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The Tinkered Mind
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May 17th, 2021
Mass production is all about identically perfect units. When something is reset to factory settings, it means the same for every single unit. Imagine if, however, each identical looking gadget that came out of the factory had unique settings to start off with. This is pretty much what we get with the human body. Not only are we not identical, but our settings are all unique also.
The concept of one-sizes-fits-all is the absolute antithesis of this fact. While there are generalities that exist across the entire human population - the need to actually eat something, or breathe - the good life, the level-up, the ideal fitness, stable brain chemistry and a sense of fulfillment, all of these things often reside in the nuances of the story. And when it comes to the unique body and brain that each of us has, that nuance is something that can only be discovered on a personal, individual level. As far as our science has been able to reach, it still has a long way to go.
Perhaps at some point in the future there will be diagnostic tests paired with artificial intelligences that can sour the medical literature and data to help us discover these nuances of body and mind, but for the time being, we are for the most part left to our own detective work.
To compound the search for meaningful nuances, we can’t even reset ourselves to those so-called ‘factory settings’. We have to figure these things out on the fly while compounding our health with age and wear and tear.
All of this is reason to be willing to take large leaps with one’s self, to make drastic experiments. The idea is to find the boundary conditions, and then parse the environment between those boundaries. Balance is the culprit that often keeps a person in the center of a safe little bubble of comfort: taking one step forward with a workout and another step back with an unwise treat as a reward. That being said, many are exploring certain extremes of unhealth. Obesity seems to have taken care of that boundary of human health. We don’t have to wonder what’s in the other direction because the examples are plastered all over advertisements, magazines, movies: it’s that body we all want, and half-heartedly try for.
The other component of this is the mind. Just as there is an epidemic of obesity (at least in North America), there also seems to be an epidemic of poor mental maintenance. It’s one thing to say mental health, but the vague term does not point to the fact that our mind, like our body is something that requires maintenance. And if we do not put it through it’s due training, it will grow ungainly in ways that will undermine our future attempts at happiness, success, fulfillment, and all the things that we dream of achieving.
Even more complicated is how the treatment of the body becomes a treatment of the mind. Drinking alcohol everyday, sleeping poorly as a result, slamming coffee to try and remedy the problem, which simply compounds the issue - these are not just effects that we bestow on the body, they are equally detrimental to the mind and it’s ability to focus with clarity, vision and determination. The body can take quite a beating and shoulder the burden for quite a while, but the mind is something that’s affected almost immediately, as we all know with the fast effects of caffeine or alcohol, or waking up after an excellent night of sleep. The effects are profound and fairly immediate. But all of these factors effect everyone in nuanced ways, and the combination of factors makes the detective work all the more personal and difficult. But the riddle and mystery is always with you, the difference is really whether or not we pay attention to the clues along the way, and take chances on a hunch that might arise.