Wednesday, September 22, 2010

paralized for life

Is a focus on the cold realities of life a less desirable state of existence than one focused on idealism and exuberance? For a life based fully on idealism will always be diced finely by the sharp knife of reality in the long run. But a life centered only on cold realities is like focusing on the shadow of a tree with such concentration as to forget that there was such a thing as the tree itself.

If neither of these extremes are desirable then what dose of each is a healthy mix so as to maximize life? Perhaps one should aspire to a 50/50 ratio, keeping idealism as a goal/social lifestyle while tending to necessary matters which reality requires. This would be in accordance with the saying "head in the clouds, feet on the ground", but is that even possible? Wouldn’t the feet walk off and leave the head in the clouds dismembering the body and leading to a medieval style torturous death?

To aspire to a 50/50 ratio is to aspire to discontent, restlessness, and unhappiness. It would be to declare war on yourself because one side of you would always be criticizing the other. For example, if you were feeling idealistic, you may go to a coffee shop, protest, or poetry slam; but you won’t be able to enjoy it because the “feet on the ground” side of you would be telling you to do something with a more practical ROI (return on investment) with your time. And the converse is true; while you are engaging in high ROI activities, the idealistic side would atrophy and groan louder each day with discontent.

So if the two cannot coexist equally, then perhaps an unequal ratio like 60/40 or 70/30 would suffice. This gives the head or feet veto power over the lesser, inferior counterpart. But, because life is a “choose your own adventure” book and the time traveler (you) are constantly at the center of an infinite intersection of crossroads (which in turn have an infinite number or crossroads branching off them), you cannot know the degree to which this decision—the head vs. feet decision—will impact your life.

It’s common for this fact to have a paralyzing affect on us time travelers. Its simple math: infinite unknown consequences of decisions + utter finality of decisions made (i.e. when you’re 40 you can’t change your mind about what you did when you were 20) = paralyzing.

I mean, how can one be expected to make informed decisions when there is no: 1) information about what will happen as a result of your actions, and 2) ability to change your mind without paying the consequences of changing your mind. No, all we have to go on is pure conjecture. But many times (and this is the worst of it) people find that the smallest, most insignificant seeming decisions of their lives have impacted their lives the most! MOST! How am I supposed to make decisions under these conditions! My decision to take out the trash seems fairly insignificant…BUT WHAT IF ITS NOT!?

How can I do anything ever again? But then maybe not doing anything ever again is exactly the kind of inconsequential seeming decision that means something crazy will happen in the future! But then if I don’t do something that I could have done, what great opportunity could I be missing? Or maybe that’s it, maybe I should stop doing significant things and focus on seemingly inconsequential activities because those are always the ones that people talk about as having the biggest impact!

I told you it was paralyzing.

So what conclusions can we draw? Maybe the lesson here is that a time traveler should buy himself a wheelchair because at this rate, I’m thinking I’ll be paralyzed for life.

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