On BioScience and Life and Such

Disgust OFF-switch cont.

In FDH-OFF project on February 17, 2023 at 11:04 am

Update 6 on the Fear-Disgust-Hate project

Update 1 established that reading can, activate aspects of the fear-response.

Update 2 looked into possible ways of treating fear based on non-pharmaceutical therapy methods, and listed a first draft of standard-short-text responses.

Update 3 expanded the list of standard-short-text responses based on methods for everyday use outside of the therapy room.

Update 4 established that disgust, although similar to fear in eliciting a response in a reader, is a different response on account of the more social nature of the triggers.

Update 5 Listed a first draft of standard short text responses for disgust.

This post will try to expand on, and hopefully improve, that list using advice on managing disgust-feelings from non-academic sources like here or here.

In general, becoming self-aware of your own feelings of disgust seems to be important and a pre-requisite for introspective analysis of these feelings. The next thing that seems to be important is to not let these feelings control your actions, but rather try to do the opposite of what the disgust-response tells you. Based on these general rules, the six short texts responses can be modified into this:

  • Are you aware that you have triggered feelings of disgust by writing/reading about [this topic/behavior]. Such feelings can elicit unwanted behaviors. Maybe you should try to take a step back and decide whether a knee jerk reaction is the right response.
  • It is interesting to notice that other members of [your community] seem not to be disgusted by [this topic/behavior]. Why are you ? Could that change ?
  • When you convince yourself you’re entitled to feel disgusted, you also tell yourself that you’re a victim. Being a victim feels disgusting. It is a self-destructive habit you must recognize and break.
  • I notice you are disgusted by [this world view], but I know wonderful people with the same view.
  • You feel that his behavior is degrading, but the same behavior has helped me and others, many times.
  • Rather than spending time imagining what other people are doing and thinking, become more mindful of your own wants, needs, and feelings.
  • I think you confuse this [object/behavior/personal trait] with this other benign [object/behavior/personal trait]. Even though they are similar they may not both be disgusting.
  • I understand that you are disgusted by this [person, object], but many good friends speak highly of [object/person]. Maybe [object/person] is not so bad after all.
  • I see that you think this [person/behavior/object] is disgusting, but I have experienced [person/behavior/object] in this [other setting] and it was a wonderful experience.
  • You have triggered feelings of disgust. I suggest to you and everyone interacting with you, that you follow up by doing the opposite of what you are feeling right now. It’s easy to find faults in others which enhances feelings of disgust. That makes things worse, not better.

Obviously, both this list and the list of responses to fear-triggers are works in constant progress. The fun part will be to test these text responses on comment-threads and responses to social media posts that uses these triggers.

But, first we need to say something about “hate”, which will be the topic of the next post.


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