Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sociopathy as adaptation instead of disorder

This Bret Weinstein (evolutionary theorist) video was sent to me by a reader and I actually thought it accurately described a lot of my own experience and conception of sociopathy. He talks about how sociopathy is listed as a disorder, but for a lot of sociopaths their sociopathic traits end up being the thing that enable the sociopath to achieve high levels of success, so it is more like a superpower than a disorder. In fact, he suggests that sociopathy is just one end of a spectrum that contains all normal people.

I don't 100% track his definitions of empathy and sympathy. I think I still prefer cognitive vs. affective empathy.

His thoughts on why we think of sociopathy as a disorder, because their traits are turned inward into their own groups (as opposed to be used against opposing groups, etc.) are pretty interesting.

His solution is, instead of killing sociopaths or neutralizing them or imprisoning them or whatever, that society look to eliminate situations or societal systems that are vulnerable to exploitation -- not just from sociopaths from anyone. He suggests that the example of individuals glutting themselves on world resources to the detriment of future generations would be an example of the sorts of societal systems that allow people to profit off something that produces harm to others that needs to be rectified, primarily I believe based on his arguments by requiring people to internalize all of the benefits and harm of their actions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Italy in 10 efficient days -- Cinqueterre/Pisa (1.5 days)

Day 6: Cinqueterre! One of my lawyer friends has talked this up quite a bit, and I think it may have to do with the fact that she went a decade or so ago when it was a little less crowded. The crowds and the mudslides have maybe dulled this gem of the Mediterranean just a little bit from what it perhaps once was. But I actually think it was perfect for Daniel and I because you either hike or take the train to the difference towns, and we did a ton of hiking, which was a perfect overlap of our interests and beautiful weather for hiking in mid September. 

We actually got to Riomaggiore, the first city from the South, the evening before and did some swimming, although we probably didn't read the instructions about safe places for swimming correctly and ended up with some blood lost. 

In the morning we checked our bags with some checked luggage lady for something ridiculous like 10 euros each. Wow, highway robbery. Remember that if you're spending just a day here (totally doable if you're mostly here to see the coastline and do some hiking). Maybe it's worth it to stay at an actual hotel that can keep your luggage for the day instead of the sideways place we stayed at. Also, heads up, it was mosquito city there in certain places, so bring repellent. 

Between Riomaggiore and the next city there is a path (Via Dell'Amore) that's been closed for like 5 years because of potential structural issues. We just scaled the cliff a little to get around the barrier, and it was a nice walk (Daniel slept there on his last day, when I took the train to stay the night in Pisa). If you don't want to scale the barrier, you can take the train there or maybe do some other longer hike. 

There's a similar story with the next city Manarola. I actually think this may have been a better place for swimming, if we had brought swimming gear. But we didn't really have time that day either because there's sort of a full day of hiking just to get from place 1 to place 4 (we never did get to number 5 although we could have grabbed a ferry or train to finish the journey). 

Daniel again wanted to take the path that goes along the coast that got cut away by a mudslide (visible from the water or from the former starting place of that path) but to me it looked a little too destroyed. I'm actually glad we ended up taking the hill path instead because we got some great views of both Manarola and number three city Corniglia and the hike was pretty fun after the first half mile or so which was basically like walking up stairs for forty five minutes. The path is a little hard to see, but we asked some people by some pay restrooms (Daniel is very good at asking for directions) and there was a little water station halfway up the stairs with some good views for resting. By this time, I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was not at my peak performance. Something I ate or the heat or something? The first couple hours of the hike Daniel was waiting for me to rest a lot. Things turned around in the afternoon, but even so I was wishing I had brought true athletic shoes with me instead of the very thin soled sneakers I had brought.  

You don't need a pass to go to Cogniglia, but to get to the fourth city Vernazza, yes. You can pay at the beginning of the trail to Vernazza. Vernazza was maybe the liveliest of the places? He is the top photo of this blog. Pretty cool how he juts out like that. We could sort of see the fifth city way far away and it didn't look as charming, so we called it quits at Vernazza and went back on the ferry, which was a nice maritime and relatively cheap way to see the cities. Ferry tickets are sold down at the ferry line. The ferry holds a lot of people so don't be too nervous you won't get on, but do stand in line and not wait until the last minute. 

If you wanted to skip a trail for time savings and less intense, probably take the train or ferry from 2 to 3. The trail from 2 to 3 was pretty long and intense with good views. The trail from 3 to 4 was a little less jungly and less up and down. 

