Category Archives: General

General posts about various matters, often personal.

Social networks addiction

It was when I quit social networks that I knew how they’re truly addicting. I felt something was missing from my life. I missed communicating with friends I made, I missed writing about whatever came to my mind, and I was opening the web sites randomly out of habit only to realize I no longer have anything there.

I signed up again a few times because I couldn’t tolerate the situation. I was too addicted to social networks to be able to function like a normal person. The addiction to constantly writing or reading about random things and being virtually and digitally social prevented me to do anything meaningful, like reading more books, long articles, or even get some shut-eye.

I was an addict. Just like a heroin addict, that can’t function normally in society, I was having problems in society. I couldn’t have a focused meaningful conversation with people, I couldn’t enjoy my environment, I couldn’t enjoy the company of people around me, and I was looking at a screen all the time, even though there was nothing for me there.

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A group of red arrows on a black surface photo. Each individual arrow is pointed to right, but they as a whole shape a big arrow that points to left.

Behavioral paradoxes!

I think it was first on Joe Rogan’s podcast that I heard someone saying “I don’t believe in ghosts but I would never spend a night in a haunted house” and that made a lot of sense! Me too, actually. I don’t believe in ghosts either but I’m still sometimes scared of ghosts or evil beings.

A month ago I watched the Nun II (2023) movie and later that night I felt scared. I knew there’s no nun waiting for me down the stairs in the kitchen but I still was somehow scared that there may be an evil being there waiting for me. I know that’s ridiculous but I felt it. That feeling was real for me. I even forgot about it the next morning but I know that fear was real.

When I heard the sentence (the one on Joe Rogan podcast), I came to realization that there’s a lot of behavioral paradoxes in our lives without we even noticing them. My fear of the nun was one example but there’s a lot more. For example, we know fast food is bad and it hurts us but we still eat them. We know cigarettes will cause cancer but we still smoke them. We’re afraid of roller coasters, that’s why it causes excitement in us, but we still ride them.

Isn’t that fascinating? We know, deep in our hearts, that something should not be done but against all of our instincts and understandings we do them. What makes us do this? I believe it’s because we enjoy the paradox and we enjoy the feeling of excitement we get from those activities.

Well some activities may not excite us. Smoking, for example, causes real damage on our neurons, that’s why it’s addictive, and we are somehow forced to do them more and more but one who spends a night in a haunted house is not an addict, well unless he does heroin in the house.

The hormones we get from these activities are so strong that we get eager to do them again. Eating at your favorite restaurant may not be an exciting activity but it certainly gives you a joy you don’t experience at other places. And we remember these joys and we repeat them so they become more and more strong.

I used to walk the rain and I always got sick afterwards but the joy I felt from those walks compelled me to do it again. I knew I most-probably will get sick again but I did it anyways. It felt good and I would do it again.

But how does it happen? I know about the hormones and stuff but how does it really happen when we know for a fact that something unpleasant will happen next? When a child decides to disobey parents, while knowing a punishment awaits, what forces him to do it? Why we can’t control ourselves to avoid these situations or practices?

Life would become joyless, robotic. “Equilibrium (2002)” is a movie that shows a world in which having feelings is forbidden, against the law. Even in that movie the main character does against the rules. What made him do this? If I could choose between a joyless yet perfect or an imperfect but joyful worlds, I would definitely choose a joyful world. A world full of excitement, ups and downs, even if it’s imperfect, is much more desirable.

One of my hobbies is to watch football, the real one not the American one. Persepolis and Iran national team play too bad and they are far below the standard. They’re not even average players yet they get paid thousands or millions of dollars to play. In an economy that most people are struggling to afford their basic needs, they get hundreds of thousands of dollars to play football so bad even their greatest fans boo them.

I’ve stopped caring for these football teams long ago and I wish them lose their matches every time, so maybe there will be some reform if they lose a lot. They get paid by the government. Meaning I,  a taxpayer, am paying for these terrible players. That’s one of the things that angers me. However, I still watch them. I follow the matches, I follow their news from time to time and sometimes I get excited when they score.

