We live in a crazy world, and that makes us crazy. Too often, we find ourselves stumbling around doing stuff that we know damn well is no good for us, motivated by mysterious forces that we don’t understand and can’t control. But the “mysterious forces” that we seem to be controlled by aren’t really that mysterious; they are just plain habit and cultural conditioning.
Of course, it doesn’t feel like anything as mechanical as a habit put into your head by the culture in which you were raised. The desire for a fancy new eyeshadow pallet when you’ve already got a dozen at home, the spiral of self-hatred that sucks you in when you catch a glimpse of your wobbly belly, the panicky urge to call the one person you know you must not ever call again … it all feels real -- deep, honest, and self-motivated.
But I am here to tell you that it’s not. It’s just habit. And it’s not even habit that is consciously established -- it seeps into us, moment by moment, as we grow up and learn and live. Unwittingly, we become both embodiments and perpetuators of our culture, rolled up in the thundering Katamari of history.
To me, this is one of the hardest truths to accept. Because we can’t possibly be just the sum total of a bunch of chemical reactions and cultural imprints, can we? I mean, aren’t we each unique individuals emergent in the ever-new stream of time? Don’t we have any control over our destiny? Don’t we have any freedom at all?
I believe we do. Of course we do. And we often we get it together to exercise that freedom in wondrous ways. But there are many other times when we are so deeply embedded in the status quo and it is so deeply embedded in us that we can’t even see what is happening. And this is the magic moment in which craziness rises up inside of us -- sometimes we can resist it, but sometimes it takes control.
This moment has consequences not only for our individual lives but also for the culture we’re living in. Because our insanity invariably sucks other people into it. When we truck along in the destructive ruts laid down before us, we can’t help but dig them a little bit deeper.
Do you dislike our culture in some ways? Do you think people consume too much, focus too much on appearances, or overvalue the vapid compared to the critical? What I am saying is, the only way to change this is to change how much you consume, how much you focus on appearances, and how much you value important stuff versus inane stuff.
Because the sum total of what we all are is what the world becomes. Which means that the only way to have a less crazy world is for lots and lots of us to become less crazy. To face up to the fact that we sometimes walk around like giant robots, completely unaware that our actions are caused by the machinations of our conditioning. To bring our human ability for self-reflection into those moments, and to shut the machine down. At least inside our own minds. At least in our own lives.
Like most people, I find myself operating in giant robot mode sometimes. But I am trying really hard to change that pattern up using meditation and philosophy and cognitive behavioral techniques and the powers of my own mind and spirit and anything other useful trick I can lay my hands on. I want to be able to recognize when I’m being a bonehead and stop it in the moment. I want to spend less time rationalizing or even being a little bit in love with my own craziness and more time actually working to overcome it.
So, that’s what this blog is about. Me being less crazy, you being less crazy, and the world hopefully following suit. Let’s all be batshit sane for a change, whaddaya say?
Want to talk to me? Got a question? Need help thinking new thoughts about something that's making you crazy? Drop me a line at belesscrazy at gmail dot com.