… and somewhere in the wilderness, there are others.
… and somewhere in the wilderness, there are others.
What is my reality if not just an intricate and colourful plot comprised of stories that I tell myself?
How does it relate to the reality of other people? Yours, for example?
What are memories, if not just narratives my mind chooses to conjure up?
I was listening to this one TED talk about happiness and stuff, and I learned about the two parts of the human self: the experiencing self and the narrating self. The experiencing self is the one that is always hooked to the present, anchored to the here & now, telling me what feels good and what stings like hell (mmm, these chewy cinnamon candies are awesome, btw). BUT THE NARRATING SELF! This is the part that creates the stories about what “really” happened, and directs our behaviour through interpretations, and analysis. Ever think about the fact that memories are really just stories that we tell ourselves? Okay, so we experience things first hand (i.e. shit happens) and then … the narrating self takes over, dips his quill into the ink of imagination and comes up with a suitable interpretation about what just happened.
If you really think about this stuff, your mind may melt … like swiss cheese … and in the end, you will realise that YOU are, in fact, just another story you tell yourself. Yeah, already thought way to hard about this. If the rest of this stuff is too cheesy, you’ll know why.
And what about you?
You probably have a regular library of stories involving ME. All designed and dictated by your narrating self (at night, while you sleep the sleep of the innocent). And I have NO IDEA what kind of role I have in these stories. Am I the black-hearted villain plotting to poison you eggnog? Or a kind-hearted woman who smells like strawberries & makes tea that can heal anything? Or a light-footed jester without a cause? Most likely, I don’t occupy any of the major roles (remember, I used to play mushroom in school plays), but I have SOME kind of role. Could be the mushroom, again, for all I know 🙂
The point is, our stories may never match. The story that I have in my head IS NOT the story that’s in yours. Some of the facts my be related, like distant cousins, but the fact remains that our stories are not written by the same narrator. Therefore, I can never assume anything about you. And you, my dear reader, you can never assume anything about me.
Have you ever been in a discussion where you just cannot get through to the other guy? For some reason, common ground is as elusive and perilous as the first sheet of ice on a lake? Every time you try to get onto common ground, you get dipped in ice water instead. You make a statement. The other guy makes the exact opposite statement. It’s a never-ending, futile debate. This is probably because your stories of whatever topic you are addressing are so wildly different that you don’t even recognise yourself in the other person’s story.
“Hey, that’s not even remotely like me! I don’t have a HUMP! How could I have a HUMP! I do ZUMBA, for god’s sake!”.
Your opinion, although interesting, is not my reality. There is not reality. There are just stories. Millions of stories.
What you CAN do is LISTEN to the stories you hear. They are usually very, very enchanting. “Having big ears has never harmed anyone”, said some poster on Pinterest. It’s true.
Here’s something I have been trying to do: I try to consider all my stories as hypothetical narratives, my personal archive of tales (not necessarily of the “fairy” type, but possibly so, possibly so). They are mine and I cherish them. They are what makes me uniquely me. What they do not define is REALITY. I have no claim on reality. I don’t presume that I am right (in the sense that my stories are universally acceptable .. ha, or even acceptable in the larger Tampere region). I might not even be in the ballpark. It’s kind of like giving up trying to define reality.
Imagine if all people would give up trying to define reality. If we could listen to other people’s stories with an electric interest, without the whole “who is right” business.
There might be campfires and bottles passed around, hugs, laughs, general awe about the universe, and a consensus about how funny it is to be human, and how hard.
You’re right. Cheezy.
You both get dirty, but the pig likes it, they say.
Here’s what I think.
It’s not the pig I am worried about. Come here piggie pig, gimme what you got! Let’s rock’n’roll!
I would rather wrestle with 6 pigs, each day, and get dirty and sweaty and lie in the mud all out-of breath (wasn’t thinking of bikinis here, but if you were, I won’t blame you). See, if there has to be mud involved, I think it is only fair that everyone in this pit admit that they are filthy little animals sometimes. I think it is only fair that everyone gets dirty. That’s real life for you.
