Everything Happens for A Reason… Yes and Very Much, No

Irrational Health 6. I’ll put my own disclaimer up front. I have a very large disdain for cliches just because I feel so highly that they’re thoroughly abused in the modern day. I understand that for people it can be a very helpful way to cope with reality, but like so many other things I discuss here, people have sort of run away with something that isn’t meant to be a cure-all or panacea. One of the biggest hackneyed expressions is the one that goes that everything happens for a reason. It’s one of those things were the statement is true, yes. Everything does happen for a reason. We live in a world of cause and effect. Nothing occurs spontaneously, other than creation, but that’s only the case for the religious. Nonetheless, our society has adopted this expression as a sort of boilerplate or disclaimer that rather than providing a temporary comfort, leads to its abuse in the form of justification.

There is something very odd and bizarre about justifying one’s actions based on the hindsight a person will have in “x” amount of time. Think about it. Isn’t there a line between where this expression holds value and where the expression is the justification? Imagine if you entering into a friendship with someone and that person forced you to sign a waiver, some boilerplate contract, that made that person devoid of an responsibility to an terrible thing he/she may do to you. It’d be bizarre right. How willing would you be to enter into said friendship with that person, knowing that up front they’ve already prepared a exemption or justification for any negative act. How is this expression not accomplishing the same thing? How can you move through life, entering and exiting every opportunity on the basis of reason to both enter and leave it? This expression also leads to the conclusion that anyone who uses it is a determinist. What about free will? Sure, if you don’t believe in it then go right ahead and proceed with your irrationality, but for those who do believe in free will, then how can you adhere yourself to an ideology that you’re using to justify every action you ever embark on because it was decided for you by causality. It’s insanity, right? To internalize this limited axiom is to make yourself into something almost less than human and to come off as someone too weak to realize and act on the fact that while everything happens for a reason, you have the ability to influence the next reason. 

You know if you’ve ever studied psychology or statistics, then you know that correlation doesn’t prove causality. If you begin to notice a relationship between two factors that doesn’t mean that one is causing the other and vice versa. It means that in some way the two things are related, whether that relation is strong or weak. The fact is that everything is somehow related to everything else, but that doesn’t prove a cause and effect. The data shouldn’t influence a choice. The choice should influence the data. There is a major question forming as I continue to think about modern life, relationships, and irrationalities. That question is formed around limits. At what point do people stop separating themselves into their own self-zone and actually attempt to break through the irrational and carve out a self-zone that is a part of our larger reality. Yes, everything happens for a reason. Life is on some level a cycle, but at what part do you stop feeding into that cycle as justification for decision made under an irrational mindset? It’s a difficult thing to do, but I truly believe, despite a lot things, that it’s worth it and sometimes it takes a little arrogance to change the tide of fate.

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Maturity, Adolescence, and Adulthood

Irrational Health, 5. Maturity is one of those things that has sort of been obfuscated to the point where people can apply to literally any situation. Maturity entails having the qualities of understanding, composure, thought, and an ability to confront one’s problems. Why are we immature during adolescence? It’s simple. The adolescent year’s are really the beginning of the formulation of our adult minds. We are immature because we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to exercise our maturity. That comes with time. During adolescence, one has limited understanding, a lesser ability to maintain composure, a less in depth thought-process, and a tendency to want to ignore certain problems rather than to confront them. We’re speaking generally as always.

The irrationality here lies in that society’s conception of what is mature has focused in on a subset of those qualities that make up maturity; therefore, it’s lead to this understanding of maturity that has lead us to become something like super-adolescents, rather than actual adults. Think about like always. How many times do you find yourself in a situation where most people seem to agree that the mature thing to do is to ignore a situation altogether? I’d wager that it probably happens all of the time. People have become very focused on composure and how it relates to how people view them. Most people end up blankly not taking the time to think about a particular situation before they fall back on some historical (likely flawed) understanding of the situation and deciding that it’s best to just drop it because why bother with the inconvenience. The adult thing to do is to value one’s time, right? Well, that is a value and an important one, but this understanding of valuing one’s time is a sort of corrupt version of the value. We’re becoming super adolescents. We’re becoming these people who are really great at pushing aside things once it becomes to inconvenient to maturely deal with said situation, and rather we “maturely” decide that the adult thing to do is to let it go because of whatever constructed reason we want to use. It’s irrational to extol maturity and to still want to misconstrue situations so that you walk out an adult. If you want to pretend to be someone for Halloween, you just wouldn’t dress up as that character, because a Joker whose walking like a businessman, makes for a pretty lousy costume. We have a large group of people out there who are walking are growing up and dressing in adult clothes, putting on a great show, yet ignoring everything that they don’t want to confront, which inevitably shows its face again and again, until eventually the person you’re looking at in the mirror becomes a sort of antithesis of the person you wanted to be when you were younger. Think about what an interesting experience it would be to look at your childhood self and have to explain to him/her why you made the decision that you made.

