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Tippy Gnu

I chase unicorns, which are symbols for unique ideas and experiences, and sometimes I post about them. Heck, I'm retired, so what else is there to do? I also write books, which can be read or downloaded for free, on my blog site.

Chasing Unicorns: Chapter 4, Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 6

Tap cover, to read.

This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!

RECAP: Yesterday we learned from Virgin Investment Theory that we must sacrifice some uniqueness, and the pleasure that comes with it, to experience greater levels of uniqueness and pleasure. Buying low and selling high, or at least buying high and selling higher, is key to improving our happiness.

Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 6

Think Unique, and Feel a Thrill

Okay I’m back. SpongeBob SquarePants wasn’t on, so I lost interest and am ready to resume writing. But while I was away sucking down a root beer, it occurred to me that we haven’t yet discussed how your thoughts produce emotions. For instance, when I think about SpongeBob SquarePants, I feel both amused and envious. I feel amused because the way he looks and acts provides quick little tiny episodes of unique experiences for me.

It’s the same way that a good joke works. The first time you hear it, the unique thought it suddenly inspires causes you to feel a sudden spike of enjoyment. You respond by feeling amused, and maybe by involuntarily laughing. But if someone keeps telling you the same joke over and over, familiarity quickly increases, and uniqueness quickly declines. And then, if you’re being polite because it’s your boss who’s telling you the joke, the best you might do is muster some fake laughter.

Oh yeah, SpongeBob SquarePants leaves me feeling envious as well. After all, what red-blooded American male wouldn’t want to live in Bikini Bottom?

But it isn’t SpongeBob himself that makes me feel an emotion. Rather, it’s the thought processes that his character inspires. The way people think determines the emotions that they feel.

Your very thoughts produce mental patterns that can be quite unique. And this uniqueness can be very enjoyable or very painful, depending upon how well you’re buying low and selling high with your focus. If you imagine yourself bathing in a pool of gold coins and hundred dollar bills, you will likely feel pleasure from the uniqueness of this mental image. But if you imagine receiving a certified letter from the IRS, you will likely feel pain, due to the strong focus of worry that this image generates.

The pleasure and pain that our thoughts generate are emotions. We produce our own emotions, just by the way we think. Our brains are veritable drama machines.

Positive emotions are pleasurable, while negative emotions are painful. And what determines whether an emotion will be positive or negative, is the amount of uniqueness produced by your thoughts, versus the amount of natural uniqueness sacrificed through the mental focus you utilize to produce the thoughts.

But you say, “Hey I’ve gotcha now!” Oh, you think you’re so smart. (By the way, thinking you’re real smart ought to generate pleasurable emotions of smugness and pride). You realize there are some thoughts you think that are not very unique, yet still generate feelings of pleasure. For instance, a paycheck is a rather mundane thing—especially if you’ve been working at the same job for the past 20 years. There’s nothing much unique about your paycheck, yet you still like thinking about it. Well first, don’t admit this to your boss or you’ll never get that raise you’ve been pestering for.

Now imagine getting your paycheck every day, rather than every two weeks. Wouldn’t that be nice? Now imagine getting your paycheck every hour of every day. Better still, right? No, not really. If you were rolling in the dough like this, pretty soon you’d start getting rather bored with paychecks. Not that you’d turn down the money. With all that money, you’d probably hire a financial assistant to cultivate the greenery, while you go off and pursue your favorite hobby—like hunting ducks in Argentina or tasting wine in Italy. The last thing you’d want to think about is another paycheck.

Why? Because it would no longer be unique. Uniqueness is what makes a thought exciting. When you only get a paycheck every two weeks, the waiting time between paydays is long enough to maintain a certain high level of uniqueness with each check you receive. Thus the thought of a paycheck is still somewhat pleasurable.

