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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Psychology’

Clear your head by cleaning your house

April 25, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Health, Psychology No Comments →


Migraine illustration by Dave Cutler

I spent all of Sunday in bed with a migraine, and on Monday my head still felt like an egg in danger of cracking, but I managed to go to the bank then to lunch, to buy the week’s supply of cat food, and to record my Trippies voice-overs despite bizarre misunderstandings with two Uber drivers, neither of them could find Glorietta 1—the mall where the airconditioning is as feeble as the dying exhalations of a consumptive mouse—and one of whom attempted to drive to Legaspi Village by way of Alabang. Some of the confusion was due to curious instructions from Waze, which would not have been an issue if the drivers were familiar with the Makati business district, and which were probably due to the faint, faint, disappearing internet connection on their phones. When I got home I tried to take a nap to preempt another headache, but I felt like my apartment was closing in on me like the garbage chute in Star Wars: A New Hope. I was suffocating in stuff. I needed space, air, blankness.
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Deliberate resting: Doing more by working less

April 05, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, The Workplace 1 Comment →

When you examine the lives of history’s most creative figures, you are immediately confronted with a paradox: They organize their lives around their work, but not their days.

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.

How did they manage to be so accomplished? Can a generation raised to believe that 80-hour workweeks are necessary for success learn something from the lives of the people who laid the foundations of chaos theory and topology or wrote Great Expectations?

Read Darwin Was A Slacker And You Should Be, Too.

I like this strategy! I’m not slacking, I’m deliberately slacking.

These cats agree.

It’s that time of year. If you are not one of the cheery sunshine people, here’s how to deal with it.

December 04, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology 5 Comments →

The Oatmeal has some thoughts on happiness that puts it into the proper perspective.

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My solution to seasonal glumness: Read a good book (I’ll post a selection soon).

You’re at a party you really don’t want to be in: Find a quiet spot, read a good book. (Though my first solution is: Don’t go. Granted, you have to train for decades to resist the social pressure. I started by avoiding family gatherings from the time I was 11.)

You’re stuck in traffic, read a good book. If you’re driving, listen to a good audiobook.

If you need a plausible excuse to be absent from festivities, leave a comment and I’ll invent one for you. Who says fiction is not useful? Don’t feel guilty. It would be worse if you forced yourself to show up and made like it was a funeral.

Long weekend links: Social media creates angry partisans, how to tell if you’re a jerk, and what earwax is for

October 30, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Health, Language, Psychology, Technology No Comments →

Are You A Jerk? (with attempts at definitions of jerk and asshole)

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Illustration from Nautilus by Jackie Ferrentino

The scientifically recognized personality categories closest to “jerk” are the “dark triad” of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathic personality. Narcissists regard themselves as more important than the people around them, which jerks also implicitly or explicitly do. And yet narcissism is not quite jerkitude, since it also involves a desire to be the center of attention, a desire that jerks don’t always have. Machiavellian personalities tend to treat people as tools they can exploit for their own ends, which jerks also do. And yet this too is not quite jerkitude, since Machivellianism involves self-conscious cynicism, while jerks can often be ignorant of their self-serving tendencies. People with psychopathic personalities are selfish and callous, as is the jerk, but they also incline toward impulsive risk-taking, while jerks can be calculating and risk-averse.

Another related concept is the concept of the asshole, as explored recently by the philosopher Aaron James of the University of California, Irvine. On James’s theory, assholes are people who allow themselves to enjoy special advantages over others out of an entrenched sense of entitlement. Although this is closely related to jerkitude, again it’s not quite the same thing. One can be a jerk through arrogant and insulting behavior even if one helps oneself to no special advantages.

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Do you need rest? Then spend some time alone.

September 29, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology No Comments →

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How much rest do we think we need, who is getting the most, and what are the most restful activities? The results of the world’s largest survey on rest indicate that to feel truly rested, a lot of us want to be alone, reports Claudia Hammond.

Read How being alone may be the key to rest.

On “shipping”: When fandom becomes a crusade, things get ugly

August 14, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, Television 6 Comments →

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G-rated Johnlock fanart

shipper

Shipping is as old as fandom itself. But traditionally, fans never expected their particular pairing to “become canon” — that is, to officially happen on a show or in a storyline. In modern fandoms, however, fans of movies and TV shows often root for their ships to become canon the way sports fans root for their teams. If the football fans’ goal is to see their team win the Super Bowl, the shipper’s goal is to see their ship “win” by entering the narrative as an official storyline.

These shippers collectively form group narratives about their favorite ship. More and more, these group narratives are evolving into unshakable belief systems that usually take one of three increasingly common forms:

1) The belief that the ship in question is unquestionably going to become canon

Historically in fandom, liking a ship meant just that: You liked a ship. Anything more than that would get you a lot of side-eyeing. In the Harry Potter fandom, the advent of Ron and Hermione becoming a couple in the sixth book led to a very famous (and still ongoing) meltdown among Harry/Hermione shippers.

At the time — fandom in 2005 — their unwavering faith that Harry/Hermione would eventually become canon was widely seen by fandom at large as extreme, because shipping was typically viewed as something that existed outside of canon and generally had no particular relationship to the course of canon at all.

Today, expecting your ship to become canon is more or less the norm. But there are lots of complications with this line of thinking. Even if a ship does become canon, it might not become canon in a way that fans like — Buffy/Spike, anyone? And of course it might not be guaranteed to remain canon. Breakups happen, actors leave shows, and, as The 100 fans were brutally reminded earlier this spring, characters die.

Read it.