I'm sure there's shopping and there definitely was a drinking culture from the tourists that were there at night. Mostly it's just pretty beautiful. 

Day 7: I stopped in Pisa on the way back to Rome to meet Arya. Pisa seems like the major hub city that you pass through to and from Florence? It's not probably worth more than a couple hours of wondering and seeing the tower, but is a cheaper place to stay before or after your day hiking in Cinqueterre. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Time Paradox -- Please do this Quiz!

One thing that Daniel and I talked about in our hitchhiking and other Italian adventures was the different ways that people perceive time and how we thought sociopaths tended to experience time.

I learned that Philip Zimbardo (of Stanford Prison Experiment fame) had a book out in the last decade talking about the different ways that people can and do perceive time.

I wonder if y'all wouldn't mind completing this short test Zimbardo uses to suss out who perceives time in what ways:

And then if you could report what you got in the comments with a rough score on what you are 1-10 in terms of sociopathic traits (bell-curve style, like I was probably an 8 at my peak, now a 7.5 and 10 is basically not functional in modern society without a ton of special accommodations), I'm interested to see if Daniel's observations are correct. Maybe even tell me what type of sociopath you consider yourself, male/female, low or high functioning, successful or struggles, that sort of thing.

Thanks friends!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Italy in 10 efficient days -- Florence/Siena (2 days)

Ok, just a reminder that I was a little back and forth myself meeting people in different places, but this is what I would recommend for an efficient traveler.

Day 4: If you leave early enough in the morning from Rome, you can get a train or bus to Siena, which is on the way and has a charming medieval city center that is a Unesco World Heritage and a beautiful Cathedral with a museum about medieval music which was interesting to see in person for the first time.

You could probably wander around the city for a lot of time, but I think you'll get the point after 2-3 hours, and then on to Florence. In the alternative, certain parts of Florence, particularly right across the river in between the Boboli Garden (not really worth seeing unless you crazy love gardens our outdoor statutes or weird manmade grottos to house statutes) and the river.

So if you don't feel like taking the slow trains to Siena (it's either fast train straight to Florence or spending more than twice the time on the slow trains to detour to Siena).

The lowdown with Florence is that everything is pretty walkable, much more than Rome (even though people might tell you that's a good way to see it). But there are also bikes everywhere! And I had so much fun biking around Florence. I think OBikes were the most popular, so maybe download the app ahead of time. I also did some longer term rentals another time I was there at Alinari Bikes. I did basically a circle loop, going across the river to the Michelangelo statute on the hill that has a great view, back towards the Boboli Gardens, and across the picturesque bridge with all of the shops. I was there not even at the peak of tourist season, but some Florence streets are not bikeable only because there are so many pedestrians, but the rest is pretty flat and easy. 

Daniel had a rule about only going to one church or one museum each day, so we did more outside exploration. With friend sociopath friend Arya, who met me after Daniel left, and friend Stuart who met us we went to the Uffizi Gallery, which may be the biggest, most consolidated art museum in Italy? At least that I had seen or heard about, with several famous masterpieces and plenty of selfie taking. Again, the key here is to make your reservations as early as you can swing it.

We also did the Duomo dome walk, which you can book as part of your Cathedral all in one ticket but again you need to reserve a time. Heads up, for all of the Cathedral stuff, there are a bunch of lines so make sure you know what line you're getting in before you get in line. The line to actually get into the Cathedral seemed not worth it, particularly if you do the dome and can kind of get the gist of it without needing another line. We also did the Giotto tower, which maybe has better views, as people say, because the dome is in the view. Also I have a major thing for Giotto. I licked the tower.

Finally, we went to see the David. It really is crazy. In fact, Arya said that it was maybe once of her favorite parts of the whole trip. We got reservations for the evening, which was nice to just sit and chill and look at him for an hour or so. The rest of the museum really is sort of an also run (not that great), unless you like looking at the Giotto school and comparing how the whole second floor was painted after Giotto, but still painted mostly flat with little of Giotto's perspective.

You can get a Florence pass. Same with Rome but I don't know, unless you're planning on being there for an inefficient stay, like more like 4 days, it's probably easier to just book your tickets separately. This is especially true because you often have to reserve a time to go to these places, and I couldn't figure out how to do the reservation with the Florence card. The expenses don't see like the big deal in Florence, it's the crowds and the lines, so I'd choose whatever is most convenient here. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Los Angeles 12/10/18

I think I have to be in Los Angeles on Monday December 10th, if people want to meet up?
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