We clean up nice, afterwards. Enjoy the scalding hot shower. Have a pint of beer. Laugh like only truly sincere people do. It is the only laugh worth having. And the only kind of company I keep.
I DISTRUST THOSE WHO SAY YOU SHOULD NEVER WRESTLE.
One of the best things that can happen to you is accepting the role of the Bad Guy.
With a wink and a thumbs up. And I don’t mean no martyrdom either, I mean ACCEPTING the role of the Bad Guy. Embracing it. I promise you it will feel GREAT.
Reason #1: The reason why you are being branded as the Bad Guy is that you have stood up for something you believe in. You have made a choice. You have made a difference between what you want to live with and what you don’t want in your life. You have said NO (or maybe “take a hike.”) This is often hard for people deal with. Most people just cope, kiss butt and carry on. Don’t expect them to see your point of view, they won’t. Just accept that they will see you as the Bad Guy. But, trust me, in your private universe, you FUCKING ROCK.
Reason #2: Bad Guys have more FUN! They possess the power to direct their energy to people and things that make them FEEL GOOD. They seldom sit in parties in which they are bored out of their minds. They don’t get sucked into meaningless bogs of bullshit or find themselves running errands for sluggards. Instead, they find other BAD GUYS and go out to have a beer or two. Have a laugh.
Reason #3 You will feel like you are in CONTROL of your life, and that is the best fucking thing there is. But there is a catch, you have to always speak the truth (sure sure, there is no objective truth as such, but there is something that YOU believe is true). You absolutely must not lie to yourself, you have to be the real thing. Even better (like Bono said). They say the truth shall set you free. It will. And the freedom will grant you the feeling that you are behind the wheel. You are freed from the ACTING job most people have to endure every day and from the lies that you may have told yourself in order to endure. Once you make even ONE hard choice & speak the truth , you will know what I talking about.
Hi! My name is Elice. I am a Bad Guy. This is a good day.
I have come to trust the people who wear tan yoga pants and travel to India to rummage through the Soul Section of the Lost and Found. I think they are on to something when they say (or, sometimes, SING in a very interesting thin voice) that life is an everlasting flow of Energy, Magic and Karma. No ends or beginnings, just flow. Breathe in, breathe out. Really, DO IT. Breathe IN. Hold it. Breath OUT. If you are very still, you can feel the tingle of the flow.
(Wait a minute, these are not song lyrics from one of their songs, are they?)
Energy is the force that sparks life into things by fussing around and arranging atoms in new interesting formations, Magic, the necessary secret ingredient that makes everything enchanting, and Karma the collective memory ensuring that the system learns from its endeavours. Nothing much is wasted in this flow (if you don’t count Kouvola, which is a complete waste of good space, and moped cars which are a total waste or roads AND parking spaces).
The thing is, for the flow to be possible, everything needs to be charged every once in a while. Trees probably don’t need to be charged all that often, since all they do is take stands. Bees and humming birds probably have some cellular chargers for transforming their buzzing and humming to energy. Oceans have wave power for one, plus the moon helps them out. So they are all set.
But what about you and I?
We already know what powers the body (mine works best with crustaceans and wine, but six-year-olds could break the earth’s gravity field if given enough chicken nuggets and coke).
But … what charges our souls? What keeps our minds spinning, whirling, backtracking, ticking, giggling and daydreaming?
Hold that thought and bear with me (not *bare*, mind you … although if you are all by yourself at your summer cottage right now -> go ahead)
My sister did some accidental research into the issue of recharging one’s soul while looking into the whole introvert / extrovert thing. She told me that most people think the division into intro vs extro has something to do with: social skills, shyness and whether you freeze up if suddenly handed the microphone (Me, I cannot resist microphones. Love’em).
But NO! This is not he the case, she says. The whole intro-extro division has to do with how you CHARGE YOUR SOUL. I suspect this is just the tip of the pyramid. I think there there must be more categories. Like, A LOT MORE. But this is s a good start, so let’s play along.
