In the study of psychology, there’s this concept of cognitive dissonance which refers to when a person has one or more beliefs that are conflicting. The attempt to make the two or more differing beliefs compatible causes a person unease in the form of cognitive dissonance. Whether you are consciously attempting to rectify that cognitive dissonance or not, your subconscious will attempt to do so and at times by any means necessary. If you’ve been following along with me here, then you’re probably already guessing that irrationalities are sometimes the ways by which the mind attempts to fix this dissonance.
There’s further this concept that defines a person in three different ways. The first definition is your own person definition you give yourself. The second is the definition other people would attribute to you and the last is the definition regarding the person you want to be. According to this psychological concept, you’re a whole person so to speak, when all three of these definitions are one in the same. When you are the person you want to be and others identify you as such, then you are a complete person, which is to say that there aren’t parts of your identity that don’t coincide with one another. In order to adapt this model to my analysis of Irrational Health, I’d add a fourth overlap, that overlap being who you think you are as differentiated by who you actually are. I think that people suffering from Irrational Health can manage to get the who they want to be part, the who people think they are, and the who they think the are to match up, but are incapable of getting the who they really are to match up with the other three. Due to the irrationalities at play in their psyche, they’re overlooking what’s arguably the most important piece of the four. They’re still incomplete. This is just another of what will be many attempts to bring to light what it is that I’m really focused on. The key is to notice that there’s something off every time. There’s one thing that just doesn’t match or add up and that will typically be the Irrational Health.
Have you ever seen a dog chase its own tail? It’s likely you have. Think about what’s really happening. The dog’s attention has turned to his tail which he doesn’t identify as being apart of himself. He starts towards it and it goes away just as quickly so he ramps up his speed until he’s a blur, caught up in the act of chasing his tail. Now, while he’s in the act of the chase, nothing else matters. He’s consumed by obtaining his own tail and he’s even happy doing so, but what’s the one caveat? He will never get it.
You’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with anything. I don’t blame you. In thinking about the cycles that modern people get caught up in or rather the eventual form that countless irrational thoughts take, I’ve struggled to find a good enough analogy to capture the quintessential image of what it is I’m defining. The dog chasing its own tail is the closest analogy I’ve found. The fact is that modern people, suffering from Irrational Health (coining this as the term describing the condition modern people suffer from in which they base decisions on irrational self delusions or something of the sort) are like dogs chasing their own tails. Think about it. As people construct their imagined realities based on things that aren’t true, they begin a vicious cycle in which they’re just attempting to obtain their imagined desire as it changes at every twist and turn. It’s person chasing his/her own tail and until that person realizes that the tail is his/her own fabrication, he/she will continue to chase in vain. The question is what are you chasing and is it just your own tail.
You know… their is that one fact though. A dog is happy in the act of chasing his own tail and there is almost something there that you wouldn’t want to disturb. You wouldn’t want to take that happiness away, but the fact is that you know the dog will get tired at some point. A person will get tired at some point and people are different from animals. Eventually a person will realize that they didn’t have to chase. The real tail was there all along.
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To start today, I want to take a moment to clarify exactly what Irrational Health (the book) is really about. I want to say what it’s intents are and which intents you shouldn’t expect. Irrational Health is above all else an objective analysis of modern life, particularly in regard to western life. The real fact is that a global culture has and is continuing to emerge so it is essentially about the world and human nature. It’s about the shortcuts that people are getting so accustomed to taking. It’s about the irrationalities in generally accepted modern beliefs. It’s about illness on some level and that’s where the title emerged. That was the inspiration. If you want to know what inspired me to write a book like this, I can tell you on a base level it was influenced by sadness. Irrational Health is about what’s real and it’s about the value of concern. It’s about connection, community, and a desire to do good for yourself and the world at large.
One of the problems I’m facing in writing this book is effectively expressing ideas that are simple and yet, complicated in their simplicity. This book is one some level the physical product of a lot of years of thought for me so sometimes it’s difficult to backtrack and make sure that I’m being effective in conveying my thoughts to someone who will pick up this book for the first time. I further feel the need to say that I am a Catholic and a conservative Republican, among other classifications. but that this book isn’t an attempt to push the Christian imperative or the Republican platform. This book also isn’t a sort of ten steps to a better life. I can’t give steps to improving your life because this book isn’t about shortcuts or easy fixes. One some level, this book couldn’t possibly be intent on giving anyone guidance. It’s about what’s true and as powerful as the ideas may be in this book, neither it or I can tell you what you need to do to fix the irrationalities in your mind. I can only tell you what you should be wary of and cognizant of when you’re attempting to fix something in your life with anything other than what’s true to you.
I am very much concerned about what the world will look like in five more years… ten… twenty. The impact of these irrationalities are like a snowball rolling down a snowy mountainside. It’s only going to get bigger in severity and faster in its intensity. The outlook on some level is a modern world in which nothing is really real and everything is imagined. The only thing grounding people will be what they think is grounding them and what’s grounding them will be something like a pebble rather than “tierra firma” (Spanish for “solid ground”) and this will invariably lead to fear, which will lead to scapegoating. History tells us what happens when a group of people are scapegoated. How many times are we willing to allow history to repeat itself before we actually (I use “actually” purposely) decide to make a change? For some, it may only take one, but for so many it takes too much. I’m not sure when I’ll be finished writing Irrational Health. I don’t know if even one person will read it. I don’t know if it’s going to be worthy of a read. I don’t know if it’ll gain a reputation posthumously. None of that matters. The ideas are what matter and this is my expression of those ideas for better or worse. If you read it and you think it’s worth something, then do something. It’s possible you might see one thing rationally for the first time and that alone can be enough to make the difference.
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.
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.
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.