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Addiction to Chocolate [Fiction]

She opened the door just a little. She looked around and realized, that nobody was watching her. She tiptoed to the kitchen, and opened the freezer.

She knew what she is going to find there. She really liked the homemade chocolate her mother made.

She did not understand why her mother had banned her from it. She just questioned her teacher. She didn't think, the teacher is going to call home and complained about it. "Disturbing the class," he said.

She started to eat the chocolate, when the light came on. She looked up, caught in the act, with chocolate in her hands.

Her mother looked resigned. "What did I tell you about your punishment, Marina?"

Marina lowered her head. She respected her mother, but she really wanted to eat the chocolate.

"But I don't understand, why I have to be punished," Marina complained to her mother.

Her mother seated next to her and took the piece of chocolate on her hand, eating it. Marina put her piece back.

"I didn't do it, because you questioned the teacher."

Marina looked up, a hope in her face. But also a question. "But why?"

Her mother looked forward, not answering for a moment. Then she looked at her.

"I talked to your doctor today. She told me, that you are getting overweight. Also you seems to not eat balanced food. Too much chocolate."

She paused, but Marina did not take the bait. She didn't comment.

"You need a more balanced diet. Until you doctor said, you are healthy, no more chocolate."

Marina looked down on the plate of chocolate, and she putted.

"But..." she started, but didn't continued.

Her mother took the plate, and put it on the table.

"After we eat this batch, I will stop making chocolate until that goal is reached," her mother declared with a final tone.

Marina did not move. She did feel her mother standing up. She could feel her staring to leave.

"You talk like I am addicted to chocolate."

She looked up and saw her mother pausing, turning to her. She shook her head.

"But you see Marina, you are."

Marina didn't object and her mother made her way to the room.

Only after Marina was sure her mother left, did she take the plate. She took the piece of chocolate, but then she changed her mind. She discarded the chocolate into the trash.

"I am going to show to everybody that I am not addicted."

She told that to the air, but her pose indicated, that she was really stubborn on that part.

She thought she heard the chuckle, but she decided that it must have been her imagination.

Our Brain Is Made To Understand Other People

There are two systems inside our brain, that make us better understand people. Not only that, we are also using them all the time and without any mental strain.

The first system is called mirror neuron network. Similar to the psychological mirroring effect, it help us copy the person in front of us.

For example, if the person smiles at me, I am much more likely to automatically smile back. To not smile back would require mental or emotional decision to not smile. Or how one person starts to yawn, and all the room follow the example. We probably all experienced the example, where a reason crossed his arms in front of him, and people started to copy him.

Not to say, that the body language is not a powerful tool to read people, but most instructions forget about the part, where we copy other people without being aware.

The second system is called hemodynamic system. It is the system, that helps us copy the feeling of the people around us. It is a system, where a person can feel, what the other person is feeling.

The whole concept of walking in each other shoes in made possible by the use of this system.

We had all experienced it. When talking with the angry person, it is a lot harder to stay calm. But when we talk with the walking bubble of energy, then we can’t help but feeling inspired. Also, happy people bring happiness to the world, by making other people happy.

I had a pleasure to meet the person, that trained this system inside his brain. He called it inner mirroring. The intensity of the connection was really impressive.

But even so, people are different. There are not two equal people to any of us. So sometimes, even if we can feel their emotions, we do not know, what to do with them. We try to help, like we want somebody to help as, if we would be in this situation.

Sometimes that is enough. But sometimes it isn’t.

Even if we are naturally equipped with all the tools to understand each other, it is not a easy road. But rest assure, some of it happens whatever we like it or not.

Why Conflicts Are Good?

The conflicts can leave people exhausted, angry, sometimes even feeling a lot worse, that they would otherwise felt. They require energy and sometimes nothing is accomplished.

There are also other kind of conflicts, where opinions fly and and new ideas are created. Where listening the the opposite site makes the brain woke like a well oiled machine and where we can leave on the end recharged and full of energy.

But the world needs conflicts in order to progress. The less people conform to their ways. the more people express their own thinking, the more can we achieve as a society.

Some of the great advancements had come in the wake of greatest conflicts.

