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The Tinkered Mind
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October 15th, 2020
Direction has little use without the ability to move in that direction; movement has little use without a direction in which to move.
In this simple juxtaposition both movement, and the ability to navigate have complimentary and inverse roles. For an individual who is constantly looking forward to Netflix and the next meal, the roles are still complimentary, but each side has the wrong quality: constrained motivation and wandering attention.
In the absence of a good direction, motivation is converted into anxiety, and such feelings are often quelled with mindless consumption which dulls our overall energy, deflating an anxiety that could have been motivation, drive, an edge. In essence, when we lack a clam mind, and our focus is frenetic and restless, we seek to dull the spirit.
If we think of our selves as these two basic components: fuel or drive and focus or direction, they create an equation that is constantly balancing itself. The issue is that our lives benefit far more when this equation is balanced one way as opposed to another, and unfortunately, much of modern times primes us for the later.
Everyday we are allocated an amount of energy. For those sleeping well and making efforts to charge up for the next day, this can be a lot of energy. But even for those who aren’t optimizing in this way, there’s still an ability to get up and do something. The energy we are given is fungible, meaning that any given day, we can get up and do something completely new if we so choose. The energy doesn’t decide what we do - it may limit what we can do by simply being less than we’d like, but regardless of how much energy we have, it’s up to another system to direct it: the mind.
Unfortunately, the mind is not something we receive much training about. It comes with no user manual and many cultures allocate little to no effort to this idea. Our minds are then left to the vicissitudes of culture and society, shattering against social medias and further fragmenting along fault lines of tv shows and text messages.
What many are left with is an aimless source of energy coupled with a distracted and fragmented focus. The two parts are too alike, hence the continual efforts to dull the spirit with consumption.
If however, the mind can draw itself together and shove away the roiling chaos of the world for even just a little while, the mind can then, like a set of lenses, arrange itself to concentrate, focus and direct the energy of the day.
Then the opposite of our usual solutions for anxiety occur: instead of consumption, we begin to create. The most fulfilling days occur when we find that opportunity or take it, and with the fuel of a restless spirit, and the calm direction of a mind in order, we make something new.