In my last post, I tried to take the idea of Dreams and cast them all into the purifying fire. Burn away all that isn’t worth our true devotion since most of us pursue them with our lives as the bargaining chip. Weigh and measure them and find yourself consciously picking and choosing instead of just accepting the dreams that your mind has naturally formulated from as early as you remember. Hopefully, I made you think about them in the faintest way. That was very high level, now I want to ponder the concept of impulse at the most granular level.
From what I have seen, we always approach things backward. People will do things for no clear reason at first, and then plot back their steps as an attempt to justify it. The logic rarely works, but that never phases anyone. Cognitive dissonance is rampant and their actions are a result of such.
How many things do we do, we do just because it feels natural, as if there’s no reason not to resist? Then again, there’s no reason not to, so why on earth am I wanting to question impulses?
The author David Foster Wallace sums it up perfectly.
“That feeling of having to obey every impulse and gratify every desire seems to me to be a strange kind of slavery. Nobody talks about it as such, though.”
Even when someone says, ‘I’m free to do what I want!’ My response to that would be, ‘Are you free to not do what you want?’ Or, ‘are you free to choose what you want?’
In this gigantic clash of choices and interactions, and the pursuit of ‘so called’ happiness known as life. ( I say ‘so called’ because happiness is defined in so many different ways that it almost completely undermines it as a real concept, but that’s another post for another time.) Some feel that the idea to ‘happiness’ is to simply fulfill each and everyone of our wants without any thought to the legitimacy of them. Doing such is mindless, childish, and is equivalent to a toddler interaction with choice.
Again, Wallace’s quote, but in the full context.
American economic and cultural systems that work very well in terms of selling people products and keeping the economy thriving do not work as well when it comes to educating children or helping us help each other know how to live — and, to be happy, if that word means anything. Clearly it means something different from whatever I want to do — I want to take this cup and throw it right now, I have every right to, I should! We see it with children — that’s not happiness. That feeling of having to obey every impulse and gratify every desire seems to me to be a strange kind of slavery. Nobody talks about it as such, though. We talk about the freedom of choice and you have the right to have things and spend this much money and you can have this stuff. Again, saying it this way, it sounds to me very crude and very simple.
I know some that live like this, and by doing it, they’re rejecting lucidity and embracing unconsciousness in a way. Lucidity is the point where you realize that you’re in the drivers seat and you can actively choose what you want to do. Then again, one could question that when you become lucid your wants then are still be influenced by personality and socialization. One could argue that any alteration to our impulse is simply just Deferred gratification, but that’s not what I’m driving at. I’m not meaning to discuss the existence of free will here either.
Be conscious of your actions, many times our subconscious impulses might even lead us to do something we regret. As if most of our actions that we regret we were never conscious enough of to prevent. Our impulses may lead us to unintentionally harm others. If you’re not where you at in life or if you’re walking down the wrong path, consciousness will at least be enough for you to be more honest and capable of change than those who aren’t
Enough for now,
-Logan T. Miles