Suppose you listened to your favorite song over and over again, all day long? How long would it take before you started to detest the song, or even the thought of the song? And how hard would you start trying to get the damned tune out of your head? Here again uniqueness is dependent upon familiarity. The more familiar you are with something, the less unique it becomes to your mind. And therefore, the less enjoyable it will be.

I hope you have learned something new here, about uniqueness. If you have, you have probably enjoyed reading this chapter. Because, of course, a unique concept is an enjoyable concept, even when it’s a concept about uniqueness.

So now that you appreciate (hopefully) the one-of-a-kind value of uniqueness, you’re probably wondering how you can add more uniqueness to your life. How exactly do you seek unique, and make your life happier?

Well come along with me, and we’ll find the answer by taking a ride on a unicorn.

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Chasing Unicorns: Chapter 4, Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 5

Tap cover, to read.

This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!

RECAP: Yesterday we learned that pain is like your relatives, due to its relative nature. That’s because pain throbs, changing back and forth from a narrow focus on stimuli, to a broader focus. The broader focus reminds you of how much more stimuli are available, leaving you with a feeling of great dissatisfaction (pain), when you’re forced back into a relatively narrow focus. Sigh, relatives are such a pain.

Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 5

Virgin Investment Theory

That’s how physical pain works. But physical pleasure is a bit different sort of animal. It’s kind of like a cuddly bear, without the teeth and claws.

Pain and pleasure have one thing in common. They both are caused by stimuli that attract the focus of your awareness. But why would one set of stimuli cause pain, while the other causes pleasure? This question gets at the question I’ve been tackling since the end of the second chapter. So let me horse-collar it and drag it to the ground once and for all.

The question, as you will recall, is: Is it possible to focus on a change, to the exclusion of other changes, and still enjoy yourself?

Yes. And here’s why:

When you get that special stroke from that special someone, that stroke sets off all sorts of unique sensations and waves and energy patterns that transmit through your nervous system and up into your brain. It’s the same with many other things, such as when you eat a delicious food, or drive in a fast car, or view some beautiful scenery. The stimulus patterns that your mind perceives and focuses upon are very unique. And their high-level of uniqueness makes them enjoyable.

It’s because the change in your perception, caused by these stimulus patterns, is so very unique that you are able to enjoy it to the exclusion of other changes.

Think about your favorite food. Maybe it’s chocolate éclairs smothered in sautéed escargot. Okay, so you have a strange appetite. But if this is truly your favorite dish it’s because it sets off patterns of taste sensations in your mind that are very unique.

Pleasure can be caused from experiencing unique patterns. But unique patterns can’t be experienced without first going through the same process that you go through when you experience pain. Your mind must focus, causing a loss of some of the natural uniqueness that arises from all the billions of nerve endings in your body. Therefore, you must give up some of your natural uniqueness in order to gain uniqueness from energy patterns.

It’s just like investing. It takes money to make money. You must sacrifice some money first, by investing it in a market, before you can realize a capital gain. In the same way, you must sacrifice some natural uniqueness, by investing it in focus, in order to achieve an overall gain in uniqueness.

You sacrifice uniqueness by focusing. I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s go back to your chocolate éclair that is smothered in sautéed escargot. When you take a bite of this exotic dish, a taste sensation will strike your brain. This will then capture your focus and lead your awareness into focusing on the taste sensation. Your awareness will then spend most of its time on the taste sensation, and little time on anything else. And this will cause an overall decline in natural uniqueness. It’s like a high priest thrusting a knife into the heart of a young virgin. Natural uniqueness is sacrificed.

So where’s the payout? How will you be rewarded for such a sacrifice? If uniqueness is sacrificed, wouldn’t you experience a decline in your experience of enjoyment? No, not necessarily. Because the gods look favorably upon virgin sacrifices, when they’re done right. Ask any Mayan and he will tell you so.

The payout comes from the uniqueness of the taste sensation itself. Remember, this is your favorite food. It’s your favorite because the taste of it stimulates very unique patterns of energy for your mind to perceive. These unique patterns of energy more than offset the decline in natural uniqueness caused by your mind’s focus.

