Sunday, August 31, 2008


I find myself endlessly fascinated by the complexity of the human condition, how even what appears to be the most straightforward individual has layer upon layer of nuance that can complicate and obscure the essence the person. The intricate melding of memory and experience, the reality and impact of a life lived, the trials and tribulations that each of us internalize as we move through the world all combine to create a unique persona that cannot be grasped nor understood to any significant level.

Hell, I find that we can’t figure ourselves out at the best of times so is it any surprise that we can never figure out anyone else? In our misguided, human way we struggle to interpret and understand the changes in our lives and how those changes affect both our own lives and those close to us. But often, all that we see is the surface … placid, seemingly static, yet beneath passion boils and perceptions and understandings clash and form and are dispersed and reformed as something else.

For such complicated beings, we have truly been handicapped by the inadequacy of words given us to explain the complexities of our own souls, poor tools indeed to truly express our inner motivations and understandings.

Experience is a hard taskmaster. Most of us, however, are pretty stupid when it comes to learning from those experiences and instead, step blithely into the path of calamity again and again.

I’ve been struggling with how emotional angst can become corporeal in terms of physical actions taken in response to emotional anguish. How even awareness that we are taking physical actions in response to nudging from a damaged, anxiety-driven id cannot prevent us from putting our foot on that particular path again and again.

Do you ever question how many of your actions are driven by necessity and how many by rote or unconscious prodding fuelled by some form of emotional dysfunction?

I wasn’t sure why I was musing on this (other than the fact that I tend to muse pointlessly quite often on esoteric matters), but then it occurred to me that there were two motivating factors.

First, there is my own current inability to grapple with an eating disorder I’ve suffered from off and on my entire life and which I’m presently not dealing with very well. The second, is the news I got late last week that one of my oldest and best friends is going in for a heart bypass TOMORROW.

I realize the connection is that we are both aware of the self-destructive nature of our addictions yet despite being relatively intelligent individuals, allow the addictions to dictate our actions.

In my case, I am fully cognizant that the self-destructive eating patterns I have been indulging with of late are having a devastating effect on me on many levels. First and foremost, I have (more or less) successfully controlled the destructive path of type 2 diabetes by a rigid adherence to a high fibre, low carb diet combined with a slavish addiction to exercise. For five years I have managed to stave off a full blown diagnosis through this method, with minor setbacks here and there. But the past year has seen me embark on a destructive path of self-immolation … WHY?

Sarah, my sweet friend, suffered a heart attack 4 years ago at the age of 51, the result of too much weight, too much smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. And she hasn’t changed a damn thing since. Not even quitting smoking. I have been fretting, worrying about the inevitable effects of her pursuit of self-destruction and it finally occurred – 55 years old and a heart bypass!

I actually find it quite fascinating that an emotional lack can translate into a physical action – for what other explanation can there be for the pursuit of actions that any intelligent person can surmise will ultimately damage oneself?

Even cognitive awareness does not seem to stem the self-destructive impulses; which in itself is a fascinating observation as social scientists inevitably bleat how the “will to live” is pretty well the most basic of human motivations.

I actually find the perplexing reality that we continue on a self-destructive path despite full awareness, fascinating – and worthy of thought. I continually try to grasp the ‘why’ and find it possible to step back and watch my own actions with a scientific detachment that speaks volumes to how removed I am from the reality of my own emotions.

1 comment:

Buffalo said...

You ask some good questions for which there are no good, at least no ready, answers.

Are we unwilling to trade the pleasures of today for the possible pleasures of a longer life?

Do we hide our heads in the sands of life and pretends as though it won't happen to us?