So, introverts get more energy from spending time with their inner self. They require solitude and timeless zones in which to dive into books, to board strange trains of thoughts, to gaze into dimensions beyond. Sometimes they to turn their inner garden path sentences to words or to watercolor paintings with a lot of cotton candy pink. They can be very talented show (off) people, regular babble fountains at cocktail parties, fabulously funny when given fizzy drinks, but the fact is, being social DRAINS their energy, no matter how much FUN it might be. And the the flow of energy must be restored by say … a couple of hours on a deserted beach somewhere in the Pacific or by a lonely road trip home with the rain drumming on the windshield and nothing but Depeche Mode in the CD player.
Extrovert people glow and sparkle and thrum with energy when they are surrounded by friends and family, when they can engage in stimulating conversations, when their calendars are full of scribbled notes about dates and get-togethers and parties. They are like radiant suns in the solar systems of the social kind. People gather around them and bask in their warmth and go home wondering how some people can light up any room like christmas lights! I wonder, if without such people, there would ever be ANY parties in the world. Well, I guess birthday parties would still be mandatory 🙂
So, Extrovert people charge their souls when they mingle, while Introverts can’t hear what I’m saying because they are out charging their soul in a book.
However, I think this division is much too crude. I’m sure there are even MORE VERTS. At the very least, there should be something like a PARVERT (sounds bad, I know, but at least it is LATIN!). PAR meaning “a pair”. So, people who charge their SOULS with a carefully picked soulmate. Someone who completes the flow of energy with their presence. Also, a subcategory for introverts could be a ARSVERT (again, apologies), someone who charges his soul by CREATING something, like art (LATIN: ARS). A subcategory for extroverts (or many introverts … hmm) could be ACTOVERT, someone who’s soul aches to be on stage, to perform, to act, to entertain. And then there are those who eat cake. I can see that my well of ideas is getting a bit dry, so maybe this would be a good place to go grab a drink! Luckily there is some cider in the fridge.
The Soul Section of the Lost and Found is FULL OF PEOPLE LOOKING FOR THEMSELVES. For some reason, many seem to think that India is a good place to start, although I can’t fathom why. It seems to me be a bit disorganized, in terms of people.
I think, but this is just me, maybe all the soul seekers have not misplaced their souls after all. They have just forgotten how to RECHARGE. After all, if your energy is all but depleted, you probably feel a bit off in the soul department. But before you can recharge, you have to figure out which kind of VERT you are.
Take me, for example, I have always thought of myself as an extrovert. No question. For years and years and years. But as turns out, I have been wrong all along! I am in fact an INTROVERT, who NEEDS to be home alone and breathe in the white silence every now and then (or watch Dwayne Johnson movies).
Way before I realized this, I think I was faintly aware that something was amiss. For instance, I was trying to take time to myself while, say, brushing my teeth. I would bring a book and walk around the bathroom for a VERY LONG TIME. Or take baths that would ensure that my carbon footprint could be seen all the way from SPACE. Also, I would really really really miss having my big slow cup of tea without some short-but-cute-folk trying to extract me from the table. So, I kind of knew what I needed. Space in which to travel to an inner dimension in which I can wear woollen socks and have midnight discussions with Professor Rincewind.
This weekend, I am lucky. The Guy is off to do manly things in the woods with other Chucks. The kids are off on a holiday trip. If only I could persuade the seagulls who life above me to move their noisy flyfest somewhere else, everything would be perfect!
So, Energy, Magic and Karma. If you find a way to replenish your energy, and embrace the magic in the world, I think your Karma will be just fine and there will be no need to travel all the way to India. I guess the key is to keep your soul’s battery in the green zone … and drink lots of fluids. Perhaps just a slice of the that cake would not hurt, either 🙂
1. I hope for many summer days when I have no idea how long I have been sitting on the beach
2. I hope I have enough time to read many (fantasy) books that will set off fireworks in my head
3. I hope for adventures that will take me to see different stars at night
4. I hope that I won’t always remember the significance of my Vigilance tattoo, just sometimes
5. I hope that I am able to share all of the above with my Jimmie Mandrake
P.S. Oh, and I hope that the WISHMASTER does not read my blog, because I can totally see how this could go wrong!
