I logged on to KGS today, and much to my dismay, my rank was once again 1d (though I didn't play any games). Despite the fact that there are no game records to distinguish between my 2d account from yesterday and my 1d account from today, I must say that I felt a little disappointed.
The disappointment didn't last long, however, because in a matter of minutes, my account changed to 2d, again - without my having played any games. I must be on the borderline between 1d and 2d right now, so the games that other people play affect my ranking.
Clearly, from a logical standpoint, I should feel no different about myself whether the account says "2d" or "1d". I didn't play any games between now and yesterday, so I certainly can't have any difference in feeling about my gameplay. Nonetheless, the feeling is there. When my account says "2d" next to it, something inside of me feels a bit happier. When it says "1d", I feel a little bit more sad.
Indeed, this seems rather petty. Since I was feeling a bit introspective, I began to ponder other areas of my life. Running
In middle and high school, I ran cross-country. If you're not familiar, this basically amounts to training for and competing in 5-kilometer footraces. Frankly speaking, I hated running. Some people talk about some sort of pleasure they get from it. But for me, it is tiring. It is not enjoyable - my legs hurt, I get tired, and I even threw up once from the pain in my stomach. Why did I do it then? It's been some time since I ran, but if I remember accurately, the biggest motivation was my coach. Somehow, I felt some sort of obligation or responsibility to him, I suppose. Maybe that's not a wise decision. Was there, then, any pleasure that I got from running? Thinking back, I think the greatest pleasure I had was that of accomplishment. For example, finishing a race or completing a workout felt great. Because, well, I had accomplished something and it was over.College Study
I have a few degrees from college and graduate school in the areas of computer science and mathematics. I didn't have a computer until I was in high school, but I've always been somewhat fond of math - so it makes sense that I pursued these areas. Why did I enjoy math? Thinking back, maybe it's not always the case that I enjoyed math. I enjoyed math when it made sense to me. This happened pretty often throughout high school and into early college. But I recall having some confusion in my Differential Equations course. At that point in my life, I wasn't that into studying, so the material got harder and I didn't learn much more about that course. It wasn't that fun. So I suppose I enjoyed math when I accomplished something - maybe I felt that I had proven my knowledge or something like that.Language Study
I lived in Sendai, Japan for the 2004/2005 school year. I had never studied a foreign language before, and frankly, I wasn't that interested in studying Japanese at the time. There were some required language courses, but I participated somewhat casually. It wasn't until I met my wife that I came to appreciate some value in studying. I aimed to get into the same Japanese class as her, and studied Japanese harder than I've studied anything else in my life to this date. Did I enjoy studying Japanese? Looking back, I have some positive feelings. It felt good to start to understand grammar, learn kanji, and to be able to understand what people were saying. I suppose I felt some pride, especially since I started learning quickly. But if I drill down to the exact moment that I may have been studying a particular new word or kanji character - was that fun? Not really. It was somewhat boring and tiring. Boring and tiring while I was doing it, but I had a fun feeling later - maybe out of pride? Maybe out of accomplishment? Maybe I just felt good about myself or the new knowledge that I had acquired.Go Study
This is a go study journal, so of course, it seems natural to come around to my go study. Do I feel good about studying go? For example, do I enjoy doing tsumego? I would say that I enjoy solving
tsumego, especially if I've given the problem some effort. But I don't particularly enjoy the state of not knowing the answer. Prior to coming up with a solution, I feel some amount of discomfort: Will I be able to solve the problem? This sequence doesn't work for me. Have I considered all possibilities? Something's not quite right.
These types of thoughts are someone uncomfortable. But once I've "cracked" the problem, that definitely feels good. Perhaps, the more difficult it's been to obtain the solution, the more pleasure I achieve from overcoming it.Playing Go
What about actually playing go? Certainly, I enjoy the feeling of winning the game. In fact, even before the game is over, once I "know I've won", I feel some sort of pride or happy feeling. Perhaps if I were to think the same way as CrazyStone does, my internal measure of my chances of winning the game are directly related to the feeling of relief and/or happiness. If I am very confident in my position and in the win, I feel good. If I feel less confident, or if I feel I am losing, I feel bad.Consumption
A bit of a sharp contrast to the topics I've brought up so far, but suddenly, consumption - specifically eating and drinking - comes to mind. Occasionally, I'll drink a bit, or maybe eat some unhealthy "comfort food" if I've been feeling particularly stressful, or if I'd like to let off some steam. Do I feel good when I do this? Certainly! Maybe having some drinks and pizza is unhealthy, but at the moment I'm eating, along with the anticipation leading up to it, I feel great. It's very relaxing... But in contrast to the other topics I've brought up so far, the feeling from the next day is often not so good. I sometimes feel regret. It was nice to eat that pizza or drink that drink, and I certainly enjoyed it in the moment
. But the next day, I feel bad about the consequences - extra calories, wasted time that could have been better spent doing something else. Perhaps this example is the opposite of the others...
