Sunday, March 28, 2010

Random Numbers

I have never understood what goes on in some people's heads. Or my head. Really, anyone's head.  I know that I am a (supposedly) conscious, rational being, but there are days when I don't really understand how I remember to walk, let alone feed or clothe myself.  At some points there are so many thoughts rushing through my head that I feel physically dizzy, and sometimes the nothingness in my head rivals that of the nearest black hole. Think I'm being reflective when I nod during our conversation? Yeaaah, no. Probably thinking absolutely nothing...maybe with a soundtrack- Come Sail Away or Up, Up and Away-( I love the Fourth Dimension).  At any rate, for those of you who already believe that I write airy nothings here, you're (occasionally) right. (But don't get cocky.) 

Because when I sit down to write, I usually have no idea what's going to come out on the keyboard. When I make major life decisions I sometimes have no clue about which direction to take, unless off a cliff is a direction. There's a scientific theory that states that humans are rational  only in that we rationalize decisions. We don't really make decisions in the first place. We choose emotionally - and then we create reasons  why we chose as we did. It all has to do with the ego-we're more likely to do things or take  actions that make us feel good- for good or ill. Why do we eat cake when we know its bad for us? Because it tastes good. And we shouldn't let it go to waste. (No, really. You should never let cake go to waste.) Why do we like people we know aren't good for us? Because we like challenge.  Why do we buy things we don't need? Because it makes us feel special. Every choice we make has to do with satiating the ego. Screw the rest of the world-we want to feel good, and if we can justify our behavior by saying we're doing the right thing, that makes it even sweeter. (Sorry, cake on the brain.) 

People are, by and large, still controlled by the little reptile brain that our forefathers had, wrapped in layers of rationalization, and societal conditioning. We believe things because that's what we've been taught, (but which, usually,  we haven't actually observed). We act in certain ways because we believe that they will help us fit in (with all the other lemmings).  We work so that we can have - (not because working is good or because working together is valuable.) At heart, many of us are still that caveman who wants the biggest piece of meat, the warmest part of the fire, and the biggest animal skin all for himself.  

That was all to explain why sometimes, (most of the time) I have no idea what is going on in my head or yours or anyone else's I meet. I know that I have deep thoughts (ahem) , but sometimes they're so deep they take a while before they surface and I notice them.  It can be days before I realize I'm angry with what someone said or how they treated me.  I think I rightly fear looking too deeply into my own heart, for fear of seeing the blazing hell pit it must really be. Or how soft and wounded it is.  In many ways, I think I don't want to accept how I really feel because then I have to be responsible for my actions, spurred on by those feelings. I want to have plausible deniability in the court of my own thoughts.  I want to believe that my decisions are not always my own, that my will is the equivalent of a pair of dice rolling out random numbers. Roll a six- eat the cake, sleep with that guy, quit your job. I rolled the dice, but fate gave me the snake eyes.

 But if I did that... believed that- I would have to believe that I am a puppet of the universe. And while I believe the universe finds me vastly amusing- I don't believe it takes that personal a hand in my mistakes. I do perfectly well in that area  all on my own. So at some point, I have to take a stand, and then take responsibility for the thoughts which lead to the actions which direct my life. No more random numbers, but a distinct pattern of choices will lead me to glory or to my demise. I cannot afford to not know myself, to not judge myself-not if I want to live a life that isn't meaningless. So into the rabbit hole I go- to find my center, myself. If you see me looking off into the distance, don't be too concerned. I may be lost in my thoughts, but I'll find my way back eventually. 

  We all know, from what we experience with and within ourselves, that our conscious acts spring from our desires and our fears. Intuition tells us that that is true also of our fellows and of the higher animals. We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant. We are all ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organised that our actions in general serve for our self preservation and that of the race. Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual's instinct for self preservation. At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on. All these primary impulses, not easi ly described in words, are the springs of man's actions. All such action would cease if those powerful elemental forces were to cease stirring within us. Though our conduct seems so very different from that of the higher animals, the primary instincts are much aloke in them and in us. The most evident difference springs from the important part which is played in man by a relatively strong power of imagination and by the capacity to think, aided as it is by language and other symbolical devices. Thought is the organising factor in man, intersected between the causal primary instincts and the resulting actions. In that way imagination and intelligence enter into our existence in the part of servants of the primary instincts. But their intervention makes our acts to serve ever less merely the immediate claims of our instincts.

Whew! - long quote.
That could really have replaced this post couldn't it? Hmmm....something to think on!

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