(from about one year ago)
Sort of part of life, i’n’t? But that’s a cliché too.
In fact, you can sort of run the whole human condition cliché by cliché, and nobody will be impressed at any point, which is part of why advice is generally futile; it can usually be summed up into a) pop psychology cliché, or b) real psychology that nobody is impressed with. I’m not impressed with real psychology. In fact, the volume of psychological problems in society seems to increase in direct proportion to the volume of psychiatrists and psychologists. It’s not that they’re causing the problems, they’re just giving them names, and giving people excuses. Or pills. Pills can be nice. They’re not really. They’re nice in the way cats are nice; they love you and make you feel good until they one day decide to sink all their claws into your arm, making you scream like a five year old as you try to shake them off. I like cats. Quit pills; they scratch deeper.
So, granting the assumption that psychology is not capable of solving many of life’s problems, and that these problems may be real, where is there to go? Pop psych clichés just don’t cut it. Everyone ignores them with good reason. If I have a problem, I don’t want anyone telling me anything about nickels, clouds, sunshine, or what Jesus would do. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t make my problem any more rational or sensible or easier to understand.
So psychology is out and advice is out. Let’s dispense with eating right and living healthy too; they may help, but they don’t solve the problem, and frankly, most people’s habits are pretty ingrained by the time they decide they have a problem instead of a phase.
I read recently that the better part of our response mechanisms for dealing with life are entirely genetic. I’m inclined to agree. It’s a good argument, and I’ll fight for it if anyone wants to make a reasonable challenge. Still, my personality and life seem, to me, to be a history of events and people and thoughts, and not just a series of knee-jerk reactions. But even granted that the feedback loops in my head have had something to do with course of my life, and that those loops were somewhere the result of a lot of sensory input and not so much a predefined structure in my head, I still can’t be so bold as to say I had any mythical free will in any issue so far in my life. Despite all efforts to the contrary, I’m still often overcome by moodless existential angst, I’m still inept at organizing material wealth and possessions, I still leave everything to the last few weeks then power through it all at once on unhealthy amounts of coffee. I think if I put cocaine in my toothpaste, I would still hate brushing my teeth.
So there’s no real control, and the best you can hope for in general is a temp fix on any lifelong dilemma you find yourself suffering from.
Enter denial. I really think denial is the solution to living a healthy, happy life.
Given any detailed description of true happiness, particularly in this country, ever being happy at all is completely irrational. So forget it. Ignore all goals, and deny momentarily that there is any history or future to your situation. Catch the moment. Hey, moment. Are you a good moment, or a bad moment? It doesn’t really know. Without context, it doesn’t really care. So total denial is actually a great thing. You can believe in any set of opposing ideas, conflicting theorems, or opposite philosophies as long as it helps you solve your current dilemma. It’s great. I think this should be a new movement in psychology.