Love, Sincerity, and Imitation

I’m going to call this as Irrational Health post 4.5. It’s just going to meant to be a lead in because I honestly couldn’t do, at least, that first topic justice right now, without a little more organization and poignant articulation. I wrote about sincerity and resiliency a while back. The general takeaway from that was that people have gotten good at being resilient (at all costs), but have let sincerity take a back seat. Further, to quote myself, “Resiliency is great, but if you intend on simply pushing away the little voice in your head, for a lack of a better word, then any success is just simply trophy with no inscription.” If I were to make a list of my top five quotes right now, that would probably be number two. People have grown too comfortable with convenience that eventually all of their choices end up being short-sighted and insincere. The inevitable conclusion, again was that this prolongation of insincerity might lead you to success, but it just won’t be meaningful success. You will have gotten somewhere without the people or the person that would make it worthwhile, when it comes to relationships. This is our lead in to the introduction of the topic of love into our Irrational Health framework.

I’ll ask you to right now think about the purest romantic love that two human beings could be capable of. What are the qualities of such a relationship? To name a few: purity, trust, loyalty, resiliency, sincerity, and faith. Now, think about what most modern relationships are like. What are some of the general qualities of modern relationships? To name a few again: short-term thinking, convenience, a lack of faith, lust, corrupt resiliency, and self-centeredness. We are again speaking generally. The societal culture we’ve built up around independence, coupled with various other factors, including things we’ve talked about here, such as feminism, has lead to an acceptance that love is fleeting, it is seemingly limitless (ie. how many people have you loved throughout your life), and more than anything love takes a backseat to convenience. It never ceases to amaze me the general acceptance around the notion that people “learn from relationships.” Think about it. What does that really mean to learn something from a relationship? What do people learn? How do they apply it? Does it really help or do people end up settling down eventually out convenience? What does the divorce rate say about all of this? I’ll leave all of these questions open-ended for now, but you’d have to be blind not to put this altogether to realize that learning from relationships is a justification for convenience. It’s likely a myth just the same as feminism. I mean people say this all of the time and I’m sure that a person at random would have a hard time giving you a solid lesson that he/she learned and how he/she applied it later on in a relationship. It’s a sinkhole. It’s get out of jail free card. The reality is (and perhaps I’ll preface this with a disclaimer of possible bias for now) that value is lost with every relationship modern people have, because the opportunity cost of moving on to someone else decreases at a seemingly exponential rate. It gets to a point where a relationship can be strictly utilitarian and you’re someone wondering why your marriage is so stale. Really? You can’t put a few pieces together and realize that you likely left someone behind who make your present a thousand-fold better had you only had the strength to not give in to selfishness and convenience. Most people attempt to imitate purest form of love they’ve ever had, but let’s be honest, an imitation can be nice, but it’s never as good as the original. 

The Myth of Feminism

“I know this is becoming a habit, but there’s something I’d like to bring up before I continue on with what I predict will be a controversial topic/post. In a broad stroke, Irrational Health is meant to be an objective analysis of modern day irrational social norms, habits, customs, and pathologies. The fact remains though that with anything it is partially based on personal experience so there is a sort of line that I try to be very cognizant of just because of the fact that it is easy to fall into bias. Nonetheless, I have thought a great deal about the series of topics that make up the major irrationalities of modern day human behavior. This has required the development of very refined analytical skills. The fact is that it is a difficult thing to do, to detach oneself from a personal situation in order to analyze it objectively. Someone who is good at this has the ability to take a scene, detach yourself as a separate person from the situation, and view it as if you were a third party. This is difficult. It’s not easy, but it’s process and one that is a part of a set of key guidelines I’ve set up for myself in writing this objective psychological book. I just wanted to bring that up and to use it as almost a disclaimer as these posts are much more informal and less finalized than what will eventually make its way to the final project. So here is the fourth official post for Irrational Health, which is one that has been finished for a while, but just not published.”

