Irrational Health, a Fine Line, and Hope

It seems to me that people are really good at maintaining hope. That might sound strange, but when I think of the books and the authors that parallel the kind of text I’m writing, I see a group of people who are desperate to find some type of hope in it all. There’s almost an unspoken requirement that states that you have to give people some hope. You have to because you can’t possibly leave people without the possibility of a happy ending. As an author I find myself looking for hope as well, and yet I’m determined to not include it unless I’m absolutely sure there can be. It’s an irrational thing to desire hope in any situation and yet, I admit that as person I can see how it’s almost essential because if there were no hope, then what would be the point in living or for that matter why would I bother writing. It’s ironic that the more I try to draw a light onto all of these irrationalities, I found myself further consumed by them and in some way find that it’s impossible to detach oneself from absolutely every one, if simply for the fact that we’re all interconnected and one irrationality feeds into another person almost by definition.

One of the other questions I find myself toiling around with is the question of whether or not their is a definitive, figurative line that once crossed can’t be undone. In another way, is their a point at which someone has delved so deeply into this condition that ails them, Irrational Health, that he/she is incapable of escaping or curing himself/herself. I’m not sure what the answer to this question will be, but the one thing I am sure of is that there is most certainly a line that once crossed makes it very unlikely or possible that someone could walk back. Think about it. There has to be a point at which shining a light at every irrationality you’ve embraced would leave in almost a catatonic state. I mean imagine if you were Jim Carey in “The Truman Show” and you just found out that your entire life was a sham. What would you do? What could you do? Would you even have an identity at that point? Now this might be an extreme example, but it demonstrates what the effect would be. The point is that at some point a person can find themself too far in. There is somewhat of a fine line, I believe, and it’s all the more reason to want to limit the lies that people tell themselves. When all is said and done, I suppose such a person could hope. 

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We’re Becoming a Society That Suppresses Dreams

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a famous astrophysicist that has really come to fame in my mind because of his absolutely true contention that our society inhibits the ability of children to dream. The progression of science has been hindered in the modern day by a decrease in the number of children dreaming about a better world, dreaming about what can be or what we can do, dreaming about the possibilities offered by science, and dreaming about space. Children used to dream about space and possibilities. I completely agree with Mr. Tyson. Our children aren’t dreaming in the way that they used to and this has hindered our progression and what I believe is most certainly our manifest destiny, which is to colonize space. What does this have to do with Irrational Health?

We live in a culture that is focused on reality and what people need to do in order to live in the world. We’re not allowing children the opportunity, which they deserve, and we ultimately need; that opportunity being the opportunity to dream. It’s the innocence of a child that sometimes yields the greatest lessons because a child can only see things at a base level. It’s the dreams of children that can push us forward, that can change the world into something better than it is. Why are we suppressing that then? That’s the irrationality. It’s the irrationality of desiring a better world and yet, at the same time suppressing the ability to dream for something more, which is required for advancement. It is true that on some level everything I’ve written here has to be discarded because life is difficult and sometimes the only way to live is to fall in with everyone else, but this carries consequences. The extremity of this situation carries consequences. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer. There’s nothing wrong with a little boy looking up at the stars and wondering what lies beyond them. There’s nothing wrong with a little girl thinking about a happy life devoid of the lust that permeates modern relationships. Whether they’re realistic thoughts or not, they’re dreams and they mean a great deal to the children who have them and to our world at large. We should believe that nothing is impossible even if our better judgement tells us otherwise because when we suppress something enough, it has no opportunity to become a reality. I remember the first time I had a full glimpse at the night sky, unhindered by man-made lights and it’s something that I wouldn’t have wanted lessened at the time. I remember when I believed that anything was possible and likewise I would never have wanted that challenged. Not at the time. It’s okay to dream. Dreaming is essential. If you want a better world, then dream. One dream tonight can make all the difference tomorrow.

What’s Obtained Too Easily, Is Valued Just as Cheaply

Irrational 8. While I was in high school, I was given a very important laminated quote.  It was given to me by one of the most influential teachers I have ever had and it’s a quote that I’ve carried in my wallet ever since (going on six plus years). The quote is as follows:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious that triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

— Thomas Paine, 1776.

It was and is a very inspirational sentiment that has helped during my years in high school, college, and to this very day. There’s a notion that’s expressed here though that serves as one of the major themes spanning, Irrational Health. What’s obtained easily doesn’t carry as much value as something that’s obtained through trial and tribulation. It’s the struggle that makes an accomplishment so worth while. It’s knowing that you had to offer yourself up in every respect to a cause that makes the moment the cause is realized so great.

