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The natural tragedy – and how to deal with overwhelming stress


are you able to back those claims up with any proof?


These kinds of claims are rather difficult to back up with anything tangible, given the difficulty of looking into someone else’s mind. I suspect there are research papers I could point towards if I went looking, though. In any case, the claims I made are based on my own personal experience in dealing with my own mind. So, the only thing I can offer right now, is more details about that experience. Hopefully it’s close enough to your experience, that you can get something out of it.

A few years ago, I was quite literally a mess. It wasn’t overtly visible, so I avoided ending up in psychiatric care, but I most definitely wasn’t feeling good most of the time. I suspect I’d have gotten diagnosed with at least Avoidant Personality Disorder if I’d seen a shrink at the time. It was bad enough that I was having significant issues staying motivated on any larger tasks long enough to finish them without external pressure.

Since then, I’ve gradually changed my mental habits and beliefs enough that I’m now feeling good most of the time. I can’t say it was easy or fast, but it is possible. I also no longer have significant problems with motivation when doing larger tasks.

Most of the difference is due to removing beliefs that led me to think discouraging things about myself. Beliefs like “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not capable”, “I’m not important”, “I’m powerless”, “I’m not safe unless I do things perfectly” and so on. Most of those were unconscious, as in, I wasn’t aware I believed them. In fact, I was actively trying to deny I believed them due to the “I’m not safe unless I do things perfectly” belief.

Now that I’ve removed the beliefs I listed above and quite a few others, I find myself feeling good, most of the time. However, the most time consuming part of the process of removing the harmful beliefs is figuring out what they are. Once you can grasp the belief, you can look at it, re-evaluate it and once you locate the false premise that led to the belief and understand why it’s false, the belief is gone.

Also, it’s possible that the meaning of the word belief, in my explanation above, is somewhat different from how you’re used to interpreting the word. So, if parts of the explanation seem weird, it might help to try to see if there’s an alternative interpretation of the word “belief” that fixes the weirdness.


sure, i know what you mean.

i would say 2009-2014 were my worst years, 2015 was still quite a struggle, and i begin to feel more confident since 2016.

but its far away from what i would call good.

its more l learned to live in this mess. sure there are sets of belief which have a great impact on how you react to the things around you, and what you think is important for you. but basically i think life is just fun as long as you are a child. for every grown up life is rarly fun. captialism might have an impact for sure.

i rarly see happy people, most people seem to be starring at their smartphone and even if they dont i almost never see somebody laughing.

also i mostly know people who became a slave to the system, they work in their 9-5 job to serve a family they dont like, or they live in an alcoholic or drug desaster. seems there is hardly anything between.
oh, i forgot the working singles, that watch dull TV and play boring computer games in their free time. thats also no fun either, sorry.


I think it’s mostly a question of how much you follow your fears vs how much you follow your inner self. In other words, you can try to maximize your safety and be consistently unhappy or you can follow your inner self and be on a rollercoaster that alternates between happy and unhappy but the bottom keeps going up, so on average you become happier. As a child, you naturally do the rollercoaster as you have no idea how to do the maximization of safety. Then society teaches you how to maximize safety and if you don’t realize what you’re doing, that’s where you’ll end up spending the rest of your life.

That’s quite a striking difference when compared to my surroundings. I mean, it’s quite rare for me to pass a day without seeing someone laugh. Well, unless I choose to spend a day in solitude, which kind of eliminates the chance.

That’s what it looks like when someone is trying to maximize their safety. You lose sight of the bright things in life.


ok in theory you might be right.

but ‘risking it’ as a daily practice is hard to live. its like nietzsches übermensch. alot of people like the idea, rarly anybody has a clue how to do it.

also - you need the money. risking it like the guys who live homeless at the beaches of thailand wont lead to a happy life - propably.


The problem with maximizing safety is not that you don’t do risky things. The problem is that you’ll never test your understanding of what’s actually risky. The result is that your list of choices for safe things to do is always shrinking.

In other words, if you never test the limits, safety will start to feel like a prison that you don’t dare to step outside of. Your natural curiosity will end up more and more suppressed and the side effect is that life will feel less and less bright.

