Debate Magazine

Gnosty Thoughts & Leaky Valves

By Pomozone @pomozone
Mind over matter. Literally.
It is not original with me that the above fraction is the basic "mindset" of all despisers of Middle-earth. The world-view essentially states that in order to accomplish something here below, one must overcome the actual inferiority and impoverished reality of this lowly, physical world by employment of that high, immaterial dimension we know as the mind (mind or spirit, because insofar as physical existence goes, the mind and spirit are immaterial). Certain religious experiences operate along the same tenet as well as the main impetus in my own county for drug use.
Why do so many people hate the world so much? Probably  because they operate the muscle of the mind far more than they operate the muscles of the body. Probably because they operate the muscle of the mind instead of operating the muscles of the body. Probably because they have operated the muscle of the mind so much and the muscles of the body so little that it just feels right to exercise the muscle of the mind while it just feels wrong to operate the muscle of the body.
The phenomena of mind-over-matter is especially obvious in the area of goal-setting. As of late I have been reading a few books on mindset like Greene's formidable 48 Laws of Power, Eker's poignant Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Covey's strategic Principle-Centered Leadership, and Tolle's A New Earth. Reading them has been a pleasure. Understanding them has been a mind-shift. Applying them has been my problem.
Until recently. It was through a series of quotes over a period of almost two years (one riveting gem in a thousand), that helped to dislodge a knotted blockage somewhere within me that prevented my acceptance and retention of it . The first was a quote by Arthur Rudolph, designer of the Saturn 5 rocket:
“You want a valve that doesn’t leak and you try everything possible to develop one. But the real world provides you with a leaky valve. You have to determine how much leaking you can tolerate.”

The second is from the honorable Albert Einstein:
"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
And another one by Douglas Jerrold:
"The superior man is he who develops in harmonious proportions."
What awes me about these quotes and others like them is that they each take "physical manifestation" seriously. To conceptualize apart from actual measurement (which is always at some stage of "inferiority") might mean that you are a good talker, but it doesn't get anything done. Anything done is better than an idea unattainable.
And that is the problem with "thinking through" problems. One person has the idea that she would like all of her bills to be paid on time, but one month she is given a leaky valve: there is not money money. Instead of reasonably setting the goal of paying some of her bills, she expends too much  thought conniving how to pay all of her bills for which she does not have enough money, worrying about how the  consequences of not paying all of her bills will compromise her credit score or make her feel sick, or she will fantasize about paying all of her bills for which she has no money.
Each mental exercise depreciates the value of the money she does have to pay some of her bills. Proportionate to the amount of time she spends thinking about her bills, she hates her life that much more. 
I've been there. Everything is fine. Then you get that one expense that puts you "over" and places a big thundercloud over your entire week. Nothing is quite right: not your house, not your spouse, not your children, not your job, not the food you eat, not the drink you drink, not the exercise you do, not the sleep you sleep. Even laughter has that depressed pallor about it. Shrouding every God-given moment is the resounding echo that you are a loser, and that it is visible to anyone. They merely have to look at you.
One time I got pulled over by the police. I knew they had nothing on me, because I hadn't done anything. However, the longer the cop sat in his car, the more concerned I got until I had the absurd thought that the cop had my IRS file and knew I owed taxes. Actually, someone who happened to have my same driver's license number was wanted in D.C. for failure to appear in court. But I was relieved. That was when I knew that I had to kick these gnosty thoughts.
Gnosty thoughts reserve disdain for the world. You can never perform anything right in the realm of the theoretical. You can argue about what should be and another person can argue better about what should be and yet another person can outargue both of you. That method of problem-solving turns on you and breeds dissatisfaction after dissatisfaction until you find yourself repenting for ever having existed. When conceptualization turns into self-loathing, lower your standards. Decide just how much leaking you can handle. 

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