Friday, July 31, 2015



The last weekend was a fairly good one.  Went out on date (note to self: quit going out with medical professionals..!), and Sunday I think I slept in all day!  The reason that I say “I think” is that if I did sleep in, then I slept HEAVILY!!

Next month I am going to start to post regularly about fitness stuff.  This is something that I will do every other Monday or Tuesday, to keep myself accountable to the goals that I aim to achieve.  For instance, I truly believe that my attentiveness to my physical condition has begun to slip and that there is a LOT MORE for me to be doing regarding my personal fitness.  Also, I have really been slacking on moving toward my professional/academic goals.  And with that said, let’s move on with the move on!


In Roberto Benigni’s film (Oscar-winning performance in the movie) “Life Is Beautiful”, about life in a Jewish concentration camp during World War II, there were many lessons about humanity and the ability of people to adapt to their circumstance.  Like another production that was about an epic story of human endurance in the face of inhumanity, “Roots”, there were scenes and moments where things seemed “normalized”.  Objectively, it could be observed that things were anything but “normal”, but in both cases, because the characters still operated within a range of emotions that could be described as normal, some could see the experience as something less than the tragedy (Southern apologists for slavery fall into this category) that they were.  Those behaviors weren’t about either of the disenfranchised groups (particularly the slaves) growing to accept their conditions, but they were both testaments to the ability of human beings to change and adapt to outside changes in their world.  I think that you can sum up these behavior to the phenomenon called The Hedonic Treadmill.  Right now, I am concerned that I may be on one such treadmill of my own right now.

My thumbnail sketch of the Hedonic Treadmill idea is this: no matter your situation, your personal happiness set point will reset no matter the situation you are in.  So, when my ancestors were bowed beneath the weight of being enslaved, the fact that they continued to find and develop artistic endeavors and those of intellect, did not dissuade them from finding happiness of a sorts.  If that is too fraught an issue to use as an example, then, how about those lottery winners who instead of living a life worthy of a Robin Leach show, they instead talk about how miserable that the money has made them.  That is because money, quite simply, does not by happiness.
I have had a little money at one time, as well as a decent paying job.  And I do not think that I was happier at either of those times in my life as I am right now (though during the latter era, there were plenty of Astoria cookies and NPR weekends to be had..!).  This has been something that I have found occurring throughout my life.

See, I was cool with being AMONG the smartest kids in school during my elementary and junior high years.  And I was satisfied with writing stories that placed and was recognized in a very immediate and local way.  Even as I boxed, it was once I became one of the “up and comers” as an amateur that I found my hunger satiated.  Now, this is not to say that I was slack or I chose to coast on my self-perceived laurels, but the gnawing desire for something more has not been a part of my experience.  Knowing about the treadmill for as long as I have, I have often contemplated what it would take to push through the eventually adaptation of consciousness and to achieve more out of living, to achieve a level where my life was not only experienced, but well-lived and with a nobility to my existence.

There is a book by Daniel Pink called “Drive” and I am going to set my mind to reading it (along with my materials for my PT certification) because I want to get as much as I possibly can out of myself before my Sun Dog comes for me…

Being able to find one’s level and to find complete peace in it is one thing.  If it comes with a person having taken their best shot at living and being able to live well with the consequences of risk, then I do believe that is an effort worthy and meriting affirmation.

Yeah… I am prolly going to journal for a while yet.  Though I expect that fewer and fewer people are going to read this mess, “Stars…” has already accomplished its main mission, which was to get me out of “the Provincial town I once jogged ‘round”.  Getting off the treadmill and getting back to agony and ecstasy of putting in hard work towards that as-of-yet unseen and unknowable goal, is going to be on me.

As physicist’s explore spacetime and create new definitions for what we call reality, the inconsistency of what is real and important to many is not lost upon me.  Striving to lead lives of meaning ultimately will be proven futile and all existence really means is that you are a bundle of atoms that have collectively gained self-awareness, all the while harboring the delusion that your existence means something on a grander scale than the cosmological insignificant “thing” that it really is.

So I guess my question to the guru-on-the-mountain would be something on the order of, “Whose meaninglessness means the most?”  Or maybe it should be, “Whose meaningfulness means the least?”


Anonymous said...

If I ever meet a guru on a mountain, I'm just going to sit down next to him and enjoy the sunset. :)

Ken Riches said...

Enjoying life and what you are doing on a daily basis is all we can ask for at any given moment...

mac said...

"But the gnawing desire for something more has not been a part of my experience"

I used to feel somewhat bad that I didn't have a huge drive or lofty ambitions. But, then it hit hit me, sometimes, being a "good guy"might be better than being a "great man".
I like history, and historical figures. Take Jefferson, for example. He was, arguably, a great man. A fine president and brilliant political thinker. But was he a good guy? Would I like to have him over for some burgers and a Diet Coke?
Contrast that with my coworker, Mike. He's been working for 22 years at the place, moving pianos just like me (I've only been there two years, but have 15 years experience elsewhere). Mike won't ever be in the news, or in any history books. But, he's a heckuva guy. He'd do anything to help a buddy. He's not a great man, but I'd surely have a burger with him (although, he'd rather drink some of his moonshine than diet coke).

What's any of this mean. I don't know, I'm just throwing it out there ;-)