foreign country. All people around here are dedicated Christians. And guess what, she is also a Christian! What a double coincidence!


> I wish I could personally meet a cultural Christian (someone who is Christian only because everyone else is), the kind that atheists or anthropologists or secularists point to as their own example of someone following a made-up story, and ask them why they believe it/align their lives to _just_ a story.

If he is following the story closely he wouldn't admit that he thinks it's fake as that's against the rules


This is a nice extraction of the article's core points.

I agree with 1. Religion definitely seems to falls into the same bucket. If I were to use my culture's version of the "long john" story, it would feel totally religious to almost everyone else. I don't see this working out in urban society today. If we're in a public or friend's place with kids and we try this kind of stories there, the immediate reaction from everyone would be horror. "What kind of BS are you feeding your kids with! Don't bring any of that near my kids!"


The second is also very similar to stoicism, which is making a big comeback recently.


One thing that I learned somehow down the road is apart from not getting angry at other people is to not get angry at yourself. That mirrors, of course we all know that everybody needs to be treated different, but when we just respond out of reflex, this is somehow the "default response".

I assume though that this is indeed only a thing that can be solved in interaction, possibly by talking more also. Maybe reading stories helps though. :) I heard in a Podcast that when you read/watch/hear stories till the end - and not stop when it gets emotionally uncomfortable - you won't miss out on the solution of the story.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: