What Joe Rogan and George Carlin Bits Can Teach You About Optimal Behavior

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, January 4 2023

Are you an idiot or a maniac? I know, that's a strange way to start a blog post. But, in all seriousness, it's an interesting dichotomy that shows the ethical continuum that we all use when making decisions and then passing judgment on others for theirs. Let's take a look at this through the lens of two famous stand-up jokes from popular

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Neuroscience and Determinism

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, November 2 2022

Possibly the most surprising, amazing, and contentious finding in the last 20 years of the study of neuroscience is the idea that the brain’s decisions might be made up to 10 seconds before person is consciously aware of it. The most famous popular psychology assertion on the topic of free will comes from Sam Harris, who stated that free will is an...

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How You Can Choose to Be Happy

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, October 26 2022

“Happiness is a choice.” If you’ve ever listened to a self-help guru or optimistic person, you’ll have heard this statement. Many respond with, “Easy for you to say…you have ______. If I had that, I’d be happy, too,” or its opposite, “But you don’t have _______. If you had that, you wouldn’t be happy, either.” To many, happiness seems to be a matte...

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The Value of an Internal Locus of Control

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, September 7 2022

There is a trend today that people not-so-affectionately call the “oppression Olympics” where people compete to see who can claim the most victimhood so that they achieve certain benefits such as more power, influence, and control over how others behave in relation to them (full disclosure: I come from a poor background and am guilty of trying to o...

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How You Let the World Influence Your Decisions

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, August 17 2022

“I don’t care what others think.”  It sounds so badass.  But it’s definitely not true in an absolute sense.  I can attest to this, as having Asperger’s makes me act in socially awkward ways without realizing it.  I can’t make eye contact very well, I say inappropriate things without fully realizing it, and I go way overboard explaining things becau...

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Wanting and Feeling Good vs. Wanting and Feeling Bad

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, July 6 2022

Longing.  We all know the feeling: having a strong desire for something you can’t have.  But do you have to feel that way?  Let’s explore. I’ve been criticized in the past for stating what is basically common sense—of course, I’ve also had my brushes with people who vehemently oppose my “hot takes” (go figure).  One of those biggest hot takes come...

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If You Want to Be Happy, Then You Have to Be Happy

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, June 29 2022

Yes, I know the title is a little too cute and seemingly paradoxical.  But the truth is that happiness is a choice as much as it is a response to external stimuli.  Give me a moment to explain how emotions work in humans vs. earlier organisms, and you’ll understand why the title is not a paradox nor a tautology but rather an explanation of—and a pr...

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Own Your Choices

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, June 15 2022

Depending on how you count what a “choice” is, you’ll make hundreds of thousands to billions and billions of choices in your lifetime.  Choices include the big ones like which school to go to, which jobs to apply for, and whether or not you marry or reproduce as well as the little ones like where you focus your attention at any given time or whethe...

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If Your Beliefs Don’t Benefit You, Change Them

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, June 1 2022

A belief is anything that you assume to be true.  A subset of beliefs is knowledge, which are things that you know to be true because you have proven them in your reality.  Ideally, people want to bring their beliefs in line with reality to prevent harm, pain, and disappointment.  However, all beliefs that something is not possible when it actually...

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Boredom: Very Important…and Very, Very Dangerous

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, March 2 2022

“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”  You might have heard this saying, which summarizes well the downsides of boredom.  Boredom is an emotional response to the lack of novelty, challenge, or engagement coming from a person’s surroundings, and it is a very important mechanism for keeping people and animals engaged in play and other activities tha...

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