Dependency Network Model of the Self

by phil on Wednesday May 19, 2004 12:43 AM
marbelization, self-programming

It's the middle of the year. How many New Year's resolutions have you forgotten?

New Year's resolutions are miniature forms of self-change and self-programming. What I've learned from my own self-programming is that not every trait is worth changing. Some habits are just impossible to break.

This failure comes from improperly placing our efforts. My theory is that New Year's resolutions and other attempts to change ourselves fail when we only target the symptoms, as opposed to the causes, of a behavior. I've come up with a diagram to explain how to go about changing ourselves and therefore our destinies.

Here is a legend:

Here is a sample model of the interaction of various traits:

In other words, not all traits are created equal. Some traits are more like roots that support the whole behavior of the person. Others are just leaves, depending on certain core characteristics.

If you want to change who you are, your best bet is to operate on causes. These are likely to be core beliefs and biases that instruct the rest of your behavior. We are webs of traits. If you make the right change, you can affect the whole system by targeting only one node.

For example, I have an idealism-bias that constantly forces me to be dissatisfied with conversations, projects, and life. I sometimes try to mask my irritation, but after a day or two, I'm back to my same ol' dissatisfied self. I need to go to the source and target my core, fundamental values that I have blindly held most of my life. If I attack a few cornerstone fallacies in my thinking, I have the potential to affect my entire fate.


Ian Paul said on May 24, 2004 12:31 PM:

Perhaps this is why a lot of weight loss programs and such seem to fail so miserably, because they externalize rather than internalize the change. Measurable core-change is near impossible. You have years of self conditioned outlooks and precognitions of the world around youw hcih won't change over night without sudden epiphany or radical event/conflict. Keep up the good work with the blog by the way, I enjoy it very much.

Philip Dhingra said on May 24, 2004 6:55 PM:

I've been searching for so long to find methods of measurable core-change.

I've been scoping out cognitive therapy, specifically J.S. Beck's "Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond." It has chapters devoted to spcifically changing core beliefs that limit our perspective one way or another.

So far, it looks promising. Just being aware of core beliefs (not those that we intellectually believe in, but beliefs that are emotionally binding, such as "revenge is good" or that "you can never know" or "being humble is bad") is liberating. I find myself analyzing situations too much, and I then pause and go, "oh wait, that's me and my strong belief that you should never give up on reaching the ideal or that you shouldn't heed the advice, 'don't be picky'" Just by being aware that I have some belief that was arbitrarily coded into me that is dramatically influencing my life is enough to make some modifications to my behavior.

Cognitive therapy has come-of-age with regard to curing dysphoria and depression. Maybe it will enable "normal" people to enhance living as well.

Evan said on May 29, 2004 7:38 PM:

I arrived here tangentially while seeking PHOetry, which to me always meant a poem by my friends in the band Paul Harvey Oswald but I guess people lamely use it to describe beautiful photographs or something so I have come up empty-handed once again.

I will go change my nodes as you suggest.

narsi said on July 23, 2004 10:31 AM:


Andrew Lace said on November 5, 2004 8:29 PM:

Where can I follow up for more information

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