I even follow the rivals of my favorite teams. I get upset when they win and get happy when they lose. I joke around with fans of the rival team and sometimes discuss the matches, the referees, club situations, and trash-talk each other. Yet deep in my heart and mind I know I wouldn’t pay a dime to these teams. I’ll vote for destruction of these clubs for a penny.

This is one of the behavioral paradoxes I have in my life. Not harmful so much but not joyful either. What makes this happen? It’s one of those paradoxes I can’t understand. How can I hate something so much yet follow it and get excited from time to time? I don’t even forget that I don’t like them. I don’t like fish and I sometimes forget why I don’t like it until I taste it again so I can understand if I have fish for launch sometimes but I don’t understand following my rival teams matches and sometimes even cheer for them. When they score a beautiful goal, or sometimes when they win, I cheer for them. That’s the magic of football I guess.

Humans are full of these behavioral paradoxes. I’m sure I’m not the only one who experiences these and I’m sure there’s a good scientific reason behind all of these. Our body secretes hormones and these affect our behavior, that’s normal, but it still fascinates me a lot. It still makes me wonder about life and our decisions and human willpower.

Training to be less worried

I used to be very relaxed. I still don’t get angry easily or soon. However, lately, I realized that I’m getting worried about little things pretty easy and too much.

Contrary to how I was before, I’m now stressed all the time about little unimportant details or situations I got myself into. I came to realization that I must train myself to deal with what I can’t control.

The past two weeks were stressful for me. I got in some situations that were out of my control and I was mistaken all the time, day and night. It was so intense for me that friends around me were trying to comfort me and they were worried that I get sick from overthinking.

Deep down I knew it was going to be fine and no major disappointment will occur but I still couldn’t control my thoughts and get rid of the overwhelming pressure that I put on myself.

It was at my lowest point at that time that I said to myself I have to put an end to it. It must stop and it must be controlled.

I went to my favorite cafe, ordered my favorite cold-brewed coffee, asked the barista to put on my favorite music, and closed my eyes. I started my training.

It’s simple. It’s what I’m used to do when I can’t sleep. I close my eyes and imagine bright dots. Each dot represents one of my weaknesses or undesirable situations. Then I create an imaginary box and put all of those dots inside the box. Then I try to force those dots out of the box to empty my head from bad thoughts. It may take time but it’s effective, at least for me.

I did it while I was surrounded by my friends and it worked. Proving to myself that I can do it when I want and I can regain control over myself.

I’m back home right now, at the end of my vacation. I’m relaxed, not completely without stress, but not miserable. The amount of stress and pressure on me is back to normal but I didn’t stop my training.

I have to continue my training and I have to have control over what impacts me. I may not be done with the training but I’m already happy.

Bugs of social networks!

As I’m surrounded by my like-minded people, who care about software freedom and privacy, I’m usually questioned about why I’m not on social networks and sometimes get suggestions about what social network may suit me.

I have to explain to them that my problem is not with a certain network, no matter how ethical they might be, but rather is with the essence of social networks. My problem with social networks is that they’re social and they require some bare minimum that I’m uncomfortable with.

Social networks always have a system of rating and assessment of posts and people. They always have like or upvote/downvote buttons, they show following/follower counts and they rely on people to interact with each other and remain active to be able to keep up with the network and the people.

These are the bare minimum requirements of a social network to become functional for people. People love these and if a network misses these so-called features, people consider it broken. A social network with no follower/following count, no like button, no stats, and no kind of rating people is, in my honest opinion, a true “social” network.

My favorite social network will not mind-play people to compete with each other to care about the following/follower rate or how many likes their posts get; but rather tries to connect people solely based on their posts and favorite communities. My favorite social network won’t tell you that your post is good enough (so it got enough likes) or you’re not likeable (because you get few followers), it’ll tell you how beneficial or important you are for your community based on the interactions you have with other members and real communications, not by likes your post gets.

A social network should be about connecting people and members of communities, not about trying to make people compete in pointless mind-games. My problem with social networks is that they’re addictive and they somehow force you to remain active day after day but my favorite social network helps you be active whenever you need or whenever it suits you.

My favorite social network won’t exclude any people, however it moderates the communities and people. The network, which surely should be decentralized, will try to prevent any harms done to you both mentally and physically. It will protect you from privacy-invaders and it will protect you from harassment.

