Trypophobia

Whenever we feel fear, it means we’re up against some kind of wall … on the other side of the wall is some kind of freedom.
—-Leo Babauta, A Guide to Fear Mastery

Lotus seed head, The Buddhist Center of Dallas – Watdallas

Does this photograph make you uneasy? Does your skin crawl?

Lookout, you might have Trypophobia… the mysterious “fear of holes”

I first heard of Trypophobia talking to a sculptor that I like and how the small holes in his work sometimes set off fear and revulsion in his wife. He even had a little monster head in a box named “Trypophobia.”

Of course, I had to do some web-searching and research. I discovered that the whole “fear of holes” thing is a product of the internet – a mental disease spread (and maybe caused) by people sharing images that made them uneasy. Sure enough, the more I looked at these things, the more uneasy I felt looking at them. I was acquiring my own fear of holes.

Luckily, I stopped looking and the unease went away.

There is some thought that Trypophobia is different than other phobias. The idea is that there is a natural reason behind the fear, that our ancestors had reasons to avoid animals that appeared this way — clusters of holes may cause fear because they share visual cues with animals or objects that humans learned to avoid as a matter of survival.

Is this true? Is Batman a Transvestite? Who knows.

It’s still sort of interesting, though.

from
Are You Afraid of Holes
Scientific American
By William Skaggs on March 1, 2014

In the early 2000s many Internet users bonded over their common aversion to pictures that showed clustered arrays of small holes, such as a beehive or even the popped bubbles on the uncooked top of a pancake. For almost a decade “trypophobia,” literally “fear of holes,” was nothing more than an Internet phenomenon, but finally researchers have found evidence of its validity and investigated its possible cause.

The story begins with the growth of online image sharing; soon many people realized they shared a revulsion that could reach the level of nausea to photographs of clusters of holes. The term “trypophobia” appears to have been coined by an unidentified Irish woman in a post on a Web forum in 2005. The idea went viral: self-identified trypophobics formed a Facebook group, created an eponymous Internet domain and posted informational YouTube videos. A Wikipedia article was repeatedly created and repeatedly deleted for lack of reliable sources.

Four years ago two psychologists at the University of Essex in England, Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins, decided to research the phenomenon. They showed a picture of a lotus seed head—anecdotally a potent trigger of the phobia—to 286 adults aged 18 to 55 years old. Eleven percent of men and 18 percent of women described the seed head as “uncomfortable or even repulsive to look at,” indicating a level of revulsion on par with phobia.

Cole and Wilkins theorized that the visual structure of the image causes at least part of the unease. They analyzed a set of aversion-inducing photographs and images of holes that did not trigger trypophobia and found that most of the disagreeable pictures shared an underlying mathematical structure that incorporates small, high-contrast features such as dots or stripes. This spectral pattern is seen in the skin coloration of many species of dangerous or poisonous animals; past studies have found that most people find this pattern uncomfortable to look at. Indeed, a variety of images taken from the Web site trypophobia.com produced discomfort in a group of 20 people who did not have the full-blown phobia.

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Daily Writing Tip 74 of 100, Let My Fears Rest Where They Are

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Let My Fears Rest Where They Are

Source – Walking on Alligators, A Book of Meditations For Writers by Susan Shaughnessy

If we wait until the fear of writing goes away, we will never write.

If we wait until the fear of self-exposure goes away, we will never be published.

If we wait until the fear of failure can be somehow managed, he will never attempt anything.

If we wait until the fear of being laughed at goes away, we will indeed stall out. Studies have shown that children’s greatest fear is ridicule – not the dark, not being lost, but instead the embarrassment of being mocked.

All these fears are valid. They have deep roots in the truth. If you write, you will court failure. If you publish, you will court exposure. These fears will never be banished. But perhaps they can be harnessed.

More important is that by writing you will encounter inner reserves you never dreamed up – stores of serenity, courage, and confidence.

These treasures will be doled out to you little by little, as you come to write each day.

Today, I’ll let my fears rest where they are. I will write, and by writing I will discover my inner resources.

This is very good advice and I certainly hope that it is true.

About the size of my head

One of the highlights on the drive from Dallas to New Orleans is crossing the Mississippi river on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge going into Baton Rouge on Interstate Highway 10. It’s also a lowlight, because the traffic through Baton Rouge is usually awful and it is often stop and go all the way back over the bridge.

This trip is wasn’t so bad. Now that I think about it, the last two drives I made to New Orleans were over Mardi Gras… and there were a million other folks doing the same thing. Also, there is so much construction around Baton Rouge – after Katrina a lot of people fled the Big Easy a few miles north to the capital, which sits on ground a few feet higher… at least it’s above sea level. Interstate 10 and the feeder roads are being rebuilt and that makes for slow going.

Like I said, this trip wasn’t so bad – no stop and go, only a little slowing here and there. There were no full closures due to construction, but there was still a lot of work going on. Out of Baton Rouge and into the swamps was all narrow, crowded, and fast – speed and steel.