There would be no nuclear energy without the second world war. The advancement, that was inputted in creation of the nuclear bomb, was then a foundation in creating first nuclear reactors in the 50’. The nuclear power was for the long time the cleanest power, that also brought profit. It might be in decline now, since we found or improved other green energies. But the greenhouse effect would be even bigger, if that wouldn’t have happened.

The World Wars, first and the seconds, brought opportunities for women to also work in the jobs, that were traditionally male jobs. With the lose of the male work force during the wartime, the woman took their jobs. That eventually lead to some countries legalizing equal rights in the working field.

Lets look at the more recent example. After a woman was raped and killed in india, a protests started. Or the Arab spring revolution. The protests in Greek. And many more. These protests have the possibility to change something. Some of them will not bring change. But their voices is going to be heard. On the end, if their wish is progression twordwards better and sustainable society, they will get their wish eventually.

Some of these conflict brought even deaths to people. But they benefited the society as a whole. Most of the conflict in our lives are not as wide scale as these are, but are just as important.

Standing up the the person, that is suppressing the talents of everybody around them. Letting your opinion be heard, since it just might be the spark, to let somebody change their mind as well.

On the end, change will come whatever we want it or not. Is it not better if our voices can be heard, even if it leads to the conflict? The end result will probably be better, than if we let people suppress our opinions. Or even do it ourselves.

We Have Two Types Of Brain Responsible For Our Decisions

In the recent lecture, that I was listening, I got intrigued by the idea of the two brains responsible for the decision making.

The first one is a task solving network. He works logically and looks out for causes and effects. He looks at the consequences and makes the decision based on the objective facts and standards.

The second one is social network. He cames in play, when we are dealing with people. He makes us get along with each other and hopes for the harmony. This one is more likely to take other people’s feeling into account.

But was was the most interesting is, that they suppress each other. The stronger one at the time is always suppressing the weaker one. So only one can be in charge at some point in time.

They can exchange themselfs, when the situation changes.

For example, a person decides, that he will break up with that person, that he sees no future with. But when he actually is with the person, the other brain takes over, and he no longer wants to break up with her.

That actually explains, why decisions made alone can fell short in the face of other people. The brain in the time of making decision is not the same as executing decision.

But what it really reminded me of was MBTI. In MBTI system, there are two function that enable us to make decisions: thinking and feeling.

Thinking is when the people use logical system and look over the consequences of their decisions.

Feeling is when people try to achieve harmony among people and they take values of people into account.

Sound familiar? To me it is too similar to the above description.

The MBTI also says, that we can use both of them, but not in the same time. It is just, that one of them cames easier to us than the other.

Either way, we have two brains. Now we just need to be aware, what brain is in control now? What brain is in control more than the other? And then be aware of that, when making decisions. Because this two types of brain have minds of their own, and they do not always agree.

Levels of Decision Making in Person of Interest 2x21

Reinhard Selten, German economist and Nobel Prize winner, at one point presented 3 levels of decision making. They are routine level, imagination level and reasoning level.

In this article, I am going to explain the three levels. To make them clearer, I am going to use one decision, but different points of time and people from recent Person of Interest episode title ‘Zero Day’ (season 2 episode 21). The decision in question is going to be: “For Harold, to meet Root or not to meet Root?”.

The first level of decision making is routine level. This level is defined by our habits and our routine. It is the first answer that comes to mind.

Some examples of everyday life would be, what path to take to the work/school. Do we check mail? Do we go to work?

In the episode, the person exercising this level is Harold. When Root called him for the first time, he refused to meet with her. He didn’t even think it through. Just his first reaction.

The second level of decision making is imagination level. On this level, we imagine some of the possible consequences and we make decision based on that. It is decision making , guided by feeling and intuition.

Some examples from everyday life would be what to eat. What to buy in the story? What is that spider going to do to me? Do I to to that meeting?

In the episode, the person on this level is John. When they talk about Root’s call, he said, to not answer it, if it is not him. That he is not going to let Root take him again. Here, John is imagining one of the possibilities and he is making the decision based on whatever he wants it to came true or not. In his case, he doesn’t.

