🫀✨The Nexialist #0014
Neural Trips, Rabbit Hole, Knowledge Curatorship, Bibliotherapy, Emotional Intelligence, Atlas of Emotions, Compersion, Cringe, Emotional Responsibility, Non-Violent Communication and more...
Welcome to this week’s Neural Trip, brought to you by The Nexialist.
I was thinking that this is what I do here each week. In each Nexialist, I try to guide you through connections that my brain makes, however logical or illogical they are. Of course, there must be a lot more going on there in the back of my head with the neural connections, but this is as deep as I can go in my brain and then translate it into words so it becomes at least a bit interesting to follow. I was super excited that I had this thought, and but then I realized that we’re all doing this all the time when we tell stories or have conversations, right? Just random thoughts to start our 14th journey…
This podcast by Kevin Roose for The New York Times is so necessary. In eight episodes, Rabbit Hole tracks and makes sense of someone’s history on Youtube, decoding the algorithms that took him from an Obama supporter to falling deeper and deeper in the far-right rabbit hole. I’m still halfway through, but I keep thinking how many people have this same story. I keep bringing here how my algorithm can find nice things, but I guess this can get dangerous when you end up with certain content.
It’s interesting that when they noticed this Filter Bubble problem, they started using Deep Neural Networks. This would allow Youtube to automate complex recommendations by analyzing other things people would click and watch, including things that they don’t know anything about, overcoming the “show more of the same” rationale.
This immediately reminded me of Inesplorato. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them, personally one of the most inspiring business ideas I know (with an equally inspiring team). Let me explain why: if you work there, you’re a Knowledge Curator. They know there is excessive content in the world today, so they help businesses and people filter through it. “We Believe Sharing Knowledge Fuels Revolutions,” says on their website.
This works the following way for people: you have a meeting with them to talk about your moment in life: love, work, family, study, interests, etc. The team gets together and in a couple of months, you’ll be given a beautiful wooden box with recommended books, movies, documentaries, magazines, perhaps cards of people you should meet. Everything inside has a sticky note on the front, telling you what that piece of content might help you with. Yes, there’s so much love, craft, care, and soul that it still feels magical telling about it, even after so many years, it’s such beautiful work.
When I was there, they were working and launching the digital version of this project, Mappa, an attempt to make knowledge curatorship more accessible. Their goal was to make an accessible service: 5 euros per month. I was in the beta group of this service and I did two journeys. They asked around 30 questions and then suggested a few content journeys, which were accomplished with knowledge curators and algorithms, the perfect humane tech solution. Unfortunately, around a year later they had to close the business, and I really think it’s because they were ahead of their time. They even created a Medium account to tell the stories and process that closure: The Startup that Failed— use the translator on your browser if you’re interested.
Back to the subject: one of the things I learned from Débora Emm, was this knowledge pyramid. We all know what we know (I know how to use Substack, Instagram, how to cook moussaka, etc), what we don’t know that we know (when someone tells you: wow, you’re so good at ___ and it’s a surprise to you), what we know that we don’t know (I know that I have no clue how to ski, do karate or about quantum technology). The last part is where Inesplorato believes the magic happens: things we don’t know that we don’t know. And that’s exactly what I would love to see more in my algorithms.
Bibliotherapy is not exactly a new phenomenon: the 18th-century writer Dr Samuel Johnson, who suffered from depression, once said “the only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it”.
And the entrance to the sacred library of Pharaoh Rameses II apparently bore the words “Healing-place of the soul”.
It’s been around since the time of Plato, according to Ella Berthoud, a British bibliotherapist at The School of Life in London, and co-author of The Novel Cure (for grown-ups) and The Story Cure (for children) with Susan Elderkin.
Just a reminder of how good content can be healing.
Read: Can books really cure depression? This therapist thinks so (World Economic Forum)
I really believe that expanding your emotional vocabulary is essential to developing emotional intelligence, a crucial ability not only to have better relationships with others but also with yourself. Also, it’s considered a necessary skill in an automated future. Above, there is the Plutchik Emotion Wheel, published in 1980, starting from eight primary emotions— anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. I have it saved on my desktop for quick reference. I remembered about it because The Visual Capitalist published a more complex one, based on Dr. Gloria Willcox’s design.
🤳Atlas of Emotions
Last week I got this link in a lovely Whatsapp group: an immersive experience to help you explore and understand feelings. It’s worth taking a look.