I've been rambling for quite awhile now. But I think I'm starting to observe a pattern.
In various areas of my life, there are many "Type 1" (T1) activities (making up this categorization on the fly) that are:
- Unenjoyable in the moment that I am doing them; yet,
- Bring me satisfaction upon accomplishing them.
In contrast, some "Type 2" (T2) activities that I am not proud of bring me:
- Satisfaction in the moment that I am doing them; yet,
- Bring me disappointment or regret after I've done them.
So where does this bring me? Well, if I spend 100% of my time on T1 activities, I will:
- Never be enjoyed in the present moment. Learning new things, exercising, and general self-improvement are somewhat painful activities.
- Enjoy satisfaction in the accomplishment: When I look back at what I've done, I will have a sense of pride in what I've accomplished. I will feel happy about my past (even if the present will be difficult ).
In contrast, if I spend 100% of my time on T2 activities, I will:
- Enjoy the present moment. It's relaxing to consume, relax, and not study.
- Feel regret and disappointment of my lack of accomplishments: When I look back at what I've done, I'll feel bad about it.
Somehow, it strikes me that it must be valuable to strike a balance between T1 and T2 activities. But what should that balance be?
It's difficult to establish a basis for a balance without quantifying what my happiness is in any of these activities. Generally speaking, however, perhaps I can roughly hypothesize that T1 activities give me pleasure when I am thinking about the past (but not the present), whereas T2 activities give me pleasure when I am thinking about the present (but not the past).
A silly, but perhaps unwise solution would be: Engage only in T2 activities, and don't think about the past. After all, this would give me pleasure in the current situation, and if I can find a way to eliminate any regret or negativity that I'll think in the future, the net effect would be positive. Furthermore, studies have shown a "fading affect bias" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fading_affect_bias
), or FAB
information regarding negative emotions tends to be forgotten more quickly than that associated with pleasant emotions.
So basically, while engaging in a T2 activity may bring about guilt or bad memories, because of FAB, perhaps this feeling would be temporary and the benefit I'd get from the immediate pleasure would result in an overall net positive.
Somehow, this doesn't seem right, though. For example, if I enjoy a bit of pizza in the moment, that's great. But if I eat 2 large pizzas in one sitting, it will be hard to overlook the discomfort I'd feel in the future.
So perhaps there is more to the T1 activity than meets the eye. T1 activities are generally wiser
in that the future consequences - independent of your memory - are positive.
In all of this rambling, I suppose I've come to a rather obvious observation: T1 activities increase the likelihood that I will be in a "good situation" later in life, regardless of my recollection. Additionally, from what I have read about the FAB, perhaps I don't recall some of the negative feelings I had in the past when I engaged in T2 activities.
This argument is starting to tip the scales toward T1 activities.
- I'll be in "better situations" in the future, resulting in more happiness.
- I'm perhaps already biased toward ignoring some of the negative aspects of T2 activities that I've already engaged in. Accordingly, T1 activities are likely even a better choice than I feel intuitively.
The downside is still, of course: the present sucks. It's hard work engaging in T1 activities, even though they will put me in a better situation later, bring me happiness, a sense of accomplishment, etc.
I don't know of a solution to that downside. But perhaps it is best to strive for T1 activities as much as possible, and fall back to T2 activities when I lack the energy or motivation. In other words, T1 activities should be the goal, even when they are difficult...
So back to the original discussion... My rank is hovering between 1d and 2d right now, but instead of indulging in whatever feelings that brings me, the best course of action is to keep engaging in T1 activities, even if they are difficult and/or boring. This will lead me to a greater result in the future, something to look back on and be proud of, etc.
Practically speaking, I should stop typing so much here, and start doing some go problems.