One misuse of the efficient Katja hypothesis

Sometimes I have bad, longstanding problems. Sometimes other people know about them, but probably assume I have done everything I can to solve them, because I’m a reasonable person. So they don’t try to help me to solve them, because the problems are presumably incredibly intractable. They especially don’t try to help me solve them by checking I’ve tried easy things, because that would be rude. Reasonable people don’t go around having terrible problems that are easy to solve. 

Unfortunately, sometimes I do the same thing. I know I have some substantial problem, and since it has been there forever, I assume I’ve tried pretty hard to solve it, because I’m a reasonable person. I don’t explicitly think this, or the argument would look suspicious to me. But if there’s just some terrible thing that is a permanent fixture of my life, presumably that’s because it’s pretty damn hard to fix. 

Sometimes though, past-Katja was assuming something similar. Sometimes a problem has been around forever from the first time a person even notices it. You won’t necessarily notice yourself truly noticing it for the first time, and then rapidly take concrete actions to resolve it. It is already familiar. Or perhaps you have had it since before you were reasonable at all, but at every point you implicitly assumed it was beyond your capabilities, since apparently it was yesterday. 

At any rate, sometimes I end up with longstanding problems that I have never actually tried that hard to solve. And unless I actually stare at them and ask myself what it was I did to try to solve them, I don’t notice. This is similar to the error I labeled ‘I like therefore I am’, in which approving of a virtue is mistaken for having it. Here disapproving of a problem is mistaken for fighting it. I am not sure if this is a pattern for other people. If so, I suggest actually trying to solve it.

3 responses to “One misuse of the efficient Katja hypothesis

  1. A (possibly fictional) example would be helpful here.

  2. I agree with Jess, but also want to say that the title is funny. :)

    One opposite failure mode: Retracing broken thought and behavior patterns that actually won’t lead to a solution. I’ve spent years doing this, and will probably continue.

  3. I have noticed this pattern in myself as well. I’ve had insomnia for my whole adult life, and somehow ended up with the belief that I had “tried everything” to solve the problem. When I reflected on this more deeply recently, I realized that there were a few things I hadn’t tried, including standard sleep hygiene advice.


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