June 5th, 2003

beartato phd

(no subject)

Had another meeting with Karl, Frank, Susmit about proof irrelevance stuff. My earlier intense bout of apathy and bitterness this morning has been defeated, I think. One of those times when sitting in a room with a bunch of smart people talking about tough problems actually really made me feel kind of excited.

I was thinking more generally about the classical opposition between intrinsic and extrinsic attribution of things, and how i may be a good idea, if you feel depressed or whatever, to try to retrain yourself to more often think of good things as being your responsibility and chalk up bad things more often as flukes, or products of circumstances, etc. Like "I succeeded because I'm competent and worked hard" instead of "Eh, I got lucky" and "I failed because that was a hard problem" vs. "I'm a horrible failure as a person".

Anyway! I realized there's a variation on that idea that has come up a lot in my day-to-day cognition which is the idea of having good or bad moods for certain lengths of times. I think I tend to say "oh, I'm having a good day" or "bad day", and it's curious that I've arrived, through training or whatever else, to consider a day as the unit of resolution of having a "good/bad X". Falsifiable claim: if a person habitually attributes good moods to a longer period of time than that which they attribute bad moods, they will fool themselves into feeling better. "I'm having a good week" vs. "I'm feeling shitty right now" (~ as if to say "this moment").