Sunday, October 26, 2014


I'm currently in the process of paying penance. A process that is harder than you think, harder than I think, ongoing and indefinite. There is some limitation to the emotional cost I can extract from myself, but in the dimension of time, the penance may be one I'm still paying off on my death bed.

What makes it hard, is my self-esteem. Part of my penance is to take as much responsibility as I can, as soon as I can to reduce the future costs to all parties. It's extremely hard in these cases to judge yourself on what you actually said, rather than what you think you said.

A self-serving bias kicks in, what I said I have in writing, documented as an objective fact. The behavior is preserved perfectly for autopsy. But I can't be reading it all the time, and even with my powers of recall, I could not recite the exchange verbatim.

When I go back and read through, the self-serving bias still kicks in. Thus it is harder than you think to even read or hear a transcript of what you said. I have read blood drains from the neo-cortex when we hear information that conflicts with our ideology, and reactivates when presented with information that supports it.

I can read my own words and feel my eyes skipping/rushing through, and my mind tuning out from the words I committed that were poorly done. I can read words sent to me, and in the space between a paragraph I catch my mind constructing a straw man opponent of implied arguments, rather than the actual ones.

I have to induce a remorseful state of self-doubt to actually properly conduct an autopsy. I have to undergo repetition to stop myself getting away with rationalization and misrepresentation.

I think its only possible to do this, because for all the flaws, what I wrote was sincere, making it easier to accept the result of the act. I can do the time because I knew I was committing the crime. Had I committed the act cynically or disingenuously, I'm sure the cynicism and dis-ingenuousness would have persisted in the aftermath. I would have been rejecting this penance.

It's not good. A price is definitely paid. I feel it more acutely now than what I anticipate the payoff long term will be for clearing this emotional debt to myself. 

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