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The Tinkered Mind
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December 2nd, 2020
For someone who has never gotten a good night of sleep, who is chronically sleep deprived, the experience of a completely well reseted body and mind is not even a fantasy, it’s not even imaginable. What’s even more frightening about these sorts of issues is how quickly and completely we can become immersed in new normals.
When a subpar situation persists for long enough, we adapt, often accept and so subpar normalizes into par. A key aspect of this is forgetting just how it felt when things were different - or being completely obvious to just how much better things could feel with an improved situation. Our ability to adapt comes with this unfortunate second edge that cuts back in all sorts of counter-productive ways. It’s imaginable that if people could have a visceral sense of just how much better life could be, behaviors across the board would shift to bring about those better lives. But instead, we adjust, without even meaning to.
In such instances, a good imagination coupled with a concept of dissatisfaction can be a powerful combination. Much of the time dissatisfaction is concept and an experience to be eschewed, but a sense of dissatisfaction can be a powerful fuel for progress and improvement. A good imagination helps an invented sense of dissatisfaction because it can help create a faith that a better life actually can exist.
A subtle distinction worthy of parsing within this frame is the difference between self and situation. Many if not most are all too quick to blame themselves for their situation. And while this may be valid in a straightforward way, the connection is often strong enough to paralyze any effort to change. A helpful trick to help loosen this knot lies in the ability to accept one’s self but not one’s situation. Our situation is not completely a result of our own actions. There are other influences, a degree of randomness that must be admitted. But no matter what sort of situation we might wake up to find ourselves in, even it feels like it is a self-inflicted creation, our departure from acceptance becomes a dual rebellion: one that strives to change that situation and one that refuses to see the situation as the final stamp of judgement on our character and our abilities.