There is no choice. You are rapidly carried along by the inexorable stream of metal, rubber, gasoline, and flesh. Bumper to bumper, going seventy five miles an hour, with cars closed in on both sides, lanes narrowed by construction cones, equipment belching diesel fumes flying by only a few feet away… that is life in this best of all possible worlds. So I am being as careful as possible, concentrated, both hands on the wheel, staring straight ahead.

So I saw it. Had a really good look at it, for a slice of a split second.

It was about the size of my head.

When it appeared from under the giant eighteen wheel truck in front of me, I saw the round shape rolling and I hoped that it was a chunk of Styrofoam, but I knew it wasn’t. I knew it was concrete.

At seventy-five, more than a mile a minute, there isn’t much time when there is something in the road right in front of you like that. It is amazing how much goes through your mind in the tiny bit of time before the collision.

I knew I was looking at a hunk of debris abandoned by the workers alongside the highway and somehow flung out into the shooting line of speeding vehicles. I fought my first reflexive urge to swerve – I knew there were cars right alongside me in both lanes. Avoidance would be suicidal. At that speed a hit on a tire would probably flip the car – certain death again. My unconscious lizard brain quickly found whatever knowledge it had of the stuff under the car – drive train, fuel lines, and exhaust system and came up with the impression of hunks of strong steel about a third of the way in from the tires.

Of course, I can remember thinking this afterward – but didn’t know I was thinking it at the time. There was not enough time. It was pure survival reflex. A tiny adjustment of the steering wheel to put the chunk right there… and it was gone.

At first there was the sound. A tremendous thump as concrete met steel. The amount of power involved at those speeds is almost unimaginable. We all drive that fast all the time – I have to purposefully will the physics involved out of my head – otherwise I would freak out. Along with the sound there is a feeling of a punch as the car jumps… and that’s it, we’re past.

I glanced at the rearview and saw with horror as the concrete, now a spinning blur, jumped up about six feet into the air. The car behind me took a little swerve, as I did, and the missile missed its windshield and then disappeared. That was it… I have no idea what happened behind me. The past is over and done before you even know what hit you.

Then there was the smell. Awful. The sharp acid of vaporized iron and a burned odor of concrete pulverized into lonely molecules. It filled the car immediately and was as frightening as the sight of the projectile itself.

There wasn’t much I could do right away. As the odor dissipated I began to test what I could. I moved the wheel a bit back and forth and tapped the brakes gingerly. All seemed to be fine. I smelt for gas from a ruptured fuel line and looked for brake fluid on the road, but saw nothing.

At the next exit I pulled off and rolled into a little rough grassy lot. I crawled down and peered under the car. The plastic boot on the front had a nice new crack and, looking from the front, I saw a line of fresh scars running down the heavy steel support beam. It was scratched, but unbroken. I had hit the thing exactly right, it had rolled along the almost indestructible beam, avoiding any of the valuable or vulnerable organs across the belly of the car.

We climbed back in and finished the drive to New Orleans.

I don’t like to think about stuff like this too much. I mean, I know I should be thankful it wasn’t any worse than it was. But I can’t help but think about how lucky we were – what if the concrete was a little bigger, or had hit a tire, or smashed a steering strut. I really don’t like to think about that bouncing rolling ball of death that kept going down the crowded highway behind me.

But in the end, you have to do what you have to do. I do have to thank the lizard brain stem that can out-think a chunk of concrete the size of my head at seventy-five miles an hour.

What I learned this week, October 21, 2011

16 Tips to Simplify Your Life (and Increase Your Productivity)

from Tom.Basson

  1. Turn off all technology for 60 minutes a day
  2. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.
  3. Start your day with exercise.
  4. Be obedient to the sabbath!
  5. Learn to say no.
  6. Plan your week ahead.
  7. Don’t answer your phone every time it rings.
  8. Get up early.
  9. Go to bed early.
  10. Eat a big healthy breakfast.
  11. Clean out your closets. Get rid of things you never wear or don’t use anymore.
  12. Stop watching TV.
  13.  Make sure you plan a decent holiday break once a year.
  14. Learn to protect your time.
  15. Do your banking online.
  16. Use Evernote.

Building Three-Dimensional Characters

  • Spine
  • Supporting Trait
  • Fatal Flaw
  • Shadow

I may be a loser and an idiot, but at least I’m not like this:

Family calls 911 when they get lost in a corn maze.

Isn’t that the point of a maize maze? Aren’t you supposed to get lost? I went to one once, with two kids, and it was a little disconcerting – but I was also aware that at any time I could walk through the corn if I had to.


OK, I hate Martha Stewart as much as you do… actually I hate her more, because I actually have a reason to be pissed at her. If you ask me nice, some day I’ll tell you about it.

In the meantime, she may be a nasty little piece of work, but she does know how to:

Make the perfect Macaroni and Cheese


http://ted.com/talks/view/id/961

Uncertainty, Innovation, and the Alchemy of Fear

  • Single Task
  • Exercise Your Brain
  • Reframe
  • Pulse and Pause
  • Drop Certainty Anchors

One of Lee’s friends told us about a pet that I had never heard about. Micro-Pigs.

video

Seems like a good idea, I suppose…. Isn’t that where Bacon Bits come from?

