The reader's response:
I agree that it would be magical thinking to say that you can think your way out of any emotion at any given time. But if you're already familiar with how the undesirable emotion is resulting from your processing of the situation through a lens of beliefs, you can attempt to eliminate the feeling if you can identify the belief underneath.
Think; if a neurotypical sees the world through a lens of "There is no right and wrong, or good and evil, those are man made concepts that do not exist in nature, and they are a means of control. Rights don't exist either, they are imaginary, we made them up. Emotions are, simply put, biological functions that helped the survival of a stage of our species but at this point are obsolete and nothing but harmful, even though at times they (especially the mammal/herd animal instincts like shame) come with a sense of 'meaning'. The duration of your life is the only time you will enjoy rewards and suffer consequences, your conscious experience will not exist after you die."
How can you expect this total non-sociopath to feel guilt/remorse/shame, or fear in his deathbed after a life of 'wrongdoings'?
"There is no greater purpose to this existence, it is futile, it is at best a form of entertainment and I don't mind tapping out if I get bored" would be another one to make it all seem meaningless, thus making any moral judgement irrelevant and unimportant, and the lives' of oneself and others unattached to some sort of sacred value.
Don't you think just remembering this one would make one a let less of a neurotic in general?
BUT (I think I'm speaking for non-socios here, I might be wrong):
Let's say, before the person had those said beliefs, since early childhood he/she were raised to believe in something vastly different than that, like most people are. When he does something that makes sense to him but goes against a certain norm, he has to think his way out of, let's say, shame.
Especially if people react. A number of them, at the same time. Yikes.
Because he's hardwired with the instinct of shame, and shame was already previously programmed to fire at types of situations like this, he will probably feel shame while knowing/thinking that it's irrational.
But you can't just stop feeling something just because you know it doesn't make sense, that would be too good to be true. Of course the feeling isn't rational, it's a fucking feeling. Still, After recognizing the feeling and wanting to get rid of it, there will still be some thinking work to do to eliminate it in my experience, that's my point.
For me it was a challenge to identify beliefs on most of my past issues (social anxiety, OCD, 2 nonsense phobias) as they were easy to recognize as irrational even to the person who has them, and no part of it I could connect to anything. But at this point I can confidently say that at this point I can easily eliminate mild anxiety, shame and mostly anger (The ego-hurt at least. you know how when the bus driver acts entitled and disrespectful to you, and you just have to find a way to not punch him in the throat and insert your thumbs into his eyes because at that moment it looks like a very reasonable risk to take?) .
Still, fear is different I think, it's more deeply rooted than anything else. It's probably the first emotion that ever came to exist and I don't think one can think its way out of fear as a feeling, but maybe with sufficient recent exposure to fear-evoking situations or an exceptionally trained prefrontal cortex it could be fought. As long as fear is not sabotaging one's decision or performance, I think it's fine to feel it somewhere in the background.
Am I depressed? I think it's my own cognitive bias that I don't think about my mood when i'm in a good mood, but I'm recently realizing that I tend to live 4-5 days beautifully and 4-5 days terribly. Not that I'm bipolar or anything, I just have a great relationship with drugs and a less faithful one with sleep. Being in the zone so hard that refusing to sleep and failing to take a break and just functioning for hours more, and then having a sleep deprived crash landing for 12 hours in the afternoon does not sound like consistent depression to me.
I loved your last paragraph, that's a belief I haven't even questioned, or regarded as a belief till now.
And yes, you can publish it.
(Also, you didn't miss sarcasm, Bill wasn't being sarcastic, it's just that Bill is a normal dude with a temper, and when he calls himself a psycho he mostly means 'psychotic'.
Irrelevant: I got stung by an exotic insect while writing that last sentence.)