Examples of Dual Cores

As with all posts in Part III, go read the intro, “Doing Debucketing Safely” first.

Let’s talk about some ways to use dual cores theory, and then, some examples from my personal life.

If you go, “I want to study, but this subagent just wants to get a snack from the fridge, must be different values”, this is doing it wrong. Why? First, because wanting to study is almost certainly not a value you came to by listening to all your emotions and acting on them. It was a default path you fell into. Probably you do not have emotional experiences of euphoria while you’re studying because it’s so cool. Unless you do, and studying is very intrinsically rewarding for you in this moment, in which case, congrats on doing what you (or, at least part of yourself) wants.

Let’s talk about another way not to mess this up.

If you go, “I love my work and want to do some more, but this subagent just wants to get a snack from the fridge, must be different values”, this is basically right, with a caveat. By definition, we’re saying you love your work, so check, you’re doing what you want there. But if you have some desire to procrastinate, there’s at least one sense in which you’re not doing what you want.

(This is how being single good often works: your lived experience will be that both of your cores actively want something at the same time. Which would seem to create a paradox of, “how do I do what I want, then?”, and often leads to procrastination in practice. There is a solution, see the next post.)

Let’s talk about procrastination. Gaming, reading fanfic, snacking, reddit, you know the deal. I would advise: don’t fight this feeling directly, ever. It’s just a sign that you’re not doing what at least one part of you wants.

So, “I normally love my work but need a snack” is an actual instance of irreconcilable values from having one good and one nongood core. It’s hard at first to tell instances of irreconcilable values from just needing to do something else so your brain can think about a problem. The key differentiator is that needing to let yourself think doesn’t internally feel like procrastination in quite the same way, unless you’re forcing yourself to not take a break and the feeling that you need to stop to re-evaluate your strategy ends up making you procrastinate after you ignore it for a while. And, “not doing what you want at all” should be discernible from “I am pretty sure part of me wants this but I’m still procrastinating?!?” if you know how to listen to your emotions.

When I was first experimenting with this, I was just starting to realize what it meant to be single good, but didn’t really know what my nongood core wanted, since I’d been ignoring it kinda systematically. It seemed like my nongood core literally just valued being lazy and procrastinating. Wrong. Procrastination isn’t a value in itself. Rather, procrastination means you’re (probably inadvertently) censoring a part of yourself, and that that part of yourself shut you off in response.

The way I figured this out was by trying to talk to my procrastination out loud, as if it were a person, saying “what is it that you want?” And, to be honest, it took a long time to get an answer. Like, five meditation sessions spread out over three weeks until it finally actually responded, not even verbally, just with a felt sense of like, “I would like friends”.

So, I spent some time and effort socializing, and the procrastination got less bad, but it was 80% still around. I eventually was able to talk with it again, and I asked, “wait, is the reason you aren’t satisfied, because we aren’t connecting with people with a lot in common, e.g. single good people”, and my nongood core was like “yes that”.

I tried a few failed experiments in letting my nongood core control me for four hours a day, and letting my good core control me for the same, and letting them fight over the rest, and it failed abysmally, and my procrastination went up. I tried, “let whoever is emotionally loudest drive my body and choose my actions”, and it worked way the hell better.

Eventually I developed a kind of “meditation” that was much less like the mindfulness style mentioned in Part I (optimized for processing emotions), and was more like, “talk out loud to my nongood core and ask it questions”. This resulted in me learning more, and I’ve since codified my nongood core’s values fairly precisely. It’s basically, “have friends who have a lot in common with you such that your friendship can grow deep and not just be acquaintances, don’t be homeless in winter, it’s fine by me if people reject you as long as you have a core group of people who will have your back, don’t run out of money, try to have someone to cuddle but it’s not as important as this other stuff”. From looking at others, I strongly suspect that this is the standard set of values which nongood cores have, which is why the first post in Part III said, “if you don’t know why you’re procrastinating and you’ve checked the obvious things, it’s probably that you’re not satisfying one of the standard nongood values. Try to narrow it down from this list of things it might be”.

Personally, I am financially privileged, as in my mom is upper-not-middle class, and she lets me live with her and covers my small amount of expenses, so I’m worried more about having friends and less about money than most. Which means the standard set of nongood values will manifest slightly differently in others, it’s just an issue of “which of these needs are unmet, they are the ones you will notice”. Roughly like you notice whatever you’re missing from the lower half of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Also, since the privilege had been making me forget: I’ve been living with my parents for free, but for most people, your nongood core (I’m just assuming readers won’t have read this far unless they’re at least single good), will want to submit to your boss so your job is safe, if you work for someone. One way around this is contracting, making sure you ditch shit clients. Another way is to live outside the system by drastically reducing costs, like by living in a car and getting on food stamps.

Anyways, I still have some issues with procrastination, because god damn it is hard to find other single good people who aren’t resigned to being zombies, who are willing to actually try and have praxis. (Single good people can have their good pushed down if they’re in emotional pain, fixing this is the point of Part I. I recognize that sufficiently much emotional pain can make it impossible to focus long enough to learn the skills in Part I though; I’d guess two thirds of single good people won’t be able to learn it, mostly for that reason). But, yeah, my nongood core is goddamn desperate for friends, and in particular it seems to only actually want to be friends with other single (and double, but there aren’t very many of those) good people who want to actually try to save the world.

To wrap up, I eventually gave my nongood core a name (Sylvee/Fluttershy) and my good core a name (Winterford). Jay is a good name for the system of the two of us, and is what we go by. I found an amazing girlfriend: Storm/Tammy, if you’re reading this, I don’t see myself as being able to find another single good friend easily, so you have more bargaining power than you’re giving yourself credit for. I procrastinate a lot less because of that, but I still often get frustrated I don’t really have other single good friends, and often have wishful thinking when it comes to, “I hope this person I just met is actually single or even double good so I can scratch this friendship itch”.

Next Post: Mediating Disputes Between Cores