 


Energy, Focus, and Courage

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”

—-Aristotle

“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.”

—-Denis Waitley

I don’t have a belief problem, I have a focusing weakness. I focus on what’s loudest instead of what feels best.

—-Abraham-Hicks

Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.

—-Anthony Robbins

For man’s greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes – obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes.

—-Victor Hugo

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

—- Dune, Frank Herbert

Energy, focus, and courage.

I have a giant frightening project and deadline coming up at work. It has me scrambling. Even though the weather has been beautiful outside, as rarely beautiful as it ever is here in Texas, I have been cooped up in my office cube wishing I was somewhere or someone else.

As I fight my way toward the finish three words keep coming up in my mind. These three words, the more I think about it, are what I need — are what I’m looking for. The three words are

  • Energy
  • Focus
  • Courage.

Energy, Focus, Courage. I’m not sure where the words came from – they didn’t really pop into my mind… it’s more like they grew there, like from little imaginary seeds. I have been thinking about these three words, repeating them to myself like a mantra, until I think I’m beginning to have an idea what they mean.

I have come to the point where I think they all three mean the same thing… no, that’s not it… obviously the words don’t mean the same thing. What I mean is that the three words represent a view of something larger, or more complex, or crystalline – something that a single word can’t describe. That thing, that unnamed thing, is what I am trying to understand – but I don’t have the tools to view it directly. I can only see its shadow – a shadow that looks different when viewed by a light that shines in a different direction.

The shadow, from three different directions, spells out energy, focus, and courage.

Energy is power, power from exercise, cardiovascular and strength. Energy is passion, both the wild random volcanic passion of youth and the desperate focused passion of age, tempered by the terrible knowledge that time is running out. Energy needs its opposites – sleep and rest – to recharge. Without rest there is no energy. Energy is clear clean powerful and focused.

Focus is organization, planning. I think of Steven Covey and his four quadrants, of the important but not urgent.This is focus from a satellite, the view from far above and far away. Then there is getting things done, the minute by minute management of a day. Life itself can be thought of as a string of seconds (an average life is, what? 2,207,520,000 seconds long, a little over two billion), every one a tiny decision, “what do I do now?” Add these up and you have your life. Focus is a laser pointer. Focus is like a lens that takes the light from the sun and burns a little brilliant dot onto the sidewalk.

Focus is saying “no.” Focus is priorities. Focus is saying “yes.” Focus is making a choice. Making a choice takes courage.

Courage is not the opposite of fear, like most people think. Without fear there is no courage. The brave must face their fear, swallow it, feel it, and keep on doing what they need to do. Fear is that gnawing in your gut. Courage is looking at the point of no return and stepping right into it.

There is that moment when you have faced your fear, ignored your doubts, and stepped ahead. That moment when everything is set in motion, but nothing has moved yet. You have bought your ticket, opened your mouth and started to speak (the heads are all turning toward you), taken that step, dialed that number, hit send, swung the bat, released the Kraken, or whatever it is that you chose to do… that calm feeling of excitement – the sudden extermination of fear (how can you be afraid now, now that nothing can be done, now that your fate is decided) – that is the moment of pure courage, of focus, of energy.

That is the moment that life is lived in.

But Jeez, I sure have a lot of work to do.

What I learned this Week, July 15, 2011

While I don’t share her enthusiasm for a certain morning cable talk show (though I did enjoy this bit of hilarity very much) I really like Peggy‘s Friday blog entries – Things I Learned This Week. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I have no problem in blatantly ripping off her idea.

The Wave that Washes us all

The Wave that Washes us all

What I learned this week:

Procrastination caused by fear… I thought I was done with that, but I’m not. I still must say to myself:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain
— Dune

Markus Zusak saidFailure has been my best friend as a writer. It tests you, to see if you have what it takes to see it through.


With proper hydration, the most brutal heat can be dealt with.


Too much habanera sauce – while not a good thing in all respects – will clear out your sinuses very quickly.


From a Blog Entry – Global Weirding Coming At Us All, by Walter Russell Mead (read the whole thing)

Except for some entrepreneurs, mavericks and renegades, our technocratic elites are mostly a bunch of rule followers and incrementalists.  They got where they are by scoring well on tests, manipulating the platitudes of conventional wisdom a little better than the next guy and by pleasing their supervisors.

This is almost exactly the wrong way to raise leaders for tumultuous times. …  We are producing legions of promotion-hungry bureaucrats and narrow specialists with no knowledge of or interest in the tumult and chaos that inevitably rises up in times like ours.  We then place them in large, bureaucratically run institutions and expect them to deal creatively with the unexpected, the revolutionary and the totally new.

I can not say it better.


Kingfish is better fried than grilled.

Wankelfish

Wankelfish