If you let your inner child try things you’re uncertain of from time to time, it’ll produce a noticeable effect in how your life feels. They don’t have to be things where the stakes are high. It’ll allow you to resume learning in the way we’re best adapted to learn from.


yes, it is a myth. and while we “learn” to take drugs against every bad feeling, we lose the ability to deal with it or never develop it.

personal growth is painful and there is no pill against it. either you work through it or you numb it and never grow.

(Michael Hrenka) #88

Lately I’ve been feeling better. I prioritized doing exercise daily, and restarting doing meditation in the uncomfortable lotus position. My new motto is

Embrace the torment that is life

Why would that even make sense? There’s a theory behind all of this. And it’s that ME/CFS is a disease that’s caused by a lack of beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins are not only “feel-good” neurotransmitters, but also play an important in regulating the immune system. It does look like the missing link that could explain a neuroimmonological disease like ME/CFS, and probably similar diseases like fibromyalgia, and MS. Getting the body to release more beta endophins would could the most effective way to address those diseases.

How can one do that? Basically, the body releases beta-endorphins to compensate for painful stimuli, but there are also a few other ways to achieve that:

This is very consistent with my own experiences. Most of the listed things work for me, more or less. Enjoying the beauty of forests also seems to be surprisingly effective for me. From my own experience the endorphin hypothesis is much more consistent with my personal experience than any other theory in relation to ME/CFS, except for the relation of oxidative stress and ME/CFS symptoms, which is also overwhelmingly strong. Alternative theories focusing, for example, on

  • Stress
  • Nitrosative stress
  • Serotonin deficiency
  • Dopamine deficiency
  • Oxytocin deficiency
  • Gut dysbiosis

had less empirical validation for me. That’s not to say that they are totally off the mark, but they are just way less useful for addressing issues than the endorphin hypothesis.

My suspicion is that endophin deficiency is also involved in many other kinds of conditions, for example depression, and is a factor that generally decreases immune system performance and personal default-well-being.


um in der sprache der Mediation zu sprechen: Es geht im Leben weder um Glück noch um Entspannung, sondern einfach darum, dass Me zu halten. Glück und Entspannung sind Seiteneffekte, wenn du das tust, bzw. das Me zu halten erhöht die Wahrscheinlichkeit, diese Dinge zu erleben.
Wenigstens ist das meine aktueller Ansatz um auf Unlustgefühle zu reagieren.

Angeblich soll es möglich sein, diese Erfahrung zu machen wenn man gewisse psychodelische Substanzen konsumiert - rate natürlich nicht dazu, schließlich ist es nicht nur illegal sondern auch gefährlich.

Das Zeug hier kommt (angeblich) einem Ordal gleich

(Michael Hrenka) #90

I admit that this thread is quite a mess of conflated philosophical, psychological, health, and personal threads. Well, that’s basically how it started, so untangling it later on would be untrue to the nature of this thread, even if it was easily or even meaningfully possible (which it is not).

There has been quite a development for me in the meantime since I started this thread in a kind of personal crisis. Back then I have been on the pessimistic end, when I wrote this:

My miracle cheat code for resilient health

The point is that a miracle like that actually seemed to happen. At the moment I’m relatively functional, stable, slightly happy and productive. My situation has improved, but there are still lots of challenges facing me. What happened is a kind of phase change that I’ve achieved by stabilizing my health through a couple of interventions, some of which cannot be underestimated:

  • I’m taking about 3 g of L-tyrosine a day. That works more reliably for stabilizing my mood than anything else I’ve tried so far, including other supplements, therapy, meditation, exercise, time and nature, and antidepressants! Yes, that’s a small miracle, but hey, it works!
  • I’m taking 1 g of Rhodiola Rosea extract each day. That’s one of the best researched and most effective adaptogenic herbs right now. And its effects are truly remarkable. Since I’ve started taking this stuff, I’ve become increasingly robust. It’s certainly one of the best and most effective supplements I’ve ever taken, and I’ve tried a lot!

