A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

OUR COGNITIVE DELUSIONS

You meet a new person and what do you do?  You smile and shake their hand and ask questions like how are you, what do you do for a living, etc.

But inside our minds, we are working a puzzle, stratifying the person.  Moving them around an imaginary chessboard as we check off variables; tall or short; fat or think; good looking or ugly; rich or poor; good dresser or bad dresser; educated or not; black or white or arab or jew or hispanic.  We move them around the board, the fit section, then the good looking fit section, then the educated good looking fit section, then the affluent educated good looking fit section, and so it goes on and on until we have placed this person in their proper square on the board.

Why do you hit it off with a person on first meeting?  Because each of you after asking a few questions have placed the person in the proper square on the board of people you like.  Others get placed in the ugly fat poor section and you want nothing to do with them.

The problem is the board is wrong, the paradigm is wrong, and it leads to all sorts of problems in interactions.

When I was taking care of my dad, I hated meeting new people.  The same thing happened time and time again.  Think about it, when you meet someone, you can't go 5 questions without asking what a person does or what do you do for a living.  And when I answered I gave up my career to take care of my dad, time and time again, I would see the same look cross a persons face, a look of confusion, a verbal stumble, and a conversation soon to end because I just messed up all their moves on the mental stratification board.

The point of which is, it's all imaginary, it's all an invention of our minds, it not only has no basis in reality but it truly screws up human relations.

Have you ever met someone, not liked the person, but over time working together new variables, new behaviors, new experiences causes you to see this person in a different light, and you think they are changing but the truth is you had them in the wrong section of the board in your head.

Or you really hit it off with a person and things are going swimmingly and then they do something and it completely blows your image of them and can't believe they would behave that way but the truth is they are behaving as they always have, completely normal for them, the problem is that you screwed up the stratification - but rather than admit your system is wrong, you blame the other person for not living up to the box you put them in.

Or picture you car breaking down some evening in a not so nice area of town, and you are standing next to the car and three large black teens approach you.  What is going through your head?  Fear?  And then you find that the three teens are leaving the local Baptist Church and help you out and now how do you feel?

How many people shut themselves off from the world, from other people, because once or twice they are hurt and now put every woman or man into a section on the board that says cheaters without ever giving the person a chance?  Or throw used car salesmen, lawyers, bankers, and doctors into  some negative square and never realize the person might be one of the most honest people they'd ever know.

Okay, maybe not lawyers.

Or politicians.

People always disappoint us because their behavior doesn't fit the little square we placed them on, the   little web of variables we create in our heads, a warped board of cosmic psychobabble that almost guarantees no one will be what we think they are.  How many married couples look at their spouse after 20 years, disappointed, because the love of their life didn't turn out like our mental board said they would.

So we recognize this, but do you know how hard it becomes to not do it?  It's impossible.  Even when you look at every person you meet as a soul in a vessel, you still can't help but check boxes, fat, thin, tough or pencil neck geek, cute, pretty, ugly, etc.

What I'm trying to do, is simply reduce the number of squares on the board, with the hope of one day getting down to two squares on the board, good or bad,  wondering, could we go thru life with one square?

Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
Lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who'll come along and hold out that strong and gentle father's hand?
Long ago I heard someone say something 'bout everyman

Waiting here for everyman
Make it on your own, make it if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I'm not trying to tell you that I've seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am
But don't think too badly of one who's left holding sand
He's just another dreamer, dreaming 'bout everyman

No comments:

Post a Comment