Today, I read a highly sophisticated & scientific article that was originally published in NeuroLeadership Journal. You might think you would prefer sitting naked on a cactus. In the Arctic. With a sadistic magpie sitting on your head. But no, this one was a bona fide mind-blower. You know, kind of like a leaf blower for your brain. Good thing, too. There was so much dried up crap in my “attic” that it was time for a Nice Spring Cleaning!
The article I’m so gung-ho about was about SOCIAL stress triggers, and about how a seemingly innocent social faux pas on Facebook or in the office cafeteria can elicit a caveman/achmed: “SILENCE! I KILL YOU!”- reaction or make you run as if your butt hair is on fire.
Here’s the science in a nutshell (a.k.a the SCARF model – note: no knitting involved whatsoever) :
If you threaten a person’s …
STATUS (social standing, competence, self-worth) or
CERTAINTY (how well they are able to predict the future),
AUTONOMY (the degree to which they feel that they can control their own destiny/environment),
RELATEDNESS (their sense of belonging to a social group & how safe they feel in their social environment)
FAIRNESS (in a study, people felt happier when they received 50 cents from a total of 1 dollar than when they received 10 dollars from a total or 50 bucks … yeah, chew on that for a while 🙂 )
… you will paint an instant threat target on your own back (or forehead, if you are lucky). And folk will not be just mildly irritated either. Clubs or other blunt weapons will most definitely be involved. Or, if you are from Finland, axes are always a popular choice.
Did you know that the prevalent code for ANY social behavour is MINIMIZE THREAT+MAXIMIZE REWARD? So … this means I am like that robot in that movie programmed with a set of rules.
Rule #1: minimize threat and maximize reward
Rule #2: you must not hit other people on the head in the manner of … Bud Spencer?
Rule #3: rule #1 trumps rule #2
TLI also that there is this almond shape thingie in our brains, called the amygdala. A Mygdaladawhat? Apparently a tiny CPU that makes split second choices between a potential threat and a potential reward. And GET THIS, this all happens before the brain even turns off the screensaver. Avoid or approach … hmm … kind of sounds like that crappy show on TV, what IS that .. right .. “Snog, Marry, Avoid” .. Yeah. basically the same thing, ahaha 😀
ANYWAY, this all got me thinking about my own lizard brain reactions. Phew, you can imagine my relief! I don’t need extreme anger management after all! I am normal! HURRAH! It’s just that my inner Xena has teamed up with the Amygdala**! Dynamic duo from the stone age!
MY PERSONAL fury po(o)ps to the surface (of my pool of calm) when I am forced to interact with people who are up to all kinds of highly dubious crap, which they like to call “THEIR BUSINESS”. “PRIVATE”. “NUN OF MY BEESKNEES”.
It’s like the SCARF model is an evil TO-DO list for these guys and gals.
“Mm-hm, let’s see, must remember to undermind the status of someone today” or
“Uh, almost told the truth there, must be more careful in the future or these people will start feeling cozy around here”.
“Haha, see what I did there, I totally made that guy unsure about his life, universe and everything.”
“Fair? Fair Schmair!”
And PRIVACY, it is like a police badge or something.
“Yeah, I’m about to make a complete fool out of this guy and suck him dry, but WAIT, here’s my badge, IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.”
Yeah, okay, I’m cool with that. Except “NO I’M NOT” 😀
IN MY BOOK, PRIVACY IS A PRIVILEGE, not an excuse for a self-centered existence in which other people are pawns in game of Schmess. And just like other PRIVILEGES, it needs to be appreciated and handled with proper care.
Anyway, you know what they say: “Revenge? Nah, I’m too lazy. I’m just gonna let KARMA fuck them up”: Yeah, KARMA and the rest of the cave people. And, if I am lucky, maybe … Bud Spencer?
* Thank you Sheldon 😉
* The article: http://www.davidrock.net/files/NLJ_SCARFUS.pdf
* Achmed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfResyFrqlM
* Karma: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460091/
**definitely going to be my next online alias.