Those little supplements all by themselves seem to be a kind of cheat code that boost my health and stress resistance to levels where I succeed without too much effort where I used to fail miserably before. That has an interesting downside of reducing my perceived need for other “soft” health interventions like relaxation, time in nature, mindfulness, and things like that. Sleep and exercise are still important, though. Those factors are pillars for solid health and performance, and I’m taking them relatively seriously, but not to an extreme degree. I’m doing pretty fine with moderate levels sleep and exercise with my new “cheat code” supplements.

A shift in the limiting factors

Before my rapid recovery with tyrosine + Rhodiola Rosea therapy, my limiting factors were health and energy (in this context this is a set of “coupled” variables). Now they are money and time (another set of “coupled” variables). The point is that I have a day job from whose money I could live reasonably comfortable with (mostly because I have relatively modest needs). Unfortunately, the downside of that kind of job is that this day job gets in the way of the serious work I want to do that could make this world a better place. And it’s definitely not a day job that would contribute a lot to making this world a better place. If anything, it’s rather neutral. I would be really glad to see this whole business I work for being automated, rationalized, or completely disrupted.

Things would be so much better with an unconditional basic income

I’d really prefer to have a reliable and robust source of income that wasn’t dependent on working for a business whose value is questionable. And I’m pretty sure that that’s a very common problem, at least if people were realistic and honest about their situation. It would help me a lot if I received an unconditional basic income, even if I just needed it for transitioning to an income source that was more in line with my wishes for meaningful work and value creation. It’s those transitions that are made needlessly difficult by the lack of an unconditional basic income. This lack of income security is what makes people get stuck in far less than ideal situations.

Income from donations is the most ethical choice in the absence of UBI

My considerations tend to go into the direction that it would be the most ethical path to try living on donations for doing valuable stuff. But of course, that’s hard. Working in a regular (or even slightly irregular) day job is rather simple by comparison. You need to become a kind of entrepreneur if you want to live off donations. And being an entrepreneur is really hard and time-consuming. Being an entrepreneur who doesn’t pursue a regular business strategy but goes for donations seems to be even harder. But at least such a strategy would reduce the clash between questionable value creation with traditional business practices versus more clearly social value generating activities. Still, this avenue being very hard means the probability of failure is extreme, and only few people are able to succeed with that. In this day and age it still looks more rational to opt for more traditional approaches.

And even if you are successful with a strategy relying on donations, you will still be dependent on your donors and the chance of becoming stuck in a suboptimal state of affairs is still considerable. That’s why an unconditional basic income would be a superior solution. It would create the necessary independence for pursuing truly passionate, disruptive, and innovative value creation efforts. Just imagine a truly collaborative open-source economy in which you could solve nearly any problem with a freely available piece of data, software, or 3d-printing blueprint. Such a vision is just not going to fly if people still waste too much of their precious time in their conventional old-school day jobs. It can be hardly overestimated how much inertia the bondage of people to their current traditional money generating activities creates. An unconditional basic income would probably release more disruption and innovation potential than other intervention.

Unfortunately, in the meantime we are stuck in this situation without unconditional basic income. Perhaps this might indicate that focusing our efforts on lobbying for the introduction of unconditional basic incomes would be the best general use of our time in this phase. Any remaining problem could be solved more rapidly and effectively with the subsequently unleashed value creation potential of humanity (in the big scheme of things perhaps meaning an upgrade from civilization 3.5 to civilization 3.8).

Perhaps that wouldn’t be the best case of action. After all, there are other important immediate and future problems. Maintaining, safeguarding, and improving civilization in other areas is also important. Also, anticipating and preparing future necessary upgrades is something that scientists, researchers, futurists, and transhumanists should really do. Such future-aware persons are still rare, so perhaps it’s not fair to ask them to focus on the next big necessary sociopolitical improvement of helping to get unconditional basic incomes in place.

