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Thread: Difficult and easy are mental abstractions

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    Default Difficult and easy are mental abstractions.

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    That's bollocks.
    What would you say the concepts "difficult" and "easy" are?
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    I have a feeling difficult and easy are more than just mental abstractions (if by that you mean subjective or whatever). For instance, it's objectively easy for us to stay on the Earth. It's objectively difficult to remove the Moon from its orbit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elro View Post
    I have a feeling difficult and easy are more than just mental abstractions (if by that you mean subjective or whatever). For instance, it's objectively easy for us to stay on the Earth. It's objectively difficult to remove the Moon from its orbit.
    Objectively it requires a certain amount of effort to do something.
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    Objectively it requires far more effort to remove the moon from its orbit than it requires to stay on Earth. In fact, I'd argue it takes NO effort to stay on Earth, and it seems clear that it requires some degree of effort to remove the moon from its orbit, so objectively it is more difficult to remove the moon from its orbit than it is to stay on earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elro View Post
    Objectively it requires far more effort to remove the moon from its orbit than it requires to stay on Earth. In fact, I'd argue it takes NO effort to stay on Earth, and it seems clear that it requires some degree of effort to remove the moon from its orbit, so objectively it is more difficult to remove the moon from its orbit than it is to stay on earth.
    Yes, it is a matter of perspective.

    On the other hand, the concept of something being difficult or easy is not necessarily dependent upon the amount of effort required or the complexity of the task. It's one's mindset that determines whether (s)he sees a task as difficult or easy, regardless of the amount of energy or concentration the task requires.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Yes, it is a matter of perspective.

    On the other hand, the concept of something being difficult or easy is not necessarily dependent upon the amount of effort required or the complexity of the task. It's one's mindset that determines whether (s)he sees a task as difficult or easy, regardless of the amount of energy or concentration the task requires.
    So you would say, given the right mindset, that moving the moon out of its orbit is easy?

    I would argue that such a mindset is delusional at our current level of technology.
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    what isn't a mental abstraction by this logic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elro View Post
    So you would say, given the right mindset, that moving the moon out of its orbit is easy?

    I would argue that such a mindset is delusional at our current level of technology.
    Ease is not a thing in itself, but rather the absence of it's opposite.

    To believe that something is difficult is not simply to believe that it will require effort; the amount of effort must be seen as relative to one's capacity or willingness to put forth that effort. Without thoughts of concern for one's capacity or willingness to put forth that effort, it is not possible to see a task as difficult.

    Such concerns for one's capacity or willingness to put forth the effort required creates a contradiction, an inner conflict of sorts. "I want to/am supposed to, but I don't know if I can" or "I want to/am supposed to, but I don't know if it's worth it". The this inner conflict is the source of the dis-ease that we are referring to when we consider a task difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    what isn't a mental abstraction by this logic?
    My dick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    what isn't a mental abstraction by this logic?
    A very good point.

    Another would be that many things (if not all things?) must exist in relation to their absence/opposite. I only bring this up because I suspect someone else may if I don't... but to get into this subject would distract from the point of this topic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    To believe that something is difficult is not simply to believe that it will require effort; the amount of effort must be seen as relative to one's capacity or willingness to put forth that effort. Without thoughts of concern for one's capacity or willingness to put forth that effort, it is not possible to see a task as difficult.
    No... I can think it's difficult to build a robot (or something) but still be willing to do it. You may have a different conception of what "difficult" means but it's not the conception I see used most often.
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    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe View Post
    My dick.
    please shut up and stop blathering your nonsense at me.

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    is there a difference between a mental abstraction and any other physical observation which requires mental processing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elro View Post
    No... I can think it's difficult to build a robot (or something) but still be willing to do it. You may have a different conception of what "difficult" means but it's not the conception I see used most often.
    How is building a robot difficult?

    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    is there a difference between a mental abstraction and any other physical observation which requires mental processing?
    Perhaps it depends on whether or not a value judgment is assigned?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    How is building a robot difficult?
    Summarizing: it takes a long time, a lot of money (relative to most hobbies), and there are a lot of things that will go wrong even when you think you have it perfect. And when you've never done it before, you may well have no idea what you're doing, which requires either a lot of research or a LOT of trial and error to address.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Ease is not a thing in itself, but rather the absence of it's opposite.

    To believe that something is difficult is not simply to believe that it will require effort; the amount of effort must be seen as relative to one's capacity or willingness to put forth that effort. Without thoughts of concern for one's capacity or willingness to put forth that effort, it is not possible to see a task as difficult.

    Such concerns for one's capacity or willingness to put forth the effort required creates a contradiction, an inner conflict of sorts. "I want to/am supposed to, but I don't know if I can" or "I want to/am supposed to, but I don't know if it's worth it". The this inner conflict is the source of the dis-ease that we are referring to when we consider a task difficult.
    Usually, believing something is difficult or easy reflects reality - which is healthy IMO. Say you were to manage to get yourself to believe that it would be easy for you to break the world record in a swimming event. Most likely, you'd be a physical wreck at the end of it - because it would still be extremely difficult for your body (assuming you're not a world-champion swimmer ), regardless of whether or not your mind is telling you it's easy. I do think you can psych yourself out though too - if your mind is telling you that something is more difficult than it actually is. So ideally, your beliefs should reflect reality IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Perhaps it depends on whether or not a value judgment is assigned?
    why does that make a difference?


    for example, if i hold up a piece of paper which says "paper" on it, is reading it and determining that it is a piece of paper a mental abstraction or not?

    it's a fairly unambiguous task, but it would seem to require a rather large amount of mental cognition to process. you need to be able to see and determine that the squiggles on the paper have some meaning.

    does it involve mental abstraction? is it a value judgment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elro View Post
    Summarizing: it takes a long time, a lot of money (relative to most hobbies), and there are a lot of things that will go wrong even when you think you have it perfect. And when you've never done it before, you may well have no idea what you're doing, which requires either a lot of research or a LOT of trial and error to address.
    The things you describe involve relative amounts of effort and complexity. Knowing that something will require a lot of time, effort, and attention is not the same as thinking of it as a difficult project. If you don't worry yourself over whether or not you can/will complete the project and simply enjoy the process, you will approach the project with ease every step of the way, even after months of trial and error. It will be fun, not frustrating or troubling.

