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 we learned that uniqueness is a way of gauging the amount of change you experience. The more unique the change, the more enjoyable it tends to be.
Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 2
Chinese Food Theory
No there’s not much uniqueness to be found in breathing. But there’s a lot of uniqueness in such things as sex, delicious food, and fast cars. When you have these things, you’re really living! That’s why we humans tend to gravitate toward these types of things, and why we tend to just take breathing for granted and not pay attention to it most of the time (except when we’re being suffocated by a pillow, or something).
Uniqueness is found in every sensation detected by the nervous system of your body that is transmitted to your brain. When you consider the many billions of nerve endings found throughout your physique, you’ll have to admit something: You’ve got a lot of nerve! And every moment of every day, you have billions of sensations being transmitted from those nerve endings on up to your brain. It’s like telephone-central up there between your ears, with phones constantly ringing off the hook all over the place.
Each nerve ending sends a message. The message is not much at all. Usually it’s just a tiny little impulse. Not even enough to pass for a Western Union telegram. But all of those billions of little impulses form patterns that your mind perceives. Patterns such as visual images, the sound of music (no, not necessarily the movie with Julie Andrews), intellectual concepts, and so forth. And some of those patterns can be very unique. The more unique a pattern is, the more change and life you will experience. And therefore the more you will enjoy it.
But you also gain enjoyment apart from the patterns. Each little nerve impulse is a tiny little message of uniqueness. It’s not much uniqueness, but it is a little. Just like breathing, it’s a very ordinary form of change, and therefore it is not very unique at all, in and of itself. But consider this: There are billions and billions of these tiny little not-very-unique messages being transmitted to your brain every moment. So what they lack in quality of uniqueness, they can make up for in quantity.
Suppose you worked for the IRS in China. Now I’m not saying there really is an IRS in China, but with over one billion citizens, I’m sure the IRS would just love to set up shop there. Yes, it’s an IRS agent’s dream: tax the poor Chinese. Now let’s say your job at the Chinese IRS is to handle all the tax deposits coming in from the citizens. And let’s say you figured out a way to embezzle one penny from every tax return filed by a Chinese citizen. With a billion taxpayers in that country, you could get quite rich from this copped copper misappropriation scheme. Yeah, it’s only a penny, but one billion pennies amounts to ten million dollars. That’s quite a windfall. And who’s going to notice one measly penny missing from a transaction? It’s ingenious. I think I’m going to travel to China to see if I can get a job as a tax collector.
Just like the one-penny-per-transaction scheme, your mind is receiving one small impulse per nerve ending from the billions of nerve endings in your body. Individually, each impulse amounts to a very small amount of uniqueness. But taken together, the cumulative effect is a very large amount of uniqueness.
Therefore the natural effect that comes from just living your life passively, without anything special going on, is for you to experience a large amount of uniqueness coming from all the nerve endings in your body. And since a large amount of uniqueness means a large amount of change, and since change is life, and since life is automatically enjoyed, you experience a large amount of enjoyment from doing nothing in particular.
I call this Chinese Food Theory. I call it this because, just as there are a lot of Chinese people, there are also a lot of nerve impulses constantly arising from the nerve endings in your body. These nerve impulses do not have to form discernible patterns for you to enjoy them. Just like Chinese food. Even when you can’t figure out what it is, you can still enjoy it.
Chinese Food Theory states the following: 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.
This is why you can sit in meditation like some Buddha, and chant “Om Mani Padme Hum,” and experience the bliss of Nirvana. When your mind reaches the point of letting go of all mental thoughts and desires, it stops focusing on patterns that form from all the incoming nerve impulses. When your mind stops perceiving patterns, it is left with just the nerve impulses and the bulk uniqueness and enjoyment derived from them. It is a pleasant, blissful feeling.
[Tomorrow the pleasant, blissful feeling will disappear when a fat person steps on your toe. But at least this will give us an excuse to explore pain, and its relationship to uniqueness.]