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The Tinkered Mind
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December 5th, 2020
The importance of some crucial aspects of living aren’t obvious. Much of this phenomenon has to do with our absurd ability to adjust to new situations, to get accustomed to new normals and to a large degree forget the way an older and better situation felt.
Sleep is a great example. Go a few weeks without a solid night of sleep and days of constant drudge become the normal and the sense and feeling of what a well rested mind feels like can quickly be forgotten.
Diet often slides in the same way. A few unwise meal choices sink into a habit of vapid pleasure, which compounds and soon enough the body’s definition dissolves as the pounds mount.
The insidious factor at the core of this sort of slide into mediocrity is that the feelings surrounding the experience normalize with exposure, and what is actually quite bad eventually feels…fine. It’s possible and quite common to go years upon years with little sleep and very poor diet. Such people don’t notice just how bad the situation is because they can’t feel just how much better the situation could be.
Again, this points at the need to develop and foster a healthy suspicion of one’s own feelings. They do not guide us toward better ways of living. If that were the case we’d all be billionaires with six-packs, but that’s most definitely not happening. All things considered, it seems that more than anything, feelings shift to justify the present. Thoughtful consideration is the only real tool we have to combat the seductive mediocrity of our own feelings. It’s a thought that wonders about how much better things could be that holds a threatening edge to the feelings that try to cement the current situation.
That ability to apply thoughtful consideration to the situation runs amok if it results in simple day-dreaming of an extravagant and luxurious life. The gulf is too great, blind of any stepping stones that might lead in that direction. The first consideration should be of necessities ignored, one’s that have grown subtle due to long absence, like the feeling of a well slept mind, a body fed with proper nutrition, and many other subtle necessities that fill our common sense but fail to be captured by the feelings of the present.