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Janeway (Alt)

Alternate Reality Solutions

Posted on 2013.08.25 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114
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There are those who, despite all evidence to living in a current reality, offer alternate-reality solutions to current problems. No, I'm not kidding. As an example only, I might say, "I wonder how I'm going to deal with the cost of x." To which one possible reply might be, "Had you chosen a different career path you might be making double your current salary."


Only I didn't.

And the challenge we're facing is in *this* reality.

And so far, that's the only time I've run across alternate-reality solutions - when they're tied to past decisions made, and only when there is an equal-weight assumption that I've made said decisions alone, in an information vacuum (not unlike those who base decisions from emotions, actually). Countering with the possibility there might simply be a difference of opinion on said decision, or that the decision was made on best information at the time is fruitless because how each of us makes decisions can be completely unlike one another.

I can understand that some people flip a coin. I can understand that some people choose dependent upon how they feel at any given moment in time. I can understand that some people choose based upon their belief that something is right. I wish those same decision-making-types could understand that I do so by collating and extrapolating data. (Yes, I get very strange looks at times; "No one makes decisions that way, its just silly-talk!")

Regardless of style, keeping solutions grounded in current reality, up until my own experiences, was the stuff of science-fiction or psyche wards.

I do wonder if I'm better off for knowing alternate-reality solutions exist, so as to incorporate them into my scenario-running, or if ignorance truly would be bliss.


michelle1963 at 2013-08-25 05:29 (UTC) (Link)
Alternate reality solutions as you describe are utilized as an attempt to assign blame and deflect personal responsibility. It is very hard to counter such because as you are standing there trying to figure out how this strange tactic actually helps toward finding a solution, once the blame is laid - "if you had a more lucrative job then paying for x wouldn't be a problem," this is usually followed up with some explanation of how because you failed to get that more lucrative job, they are consequently not responsible for any part of figuring out how to pay for x.

Alternate reality solutions. They crop up not only in conversations regarding how to deal with a current situation, but also as fabricated explanations for other people's behavior. A friend of mine finally divorced her spouse after being victimized by his emotional abuse for the majority of their marriage. During their marriage she repeatedly told him that if he did not learn how to change his behavior, she would not continue to tolerate it. He was informed. He had the opportunity to compromise to learn to communicate differently. Yet when the divorce was final, and she reconnected with an old boyfriend she hadn't seen or spoken to for 20 years, her ex decided she had secretly carried on a long distance 20 year affair. The divorce had nothing to do with how he had treated her.

Alternate reality solution.
ehowton at 2013-08-25 17:46 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I mean we all probably suffer it from time to time - I imagine myself falling prey to it when I'm overly tired; I'm not flawless.

But I think were it pointed out to me, I wouldn't be all like, "Nuh-uh, I'm right and you're wrong" I mean, that would just be stupid - and that's likely where the real problem hides - not being smart enough to understand levels of opacity in a pane of glass.
michelle1963 at 2013-08-25 18:56 (UTC) (Link)

I will sometimes run a scenario in which I try to determine if I could have made a different choice based on the data I had to see if I missed something that could have prevented the situation. However, just stating that the situation would not have existed if different choices had been made is no cure for now.

Something about this topic reminds me of a dumb joke:

A guy is down on his hands knees, obviously looking for something. Another person comes along and asked the guy what he's doing. "I dropped a contact."

So the second person gets down and starts looking. They are having no luck. The second person asks, "are you sure you dropped here?"

First guy: "no, I dropped it over there," he points, "but the light is better over here."
quicksilvermad at 2013-08-25 18:40 (UTC) (Link)
There are times where I'll imagine what I would have done differently in a situation, but then I think about how silly I'm being. I can't change what happened. And dwelling on it won't solve anything.

When I drive, I sometimes imagine how horrible accidents could happen. Like, that tanker truck could take the corner too fast and tip over, crashing into that gas station and exploding right when I started to drive past. Stuff like that. But one day, I was driving home from class, and I saw a car hit a guy on a bike. He fell hard to the pavement and hit his head (no helmet). The car behind me pulled over and put her four-ways on to step out and call the cops, and I sat there dazed as the bicyclist tried to stand up. There was blood everywhere and I was so stunned that I screamed when another car moved up behind me and honked for a long time. The light had changed. I wasn't sure what to do, so I went around the accident and thought about the bicyclist's bloody, confused face the whole way home.

I quit imagining those horrible accident scenarios after that. It's gotten even easier to quit obsessing over weird details since I changed medications. I like that I don't over-think things I can't control. In my mind, ignorance is bliss.
ehowton at 2013-08-26 17:06 (UTC) (Link)
Probably not even in the same ballpark, but I once took 5HTP for a week as a calming agent. Turns out my stress-level skyrocketed. It was suggested that perhaps my mind REQUIRES being able to scenario-run in order to keep me from freaking out. So...interesting comparison between over-thinking and decidedly not over-thinking.
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