It’s been a while, but this can be considered my fourth official post for Irrational Health. The previous posts where reblogs from my principal blog at Raymond A. Guzman which touched upon topics that are in the works for Irrational Health. My hope is to write a book based on Irrational Health, while I keep up the blog. Juggling the two has proven to be a bit of a task, but hopefully I have the formula down now, but back to the topic.

In my Critical Methods course, one of the books I read which stuck with me was Mythologies by Roland Barthes. It’s one of his crowning works, a collection of essays, that sought to take these sort of values that were taken for granted and try to get at the historical background that’s lead to that manufactured value. In the preface, he writes, “The starting point of these reflections was usually a feeling of impatience at the sight of the ‘naturalness’ with which newspapers, art and common sense constantly dress up a reality which, even though it is the one we live in, is undoubtedly determined by history.” That’s how he starts and he goes on to say that a myth is likely the best terminology to be used to express these phenomenon if you will. The takeaway is that things aren’t always what them seem and that sometimes the value we attach to something is derived from something negative or just simply from a different source altogether. For example, his first essay is about the topic of wrestling and how wrestling is meant to portray the value of justice.  Wrestling is more a performance than a sport or martial art because the intent isn’t to obtain victory or to disable your opponent. While the audience is clearly in tune with the physical aspect of wrestling, a match wouldn’t be very entertaining if eventually the value of justice didn’t manifest itself. I start out with this because it’s Barthes’ idea of the myth that really makes up the Irrational Health aspect of feminism.

Front Cover

Feminism is essentially a myth. The attempt to celebrate womanhood and to strive for equality inevitably leads to the exact opposite goal. Not only this, but the the goal it does achieve leaves us all worse off on the whole. I realize that those statements alone might be enough to deter certain readers from wanting to continue reading, but, as always, if you take the time to realize that what’s true, is true, and what isn’t, isn’t, then you realize that to believe otherwise is to deceive yourself. First off, something needs to be understood at the start. If one of the goals of feminism is equality with men, then it holds that equality entails both the adoption of good and bad qualities, good and bad rights. It can’t be had one way or another. As women intend to make themselves equal with men, they end up adopting most if not all of the stigmas associated with the masculine gender. It’s hard to deny this. Don’t women do certain things just because of the notion that if men can, so can they? Yes. What are some of those things? To name one big one, to treat sex as an act of conquest. Women adopt that stigma. The question I raise is why stand by feminism then if you have to take the bad with the good? It’s one of those things that simple, but isn’t really something that is of a concern up front. It’s one of those things that gets buried in the grandness of it all. In this way, we’re all worse. Doesn’t it follow? Is it not possible to admit that perhaps the rising divorce rate in our country can be attributed to women’s attempt to even the score? The answer is, yes, but, of course, many might attempt to refute that. So we already see that what seems so positive on the outside, arises from glaring flaws at the start.

There is one other major point to make though and that’s regarding the fact that the end goal of feminism doesn’t hold true. If anything, the inequality between men and women has increased because women don’t really want equality. They want to be right. They want to have the advantage. Whether they realize it or not, even if it’s just subconsciously, women will drop the notion of equality in a second if it proves to be to their benefit. Women have historically had the submissive role in the human partnership while men have had the dominant role. Feminism in a way can be seen as the belief that women should embrace an equal dominant role with men. This just does not follow through though, because what the reality is is that women will take on the role that will be to their highest benefit in any situation. Is that equality? If it barks like a dog, looks like a dog, and smells like a dog, it’s probably a dog. You may laugh, but it’s one of those things when I almost feel like kids are coming up with some idea that adults have adopted and decided to run with. Feminism hasn’t panned out. It’s a myth. It’s a myth that is perpetuating the disintegration of our meaningful relationships. It’s an irrationality that manifests itself as a pathology on a daily basis. It’s a crime that is going unpunished all of the time. It’s like a child doing something inappropriate over and over again and falling back on the idea that he’s a child and he doesn’t know better. Women have become severely proficient at being dominant when it’s to their benefit and playing a role of a victim when it’s not. Feminism is myth, but you could even say it’s a conspiracy. All of these false conspiracy theories out there regarding historical tragedies and yet, no one takes the time to point out a conspiracy with several irrational qualities that’s prevalent in everyday life? Feminism has done some good, sure, but if you’re not intending on taking the safety off of the gun, you probably shouldn’t pick it up.

