Cognitive disorders

All or Nothing

Seeing things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you believe you are a total failure

Overgeneralization: Believing that one negative event that happens to you reflects a never-ending, hopeless pattern of defeat

Mental Filter: Picking out one negative detail from a situation, person, or yourself, and focusing on it ‘exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolours the entire beaker of water.

Disqualifying the Positive: Denying your positive experiences and feelings by discounting them (e.g., “they don’t matter,” “they are just a fluke”)

Jumping to Conclusions: Coming to a negative perception of events without any evidence to support your perception

a. Mind Reading. Thinking you KNOW what negative thing the other person is thinking or feeling without asking them. If they disagree, you believe they are lying! (e.g., If I ask them if they want to hang out and they say yes, I KNOW it’s just because they are being polite to such a loser as myself.

b. Fortune Teller. Behaving as if the feared outcome you believe is guaranteed has already happened (e.g., If I send in my resume for this job, I know I’ll get it, and then it’ll be fine at first, but a year down the line, or maybe a month, I know I will get bored and frustrated, I’ll feel stuck. But I won’t be able to leave.
So I’m not going to send in my resume at all!).

Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization: Making too much of events or traits (your negative traits/experiences; others’ positive traits/experiences), OR making too little of your positive traits/experiences or others’ negative traits/ experiences (e.g., SHE is just perfect in every way, but look at me! I have flaky skin and obviously grotesque and unlovable!

Emotional Reasoning: Imagining that your negative emotions
reflect reality: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

Should Statements: Using shoulds and shouldn’ts to get yourself going, “as if you have to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything” (Burns), and then feeling guilty and bad about yourself.

Labelling and Mislabelling: Overgeneralizing from one instance of behavior to a global personality description (e.g., you approach someone and are shot down, but instead of saying to yourself, well, maybe I didn’t handle that so well, or maybe that person just isn’t for me you concluce, “I’m a loser”).

Feeling Good,
David Burns’ Self-help book


Nakulan’s Poetry

Nakulan’s  Tamil poems translated by the blogger Chenthil :

“Betwen the writer and the reader
words stand as a
Whichever book
We read,we find
what is inside
us is in that book
nothing else
we come here to be
and leave without being.
he came to see me
and left saying
see me
there is noone
for me
not even me
He passed away last week.

How does diffusion of ideas happen?

How does diffusion happen ? Here are some interesting ideas from the blog The Creative Thinking

“Ideas ‘diffuse’ through society much like atoms diffuse through the air. When you breathe in, you take in many millions of argon atoms which you then breath out again without change. Those atoms gradually spread out, first in your neighborhood and then across the country. Within about a year, they will have spread to the furthest reaches of the world.” The most intriguing thing that happens in India from time to time is some para-physical phenomenon hitting the general populace suddenly from nowhere. Currently ,in Nepal the idol of a God is believed to be “sweating” and thousands of people from all corners are flocking to see the phenomenon and offer worship to this new manifestation of divine power. The power of the phenomenon is so much that even the King’s own future is believed to be in peril arising out of this divine manifestation. Some time ago , the rumor that the elephant-God (Ganesha) had started drinking milk took the whole sections of population by storm and one witnessed people flocking to the temples everywhere offering milk to the Ganesha idol.

What is of note is not the religious belief of the people or even the manipulation of the mass psyche that was taking place at the time. The speed with which the idea apparently planted by somebody with some motive diffused in the mass psyche is the most amazing thing that I have ever witnessed in my life. On the day when the milk drinking rumour happened we had heard of the rumour in the morning ,which is around the time when everybody in the country had heard (in all cities and towns ) and by noon the T.V showed crowds of people throning the temples in every nook and corner of the country . This brings us to the interesting question : When does the idea take off after it originates somewhere ? The point at which an idea gains acceptability is believed to be when a least 25% of the population accepts the idea .This point is called the tipping point.

The rule of six

In a classic experiment, psychology professor Stanley Milgram sent letters to acquaintances with the name of another person elsewhere in the world that they did not know, and with the simple instructions to pass the letter on to someone who ‘might know’ the target person. His remarkable findings was that, in most cases, the letter found its target within about six ‘hops’ between people.

This experiment has been repeated more recently using the internet and email, and has come up with the same conclusions: we are only about six steps away from anyone else in the world.

In social networks, not everyone has the same role. Some people in particular seem to be particularly well connected with others and act as hubs through which much information passes. Some are general broadcasters.

Buzz happens when things become cool and fashionable, when they are included in gossip and when they are the latest new thing.”

Creative thinking


Purposing is a simple technique, but it can be very powerful in creating an effective focus for the creative work.

Ask ‘What is it for?’

The basic principle of purposing is to return to asking the real purpose. So ask, ‘What is it for?’ Seek the reason behind what you are trying to do.

How it works

It is surprising how often, in the rush to find a solution, that people fail to pay sufficient attention to understanding the real problem. This principle is also seen in examination halls, where generations of students have failed exams not through a lack of knowledge, but a failure to read the question.”

Very often we find that we have started out stating a particular purpose and mid-way through ,have found out a different purpose .Apparently we did not have a clear focus and in the process lost the purpose. Whether we have achieved anything or not is not clear because we do not have a clear idea of what we have wanted to achieve.

Banner ads and clickthroughs

In ,it says :

“Research suggests that banner ads are effective not because of click-throughs but because they foster a familiarity with the product that promotes positive feelings”

Actually I do not know if any body actually sees the banner ads .I always see several ads in the e-mail programme I use but never have I even looked at those ads in my hurry to go the inbox. Even the pop-up ads which block the main web page view do not receive any attention and get X’ed as soon as they appear.

Between Gloom and Hope: the cover says it all… at How the Other Half Lives

The shadows of gloom listed in this analysis seem not all that frightening ,except the unemployment figure of 30% likely to be touched by India by 2020 .I really do not know if th e figure is indeed this and whether the figure covers under-employment seasonal unemployment,disguised unemployment -all of which have been plaguing the economy for years. If taking into account all this it is 30%,it is still not a terrifying prospect because who knows we may be presently going through a similar level or a slightly lower level than this. For all one could guess the present figure is not very comfortable one.While I don’t have the figure ,even a gut feeling will tell you that the situation is indeed alarming.


Hegel and Kierkegard

This one quoted by Tyler in Marginal Revolution on Hegel is worth remembering :

No one has understood me except one.He has misunderstood.

 From Kierkegard’s Concluding Unscinetific Post-script.

If these are Hegel’s dying words , does that mean Hegel wanted to be understood and he was therefore unhappy being not understood ? I don’ think so.Perhaps Hegel thought , by way of stock-taking at the time of death, that it it was a matter of satisfaction that no one had understood him.