Existence, Humor, Philosophy, Problems to Solve, Prose, Thinking, Writing

Is this burn out?

I awoke to the hollow clang of an empty gas tank.

Too much. Can’t focus. 

This feeling of just-let-me-sleep-more always catches me off guard. I don’t expect it when it hits me. I suppose it’s nice that I can write it down here. Not a complaint, but a mere exhalation of life onto a page.

I like how I can find metaphors from everything around me to describe my experiences. I’m climbing a hill, or crawling through a dark underground hole–and you know what I’m talking about. I’m burned-out and slogging along through the mud trying to finish the simple daily tasks beset in front of me, that only yesterday seemed trivial.

Funny thing is, I know tomorrow or even 5 minutes from now, I’ll have the fire again. I don’t know where it comes from: inspiration. An intake of air that propels you forward through the day, the minutes and seconds of experience.

So I patiently wait for it, inspiring oxygen (the non-metaphorical kind), and doing what needs to be done through habit. The emotion and drive behind it, a simple twitch of muscle.

I’m an academic….maybe it’s mental fatigue. If I dig through my ear canals, I may find soot and ash. I drove this car fast and hard. Time to park this vehicle I drive in my head on a parking lot in a fancy exotic place. My bed sounds nice.

But really, I suppose it’s not burn-out. I’m stable on solid ground. I just want to do something different. So many of the same tasks ahead of me. Done that, been there. Tedium. I’ve lost the thrill.

Yet, I know, I’ve heard some wisdom on this:

“Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.” C.S. Lewis wrote.

 

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Compassion, Philosophy, Relationships, Wisdom, Writing

A Change Within

I’ve changed.

I woke up and checked the news as I do every morning. There is so much bad news amidst the daily stories posted on CNN or FoxNews. Oddly enough, it has begun to affect me. In the past, I would glance through these stories and happen upon one that I thought was interesting. I’d read it, then walk away.

Now I’ll go through the stories and a feeling of disgust or revulsion would wash over me. I will consciously say to myself that there is so much bad news. Where’s the good stuff?

I don’t know what has happened within me. I’ve changed. I know it’s me and not the world. The content of the news hasn’t changed.

No such thing as new “…news, just old news to new people”, I recall someone saying.  Perhaps it has gotten worse, but not so much that the bad news would alone move me. No, I think something clicked on the inside not too long ago.

I’m now more sensitive to these stories of trauma and human suffering. The world is broken into small glass shards, and I’ve finally felt what it’s like to be cut and bloody.

Some may say this is a sign of maturity. I’ve identified with the world around me and I can see our reality, a flickering high-contrast picture, flesh and blood. I don’t like it, yet there is no escape. Try as I may, I’m here now. I suppose my job is to be still and know this is it, until a new day comes.

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Existence, Philosophy

The Meaningful Brain

Existence (a brief thought experiment)

IT is interesting that the brain, the seat of our mental prowess and the maker and expression of our very being, is totally useless without the rest of the body. Without our lungs to feed the brain oxygen, the heart to pump blood to bring food and air to sustain the tissues, and the digestive system to break down food intake and expel waste; without the muscles and the bones andthe connective ligaments to provide a way for the brain to interact with the outside world, without these things, the brain is pointless.

So, one could say that the rest of the body which constitute 150-170lbs of physical mass (more or less depending on the person) was designed for no other reason than to give our brains meaning and power to express its self-imposed importance.

So can we conclude that the entirety of the Universe, its immense mass like that of a human body in support of the brain, was designed to give me the ability to do more than live in these mortal boundaries?

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Existence, Philosophy

The Mind and The Machine

Thinking about the mind

(Forgive my fragmented arguments. This is a work in-progress)

The brain is the mind?

THE brain is the seat of a person’s mind—if the mind is a separate entity from the physical body. To function, the brain must be fed and maintained like any machine. It is an engine to a car with many specialized parts designed to work as a single organ. The purpose of the brain is to control the conscious and unconscious parts of the body in order that the person’s mind (the entity) can interact with the World. When the brain dies, the mind dies. We’re excluding the possibility of a spirit or soul.

When the mind wants to touch the petal of a flower, the brain executes commands to muscles; which in turn move the torso, arm, and fingers toward the plant. Coordinating these muscles is a graceful dance of electrical activity in the nervous system, and when the dance is complete the desire of the mind is sated, or should be.

And this goes on and on.

The mind cannot survive without support

The brain is an engine that requires fuel. We have a stomach to process and convert fuel. Getting that fuel to the specialized cranial areas requires transport. We have pipes for that, and a pump. Conduits run everywhere. There is even a toxic waste program with the liver and kidneys. If these fail, then the brain fails.

As a side note, the more complicated the brain, the more complicated the supporting structures. A leech has a few million less neural cells comprising its brain structure, and consequently a much simpler body. Without the complicated brain, the complicated body has no purpose.

If the human brain’s ultimate purpose is to replicate itself, then the purpose of having a body is to gather the physical resources required to support the brain’s survival until it has made another brain.

Supernatural issues with the brain?

So, why has the human brain been designed/evolved to ask questions like, “Why don’t I kill myself?”, when in fact an affirmative answer to such a question results in the brain purposefully destroying itself, even if it has not succeeded reproducing.

It is that mind entity, separate from the physical domain of the brain that continues to fascinate me. It doesn’t make sense. Do leeches kill themselves because they desire to do so? I mean, what is a desire? Why even have desires if they lead to the destruction of the Self (suicide), and in many observable cases, the destruction of others who may be beneficial to the population’s survival?

Our mind produces fear for its survival

If the ideal world was an average of all the desires of humans, then we as a diverse population are doomed: the mind of a single human wants to survive unto itself.

The only worldly aspect that prevents this from happening is:

  1. The Law (government) and Punishment (negative reinforcement)
  2. Conditional morality (gross example: if you don’t kill me, I won’t kill you. You are fulfilling my desires, so I will not hurt you.)

If the mind makes its own morality—there is only internal Law reinforced by punishment (on the flip-side, reward could be the absence of punishment).

Conclusion

I believe an individual’s mind cannot be the source of understanding everything about itself.

Here’s another viewpoint – click here

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