Building case-studies of akrasia

The idea for this came to me when read­ing nyan_sand­wich’s “An akra­sia case study.” I out­lined the idea it­self in my com­ment in that thread.

So here’s the plan:

  • In a com­ment re­ply to this, de­scribe a spe­cific in­stance of akra­sia in your own life. Place an em­pha­sis on the speci­fic­ity. Fo­cus on a spe­cific task, ei­ther pos­i­tive (i.e., that you judge to be good to do but self-sab­o­tage from do­ing, like writ­ing a pa­per) or nega­tive (i.e., that you know you shouldn’t do but do any­way, like buy­ing more Frosted Flakes for break­fast and con­tin­u­ing to eat them). The more spe­cific, the bet­ter.

  • You can share mul­ti­ple in­stances, but please cre­ate new com­ments for each.

  • If you tried an anti-akra­sia tech­nique in this spe­cific con­text, ex­plain what you did and what effect it had. If you have some way in which you mea­sured its effects ob­jec­tively, please share that. If not, though, that’s okay; we can still learn some­thing from what var­i­ous at­tempts to tackle differ­ent man­i­fes­ta­tions of akra­sia feel like from the in­side. The goal here is not to pro­pose solu­tions; in­stead, it’s to see what differ­ent things that feel like solu­tions seem to do to differ­ent kinds of akra­sia. So even failed at­tempts are use­ful.

  • If you tried mul­ti­ple ap­proaches or if your ap­proach re­quires some ex­pla­na­tion, you might con­sider de­scribing it and its effects in a re­ply to your de­scrip­tion of the in­stance of akra­sia you ap­plied it to.

Let me em­pha­size one more time that we are not look­ing for solu­tions in this thread. Please don’t give each other sug­ges­tions! If you think you’re on to some­thing hot in terms of the “kick­ing” as­pect of the Art, please show us with a de­scrip­tion of how the tech­nique worked for you on a spe­cific in­stance—but share the in­stance first. The goal here is not to demon­strate that you have a clever anti-akra­sia tech­nique. The goal in­stead is to see what differ­ent in­stances of akra­sia and at­tempts to tackle it ac­tu­ally look like.

If at all pos­si­ble, please share both suc­cesses and failures. This is es­pe­cially helpful if we can see suc­cesses and failures of the same tech­nique. This helps to bal­ance out pos­i­tive bias and gives us a bet­ter idea of the pa­ram­e­ters within which differ­ent tech­niques work. Be es­pe­cially wary if you have a fa­vorite anti-akra­sia tech­nique be­cause of the sub­con­scious de­sire to at­tempt to change re­al­ity by pre­tend­ing your fa­vorite tech­nique is ac­tu­ally perfect. If you do have a fa­vorite tech­nique, please ac­tively seek out its true weak points.

Let’s crack this thing!