the irrational mind

March 24th, 2006

Well, trying to understand the mind is a oxymoron in the first place, granted. But do we ever let that stop us from trying understand ourselves, at least the general patterns which guide us? What seems to be self-contradictory from our point of reference may as well turn out to be perfectly logical from a higher perspective. With that limitation stated up front, the scene is set for this entry.

Do you ever find yourself thinking at opposite ends of the spectrum in cases which really do not seem very different? Most of the time, when facing a significant problem, I don't buy into quick solutions, easy fixes, tweaks. I analyze the situation and draw conclusions which factor in a range of small things that affect it, knowing that no one little thing can tip the scales in the long run. When I'm stuck and I present my reasoning to someone who's eager to help, they will almost always pinpoint the small, simple steps that I could take immediately to lighten the load a little for the time being. Well, I know about them, they are already part of my analysis, I know that they solve nothing in the long term. It's like if you struggle to motivate yourself for a test in high school, it does little good to come up with some solution to get past that one test if you recognize that you still have several years of college ahead and you need some more reliable method of motivation for that. Now you're thinking long term strategy, looking for solutions which will stand the test of time. And most of the time, I do just this, I'm skeptical to solutions which only work this one time. Cynical if you like.

But then the opposite happens sometimes. It is rare, but in some cases I do see a facet of life in terms of one single problem. And for some reason I think if I can get past this issue, if I can conquer this obstacle, suddenly everything will be within reach. As if to say that the first step is the hardest one, then gradually everything becomes easier. And that's completely unrealistic, it's completely incoherent with reality. Whenever I do solve that first problem, inevitably I face the next problem, which is just as challenging. And once that happens once or twice, I do begin to see that my view on this was all wrong. But why do I believe that in the first place? Why do I stray from my realistic approach and buy into a fairy tale? I don't understand why this happens.

Is this some kind of fantasy we have that we want to believe in a fairy tale until reality puts a stop to it and we can no longer convince ourselves that it's true?

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