Another Saturday on Earth

It's been quite a day here so far and I've done very little -- or have I?

Why the mystery? Well let me tell you. When I woke up (one of the times) this morning, the fan was blowing a particularly wonderful smell of the planet into my bedroom window and I couldn't help but lie there and enjoy it. I could close my eyes and travel in time and space. Back through the years to mornings in my past when I caught the same smell from my window. I was suddenly back in times that, I later considered, more clear and less troubled. Of course, they weren't, but part of my experience here in life has been pausing for key moments and taking it in. What I took in wasn't always clear and meaningful but I pulled the trigger and clicked the shutter and inserted a small bookmark into the flow of time that I can return to on perfect mornings like this one.

My thinking as I lay in bed was very ordered and clear and I came to realize some things I honestly hadn't thought of before, or at least thought honestly about. For example, I had always thought of myself as a good son to my parents, but this morning I realized that I had caused them a great deal of sadness and loneliness in the way I treated them. I saw this clearly by looking at how I see my children and what I would like from them versus what they are able or willing to give me. I don't need to go into the details of what I thought because I know them well enough and I'm the only one that will ever read this.

I got up after a while and got into my morning routine and while I was in the shower I listened to a podcast in which they talked about finding meaning in your job and how it is not directly related to the "importance" of the job you have. Part of what they said was that you add meaning to the job you have not the other way around. While I listened, my mind raced over my job and all the things that happened, good and bad, in it. I had to keep reminding myself that the part of my life that was "my career" was over now and there was no longer a direct application of what I was thinking to I could do to make my life better. It was almost the viewpoint one would expect to get after you die, and the line between the two positions seemed as thin and inconsequential as that line.

But, as happens, as my thoughts continued to race ahead of me, I thought that the information was probably never like a tool I could toss into my toolbox, useful to adjust my day at work. It was more that all the information I encounter and assimilate; in so much that any increase in my information changes how I see and "understand" the world around me. I feel fortunate and grateful that I came to this special relationship with information so long ago, back in 1973 as I remember. It gave me the tools to evaluate the world.

After that I made breakfast for me and the kids and moved on to the office here where I started going through email. I watched a TED talk that was about making a living as an artist in this "new" time from a guy who started Patreon. I wouldn't say it was revolutionary but maybe it is and I just don't get the big picture. But the guy had energy and sometimes that's enough. So I sent the link to Ben with a text saying he should consider thinking up an idea for a podcast. He could do it with some of his friends and go out to hook people as lost as himself. Monetize that shit!

I then read an article in The Guardian called "The Last Nazi Hunters" which led me to some realizations about the state of the world now and really, in the past 70 years. I thought about how little people as a whole, want to face unpleasant things and how the whole world was like a raging alcoholic that will do practically anything to avoid facing the horrible truth about who mankind really is and what it is capable of. It also made obvious why we are doomed to repeat the terrible moments of the past over and over, like a blackout drunk repeating the same cycle nightly.

I also thought about something Sue had told me before that she thought I had a high pain tolerance. I've thought about that many times. I only wish that was true. I have very little pain tolerance. I hate pain. Or at least I dislike it a lot. I think about pain a lot and imagine situations that I want to avoid that could cause me pain. I think about how I would react to a lot lot lot of pain. The times I've been in a whole lot of pain, thoughts flew from my head like sparkle from a sparkle grenade. I was unable to form a coherent thought and dropped into rehearsed actions such as swearing in a way that made it seem as though it was shorthand for all the important things I had to say about pain. The very worst part was always the anticipation of pain. Any pain is tolerable if it's a surprise. Countdowns and "ready, set..." make it 10x worse. I can remember a couple instances of  pain that made me plop dead out and recall the whole thing only in a distant way. It made me believe that there were "stops" built into the system past which sensations no longer apply. Like sound at a Grand Funk concert.

The thing about pain that I've learned is: now get this; it's inevitable and the smaller the better. That's it. What you consider smaller is mostly up to you (or me, in this case). I choose to classify my everyday pains and the next 30% - 40% increase as smaller. How do I know? If I can think while it's going on, it's tolerable and therefore, smaller. In other words, there's an understandable gauge of MY pain that is directly related to the amount of impairment of my thought processes. It's as simple as that.

I also know that pain is a physiological effect, not an anatomical one. Therefore it's largely unrelated to physical damage. At least there's a big disconnect between the two things. Now no doubt, breaking your leg in one place theoretically hurts less than really smashing the shit out of it. But there's a limit in the initial sense. Longer lasting pain is really anyone's bet. The entity of chronic pain is even less unrelated to physical damage, but the pain is just as real.

So where does this all lead me. I believe that anyone can handle the pain of acute injury. Almost no one will be happy about it, but it's less odious because; (here it is again) it's inevitable.

Anyone who volunteers for acute injuries or just plain pain is young or drunk, or both and very unlikely to perpetuate their genetic makeup. Even a smart drunk will avoid pain naturally. It is one of the reasons drunks drink-- to avoid unpleasantness and self-examination and very much, pain.

So that's not the whole of my day so far. But it is the highlights and as much as I want to recount here. Besides the day is young so am I (not) and there's so much to do. I will be back in touch again soon.

More later,


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