agency, patterns, and TBF

I have used the term ‘Tricksy Brain Factor’ in a few channels in this server(/posts on this blog). I began using it when I was still trying to label things, come up with Official Names for things in my head.

I’ve mostly abandoned that approach, but I do rather like this term.

There’s probably actual official term/s for the concept, somewhere, but ehhh.

I brought it up in #TBF by mentioning a story that may be apocryphal; that of the Native Americans and the first Spanish ships.

Story goes, some Native Americans simply could not see the first Spanish ships on the horizon.

They were too alien, too strange, for their brains to process – on a visual level.

But TBF, in my mind, does not merely refer to our brains and senses deceiving us.

That would be much easier, if our brains just left a hole – a blankness where ships should be.

Those Native Americans, though – they saw ocean.

TBF, then, is the process by which our brains disguise their trickery.

Our brains do this very well, but not perfectly.

The Project can be described in many ways, viewed from many angles.

One of these increasing our agency, as individuals- by deriving information from patterns.

#the-whys-of-the-whats, #needs-and-wants – those have to do with seeking the meaning behind patterns. The information contained within them.



This weekend, I learned a hard lesson about myself.

My parents have been out of town, so I have been staying in the main house, instead of the guest house where I normally live. More space, more comfortable.

For months now, I’ve been telling myself that I’ve never really gotten the guest house fully cleaned/organized because there was a mess to begin with, of stuff left over from cleaning the garage that I needed to sell.

But in the past few days, I made a mess in my parents’ house!

This means that it’s not about the stuff, it’s about my habits.

This may seem obvious to some of you, but it wasn’t to me. I’ve even stayed in my parents’ house before, had the same thing happen. Didn’t learn that lesson.

But now that it’s happened a second time- well, that’s a pattern.

And my previous working theory, that I was overwhelmed by the original mess in the guest house- it just doesn’t hold water anymore.

I realize this is a pretty inconsequential example. But I’ve written about others in this server; #the-search being one example. I can find others, if anyone wants to read them.


It is never comfortable realize instances of #i-am-my-only-enemy.

But it does give us our agency back.


To accept that it’s not the world, it’s not other people, it’s not the circumstances- it’s been me, all along

means that the only thing stopping me from taking meaningful steps to begin putting things in order again – is myself.

Our brains are Tricksy, and they do not make this easy.

But they are not all-powerful, and their tricksy ways can be exposed, if we begin watching for patterns.

If we start paying attention to why we think we do what we do, and then watching for evidence that does not fit.


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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