The third level is reasoning level. On this level, the person making the decision takes into the account all the possibilities and all the consequences. Using the preference theory and probability, the person decide on for him best course of action. It does not mean, everybody will came to the same decision, since people value different things.

An example from everyday life would be choosing the university to attend.

In the episode, we have Harold’s decision again. I had written a simplified model before, about how Harold made his decision to meet Root. He takes into the account the possibilities, the consequences of them and decides to play safe.

Daydreaming May Be The Most Productive Thing You Can Do

I daydream a lot. It was my escape, when I didn’t want to deal with the others kids in primary school. If they only wanted to make fun of me, why should I spend my valuable time with them?

Right now, I am thankful for them, to introduce me to daydreaming. I might have discovered otherwise as well, but just a possibility of living a life with no daydreaming is horrifying.

I first used daydreaming as an escape from the real world. I didn’t daydream future. I daydreamed about the faraway countries, where I could be the smart and helpful guy, making sure the hero got to their goal alright.

Even when I decided, that the society is not a waste of time, and went over my fear of people, I still continued daydreaming.

Being angry? Go for a walk and daydream. Dealing with the anger, eventually seeing the other person point of view and then went to the other side of the globe. No mental strain, no guiding it. The mind did that by itself, if I just let it wander.

Needing new ideas? The same process. During the walk, as I let the mind wander, the ideas would just pop into my head.

Being stuck on the problem? The same process. I don’t even think about the problem, but most of the time, in the middle of the walk, the thought enters my head. Usually it is possible solution to try. Sometimes I know it is going to work, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I get more than I possible solution.

The article in The Telegraph titled 'Daydreaming really is the key to slowing complex problems' tells us of the research, where they found out, that doing tasks, where you can daydream because of their ease, bust the performance by up to 40%.

The scientist also linked daydreaming while doing mental tasks to be the sign of higher intelligence. The more intelligent people reported more daydreaming while occupied with easy tasks. Their performance didn’t suffer, even if they spent more time in the clouds. You can read more on Mail Online, article titled 'Lost in daydreams'.

I also heard, that people that daydreamed while talking with other people tended to let the people imagine easier, how is like to be in other person’s shoes. They use their imaginative powers and combine it with listening.

I find the daydreaming an integral part of my daily routine. I take the block of time from my day, just to daydream. It helps my mind relax and it keep me more mentally alert, when I return down to Earth. It is a rejuvenating activity for me, with a lot of positive side effects.

I am thankfully, we are also not in the Freud’s times anymore, since he claimed, that daydreaming is one of the early symptoms of the mental illness. Or in 60’, since parents and teachers tried to stop children from daydreaming. They feared the kids will become victims to neurosis and psychosis.

Here you can read The Telegraph's article ‘Daydreaming really is the key to solving complex problem’ and the Mail Online article ‘Lost in daydreams?’.

Decision Theory in Ending Of Person Of Interest 2x21

On the end of the recent episode of the Person of Interest titled ‘Zero Day’ (season 2 episode 21), The Machine is about to get admin access to the person answering the pay phone, it is about to call.

Decision theory talks about one of the possible processes of decision making. The decisions are compared in a way, that every possible decision is paired with every possible environmental variables. Then the person looks at the matrix and sees, if any of the possibilities are better than the others.

The decisions we are going to examine here is Harold’s decision that lead to who is answering the pay phone at midnight. That person is going to be the one, that have the ability to control The Machine for 24 hours.

First decision: Meeting Root

The first decision, that lead to this is his decision about meeting Root. Root on one hand offered him information about The Machine and Decima Technologies, but on the other hand, his information has the risk of letting Root take control of it.

Let look at his matrix. On one hand, he is choosing between meeting Root and not meeting Root. But what he doesn’t know and can’t control at this point is, if he has enough information to stop Decima by himself.

So what are the consequences of meeting Root?

If he meet Root, and he would be able to stop decima technologies by himself, that means he is giving Root the access to the machine. If he meets Root, and he wouldn’t be able to stop decima technologies, than he is also giving access to Root.

