July 25, 2008

Animal nature

This seems to be the year when I finally come to terms with my animal nature.

Which means what? That expecting humans to be angels will forever be misguided. We're supersmart primates, as much stuck with our lot as termites or bonobos are. Civilization, even in it's most subtle workarounds, is an artifact of drives within us playing out, emerging.

Part of this realization on a gut level is my moving in and out of sadness when I fell, subjectively at least, from top dog to underdog at work, when another teacher's class - same subject, same time - attracted more students. No matter how I fought against it the underdog chemicals flooded my system and it was no fun. Now the other teacher has changed and I win that particular part of the schedule, bright eyed, bushy tailed once more. None of this requires conscious effort on my part, none of this is willed. It just happens, because that's how we are. It's good to be the king.

Related note. Happiness, Truth, Everything is deeply good blog. The writing is strange - the author is based in Tel Aviv, and perhaps English is not their first language, they make many grammatical / stylistic errors, but that's not important. The writing makes clear that if the ideas are good enough then how they are expressed is almost secondary. I think it was Bukowski who wrote that it takes an intellectual to make a simple idea seem complicated, but a genius to make a complicated idea seem simple*, and Yechezkel Zilbe makes it all plain as can be. Recent extracts

Those with beauty and wits, will look for a higher quality lad than you.
Friend says that everyone looks for different kinds of beauty.
But there is a common element!
There is no contradiction. If you ask different people to rate beauty, you will find some correlation between them.
Common element + individual/deviant element.

Our options are limited. We try to choose the best one (assume).
But we can create new interesting options.
There are endless ways we can have better options by engaging a certain amount of negative/effortful experience.
Those endless possibilities do not occur naturally. They occur only when you forget everything you know about your own life and experience. Questioning even the smallest basic assumption about how you feel, function, mind working, wants, etc.
Beware, that even with much effort, you will see only a minority of hidden options in your life. The scope of potential possibilities is never seen fully.
"Cheese crumbs spread in front of a pair of copulating rats will distract the female, but not the male."
Related post: Man in a monkey suit

* I give this quote to my students in the exam prep classes - TOEFL, IELTS, GRE and GMAT - noting that in tests it's best to come off intellectual. Life is a game.

No comments: