Monday, March 22, 2010

The Human Machine

Like a misdirected machine it is pretty easy for a human to get stuck exercising a particular function, unable to change course, running continually into the wall until momentum and gravity bring it crashing down. I see this quality in everyone I know, within myself, and society as a whole. I wince every single time I see it.

False Epiphany -> Pattern of Familiar Actions -> Terminate

My already beautiful wife came to me this morning and told me how she was going to change her habits to lose some weight. I listened as she went through the same steps she intended to take as the previous half dozen or so incarnations of her plan. Instead of being supportive like I usually was, I took the road no man should ever take with his wife.

"How is this different from the last ten times you've told me this was your plan, and what makes you think it is sustainable this time?"

Hoo boy, that went over well. Every logical argument falls flat when you've gone and made your wife cry.

People prefer to fail than succeed. I've seen people merrily destroy situations where they had a good thing, and in the same moment protest violently anyone disrupting their daily ritual of self-destruction. Want to permanently damage your relationship with someone? Provide someone a logical argument as to why they should stop doing A, give B a try, and explore C.

Where A = something that provides the person no tangible benefit, which wastes time or resources, or puts that person further from their professed goals in life.

Where B = something that will provide them real benefit to his or her goals, requires hard work and accountability for ones actions.

Where C = a noble sidecar to their endeavors to grant them both clarity and a back up plan should the resources for B run out or become unavailable.

What I've learned is that even though we were born to this earth in enough numbers to make use of each other's wisdom, this rarely, if ever occurs. Most people can't implement any sort of plan that will enable them in life... unless they themselves thought of it first. The pain of admitting you can't do anything on your own seems to be this impossible mountain only the humble are willing to climb.

Even the people in my life who have reached a masterful level of constructive humility still take a great deal of pride in being self-reliant.

I listen and read all I can stand of people who want things to be different and firmly believe there is some magical combination of elements applied to one's life that will make it so. People seek happiness like it was some unattainable goal while refining to a razor's edge the repetitive behaviors that continue to doom them to the same set of circumstances day after day. They never challenge their relationships with their friends, family, or the world at large. They cannot resolve to try something new every day.

I have the desire but little in the way of means to escape these circumstances in my own life. It feels like I've been writing, drawing, and seeking the approval of others since I was in the second grade and my hands would finally work well enough to operate a pencil. I mourn having been born with a crippling learning disability... that admittedly no one but me can detect. I've gotten so good at hiding my dyslexia both visual and somatic that I can limp through most situations none the wiser.

It's like trying to control a stutter. Whenever I sit down to read something allowed during one of my tables or workshops it takes every brain cell I have to read a paragraph without misreading what my eyes are seeing. Forcing my brain to interpret the data without transposing the letters and words into gibberish. Everything I do is a strange cycle of preparation to just write those few pages I can manage each day for my books and projects.

Having trained my mind to detect my own skewed perception of everything and compensate is a boon only when I have the strength to effect change. Viewing the world through these smoked lenses affords me a strange view of human weakness, my own and that harbored by others. I get it in equal parts, those people that disclose to me for a brutal assessment of their affairs and those who avoid that discussion with me at all costs.

Some of my own destructive cycle... giving advice, knowing it will be ignored.

My status on Facebook not too long ago read '... wants things to be different.'

Set up a schedule using the iCal program on my Mac so that I could better manage my time and improve my productivity. I have my work hours listed, my tables and workshops, and so forth. I check it every night and rest easier knowing I've applied some measure of order to my existence. In the aftermath, I look at this and marvel at just how flawed this logic is. In making this schedule I've doomed myself to a sort of personal failure. My own private cycle of creating unrealistic expectations for endeavors that rely on the state of my mind to stay constant from day to day.

There are days where I can write for twelve hours without losing my creative focus, while keeping my dyslexia, general anxiety disorder, and depression in check. There are others where I get five hours of productivity, before the murk of being me sets in... if I'm lucky. Both scenarios rely on a set of unknowable variables and cannot be predicted or produced at will. I know this all too well, and yet I continually set myself up for failure in the most well thought out and organized manner possible.

I want things to be different. I'm just not sure how to get there yet.

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