A symptom of Irrational Health is without a doubt a focus on what’s obtained easily most times. While many people see it as worthwhile to struggle for their professional future, every other segment of their lives tends to fall more towards the easily obtained. Why isn’t it that this concept transfers into the other parts of our lives anymore? That’s the question to ask. We already know that people who can delay gratification in life are much more likely to be successful. These are the people who can substitute the higher pleasures for the lower ones, the satisfactions that are short and fleeting. This understanding that we have of human psychology and philosophy runs directly parallel the concept of the struggle being correlated with the value of a success.

We live in times in which people are more concerned with the present day, what they did over the weekend, what they’re doing today, and what the following weekend will look like. I think that when you put together the themes we’ve talked about, such as independence, convenience, and lies, you come to see that people in the modern day can be very successful and at the same time be ill-at-rest because the grand value they want to see in certain parts of their lives just doesn’t exist. They have this feeling that there should be this great value there and they will even act like there is… and yet its the equivalent setting up a plastic tarp outside with an inflatable pool and insisting it’s a water park. It’s very bizarre because at times you might be the one person in a room who just doesn’t get it, but no one is going to speak up to set you straight. Why? Well, they might not want the stigma as being the first person to say something questionable, but I think that further no one is saying anything because they wouldn’t want someone to set them straight. They prefer to keep pretending. The point is you can set up a make shift water, obstacle course outside, but it’s still not going to be a water park. You can accept an expensive gift from someone, but you won’t value it as much as if you had worked for it yourself. You can add certain components to your life to make it whole, but it won’t be whole if it all came together too easily. You can jump out of an endeavour when it gets too difficult and you just don’t want to deal with it… or you can stay and struggle to eventually find yourself at the top of that mountain… to look back at the distance you’ve come and value that achievement for the struggle and not just the view, which would be all that someone would have if they simply got dropped off by helicopter.

The Irrationality of Misplaced Value, Irrational Health 7

Getting back into our usual routine, I’d like to present the 7th major theme of Irrational Health, misplaced value. The concept of independence and the self was one of the first concepts I brought up when I started this book. It is key to understanding the problem of bringing to light, the problem that is the sickness of Irrational Health in our modern culture, particularly in the west. I’ve brought that differentiation between western and eastern cultures up before. I’d like to clarify that Irrational Health is not an argument for why we should be more the east. It’s simply a distinction. The focus that we have on the self has lead to massive obfuscation of what’s of value. Further, it’s my belief that this misplaced value throughout one’s early years, leads to a great deal of difficulty in the future and like many other things I’ve discussed it is quite possibly one of the main causes of mid-life crisis. 

If we were to take a survey of random sampling of people, we could very well predict before hand what the answers of most people would be when asked the question, “What is of the highest value to you?” What would those answers be? Well, people would say their family, their friends, their health, and their happiness. This is just to name of few of the usual suspects. You could very well argue differently. Here’s the catch. I don’t see anything wrong with these answers. So what’s the problem? Well, people say that these things are of value to them and yet, they don’t act in a way that actually values these things. Success is one thing that people value more than these other things as based by their actions. This is where the irrationality lies. Jobs are one of the things that people will in action value more than their family, their friends, and the many things that are of value to them, including their values. So the question if you value so many other things over a prospective job, then why would you sacrifice all of those things for that very job? We live in a society that is composed of individuals who are at the ready to hold their independent pursuits over the things that they say the value. Now you can make the argument that technology has eliminated in large part a lot of the constraints of distance, but as always a screen is never as good as the real thing. You might further say that when you’re young, it’s okay to pursue your life’s dreams even given a great deal of sacrifices, but like so many other irrationalities discussed here, there is always a limit, a line at which something has crossed over from truth into fiction.

Modern life often makes people feel like they’re a cog in a system, but I think that this feeling is also connected with what your actions say about what you value. If you embrace enough irrationalities, then it is easy to become someone who is fulfilling a function and living a life that lacks the kind of value that can give your life meaning… and further true happiness. Irrational Health does promote happiness whether that has come out or not. It just doesn’t support fabricated happiness. It doesn’t support the kind of happiness that comes easy or the course of action that bares the least resistance. If you truly value something or someone, then you should demonstrate that through your actions and if you don’t then you’re embracing the irrational. The value of money, commodities, and stocks are all numbers that change, but something a person truly values, never depreciates in value. Things that are fleeting shouldn’t be valued. Things that last should be. Misplaced value leads to fabricated happiness. Value placed and kept in the right places yields true happiness. From an investment standpoint, I would rather invest in the a sure thing then something of chance.