In other words, you invest uniqueness by sacrificing it through focus. But you receive uniqueness back, from the stimulus pattern that your focus causes your mind to perceive. When you receive more uniqueness back than what you invested, you experience pleasure.

But if your investment goes bad and you receive less uniqueness back than what you invested, you experience displeasure. The displeasure will be in the form of discomfort. Or even outright pain (if your investment turns out to be really bad—such as if you bought the Brooklyn Bridge).

But of course, you are wise and have made a good investment. After all, how could an investment in chocolate éclairs smothered in sautéed escargot possibly go bad?

How?! I’ll tell you how! Let me assume the place of your broker for a moment, and give you a little investment advice:

Buy low and sell high.

Here’s a few things that could go wrong with your dessert dish decision. First, let’s say a tinge of the sautéed escargot is so strong that it captures a little too much of your focus. This will cause you to buy high. This is because it will cause you to sacrifice a little too much of your natural uniqueness. Meanwhile, the uniqueness produced from the taste sensation may not be sufficient to offset the high amount of sacrificed natural uniqueness. So you will, in effect, sell low, by getting back less uniqueness than what you invested.

And this will cause you to feel displeasure from the taste. In fact, it will feel kind of like you just stuck your fork down your throat. You will gag like a cattle rustler at a lynching. A lovely sight for the other diners at your table.

Another thing that could go wrong would be if you ate your favorite dessert dish every day, day after day. Over time you would become so familiar with the taste, that it would grow less and less unique to you. Finally, it would begin producing less uniqueness than the amount of natural uniqueness you’d be sacrificing from your focus. And so you would begin to dislike the taste of your once-favorite dish.

And so it is with all pleasure. The patterns your mind perceives must be unique. And they must not be so strong that they sacrifice more of the uniqueness you naturally possess, than the uniqueness that they produce.

For instance, if you set your lawn on fire with gasoline, unique patterns will be created for your mind to perceive. But you may also worry over the damage the fire is causing (or may cause, if it spreads). Emotional worry is caused by strong mental focus. Such focus causes a sacrifice of so much of your uniqueness, that it decreases the amount of overall uniqueness you are able to experience. This is bad news for pyromaniacs, and it’s probably why they only set other people’s property on fire.

I have compared pain and pleasure with the sacrifice of virgins, and with investment strategy. Therefore I am going to dub this theory, Virgin Investment Theory. Virgin Investment Theory states the following:

The uniqueness that you naturally experience, without focus, is as precious as a young virgin. Do not sacrifice it without making sure you get something really good in return. Be a wise investor by buying low and selling high. Ideally, try to invest small amounts of your natural uniqueness, through lightly-applied focus, while receiving large amounts of produced uniqueness in return. But if you must buy high, then try to sell even higher.

Does it sound too good to be true, to be able to invest a small amount of natural uniqueness, through lightly-applied focus, while receiving large amounts of produced uniqueness in return? Well, maybe so if you’re focusing real hard on the words of this book. That is why I’ve tried to interject some entertainment value in this treatise. I know that focusing hard is just like buying high. You’re investing a lot of mental energy, and this loss of your natural uniqueness may hurt a little. Maybe it gives you a headache. So by interjecting some entertainment value, I hope that at least you will sell high as well. If you receive more uniqueness from the entertainment value, than the natural uniqueness you are losing from focus, then although you are buying high, at least you are selling higher.

And I also hope that the long-term value from this initial high investment of focus will pay dividends to you for years to come. I hope the information in this book will steer you into avenues that lead you to ever-burgeoning payouts of more and more uniqueness and enjoyment, for the remainder of your days in this world. And if it does, you will over the long run have bought relatively low and sold relatively high.