Simple answers seem to be out of reach. Uncertainty and complexity turn decision making in this context into a really challenging endeavor. And of course, I’m personally affected by this. The future direction of my life is far from clear. Even if I accepted that studying economics was the best next option for me, studying and getting enough money even for sustaining my modest needs at the same time would be a very big challenge. Probably so much so, that it would prevent me from pursuing any other projects in parallel – especially the most important ones.

There might be of course an exception to that. If I managed to find some relatively high paying source of income in which I only needed to work about 10 hours per week, I might be able to pull that off. Earning about 25€ per hour on average would likely suffice. But getting into a position that pays you so much with only 10 hours of work per week, even in the preparation phase, seems to be a pretty far-fetched prospect. At that rate, getting some donors to pay for my expenses doesn’t seem to be too hard in comparison.

It seems to be a cynical conclusion that the best alternative might be to apply for unemployment benefits and do the minimal required effort that would prevent oneself from getting those benefits removed. That’s a highly risky and nerve wrecking strategy, however.

Of course, if I happened to be rich, these problems would not apply, and I could focus on creating value, rather than generating money for myself.

Having a wealthy patron would also suffice, but I don’t even know what kind of skills I would need to pursue this strategy with any reasonable chance of success. And complaining about my failures in this regard in the hope that someone will eventually pay me to shut up also doesn’t seem to be a terribly good strategy.

Anyway, I’m kinda stuck, but at least I’m stuck on a higher level. That’s what progress looks and feels from the inside.


I did expect that you’d solve the problem but…

I didn’t quite expect that supplements would solve it that effectively. Those amounts sound pretty high though, Are they the result of experimenting what’s enough?

L-tyrosine I haven’t tried myself so far. Sounds like it might be worth testing. Although, now that I googled which foods contain it naturally, I found that pretty much everything I’ve ended up eating on a daily basis is listed as containing quite a bit of it. Still, worth testing if I notice an effect with it I guess.

Rhodiola Rosea I also haven’t tested myself, although many people I know have started taking it and said good things about it. My own current supplementation consists of a multivitamin with minerals blended with some adaptogens, like ginseng, omega3 supplement as well as some extra strong vitamin-D in addition to the multivitamin.

Anyway, basic income would go quite some distance to fixing the most serious issue with the current capitalistic system. Money is supposed to model how useful you are to society. However, it’s a flawed measurement and the flaws appear to compound with time, which means that it moves further and further away from being an accurate model. This is the reason we have people who are barely surviving.

I’ve come to think of money as a measure of the power you have to effect things in society. However, in our current system it has a tendency to accumulate away from the people who actually create that power. Then, this accumulated power ends up being used to get these individuals doing things in return for a fraction of the real usefulness of whatever they’re doing. When it gets bad enough, people eventually revolt and use their own inherent power to reset the system. We’ve seen this happen many many times throughout the known history. All over the world.

The problem is basically twofold. One is that the default level of power for an individual is modeled as zero**. The second is that the society allows individuals to permanently trade away their modeled power below the amount of power they would naturally have. The ability to permanently give away one’s power is dangerous in that it allows unscrupulous people to abuse others in weak moments (or just abuse their ignorance) and get their power permanently while only giving temporary power in return.

** well, it’s actually more complex than that, with unemployment benefits and such, but all of those tend to be built in ways that reduce the individual’s power even while giving them enough money to survive.

People advocating for Direct Democracy appears to be one reaction to the differences between modeled power and actual power in the current system. However, it makes no sense for everyone to participate in deciding about everything. So thinking about this I’ve come up with an idea that perhaps has a chance to work while simultaneously giving everyone something valuable enough that an UBI won’t be necessary.

Basically, it’d be a power market. The basic premise is the one from Direct Democracy. That is, everyone has the right to have an influence on all decisions made anywhere in the country. However, no-one is going to use all of that, so to actually allocate the decision power in a way that makes sense, we could have a power market where you can trade the power you don’t care about for power that you do care about.

However, the market would have some limits. Permanent power trades aren’t allowed. There’s a maximum duration for the trade and after that the trade has to be agreed upon again if it’s to continue.

