Sunday, June 4, 2017

ex post facto reduction

A sensible therapeutic approach might be to ask for examples.  What sort of ambitions do I imagine being successful?  At first, I panic as the self-doubt hits.  Am I making this up?  Just some nonsense rambling that I can't even substantiate?

I don't know why I do that to myself.  A second later, I remember that just yesterday, I had such thoughts.  A meme came through my feed about J.K. Rowling, and what a rough life she had.  Dysfunctional in numerous ways, before she started writing, when she was in her thirties.  Writing was one of the very first ambitions I had, often recurring because it makes sense on a number of levels.  

I'm not saying that I'd be the next J.K. Rowling, but I could probably write competently and creatively enough to make some money at it.  I start thinking of specifics, the sort of writing I'd want to do.  How I could skillfully weave politics and philosophy into it.  Fantasy or sci-fi, with some emotional depth to it.  Maybe I'd even be exceptional at it.

When I say I, that is, the I that I would be, if I were not the I that I am.  If only I could just tweak my brain a little.. because yeah, I know.  Come on, do it.  Of course you can do it.  At least just fucking TRY.

but no.  Apparently not.

What does it mean to expect to fail.. it means anticipating that there will be no reward.  It means ego or the default mode net,  or whatever we want to call it, trying to make sense of what's missing.  An ex post facto fabrication that explains it all in terms that make sense, on a more intuitive level.  We say "what's the point" or "I'm not good enough" to explain to ourselves why the machinery isn't doing what it's supposed to do.

It doesn't end there, however.  How we think and explain things to ourselves does make its way back into the depths of the machinery, and can exert influence on its workings, but how much, its hard to say, and it varies.  If we beat ourselves up over a mistake, even if it wasn't really our fault, we might be more careful next time, and despite all that, keep it from happening again.  Or, we might demoralize ourselves to the point of never trying again.

There are better and worse ways of going about that, but it varies from one individual to the next.  We exert influence, but can't measure its impact, except by experience.  We can learn that our efforts are either self-actualizing, or self-defeating, depending on which chemical reactions occur when we've done anything.  We can still get it all wrong, learn all the wrong lessons, but that's just the outcome of a whole other set of chemical reactions and experiences.

Amidst all these factors, we could theoretically know physiology well enough to understand what's optimal.  We can try to help everyone get there, as many already are, naturally.  Bones break because of all sorts of reasons, too.  Nutrient or hormone deficiencies, genetics, exercise.  If anything is clearly lacking, it's not rocket science to try to do something about that, so that our bones will be less likely to break.  If they do break, we take some basic steps to help it repair, so that we won't become permanently crippled.

The mind, like our bones, is just as physiological, but that's not to say there aren't all sorts of things involved in the health of either.  We just don't understand the mind quite as well, yet.

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