This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!
RECAP: Yesterday I took you out to Chinese food, and introduced you to Chinese Food Theory. I showed that even when you can’t figure out what’s in your dinner, you can still enjoy it. Chinese Food Theory states: An individual sensation arising in your body has a low level of uniqueness. But there are so many sensations arising at any given time, that in quantity they have a high level of uniqueness. This makes the sensations enjoyable, even when they form no discernible unique patterns.
Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 3
Fat Torture Theory
Chinese Food Theory is a stepping-stone that leads into my next theory, which I call Fat Torture Theory. I’ve tried to be like Confucius, and said something like “One who does nothing enters the bliss of being One with nothing.” Well, that’s not exactly what I’ve said, but something like it.
But that is not always true. We know from experience that even in our laziest moments we can feel pain. Enter Fat Torture Theory.
Suppose you are just sitting around doing nothing, enjoying the automatic bliss from natural uniqueness, when along comes some clumsy oaf who walks past you and steps on your toe. Odds are it will be a fat person. With so many obese people in this world, a fat person is more likely than any other body type to step on your toe. And sooner or later it’s bound to happen. This is why I call it Fat Torture Theory.
Fat Torture Theory states that pain is inevitable, just as assuredly as a fat person will one day step on your toe.
Now as soon as your toe is stepped on, your bliss disappears and is replaced with painful agony. How can this happen? After all, your billions of nerve endings are still sending billions of little unique messages to your brain every moment. So why won’t you continue to experience a large amount of natural uniqueness and enjoyment?
The reason has to do with the sensations now coming from your toe. These are very powerful sensations. Whenever your toe is stepped on, or any other traumatic insult occurs to any part of your body, the nerve endings there will stop sending little meek mild impulses to your brain. Instead they will send strong, powerful signals, that have the effect of instantly capturing your mind’s attention. When they capture your mind’s attention, they capture your awareness and force it to focus on them.
It’s like when your wife hollers in your face, “Hey asshole! You forgot to empty the trash!” You can’t ignore a message like that. It instantly captures your attention and forces you to focus on it. In fact, lots of things will do this. Hitting your thumb with a hammer, poking your eye with a screwdriver, stepping barefoot on your daughter’s jacks game, crapping a jalapeno pepper, and so forth. Any of these things will send strong nerve impulses to your brain that instantly capture and focus the attention of your awareness.
Remember from the last chapter where we discussed how focus can spend 99% of its time dwelling on just 1% of the stimuli in your environment, and only 1% of its time dwelling on the 99% of remaining stimuli in your environment? This is what happens when you experience pain.
When nerve impulses from one area of your body send powerful signals that capture your focus, 99% of your awareness will then focus on the stimuli arising from that area.
This is often painful because it diverts most of your awareness away from all the billions of other sensations coming from your body, and forces it to spend most of its time on just a small range of stimuli coming from one spot on your body. Such as your toe. This small range of stimuli produces a very small quantity of uniqueness. Because the amount of nerve endings involved is so small, the low quality of uniqueness coming from each nerve ending cannot be made up for by quantity.
This drastically reduces the amount of uniqueness you are able to experience. Because a low amount of uniqueness means a low amount of change, and because change is life, and because life is automatically enjoyed, your enjoyment level will instantly decline at a precipitous rate when someone steps on your toe. Especially when it’s a big fat person.
This sudden precipitous decline in enjoyment is experienced in your mind as pain. Your mind automatically seeks change, life and uniqueness. It wants no part of pain. It wants no part of sudden declines in uniqueness and enjoyment. Your mind is a fun-lover. It’s a life-lover. And pain forces your mind to experience less life than it knows is possible to experience.
[More pain is coming your way tomorrow, when you visit your damned relatives, and then hit yourself in the ear with a rubber hammer. Yeah, it’s going to be rough, but this is what it takes to learn about pain. Be brave.]