Daily, snackable writings to spur changes in thinking.
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The Tinkered Mind
A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.
August 2nd, 2022
Where and why does tension exist? In the body we think al tension is bad, likely because many just have too much of it. But no tension would likely be equally negative, just in different ways. In the complete absence of tension we would end up doing nothing. Without the tension of hunger, or the need to connect with another person, we’d all likely become so enlightened that civilization would come to a halt. Tension, and the knots we traditionally think of as bad, are necessary in order to move forward. It’s similar to the way that walking or running is really an act of throwing ourselves out of balance by subtly falling forward.
Another way to think about it is how knots can be important structurally. For example, on an old sailing ship made of rope wood and sail, knots were fundamental. Knots held the whole thing together, and without the knots, it was just a pile of rope, wood and sail that would go nowhere.
Our bodies are similar. There are tensions designed into its structure that allow it to function properly. But we’ve also evolved not to feel tension unless something has gone awry. Perhaps in such a case it should be given a different name, though the semantic malapropism is forgivable because it’s so intuitive - when something is wrong with a muscle it quite literally feels like a knot has been tied inside of it.
But a semantic malapropism can garner a meaning that propagates backwards. We can come to think of all knots as bad, which is a pretty big mistake. Knots can be incredibly useful as long as they are thoughtfully placed.
It’s perhaps worth stretching the analogy a little further and extending it beyond the body and into the mind. We all have emotional and mental hangups. And a hangup is quite a lot like a knot in the body. It’s useful to wonder: is a mental or emotional hangup a good thing? Perhaps its a short term way of dealing with some event or another unfortunate whim of life. Perhaps it holds things together in a time when otherwise such things would fall apart? And do the knots stay tied longe than they are useful? Are there lingering knots in body and mind that if finally untied are shown they no longer hold anything together?