The Atlas of Emotion was commissioned by the Dalai Lama, his purpose is “In order to find the new world we needed a map, and in order for us to find a calm mind we need a map of our emotions”. The simple, but not easy, goal of this Atlas is to help us be aware of our emotions. Awareness of our emotions means understanding how they are triggered, what they feel like and how we respond. Awareness itself is a strategy, it helps us understand our emotion experiences. We do not want to get rid of our emotions, we want strategies that help us respond in helpful, constructive ways.
Not all the emotions are written in these wheels, so I thought I would add one that I learned. There’s a word to define the opposite of jealousy or envy and it’s a good one to add to your vocabulary.
Compersion is an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy. In the context of polyamorous relationships, it describes positive feelings experienced by an individual when their intimate partner is enjoying another relationship. Some have called it "the opposite or flip side of jealousy”. It is analogous to the "joy parents feel when their children get married," and a "positive emotional reaction to a lover's other relationship. (Wikipedia)
While writing, I also learned the Sanskrit word Muditā:
Muditā means joy; especially sympathetic or vicarious joy, or the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being. The traditional paradigmatic example of this mind-state is the attitude of a parent observing a growing child's accomplishments and successes. Mudita should not be confused with pride, as a person feeling mudita may not have any interest or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self-interest. When we can be happy of the joys other beings feel, it is called mudita; the opposite word is invidia. (Wikipedia)
Cringe is an emotion too (a trendy one I would say), so I decided to bring this in-depth explanation and some mindblowing thoughts about the concept of Cringe, such as it can also be seen as a form of empathy. In Portuguese, we say vergonha alheia (the shame in the other).
“[Cringe is] the intense visceral reaction produced by an awkward moment, an unpleasant kind of self-recognition where you suddenly see yourself through someone else’s eyes. It’s a forced moment of self-awareness, and it usually makes you cognization of the disappoint fact that you aren’t measuring up to your own self-concept.” — Melissa Dahl, Cringeworhty: A Theory of Awkwardness
Another concept that stayed with me from a few years ago and I had to sneak it in here: Emotional Responsibility. We’ve all been there, blaming someone else for how we feel even though there was no previous conversation about what upset us.
The emotional responsibility “movement,” so to speak, emerged as a remedy to a pattern of behavior that plagues so many interpersonal relationships, that of emotional projection. Projection is the pattern of believing, You are responsible for how I feel, or alternately, I am responsible for how you feel.
The behaviors that typically emerge out of emotional projection include blame, bulldozing, control, demanding, unhealthy attachment, unhealthy dependence, trying too hard to please, guilt tripping, and self-blame.
Emotional responsibility’s answer to this pattern is for individuals to step back and step up, saying, I take responsibility for how I feel. Rather than saying, “You make me miserable,” the emotionally responsible thing to say is, “I feel misery as a result of this situation.” What a wonderful trick, right?
Sometimes… sure. But not so fast. Like emotional projection, emotional responsibility has a helpful side and a harmful side.
Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication framework is a lifesaver. This also helps me a lot when having arguments. Of course, it’s much more complex than what I’m showing, but in a nutshell, it’s a four-step formula. My main learnings were to stop saying ALWAYS or NEVER. Try this next time you go into a discussion and see the wonders it can do.
One example: when I see that you like, comment, and share The Nexialist, I feel warmhearted because that’s exactly what I need. Would you be willing to give me more of that?
I selected a few videos I want to show you, and I’ll do the exercise of writing how I feel under it. I hope you enjoy them:
I feel euphoric and nostalgic with this one. Her new EP is amazing, by the way.
I feel sentimental in the beginning (I was confusing it with something sad, but sentimental is more on the love side, that was interesting.) Then at 1:55, I feel euphoric.
I feel curious in the beginning. Then I’m delighted and satisfied with such a beautiful song and choreography.
The lyrics of this song make me feel nostalgic and I also had to Google if horny is an emotion (the answer is not that easy). The lyrics go as: “Who would say that we could make love by telepathy? The moon is full, my bed empty.” 😏
This video and song make me feel the same as above. Rita Lee was singing: “We make love by telepathy. On the floor, in the sea, on the moon, in the melody.”
❤️If anything made your brain tingle, click like and don't hesitate to share it with the world. It helps The Nexialist to reach more curious minds. See you next week!🦦
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