    It's the difference between "this is going to require a lot of time, effort, and attention" and "this is going to be hard/difficult". One is an objective evaluation, the other a subjective judgment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jem View Post
    Usually, believing something is difficult or easy reflects reality - which is healthy IMO. Say you were to manage to get yourself to believe that it would be easy for you to break the world record in a swimming event. Most likely, you'd be a physical wreck at the end of it - because it would still be extremely difficult for your body (assuming you're not a world-champion swimmer ), regardless of whether or not your mind is telling you it's easy. I do think you can psych yourself out though too - if your mind is telling you that something is more difficult than it actually is. So ideally, your beliefs should reflect reality IMO.
    Having a realistic expectation of the amount of effort required to complete a task is a different matter, as I described above.

    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    why does that make a difference?


    for example, if i hold up a piece of paper which says "paper" on it, is reading it and determining that it is a piece of paper a mental abstraction or not?

    it's a fairly unambiguous task, but it would seem to require a rather large amount of mental cognition to process. you need to be able to see and determine that the squiggles on the paper have some meaning.

    does it involve mental abstraction? is it a value judgment?
    I suppose anything we perceive or process is a mental abstraction. Some things are abstracted further than others though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    The things you describe involve relative amounts of effort and complexity. Knowing that something will require a lot of time, effort, and attention is not the same as thinking of it as a difficult project. If you don't worry yourself over whether or not you can/will complete the project and simply enjoy the process, you will approach the project with ease every step of the way, even after months of trial and error. It will be fun, not frustrating or troubling.

    It's the difference between "this is going to require a lot of time, effort, and attention" and "this is going to be hard/difficult". One is an objective evaluation, the other a subjective judgment.
    Please give me an example of something that will require a lot of time, effort, and attention that would not be considered hard or difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elro View Post
    Please give me an example of something that will require a lot of time, effort, and attention that would not be considered hard or difficult.
    It's personal. The whole point is that the same task completed under the same circumstances can be difficult from one perspective and easy from another.
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    *headdesk at Joy bringing motivational catch phrases into grandiose philosophical context*
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    I suppose anything we perceive or process is a mental abstraction. Some things are abstracted further than others though.
    what does that mean?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    It's personal. The whole point is that the same task completed under the same circumstances can be difficult from one perspective and easy from another.
    Sounds like just meaningless labels that have no bearing on reality to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifmd95 View Post
    In spite of said difference, it is generally more likely for "objectively difficult" projects (as described by Elro) to "kick back" with something unplanned for, in spite of one's confidence in aligning their preferences with task at hand.
    Of course. That's just part of the trial and error that is necessary in order to move forward and eventually succeed. A person who is approaching the situation with ease will remain undaunted. A person who is not will be frustrated, disheartened, angry, or otherwise distressed and may even be tempted to give up, allowing an error to become failure.

    At the very least, there is always that worst case where your sustenance could become jeopardized by mishap. And I know very few subjectively satiated people without food and shelter (although in a world of billions of diverse individual preferences, I'm sure you could find some.)
    That's a different subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Of course. That's just part of the trial and error that is necessary in order to move forward and eventually succeed. A person who is approaching the situation with ease will remain undaunted. A person who is not will be frustrated, disheartened, angry, or otherwise distressed and may even be tempted to give up, allowing an error to become failure.
    You seem to be taking it for granted that the situation will be under your control. What if a bunch of problems arose simultaneously that you were physically/mentally/emotionally incapable of dealing with at once? How would you approach them 'with ease'?
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    i'm okay with it.

    i'm going to be the pirate king. i've decided it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    *headdesk at Joy bringing motivational catch phrases into grandiose philosophical context*
    i don't understand why thats a *headdesk* or why you cant bring anything you want into philosophical context. or why it has to be considered grandiose. (nice word though)
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    I just think it's a massive stretch to take something from a self-help book and pretend like it's applicable to reality in every situation.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    please shut up and stop blathering your nonsense at me.
    No.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I just think it's a massive stretch to take something from a self-help book and pretend like it's applicable to reality in every situation.
    if its helping oneself, why not run with it? /shrug
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khamelion View Post
    if its helping oneself, why not run with it? /shrug
    I mean it's not particularly reprehensible or anything; I just think it's pretty obviously taking the idea out of its league.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    it is for some people.
    really enjoying joys dear abbey moments here
    INTp

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    huh?
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  34. #34

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    It seems like you are trying to view "difficult" things in a way that makes them easier to accomplish. Why should it matter at all? One can act proactively without consciously thinking about the difficulty involved while still taking into consideration the steps necessary to complete the task. It seems like this is a thought that is looking for an excuse to exist rather than something that is truly beneficial or necessary.
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