Thinking

Erik Benson:<blockquote>Thinking is so funny. We think we’re so good at it. Every time I try to really think about something, though, it doesn’t quite work. How do thoughts train together? Sometimes I think to myself, let’s think about this, and then I think, okay, what should we think about this? And then I look around and wait for something to suggest something to think about. Next time you ask someone ?what are you thinking about? and they answer, then ask what exactly they are thinking about the thing that they are thinking about. Thinking is not hot.

Another thing, I’ve been keeping track of how my stomach thinks. Or, rather, how it tries to subvert my thinking. I think about cats, say, and see what my stomach does. It usually does something, like make me a little happier, or make me a little sicker. I learned about this when I was reading Steven Berlin Johnson’s latest book, with the biofeedback stuff. The chicken and egg of heart rate, skin conductivity, tense shoulders, sick feelings, etc. There is this idea of the positive sentiment override and negative sentiment override… the direction you are pulled when neutral events occur. If you’re feeling happy, you forgive more easily, and if you’re feeling irritable then you tend to get annoyed by things that aren’t really that annoying. And I think my stomach is partially responsible (if not wholly) for swaying me into positive or negative sentiment. And I combat it with coffee and gin… which probably eventually gives the stomach more power because I become more dependent on sentiment to determine my behavior. I wonder how many people are stuck in negative sentiment override and the implied debt pulls them down down down to history. It’s like a misaligned wheel that takes an otherwise nice car off the road. I had that misalignment for a while, and it’s like getting corrective eye surgery to see how a small adjustment can make so much difference.

Some people can predict whether a marriage lasts 15 years to 90% accuracy by watching a couple for 15 minutes. Evaluations of people that occur after 2 seconds can mirror evaluations of people after you’ve known them for a year. The infamous gut. Isn’t it strange how very little attention we pay to ourselves compared to the attention we pay to people around us? When’s the last time any of us has seen ourselves on film? Seen our own body language from the perspective of someone else?

Recently I got some information about someone that doesn’t like me much but is a close friend. I see myself through a tunnel of eyes and realize that they’re probably right not to like me… not that I think I’m entirely unlikable but there are definitely reasons not to like me out there and if you are being purely logical then that’s one conclusion you can come to. But the feelings in my stomach, as I think about this, are slightly negative. Of course, I don’t like that a close friend doesn’t like me… and the stomach feeling will probably come up with a plan to either confront said friend, or re-think some of my actions to see if we can remedy the reasons for this discovered dislike. The evil part of me also likes being disliked a little… maybe that’s my pancreas? There’s a buffer somewhere in my gut that allows slight imperfections to not matter.

…It’s great being single. Knowing what I want, being able to at least make minor progress towards those things…I feel like a vision of life is forming, slowly, over the period of months and maybe years, and that the vision has potential to indirectly divert streamlets of happiness to me indirectly, while not going blind by staring at it directly.

</blockquote>emphasis mine.