Not what happened, but where are you

My cliff notes from “Simply locate yourself“:

Probabilities of good and bad outcomes are all around us. When we experience a bad outcome, we tend to view it as the way things turned out to be. This view leads to despair, and a sense of powerlessness or injustice.

A different way to view the same bad outcome is that you ended up in one of the universes with a bad outcome — when other universes also exist where things went differently. With this view, it is easier to function without suffering: This view simply leads to a sense of “where in the multiverse you ended up”.

When you get bad news, don’t suffer over it. It’s not unfair, it’s not passing judgement, it’s not a signal that everything sucks, it’s not making the future worse. It’s just telling you where you live.

[I would emphasize, and I’m sure the author would agree: Go ahead and suffer a bit, actually. We humans need to feel our feels, and self-care is a thing. Just, don’t dwell there forever.]

Thought experiment: If you knew you were going to be teleported to a multiverse branch with bad outcomes, how would you behave? Would you despair, or would you gird yourself to do what you could to improve things? Would you spend your time being sad, or trying to live the best life you could given your circumstances?

That’s a trick hypothetical! It describes the reality we actually do find ourselves in. When you end up in a universe where things go badly, as we have, struggling against that reality gets you nowhere. Recognizing what you can do with where you are, though, will

This post is part of the thread: Replacing Guilt Cliffs Notes – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

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