The Limit of Making The Best of Things

Irrational Health on some level is an attempt by myself to make the best of things. That’s to say that in light of everything I talk about here I do believe that its necessary sometimes to look past all of the irrationalities and attempt to draw some reason from it. You have to pull reason out of the irrationality and I know that on the surface that sounds nonsensical. Irrational Health is my attempt to do that. It’s my attempt to channel a lot of terrible irrationalities into something positive. Over the last year of my life I’ve been met with a few individuals who have turned my conception of good upside down. In a way, the only thing that they’ve left me with is the foundation behind this book so I am in a sense taking the lemons life has given me and making lemonade. There is a limit to this though.

In the same way that the axiom that says everything happens for a reason shouldn’t be used as a fallback, so shouldn’t the axiom that you should always attempt to make the best of things. It’s just a bizarre thing to go about life with the expectation that people can and will always make the best of things. It’s just another smokescreen for unjustified justifications. In the worst case scenario, it’s what a person can and maybe should choose to do, but it shouldn’t be handicap to live by. In my example, I would much rather have preferred not to be compelled to write this book. Irrational Health has a grim outlook when all is said and done. I don’t think that Sigmund Freud, Ernest Becker, or even George Orwell were excited by the prospect of writing their respective books. It’s something that you can’t overlook when you get to that place where you are looking for a channel. This book has honestly been in the works for a number of years now, but, of course, there were certain events that turned out to be the impetus that sparked the writing. In closing, I just wanted to discuss another axiom that has been semi-corrupted in the modern day and tie that into the origins of Irrational Health. That being said, you can expect the next post to go back to our my standard format of introducing a major theme from this book in progress. Till then, stay rational. 

A Quote from 2013, Regarding the Debate Over the Legalization of Gay Marriage

“I would never want to misspeak or in anyway say something to offend anyone on the basis of who they are or what they believe… especially a friend who would return to me the same respect. Nonetheless, I feel the need to say something regarding what the Court is presently reviewing. Rather then stating a personal opinion or belief, that could be misinterpreted, I think it best to comment on the behalf of a group whose stance can easily be overpowered when it comes to the proliferation of propaganda via social media. I think that often times fervor and energy surrounding any push or movement for freedom and equality can lead to an obfuscation, however slightly, of the reality of the situation or what the question at hand truly is. We all know that the Court on a base level, has the task of reviewing and ruling on the constitutionality of gay marriage, if they so choose to do so. With this in mind, people can use the word equality in two distinct lights, equality as in respect to how it’s contextualized in the Constitution, and equality in a subjective, idealistic light. I would hope that the Court and others might not be so quick to draw questionably unwarranted historical connections or to utilize the word oppression so lightly. It is my belief that both sides, both parties, are opposed to any form oppression, especially in the present day, and this is as it should be. I would hope that both sides understand the what the Court is tasked with. I would hope that both sides can respect, at the very least, the sensitivity of the concept, the sacrament of marriage because it’s my understanding that those that push for the full acceptance of gay marriage aren’t simply push for marriage or equality… but, simply, as it is for all of us, the desire to have the ability to express and embrace our love no matter the relationship between two people or the two people involved and I think we can all agree that that extends past the sacrament of marriage to all of our relationships… Regardless, the ruling… or the outcome, I support those who push for what they believe in and who they are.” Raymond Guzman, March 2013

P.S: This quote contains some personal opinion without a doubt, but it’s just meant to serve as an introduction for the Irrational Health outlook on issues of equality, liberalism, and fervor of freedom to come later.

A Quote from 2012, Regarding Human Propriety

“What’s happened to simple human propriety? I mean even during times of war and conflict, opposing parties have been shown to abide by unwritten rules. Civilians, women, children, the elderly etc. are not to be involved. Prisoners of war are to be treated with a certain level of composure and returned after a conflict has ended. Resolutions following a conflict are not to completely abolish the surrendered party for the sake of future foreign relations. This is basic political theory. In our worst state of human nature, all out war, we’re capable of maintaining a certain level of proprietary. Why is it that in our private, civilian lives we can’t maintain simple human propriety? I don’t understand how it is that a person can become so self-absorbed, almost over night, to the point where everything becomes a twisted psychological reinforcement of their own selfish, unjustified behavior. It’s downright pathological and then at that point it’s not too long until that self-fulfilling prophecy manifests itself in such a way as to create the illusion that that pathological behavior satisfies propriety. Then the other relationships that that person still maintains simple human propriety with seek to solidify that person’s new disposition and everyone is worse off because of it… It’s not a difficult thing to do, to maintain simple human propriety. We do it everyday. We look at each other and attempt to jump into each other’s shoes and that elicits an emotional connection. That emotional connection influences behavior and then we act with understanding and respect for one another. Why is it then that our most coveted emotional connections are the easiest to fall pray to this problem? It’s not about conflict. It’s about the way it’s handled. It’s disturbing to realize that so many problems are just the result of a lack of an understanding of our own psychological fallacies.” Raymond Guzman, December 2012