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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


May 26th, 2020


Is a loophole good or bad?  It seems to inherit a bit from both worlds.  It’s good for the individual who can use it and it seems to imply something unfair about the system in which it’s found.  Or is it just evidence of an imperfect system? Which raises the question:


Is it bad to make use of a loophole that you find?


It’s no secret that the bloated complexity of law is erected for the purpose of being taken advantage of by those who know the variegated holes in all it’s looping complication.  It’s from privileged positions such as these that loopholes garner a reputation of unfairness.


But then again, is it really a loophole if you consciously embedded it?


How might we better think of this loophole phenomenon?


Tearing the word apart and thinking about it a bit literally makes the concept a bit more personal.  Everyday we are waking up and going about our routines.  Some of these are powerful and treasured, whether that be something as simple as the first cup of coffee or something with deep impact like a hard-won meditation practice.  Many of our habits and habitual obligations, however, do not benefit us, and if anything form constant sources of frustration and stress.


The commute to work – it’s quite literally a loop, to and from work, undertaken hundreds of times a year, and fraught with the perfect combination of factors to perfectly stress out a human being.  Traffic jams, road rage, construction detours, strings of red lights and cops on the prowl for filling monthly quotas. 


For those who have been able to retain their job during this unprecedented year, many such people have had a hole poked in this obnoxious loop of the daily commute.  Turns out, it’s possible for many people to work from home.  While it’s not a benefit for everyone, a large cross section of this population is enjoying the new loophole.  Rarely are such loopholes discovered en masse.


Many of the loops upon which we function are embedded on the deepest level possible: on a neurological level.


We all have bad habits that we’d love to shed, and each time we go around that loop, the behavior seems to get entrenched deeper and deeper.  It can seem as though we are locked in the system of our own behavior.  We listen to loud and hard protestations about willpower and just doing it, and much of this talk just makes a person feel even more powerless in the face of the inertia they feel from their own past.


Will power, and for that matter free will, need not even be a part of the conversation.  The desire to somehow be better is ever present, for nearly all of us, and this makes the idea of a ‘decision’ to somehow magically be better a bit of a trap.



And just like the random individual who realizes that it’s much much easier to replace a bad habit with a different habit as opposed to just going cold turkey, we can pay closer attention to our behavior, and watch as we go round and round in the same old ways and search for the hole in the loop through which we can escape to a better life.

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Podcast Ep. 772: Loophole

Tinkered Thinking

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