Weekly I/O #25

REBT’s ABC Model, Information and Energy, Science and Philosophy and Art, Space and Time, Epicurus and Ads

Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維
3 min readMay 31, 2021

Weekly I/O is a project where I share my learning Input/Output. Every Sunday, I write an email newsletter with five things I discovered and learned that week.

Sign up here and let me share a curated list of learning Input/Output with you 🎉

The below is extracted from the email sent on May 24, 2021

Here’s a list of what I’m exploring and pondering this week.

1. A rational-emotive explanation of personality is as easy as ABC, Activating events, Beliefs, Consequences.

Book: Systems of Psychotherapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of cognitive behavior therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis. In Albert Ellis’ words, a rational-emotive explanation of personality is as easy as ABC.

A is the Activating event like failure to land a job, rejection by a lover. B is the Belief that people use to process the activating events. There are rational beliefs (rB) as believing the failure was unpleasant and rejection was unfortunate and irrational beliefs (iB) as “I will never be loved again” or “The rejection will prevent me from ever being successful”. C is the emotional and behavioral Consequence of what has just occurred.

Most people assume that critical emotional consequences of personality development are a direct function of the activating events. In other words, A directly leads to C. However, as a cognitive theory, REBT points out that it is not activating events but the interpretation and perception of the events that are decisive. That is, it is B that leads directly to C.

Therefore, for REBT, our emotional disturbances are determined by the way we think, not by the environment. The “in here”, rather than the “out there” makes our feelings. Again, we can see some Stoicism and Buddhism in REBT.

Thanks to 江寧 for introducing me to REBT and Sharon Tai for recommending and lending me the book!

2. The maximum amount of information that can be stored in a space is proportional not to the volume of space but to the surface area surrounding that volume.

Book: The World According to Physics

This is discovered by the study of the mathematics of black holes and known as the holographic principle, which is proving to be a powerful tool in theoretical physics.

When we store more and more information into a volume of space, we increase its energy. Since energy can be seen as being equivalent to mass, storing information means strengthening its gravitational field. And to a point, the volume of space will collapse into a black hole.

The holographic principle states that the universe is a hologram and the volume itself is illusory. The hologram is isomorphic to the information inscribed on the surface of its boundary. Therefore, when the volume of space collapses into a black hole by increasing the information stored, all the information will be encoded on the black hole’s event horizon.

3. Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art; it arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement.

Book: The Story of Philosophy

4. “Space and time are the framework within which the mind is constrained to construct its experience of reality.” — Immanuel Kant


5.While advertisements excite us by evoking our real needs accurately, they refuse to quench them properly.

Book: Great Thinkers

This is from a chapter introducing Epicurus and mainly focusing on the three things that Epicurus identified as false lures of happiness: romantic love, professional status, and luxury. I just found the following paragraph interesting.

“Beer ads will show us groups of friends hugging — but only sell us alcohol (that we might end up drinking alone). Fancy watch ads will show us high-status professionals walking purposefully to the office, but won’t know how to answer the desire for intrinsically satisfying work. And adverts for tropical beaches may titillate us with their serenity, but can’t — on their own — deliver the true calm we crave.”

That’s it. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy it. If you would like to receive the content every Sunday, sign up below 😎



Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

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