Something That Isn’t True… Isn’t True

I’d like to take a moment to apologize for the lack of updates to Irrational Health. For those who are first time readers, I do simultaneously work on the book and this blog at the same time so it’s kind of a juggling act. That being said I do intend to start writing here more frequently, but I’m also not going to give away everything here. Obviously, if I were to write everything away here, then there would be little reason to write the book or for anyone to read it. Of course, with a topic like this, there’s never really an end to it, so to speak. I fully intend to pursue the topic over the course of my life and while it’s premature to say, I foresee a sequel possibly after the ideas I’ve put forth have been talked about. While I build from various conversations with people, with varying backgrounds, I can’t really predict with much accuracy what the inevitability  of the thoughts I write will be with the mass group of people who eventually read it. That all being said, this can be considered the third official Irrational Health post and it’s a fundamental one.

Something that isn’t true, isn’t true. I can imagine that that must almost come of as condescending for most people and yet, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not as obvious as people might want to think. It’s one of those things that so simple and yet, complicated in its simplicity. If something isn’t true, then it’s just not true. The background behind this is that people have become very good at fabricating the world around them as it concerns themselves. People are good at deception. That’s another simple notion, that is complicated in its simplicity. Some people are good at lying, but an even greater number of people are great at deception and their person of choice is themselves. Think about it. How often do you witness people deceiving themselves? I’m not even talking about something silly like, if I eat that last piece of cake it has no effect on my diet. That’s trivial. I’m talking about having a belief, which you express, and then just quickly denounce without any justification whether true or not. Why would anyone do this? They would do it out of convenience. I’ve already talked about this. We live in world that values 7/11 over the “mom and pop” shop. Something that isn’t true though, isn’t true. It doesn’t take much realize the tension here and what ends up happening is that this manifests itself as cognitive dissonance which builds and builds. I’d imagine that it would take a real character to not realize that at some point, the cabbage you’ve been calling a fruit, isn’t ever going to be sweet. If you’re laughing, you should. It’s ridiculous. It’s more than that. It’s pathological. The imagined disconnect you put up between yourself and reality is just that, imagined. Ask yourself this. What is a mid-life crisis? People say it’s centered around a feeling of failure, right. A person feels as if they haven’t done the larger part of the things they wanted to do for themselves when they were at a younger age or rather it’s a feeling of a lack of success. What I believe it is, and likely is, is that point at which all of that self-deception has caught up to you and you realize that the things around you aren’t actually what they seem. Why? Something that isn’t true, isn’t true. You redefined falsely what was of value to you. It’s a consequence of a life built on a series of lies that at the time subconsciously was the easiest way to cope with reality. A pig dressed in a suit is still a pig and something that isn’t true, isn’t true. It’s like the say, a $10 shine on a ten cents pair of shoes, still leaves you with a pretty lousy pair of footwear.

My Solution to the Economic Crises: Tax Unethical Acts

My solution to the economic crises is simple. Tax unethical acts. The idea is to improve both our society and economy at the same time. Not only this, but it would necessitate the creation of a whole new class of auditors, ethical auditors whose role would be to determine the severity of each unethical act, and thereby ascertain the value of the act. Think about it. What we’re talking about is charging people for ethical acts that fall below the level misdemeanors. For examplr, cheating on your partner would result in a fine equal to length of the infraction. It would be a positive revenue for the government that takes money from those who deserve it. What’s my solution? The Ethical Tax Act of 2013 charges the general public a tax on every unethical infraction. It creates a Board of Ethical Propriety as well as a group of Federal Ethical Auditors. Endorsed by IH.

P.S: Impractical? Sure, but you have to admit it makes more sense than a lot of irrationalities.

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“Scared Shitless” (Webstock 2011), Merlin Mann

A repost from raymondguzman.wordpress.com. This talk by Merlin Mann goes well with the previous post… And is maybe some rationality for the irrational.

Raymond A. Guzman

Merlin Mann is a writer, speaker, and broadcaster from San Fransisco. He is known for such things as Inbox Zero and the Hipster PDA. I have talked about both of these topics in the past. Mr. Mann’s self-proclaimed goal is to develop positive habits that allow people to be their most productive, yes, but more to the point, their most creative. If you can’t already tell, I really admire his work and you should definitely look into some of his current works and writing (MerlinMann.com).

Aside from his Inbox Zero talk at Google, “Scared Shitless” is arguably one of my favorite talks by Merlin Mann. It is simply a must watch. Merlin tells us how he learned to love to be scared of everything… you have to watch it to really get it and it’s definitely worth your time. It’s a relatively short 27 minutes or so and will most…

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