Networks we currently have are trying to show you more and more. That’s one way to make you an addict. Algorithm or not, the way timelines work, even in Mastodon, it’s an endless scroll; specially if you have a lot of following. My favorite social network won’t give you an endless feed, rather it focuses on giving you a feed which makes you aware of how much you’re scrolling or turning pages. This way it ensures that you’re not spending countless hours reading what you won’t even remember 10 minutes later. Of course it’ll also show you funnies or daily stuff happening to your friends but it will also make sure you’re aware of your scrolling.

My favorite social network will give you possibility to limit your interactions. It will hide you from everybody other than what you choose. You will be able to choose whether you want to be public or keep hidden for outside circles. It won’t make you public or show your existence to anyone other than who you choose. You may choose to be discoverable or not, but whatever you choose it will respect it.

My favorite social network won’t be owned by any corporation or a billionaire, it won’t be forced to implement anything because a player in network or a donor requires it, it will only implement what benefits the members of the network.

Of course not all social networks have all of these issues but they all have at least some of these problems. Sadly, there’s no social network, to my knowledge, that fixes all of these problems. And social networks create communities and not all communities are toxic for me. Federated social networks managed to create a network of communities. For example, in Mastodon, we have Fosstodon that is a FOSS community and we have SDF which is an art community all connected together.

And not all members of social networks actually care about my issues or even care about mind-games social networks play, but most people, I believe, have this kind of mindset and it has become the nature of participation in social networks. We should change that.

Managed and controlled sleep: end of experiment

I’m super tired right now. Since I started my experiment, I’ve been trying very hard to keep up with it and it’s been 15 days since I started not sleeping well intentionally. 15 very hard days indeed.

At first I thought it becomes easy when I go with the experiment a few days. i thought it’s hard at first and I get used to it but as I was moving forward, it became harder and harder. I’ve become exhausted more and more and I tried to get energy with food and sleeping in quiet rooms to make up for it but it wasn’t working.

I tried to save my energy with limiting my movement and avoid hard work and drinking a lot of water for hydration but it also wasn’t enough.

More I went on with the experiment, more I got distracted and I became less and less focused. It was hurting my job and I couldn’t keep up with everything that was going on. After the first week, to better my work quality and prevent damages to my business, I changed the schedule to bring sleeping hours closer together but it wasn’t enough.

Sometimes I would suddenly come to my senses and realize that I had not been conscious for the previous minutes. But in the same moments that I was doing something, I was aware that I was doing it. I didn’t pass out, I just phased out for some minutes. Something like a muscle memory, you’re aware that you’re doing something but you do it automatically and without your control. For example, I did sell the products and did log the record on my computer but I did them unaware of myself. It was like looking at myself in third-person.

I didn’t have any problem driving or eating. Nothing was changed and I didn’t phase out or sleepy. I didn’t notice any change and nobody told me anything so I guess even if there were some change or inconveniences, it wasn’t that much for people to notice.

Communicating with other people was also good. Only a few people told me I look tired and I could keep up with people and conversations. I also faced no issue with remembering stuff. I thought my short-term memory would be affected but I faced no problem.

Sleeping became hard at some point. I had trouble going to sleep a few times but it wasn’t too much of trouble. I think it was the fifth day of the experiment. Waking up was also hard. It was the hardest part of the experiment. i thought about giving up a few times.

I could still go on with the experiment. I still have some energy left in me, enough to continue the experiment for at least another week but I stopped because I didn’t want to bother my business or people around me anymore. Sleeping hours and crankiness didn’t only affect me, it also affected those around me.

Anyway, I’m gonna sleep like a baby tonight and I’m gonna enjoy every second of it. It was a good experiment and I’m not regretting it. I enjoyed it overall.

Managed and controlled sleep: an experiment

It’s been days since I had a good sleep. I’m going to bed late and wake up early these days. I get no more than 5 hours of sleep a day and it made me exhausted, until it didn’t!

Since three days ago, it’s been hard for me to wake up because I feel very tired but then when I get ready and go to work, I no longer feel the tiredness. It made me thinking about how sleeping and resting works so I’m gonna start an experiment.

