cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Tag: encouraged unhealthy behaviour

sex and consumption

I am focusing on this consumption/creation idea recently. I find that we live in a world of total consumption: not only do we buy stuff, but we make everything of value a commodity, most notably time and even people. Hence, right now I see even relationships as something that we commodify. The opposite of consumption is creation. In Buddhist economics, for instance, the goal is to live and create (or work) on the minimum amount possible; in consumerist economics the goal is to consume as much as is possible with the least amount of work possible. So we have the one-night stand as a perfect example of a relationship that maximizes the desired product (sex) with the least amount of effort put into it; a healthy relationship requires that people actually put their soul into it in order to create (work and effort! how horrendous!) something positive. And the moral of the story is that maybe working is not so bad after all, and that it is a necessary part of a balanced life. Who would have thought?

I find I am pretty conservative when it comes to my own life. It’s my generations of small-town Catholic blood, I suppose.

delete culture

A woman told me today that two-thirds of Quebec high school students believe there is a cure for HIV/AIDS—and why shouldn’t they? It’s the most logical reaction to have when we live in a world in which there is a cure for everything:

  • When you mistype, you can delete; when you are done, you can uninstall; when the computer has a crisis, you can reboot.
  • When you are depressed, anxious, manic, ADHD, OCD, or otherwise mentally unbalanced, you can medicate.
  • When you get fat, you can go to the gym, take appetite suppressants, get liposuction, get your stomach stapled.
  • When you menstruate, you can get the pill; when you get pregnant, you can abort; when you hit menopause, you can replace the hormones.
  • When you get old, you can get surgery or use wrinkle creams.
  • When you get married, you can get divorced.

My point is that these attitudes view our bodies, our lives, our psyches to be chalkboards that can simply be wiped clean and started over on, as if we had no memory and these things did not leave lasting impacts on us. They do, and we don’t get to edit ourselves later on.

Unwise intelligence

Perhaps it is a disadvantage that what for me is a fault — my tendency to let myself become completely carried away by something, and my willingness to put in time and effort (when I should be using it on something else, like homework) to read, research, explore deeply a topic that interests me — gets me the reputation of being “intelligent.” Personally, I don’t see what the advantage of being well-read in classical literature or Hindu philosophy is if I can’t make myself interested enough in my work to do it and hand it in on time, or if I am disorganized and struggling unhappily to do well in the world in which I will someday have to survive in by myself.

Another tendency that, although inherently detrimental, makes me seem intelligent is thinking too much. Although in class, teachers appreciate an ever-interested and inquiring mind, this also leads me to over-analyzing myself and everything around me: situations, words spoken, emotions, reactions, and without fail sends me reeling in the direction of gloomy brooding because of not being able to simply relax and take things in stride. For instance, not knowing what to write before I sign my name at the end of an e-mail to a stranger, but being frustrated by it for a full three minutes. At last I think to simply sign my name without further ado. Two more minutes spent on debating if she’ll find it rude or unfriendly that I did so. And like this example, there are a boundless amount of moments during my day in which my head will simply not cease analyzing, pondering, supposing, figuring, finding parallels, connecting.

Perhaps my condition is not a unique one, perhaps many people dubbed intelligent are so because of such tortuous, unbalanced habits. Maybe it is for this reason that the stereotype of the tormented, brooding intellectual exist.