But if he doesn’t meet Root and he is not able to stop them, that means, that Decima will be able to control the machine. But if he is able to stop them, without meeting Root, than he saves the machine.

Harold here played safe and instead of risking The Machine to fall in the hands of Decima, he goes to Root. He perceives the danger of Decima as the most unwanted scenario and takes the decision, that stops it.

Second Decision: Wiring the Phone

At the end of the episode, Harold is wiring the phone, in order to stop Decima from getting to The Machine and let Root get access. The decision about Root getting access is already made, as stated in upper example.

But with the arrival of John and Shaw another dilemma presents itself. Only Root or also John? The thing he can’t control at that moment is how The Machine is going to respond. It can give access to only Root, only John and both of them.

If Root is the only one with the access to The Machine, than in any situation, the Root is the one controlling it. And she will set it free, as she stated before.

If beside Root, John also gets access to it, than there are three different ways it could go.

  1. Only Root gets access. At that case, The Machine is set free.

  2. Only John gets access. Root gets violent and The Machine is safe.

  3. Both Root and John ger access. The Machine is going to start making decisions on case to case bases. It will be unpredictable, but it can go both ways.

As we can see, if John also gets that call to it, than in worst case scenario, the situation is the same as if he does not get it. But it can also become better, potential saving The Machine as Harold intended it to.

That is why rerouting the signal to the pay phone next to John was made.

The Two Types of Leadership I Experienced In School

There are two types of leadership. There are the ones, the good and the bad. There are noticeable differences between then. Most people don’t need any theory to recognize, who is the good leader and who isn’t.

I am taking the course on Coursera titled Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence. I am going to be writing about my personal experience related to the course topics.

In the first lecture, we had to describe in a couple of words, a good leader and a bad leader. Since I am still a student, I am going to present my teacher as the leaders.

Bad Leadership: My Second Grade Teacher

Everybody but me hated the first grade teacher, so they were all happy, that we got a new one. Except in the first week I realized, that things took a sink.

She was a person, that didn’t like questions. Sometimes she would answer it, mostly if it was related to the subject, we were currently doing in school. But for any other questions, she was unreachable. She used her ‘authority’ to put a stop to them.

I still remember the time, when I asked her a simple ‘why’ question, as we were making our way to the forest. Her answer at the time was: “Because I said so.” I remember feeling unsatisfied with the answer, but she hurried to some of my classmates.

She also did not like to see, that we were doing anything else than the coursework, even if we had already finished. We were supposed to sit in our chair and do what? She also didn't know how to answer that question.

Doing exercises in advance of doing homework was also not allowed. Because homework was called homework, and that meant doing it at home. We will also make our classmates uncomfortable, if we do more advance stuff. We should all move at the same pace.

The only time, when we could show our creativity was, when doing art classes. Otherwise, creativity was not welcome.

The world should (equivalent in my language) was used all the time. She rarely smiled.

The Good Leadership: My English Teacher in High School

My English was sub-par when I entered the high school. I switched 6 English teachers in previous years and most of them give up on the class as a whole or personally on me.

But the high school English teacher was different. She would always try to inspire us to make one step forward in the language. Either to be reading books, talking, presentations and so on.

She let us make a choice in our oral examination. We had to bring 20 pages of any articles, from magazine or the internet and the word list from these articles with 50 words. Then she would talk to us about the articles, and then checked up to 5 words from the list, to see if we knew them.

She also made it clear, that if she deemed the level too low, she could lower the mark. But she never did that. We were quite grateful for the chance to make a choice, that we all picked the articles on the high enough level.

She let us skipped the class, but we all knew, that we would simply have to learn the subject on our own.

She was approachable. Most of the time, there were rules, but she always listened and she tried to find the solution to our problems. Even meeting her outside, I could easily talk to her, even given her advice on the path to take for her walk.

She was strict. She didn’t let us slack. She told us every single time, what was our worst area, so we could correct it. I still remember her speech: “But you mixed the present and past tenses again.”

But also she found the phrase for every single student of hers. I still remember, when she write up on my first essay: “You make good arguments.” She also mentioned a couple of times in class. Like she mentioned the good vocabulary, good preparation, good pronunciation and so on, if the people show it.

