the illusion of control

may i direct your attention to the issue of control? specifically the illusion of control.

i was interested to discover that this is a phenomenon well known to and extensively researched by cognitive scientists — in short, people believe they have control over things when they don't. (a fun but only slightly related phenomenon : the dunning kruger effect...)

in this article by maria konnikova she writes about control in relation to playing poker ha ha. i met a professional poker player yesterday and i was asking him if he'd heard of her book but he had not. (i hacked the article a bit — the original is here.)

it's interesting as far as it goes because it uses playing poker as an analogy for being clear about what you can control and what you can't — but it doesn't go far enough and it ends up as a discussion about luck vs skill. and the final paragraph is kind of stupid.

for me a fundamental aspect of the work is realising that you don't have much control over anything — far less than you might think/feel/believe.

and every time you find your-so-called-self unable to control something it is a reminder of this but unfortunately people often think there is something fundamentally wrong with them because they are unable to control something they (or and especially others) think they should be able to control.

cf people with serious health issues

and oh irony : it is better to fail at controlling things than to succeed because if you're lucky and you apparently succeed as konnikova has it, you think/feel/believe it's because you're clever or smart etc.

almost everything becomes more interesting when you give up the notion of control (within reason i.e. you're still controlling your bladder and your bowel etc) and watch how things happen and unfold than it is when you try to control things i.e. to impose your so-called will on what is.

i realise this is my thing and it is where it becomes obvious that even though i don't believe in god or destiny or anything even remotely like that, i am religious in the sense that i think/feel/believe that life/the world/the ten to the power of five hundred universes and the eleven dimensions is trying to show you something, or to be more heideggerian about it, things become unconcealed.

and you learn to see the things that happen and unfold as aspects of the question that is being asked of you. it is like almost everything that happens is significant but you cannot see things in their actuality (eigenlijkheid) and their significance/meaning if you are trying to control what happens/doesn't happen and also the idea of not being in control (when think feel/believe you should be) makes us anxious and afraid, hence burnout, depression, anxiety disorder, panic attack etc