Starting tonight I’m gonna manage my sleep. I’m gonna add to the number of times I’m gonna sleep in 24 hours but in each session, I’m gonna sleep no more or less than 2 hours. I’m gonna have 4 sleep sessions during day and night so I’ll get eight hours of sleep in every 24 hours.

The sleep schedule will be two hours from 1 to 3, Two hours from 6 to 8, Two hours from 14 to 16, and two hours from 20 to 22. Since the two hours from 20 to 22 I’ll be at work, I’m gonna liquidize the schedule and adopt changes if necessary. My partner will take over when I have to sleep during work hours so the business won’t get hurt.

I’m not gonna achieve anything from this experiment, I’m just curious to see what happens if instead of eight hours straight, we sleep for two hours, four times a day.

The picture shows three people. One of them looking at a computer. The second person (middle one) asks the one behind the computer (one on the left) "what are you doing?" He replies "I'm writing" and the middle person asks "but you're not typing" and he replies "first I have to think about it". The middle person tells one on the right (the third person) "have you heard that?" and the third person replies "strange." On the bottom of the drawing it shows a title which reads "The age of microblogging".

The urge of microblogging

I’m doing backups right now. I take a backup of everything I know I’ll need of my computers get lost or stolen or wiped and I encrypt them and store them on storage I have on different locations. I store copies on different storage to be able to recover my stuff if one of the copies gets destroyed or inaccessible.

While doing the backups (which includes a copy of this web site), I wanted to share with my friends that backing up stuff we care about is important and a must do. However, I’m not on any social network! That urge that I wanted to enter a URL on my browser and type to my friends that they must back up their stuff is amazing.

It may be an old habit of course, because I was microblogging for a long time, but it still fascinates me that I want to share small notes with my friends and communicate with them on a social network even after I have deleted all my accounts and decided I no longer have to use them.

I have considered signing up on a Mastodon instance a few times since I left and some people even told me that they miss me there and I should go back but I still have resisted it. I still believe I’ll be more healthy mentally and physically without social networks. My blog is enough for me (even though I even thought about deleting this blog as well).

Microblogging is so addictive. Whatever you do or whatever interesting happens to you will go online with microblogs and we do that unconsciously because we’re used to it. We see that kind of stuff and we do that so constantly that we don’t even realize what we’re doing no more. That scares me. The urge for microblogging, no matter how wonderful it is, scares me.

I’m still resisting this urge and I still tell myself that if there’s something so important that I have to tell other people, there’s my blog for it. I’m not gonna use my blog for microblogging or stuff like that. I’m gonna use it as a real blog like we used to do 20 years ago and I’m gonna keep it that way. All important stuff that need to be shared with others goes here.

For example, back up your important stuff people. Backups are important. I’m doing it right now and it takes about 10 minutes of my day. You can do it as well.

Growing up to care about details

I have always said that one of the benefits of having an open mind is that one’s thoughts and opinions will eventually change. There is no shame at all in changing personal views and beliefs over newly presented evidence. This means that one who grows up and is willing to learn and understand will eventually find a totally new person, one who is quite different from the past.

I’d like to think of myself as an open-minded accepting person and I totally believe that I’m growing up. This is because I find myself enthused in new things every day. I see I’m caring about different things and matters and I try to be much better than what I was yesterday.

One thing that hasn’t changed lately about me is that I’m now caring more and more about details. This started when I was active on Mastodon. I refused to publish or share/boost any media that didn’t have meta text and explanation. I truly believed (and still believe) that meta text is much important as it enables people with disabilities to enjoy the same experience I had. This was and is important to me.

My blog has a lot of media that don’t have proper alt text and I regret that I published them the way I did but I’ve decided to not do that again. Accessibility is important and it’s just one minor detail that I care about now.

You may laugh but it’s these minor details that make me feel I’m growing up and I wholeheartedly believe that it’s these minor details that change the world. One simple act can impact everything quite amazingly.

No social network presence!

