Thursday, September 10, 2009

Potholes, and Cans of Worms

One of the "basics" of human psychology is this notion that we tend to suffer from various degrees of "repetition compulsion," when it comes to our lives. Goodness knows that I have made some of the same mistakes twice and even thrice... and have felt like a giant doofus, afterwards, too.

I ponder, though....

Maybe we just need to have lessons pounded into our heads repeatedly before we get it... maybe it's something else. Maybe we repeat the same mistakes over and over, before we finally are able to step away from our "addictions" (I happen to believe that many BAD choices we make are "addictions" to feeling a certain way, even if that way is HORRIBLE) and realize that we need to do something else, in order to find happiness.

Some poor souls... never seem to notice that they walk down the (metaphorical) street, and keep on falling into the same giant pothole, over and over, and over. Some are actually aware of the pothole, but find themselves utterly unable to resist the urge to walk into it, anyway (that's where I get the thought of psychological repetition as an "addiction"), no matter how badly they get hurt. I've been thinking about my mom's life recently (as many of you know), and she did the latter... cheerfully giving the same compulsion "a new name" each time she stepped into it... ignoring all advice around her, generally with words to the effect that "Yeah, but I'm wiser now, and it'll be DIFFERENT this time." It was a heartfelt letter from one of her relatives that made me sit down and put these thoughts into words.

It is this "not learning," and rushing headlong into the fire-- despite repeated and guaranteed failure-- where people lose me.

Maybe I'm clueless, maybe I'm naive. I'm open to both possibilities...

But if there's a "can of worms" presenting itself, in your path... and you KNOW that cans of worms will cause pain, confusion, loss, chaos or whatever "trouble" you choose... WHY would you open such a can of worms, again? WHY would a person believe that-- after having burned themselves a dozen times on the fire-- the 13th time the fire will miraculously "not be hot?" Why would they stick their hand BACK into the fire, for the 13th time, even while flocks of friends, family and loved ones shout "Don't do it! Don't do it! DON'T DO IT!???"

I'll be the first to admit that change-- that is, REAL personal change of one's behavior-- can be extremely difficult. But isn't the point that we are supposed to LEARN from our mistake, not trap ourselves in an endless cycle of repeating them, over and over?

I guess my point is... if there's a can of worms at the side of the road... and you KNOW that it's "a can of worms," and you KNOW this kind of can causes you pain... leave the damned thing there, and walk on by!

What's that saying?

"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Yeah. That's it.

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