Friday, June 09, 2006

Beyond Good and Evil

What is good and what is good for you are often similar (exercise, seedless grapes, fresh air) however what feels good and what is good for you are often not. This is by no means a revelation, people have been struggling between feeling good and being good for millenia. Probably since the first caveman snuggled under his animal skins one early morning and said "well, I suppose I could wake up and hunt that large tiger that's been trying to kill me recently; but you know it's really not so bad, besides, I'd be MUCH better at hunting if I had a few hours more sleep under my belt" (at which point he'd resolve to invent the belt so his turn of phrase would work, but not until after lunchtime)

On the otherhand something that feels bad and isn't especially good for you should be easy to avoid. Ostensibly this is why people don't go around poking themselves in the eye with nutpicks, or sticking their head in boxes filled with tarantulas (except the people on "Fear Factor" who are all clearly thumpingly mad).

Yet no matter how easy it is to avoid those awful things in theory (and by which I mean doing that which neither feels nor is good) in practice they are often nearly impossible to resist. But there is one thing stronger than both the will to seek pleasure and the will to avoid pain.

Habit.

We, the smartest, most advanced species on earth (until dolphins develop thumbs) who have built machines that can sustain life in space, will keep doing something with no actual benefit or merit simply because (say it with me now) we've always done it that way; and given the chance, we will do it until it kills us.

and on that note, I'm going to spend this glorious sunny saturday at my grandparents' house, hearing about The Whippet's bowel movements.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Glrn said...

"We each have our cross to bear"*
What's not mentioned in the manual is that most of the joinery on this particular piece of impedimenta, we do ourselves."


* Based on the prime example of cross-bearing in The Book, Jesus did NOT bear his burden alone. He was helped along the way. O.K. so maybe his helper was dragooned into the job — help is still help. Maybe some folks are still drafted to bear other's burdens (as in the Call) Maybe all of us are all called to such duty if we would but listen.

1:38 PM  

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