Monday, March 19, 2018

What's life to a lichen?

It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of all the intoxicating existence we've been endowed with. But what's life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours - arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don't. Like virtually all living beings, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment's additional existence. Life, in short, just wants to be. But - and here's an interesting point - for the most part it doesn't want to be much.
A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My parents used to tell me 'don't get upset, it won't solve things' when I was a kid. And, being a kid, I would think Yeah it may not solve anything, but can't I feel what I feel? I'm upset!!!

And so maybe it was the triumph of parenthood when, one day, **** asked me, "Why don't you seem to feel anything? Why am I the only one who---?" 

And I said, "But if everyone is agitated, then things are really screwed, right? If at least one person is ok, there's still a chance." And secretly, I can get upset on my own later. At home. Next week. 

Even now when I feel sad or despondent, as if the world is about to end, I still hear their voices in my head telling me, Don't dwell on it. Find the solution. Move on. 

And sometimes, too, I hear my own voice answering, But I feel terrible. Can't I feel what I feel? 

I guess there's no right answer. Even if I become expert at holding in my feelings, eventually they have to be addressed. We live surrounded by, aided by, and increasingly guided by machines, but...we're not machines. There is a lot to be said for worship of technology; there is a lot to be gained from being logical algorithms. But I am who I am, and feelings matter to me a lot (my own especially LOL).

So yes. I'm upset. I'm so upset I haven't hit the bottom of the upset barrel yet, but I suppose I can't stay here for long. I suppose I must hold my head above water, and maybe even learn to enjoy this dratted sea, until the end. 
I guess it's really important to have things that we love about life - no matter how weird or nerdy - in order to value it. Hmm. Is this glaringly obvious? o.o 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Why is it wrong to not want cigarette smoke in the house? 

I don't get it. Why is it wrong?

Actually, why is it my mom and aunt think it's acceptable? Why do y'all believe that this is the way it is and that's all?

What am I dealing with here: subservience or stupidity?

No; I'm just dealing with one inconsiderate person.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

About a story of a peasant whose ox dies the night before he was supposed to sell it, Kenkō (a Buddhist monk) says:

'The owner of the ox certainly suffered a loss, but at the same time he secured a great profit, too. [...] Unpredictably the ox died; unpredictably too the owner survived. [...] People fail to enjoy life because they do not fear death. No, it is not that they have no fear of death, rather, they forget how close it is. But if a man said he was indifferent to such external distinctions as life and death, he could certainly be said to have grasped the true principles.'
Kenkō, Essays in Idleness, trans. D. Keene, Columbia University Press, New York, 1967, p. 12.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What do you do when your patient starts crying when you ask about his family history, because someone died recently?

What if it's at the 10 minute mark in your final exams and you only have 5 minutes left to ask all the (*^@#&^$@%& questions?

What do you do?

At any rate I just handed him some tissues and water and consolidated what I had.

I think it is very hard to understand some things unless you have experienced it personally or by proxy. Empathy is one thing, but understanding is another.