But screw that. There are more immediate rewards available for you right at this very moment. Wonderful bountiful rewards that will produce an avalanche of uniqueness from very little investment in focus. All you have to do is set this book down and reach over to where that little flat rectangular thing is sitting near you. Yeah, that’s it.

Your TV controller.

Now turn on the boob tube and channel surf until you’ve found something really cool, like the Cartoon Network. Now you can kick back, and for the teeniest price of a tiny smidgen of focus, all kinds of unique patterns of entertainment will blare your way.

It won’t pay out in long-term dividends, but the short-term dividends will feel really good. Because you are buying low and selling out high.

What the hell. I myself have invested quite a chunk of my focus into writing this chapter. I need a break. No one’s going to buy this book anyways. It’s not like I’m gonna get a big return from my investment. So I think I’m going to do the same thing. It’s off to the cartoon channel I go! “Honey, can you fetch me a root beer!”

[We now pause for a word from our sponsors. Please tune in tomorrow, when SpongeBob SquarePants will teach us how our minds produce both pleasurable and painful emotions.]

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Chasing Unicorns: Chapter 4, Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 4

Tap cover, to read.

This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!

RECAP: Yesterday we learned that pain is caused by a sudden decline in your experience of uniqueness. This can occur when a fat person steps on your toe, sending powerful signals to your brain, forcing it to focus on a narrow array of stimuli.

Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 4

Pain and Your Relatives

Really, pain is just a relative experience. When your mind knows that it can experience more life than it is currently experiencing, then it will be dissatisfied. For instance, would you want to lie on a bed of pebbles if an empty hammock connected to two shade trees was swinging in the breeze right next to you? If you’re like normal folks, your mind would gravitate toward the hammock, because it promises more life than the pebbles. Therefore, it would be dissatisfied with lying on rocky ground.

A small amount of dissatisfaction is felt as discomfort. But a large amount of dissatisfaction is felt as pain.

When you think about the relative nature of pain, you can understand why pain throbs. Pain cannot be felt constantly. Pay attention the next time something bad happens to you. Or if you’re impatient to learn quickly, go ahead and cause yourself some pain right now. Be like one of the Three Stooges. Maybe hit yourself on the ear with a rubber hammer. Not too hard. Just hard enough to regret following this suggestion.

Now watch the pain. See how it throbs. It always throbs. It throbs by weakening and strengthening over and over again. For a moment you will feel no pain. Then you will feel great pain. Then you will feel no pain again. Then the great pain returns. On and on.

It throbs because your mind needs continual reminders of how much enjoyment is available, in order to comprehend how little enjoyment it is getting from the pain-causing stimulus. When it comprehends how little enjoyment it is getting, its level of dissatisfaction will rise to the point of feeling pain. In other words, the amount of pain you feel is relative to the amount of enjoyment you know you can feel. And you need to throb to those levels of enjoyment in order to remember them.

You are never dissatisfied in a vacuum. You are only dissatisfied when you know there is something better out there that you can have, if only your situation were different.

Let’s get all technical for a moment. When pain throbs, the mechanical dynamic goes something like this:

First most of your awareness focuses on a small range of stimuli, due to strong signals coming from the nerve endings that have been affected by the stimuli. Since there is very little uniqueness coming from such a small range, your level of enjoyment declines precipitously. Then your awareness is released from the focus. For a moment it shifts freely and evenly amongst all the stimuli in your environment. This causes a momentary feeling of enjoyment, due to an increased perception of uniqueness. Then the strong signals capture your awareness again, and send it back to the narrow range of stimuli, causing enjoyment to decline again. And over and over the pattern repeats itself until the stimulus triggering the pain goes away, or maybe until your mommy kisses your boo-boo.

[I promise that tomorrow won’t be as painful as today. Unless you’re a virgin. Tomorrow we will learn more about pain and pleasure, while sacrificing a virgin. It’s gonna be fun, I guarantee it, or may the gods strike me dead.]

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