She also made displeasure at her bosses clearly seen. The book for our second year and our fourth year was the same. She complained, that students would find that boring and next time they better choose the book quicker.

As you can see for my two examples, there are differences. One teacher inspired me to not give up on English, and one let me know, that I should conform. I prefer the inspiring one any day.

If you are interested in the course, you can go on webpage of the course: Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

Why Did I Decided To Try Being Vegan?

Yesterday, I posted the 7 day vegan challenge (link below). It is a challenge, to try and eat vegan food only for a week.

But my route here was longer than I care to admit.

I am vegetarian going vegan. There was one thing, that every person expected me to do. It is what my vegetarians tried to do with me. That is, convince people to become vegetarian.

My best friend had become vegetarian years before me. Worried about the animals, he constantly checked the ingredients and tried to convince people to join him on his crusade. His descriptions were grotesque and not something, that I wanted to hear that much.

It actually put me off the whole idea.

At around the same time, I was interested in how can I help the environment. If given a choice, I went with the public transportation instead of asking somebody to drive me in a car. I never drove a car by myself. If not specifically asked, I would not drive a car at all. I started to use a bike. I tried to use less electricity. I tried to produce as little trash as possible.

But the more are researched it, the more I heard, that animal industry was responsible for that.

But just thinking, that I am going to turn into vegetarian monster was too horrible for me. Bugging people about their own choices was never my thing. Everybody is responsible for himself.

But then my best friend stopped talking about thing like that to me. It was refreshing.

So I tried little steppes. I tried different protein foods, that could be use as vegetarian. I tried tofu, beans noodles, soy noodles, mushrooms and so on. I started to like that kind of food.

I tried vegetarian for a month. I secusseded. I tried it for a longer period.

The main reason is still environment. If not for the thought of that, I would not be able to make adjustments with other people.

There was also the additional perk of that diet. I got introduced to a lot of different kinds of food, I never tried before. Cooking with imposed limitations become a fun challenge, and I had introduced temporally other limitations as well.

So now I am trying vegan diet. Still for the same reasons.

But considering I still remember, how it was like to be pestered by my best friend, I try not to do it. I will explain my reasons, if asked. Usually I only tell the people, if we are eating outside, what I eat.

The internet is the only exceptions, since the people can always hit back and leave, when they want to.

And here is my post on 7 day vegan chalange.

What Food To Eat?

There are a lot of polemics concerning food. Our choices of food are influenced from different sources. Our intermediate family, our friends, the media, schools, governmental institutions, advertisements, food industry, books and probably many more.

The whole food polemic is really hard to navigate for most people. And most of the arguments go into the really small details. How long after eating a meal can a person starts eating fruits? Drinking water with a meal or not?

In reality, the problem is much simpler. We could start listening to our own bodies.

It is similar to the exercise. For some of the people martial arts is the best sport ever. The others can’t stand the pain and concentration. For some people running comes easily, for some of us, it is a struggle.

That is also why some people prefer science subjects to study and others the humanities.

Also, I think the body is the main adviser of our diet. If you subtract something from a diet, and even after a week or two you still have crawling, than the body most probably needs this food. Or you are really addicted to it. It is different from a person to person, so you should know for yourself, which reason applies more.

But after a month or two, most of food addictions disappear. If after that a person have craving for a certain type of food, it is what the body needs.

I had heard way too many stories about vegans, that suddenly craved animal product, but were too ashamed to start eating them again.

I think in this case they would do the most for their body if they did. The whole point of healthy eating is to have more energy, getting more attuned to the body and live longer.

But the problems is not questioning what to eat. There are always going to be reasons for and against any type of eating. And the information will always be contradictory and incomplete.

So try a new diet and see the difference. If there is no difference, that your body probably doesn’t care. If you feel better, that you would probably help the body more to stick to it. And if feeling worse, you would probably do more harm than good with continuing it.

Start with one thing and test it for a month. Subtract or add something to your diet for a month. And no matter what anybody thinks if you body says no, simply stop. It is your body and your life. It is your responsibility only.