Friday, October 3, 2014


There's an ongoing battle inside every human being, particularly in our country and within anyone who has come out of the 20th Century. This internal wrestling match is articulated well today by David Brooks in his New York Times piece. Yes, he's my favorite commentator today. Yes he's considered conservative. Yes I'm still a flaming lefty. 

Here's something more important to me that labels. It's thoughtfulness. The 20th Century was a time for technologists. Anyone who could invent a better mousetrap got rewarded for making our lives easier and faster. The theory was that we would have lots of time to relax and take it easy. Instead, we became the most over working nation on earth. Some places one might think the compulsion to survive would drive people to endless effort and persistent labor. But it turns out that people who are actually fighting for survival quit when they can. But a good day's work isn't satisfactory for us.

My theory about this is that we have adopted a belief system that requires ever more effort at achieving greater amounts of control over our lives and our supposed comforts. Some would say that this is about our native limitations as humans. Churches would call this sinfulness. Bosses would call this laziness. Politicians would call it entitlement.

I think it's about unrecognized fear. But that's an emotion and we aren't supposed to have them. We've all been told that feelings are bad, that feeling people are weak and can't maintain self control. There's that control thing again.

You might ask about this control thing. Where does it come from? Well, smarter people than I would say that control is a natural response to fear. If fear is about an event that hasn't occurred yet, so I try to control the world around me so the thing I fear can't take place, or at least I'll be out of harm's way.

But let's say I'm not worried about being hit by crossing traffic. Let's say I've already stopped at the red light or train crossing. What if I'm afraid I won't have enough. or I'm going to be struck by an unknown assailant or...anything I can't nail down or measure?

Or even worse, I have this unsettled feeling in my gut and I distract myself from it so I can't determine the threat. When that's the case in my life, that uneasy queesy feeling eventually becomes anxiety and then, and then and then...?

But what if, and I'm not kidding about this, what if I could ask myself to name what the threat was? What if I found out about that feeling? But I'm often confused by this stuff and my head starts to swim and before long I need to think about something else. Or have a drink,as my friend, Kevin says, "Have a feeling? Have a drink>" Or how about this T-shirt

We have options. Check David out here.

Take the weekend to think about it and we'll pick this up next week.