Why am I running? Why am I running away from what I have to do?

I rationalize. I suggest, well, maybe it's for the best, because what you're supposed to do isn't really what you're supposed to do. But that doesn't sit well. First of all, it's obvious rationalization, and rationalization is an epistemic vice. Second, if it were true, I'd expect it to look more like doing something else, and less like just not doing this. I don't exactly have a bias toward action. And I feel like I should. I suppose it's possible that the right thing to do right now is nothing, but my upbringing tells me otherwise. My upbringing says, no, you only get to use that excuse if you're doing something more important, not if you're doing nothing at all. And then the rationalizer says, well, I'm always doing something; suppose breathing or daydreaming is the more important thing? And we go around again.

I also have learned helplessness. And what an apt learner I am. Even when I protest, it's always phrased as "Why can't I?" Never do I suggest that maybe I just could. There is implicitly some savage dark power shackling me. It must be dark, indeed. However I peer into the shadows, I do not see it.

Certainly we can't have evolved lazy. I admit, it makes sense to conserve resources. It makes sense to minimize risk. But there has to be evolutionary pressure to do what we must.

What if that's it? What if we have evolved to do what we must? And here, in the Age of Fructose, there is so little must to go around, action escapes us. We're content to sit in a great crowd, picking nits from one another's fur, and we don't get up to forage for fruit, because fruit is all around us. At our fingertips. Clinging to us. Weighing down our bellies and buttocks. Instead of hiding in the trees where it belongs, beckoning to us to climb.

1 comment:

Jon Peck said...

Following along the lines of "we don't get up to forage for fruit, because fruit is all around us", the author of http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2005/0213/cover.html implies that, without anything in our environment to oppose or challenge us, humans lose the desire to form social networks. Comfort breeds complacency, with wide-ranging social effects. For the record: I don't feel this to be a Seattle-specific problem, as she apparently does (Ania adds that we may just notice it more b/c there is less general hostility, thus raising our social expectations).