This idea is kind of a merge of democracy and markets. I think the main reason we haven’t seen such system so far is that this sort of a system pretty much requires the internet and widespread computers to be at all realistic. It replaces UBI because you can always choose to temporarily trade some of your power to someone else to get the basic necessities. There won’t ever be a shortage of demand for more power to influence the overall society.

(Michael Hrenka) #92

I’ve started with recommended dosages and then increased them within the safe range to increase their effectiveness. While I’ve already seen serious positive effects with 500 mg of L-tyrosine a day, 1.5 g really lifted my mood floor very reliably and strongly.

Also, I’ve started out with 500 mg of Rhodiola Rosea and increased it to 1 g to see if more of a good thing can turn it into an awesome thing. Well, the answer is yes. :smiley:

Looks like reasonable baseline supplementation. The vitamin D is particularly important. I’ve tried replacing Rhodiola Rosea with Ginseng, but the results were pretty disappointing. Rhodiola Rosea is the best adaptogen I’ve ever tested.

A power market sounds like one of the best ideas to let politics and economics converge in a just and functional manner. I’ve recently noted that it’s quite weird that we have so many checks and balances in politics, but not so many checks and balances in capital. Unifying politics with economics would resolve that issue in a natural way. Reputation systems can indeed do that trick: Explicit allocation of reputation is basically a more elaborate way of doing democracy. And creating money from reputation would allow humans to thrive on doing good actions alone (in theory, at least – some self-promotion will still be necessary in many cases). Modeling political influence as scarce good in the same way that money is a scarce good, is an interesting perspective. That may be elaborated in more detail within an attention economy framework (yeah, we definitely need to work on something like that).

This reminds me of how Quantified Prestige works. You can allocate Esteem to other people for a certain duration, but you can’t sell your ability to allocate Esteem points. Also, allocated Esteem points usually decay naturally, as you start allocating your Esteem points to other people.

Indeed. In an era with widespread augmented reality interfaces, this kind of technology would be conveniently applicable to almost anything. So, the techical boost for this vision is just starting to be rolled out. It has taken a heavy hit with Google Glass not having succeeded so far.

In Quantified Prestige there’s an idea that looks even more powerful than basic income: It’s Basic Prestige. People could have a positive Basic Prestige score. But of course, this is mostly just a technical difference.

That’s a very crucial insight! People want to improve their own situation, and power is one of the best ways to facilitate such improvements.


There are a lot of similarities with Quantified Prestige, yes. However, there’s a crucial aspect that I believe QP is missing. It doesn’t seem to have a mechanism for deciding who should have influence where while the power market I explained is basically built to facilitate that.

In some ways the prestige income will facilitate that, but I think it’s too roundabout way to go about it. The problem is that it’s difficult to understand how it achieves this goal. Power market on the other hand would be rather simple and really help people to directly understand the tradeoffs they personally make when they trade power.

The power market would also have a natural prestige element in it. Not from being a defined element but simply from people instinctively making value judgements about how well others will use the power they’re trading to them. Simply put, if you’r trading your power to someone you believe will make better decisions with it than you could, you’re not likely to ask as much in return as you would if it was someone you felt less certain of. You’d likely even completely refuse to trade with people you believe would misuse the power.

(Michael Hrenka) #94

A post was split to a new topic: Neurochemistry and Stress

Neurochemistry and Stress

It took me a while, but I finally got around to trying out Rhodiola Rhosea. I’ve no idea about the actual dose I’ve been taking (other than that it’s under 4 grams), but it definitely appears to have a noticeable positive effect on my energy levels and overall well being. At least in the short term. This is the one I’ve been taking to test it out.

It’s not pure Rhodiola Rosea, though. It’s a mix of Rhodiola Rosea, glycerin and nettle.

Have you been continuing to take L Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea? Can you share your long term experiences about hem?

(Michael Hrenka) #96

Yes. I have been remaining pretty much functional with one minor execption which is hard worth mentioning. More recently I’ve added Eleuthero to my supplementation regime, but its effect is far less pronounced than that of Rhodiola Rosea on its own. Rhodiola Rosea seems to be the real big thing. Keep taking it.