I’ve recently deleted my Mastodon account. Mastodon was my only social network and I was using it since 2016 since it was first started. Mastodon, being a decentralized social network, was not my first presence on social networks. I remember when I was on MySpace, FriendFeed, Vine, Mastodon, Facebook, and Twitter. Sadly some of them were build on proprietary software and are data-harvesting corporations. I regret my decision to join them.

Happily, few years ago I got interested in online privacy and studied it and were introduced to the philosophy of software freedom so I started a redemption journey to only be active on human-respecting networks and services. Until like 2016 which I first joined the Free Software Foundation as an associate member and deleted every one of my social network accounts and joined Mastodon for the first time.

Until now it was my only social network being active. Now that I deleted it, I now am absent from every social network. This has been fun. I have deleted my Mastodon account before and took a distance from social networking and I’m doing it again. I hope I don’t join any of them again since they are very tempting.

The no-social-network thing is good for my mental health I believe. I spend less time on my computers and I probably am more productive and focused on real life and real issues. I also find more time and passion to write on my blog rather than writing short notes. It’s a good thing I suppose.

I also love to brag about having no social network at all. People find that interesting that I feel no need or I’m not tempted to socialize using online networks.

Anyway, I’m not on any social network for now and I, currently, hope I don’t get back. At least for any time soon.

Captain, it’s Wednesday

I’ve been watching West Wing for past weeks and I just finished it. It was amazing. It’s one of those shows for me that I feel I’m actually living among the characters. One of those shows that if I see the character on the street, I won’t recall them by their real name but by their character name.

For example, Chandler (from friends) is not Matthew Perry for me. I know his real name but he’s always Chandler for me. Same goes for Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), and Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels). They’re always their characters for me. I know it may sound bad or rude but it’s just like that. RIP John Spencer is Leo, Martin Sheen is Jed, Bradley Whitford is Josh, Rob Lowe is Sam, Allison Janney is C.J., but, but, Dule Hill is Alex Williams from Suits.

Speaking of other shows, I first watched The Newsroom, and then went to watch West Wing. American political drama started for me with The Newsroom. I loved what Aaron Sorkin did on that show and I got interested to watch West Wing too.

I don’t have a lot of time in the day. Between working and studying, there’s not much time left to do anything beside eating and getting some rest. That’s why I usually binge-watch series. I download them on my phone and computer and watch them before I go to sleep. I wake up early so I have to manage how many episodes I watch so I can get few hours of rest.

It’s been tiring these past few months. Heavy pressure and complications in my life made time run very slower than usual. I think all people experience this. It doesn’t need you to be a scientist to be sure that time is relative. Sometimes I think to myself, was Einstein going through a personal difficulty when he came up with the theory of relative time?

From Iran Protests to economic disaster we’re experiencing right now, everything seems to be falling to hell. IRR was already the least valuable currency in the world but it’s even getting worse right now. Seems that politicians are not tired of messing with people. Sometimes I wish I was living in the West Wing virtual world with Jed Bartlet as my president. He seemed to really care about people.

I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be (Obama said it). I got softened. I now more align with Bernie rather than Obama. I used to align with Norman Thomas and before that, Abbie Hoffman. I was wondering if the system does this to people. Making them tired and turning them to what itself likes. Creating drama after drama, difficulties and complex problems, out-of-touch disasters in life, etc. etc. to make you tired of even trying to change anything.

Here’s my conspiracy theory. There’s a group of people, 100 of them, that decide about disasters in third-world countries to protect ones in advanced ones. 100 for disasters, 100 to control the economy, 100 for war and peace stuff, and 100 for advertising these matters correctly for themselves. I might just throw another 100 just in case there’s a need for another group. So 500 people, hard-working people, that control the world. They ought to be very hard-working. It’s no easy job to make world the shit it is like today, pardon my French.

It’s been 20 years since I first thought to myself when this hell will end and we feel peace and prosperity. Even with relative time it should have been passed already. It’s taking too long to end. Even with the feeling that everything is going fast in world, it’s taking too long. I’m getting tired and I’m young, relatively. I know people who’ve been tired for 60 years now.

I feel like the captain in book of “The Crab with the Golden Claws.” Captain asked TinTin “what a week, huh?” and Tin Tin replies with somehow a shock: “Captain, it’s Wednesday”. I can feel the disappointment in the captain.