Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We're All Insane

Some of you who actually read what I write are probably thinking, really? Another one? And I suppose yes, this is another one. I know that I have other blogs, and maybe I should use those as a venue, but I like to keep my streams of idea separate. However, I really don't want to have readers have to jump back and forth between my random fancies and more philosophical fancies, having to jump between the silly and the more serious matters. I think it's easier this way. Anyways, with that out of the way, let's jump into this.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 
Albert Einstein said that, and it makes sense. I mean, Einstein was a smart man. Doesn't mean he was right about everything he said, but I think this thing has some merit. Sure, Einstein wasn't a philosopher, sure he wasn't a theologian, he was a physicist, but I think there is a certain insight to be had when you are so brilliant and good at what you do. My point here isn't to laud or refute the wisdom of Einstein, but simply to use it as an example, as a launching pad for this blog. This will be a bit reflective and introspective and a bit observational. This world is crazy, and frankly, based on Einstein's definition, so are we all.

Where am I getting this? Well, mostly through experience. Let's consider a simple question: how many times do we make the same new year's resolutions? How often do we fail? How often do we make that same vow to ourselves that this year will be different? That we will through sheer willpower (like last year) we will do it? Let's be honest. It's pretty crazy to think that something will be different this year, isn't it? I think most of us are pretty crazy, I know I am. Seriously. It's not just with new year's resolutions though, it's with a lot of things, and it's not just on a personal level, it's also a collective thing.

It's weird how we continually ram our proverbial head against the proverbial wall, expecting maybe that our series of previous headbutts somehow have weakened the structural integrity of the wall and with the next subsequent blow bring down the wall rather than cracking our skulls. It sounds pretty ridiculous, but we've gotten quite good at covering up our insanity. How many times have we approached tasks the same way because we like to say that some circumstance was conspiring against us the first time? It's a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around because no two circumstances are ever exactly the same. Thus, it's technically impossible to say that any time we do something a second time that it's exactly the same. Yet, while that does hold true, how much of it is really an excuse to justify not changing the status quo?

Why does this happen? Well, the norm is comfortable. We've been doing it long enough that it's something we're familiar with, something that comes naturally. Maybe then this means it worked at one point in time, which is why we keep trying it, because we expect the successful result. Yet, things change. It's a constant reevaluation of the situation that we need to be making. Situations change over time, but I believe there is a margin within which the situations are close enough where you are basically doing the same thing, and we need to recognize that. We need to recognize that the situation isn't the same as the first time we tried it but rather closer to the last time we tried it, and therefore results are more likely to be closer to the last result we have.

I know, I know, it's rather confusing, I'm actually semi-confused myself, but the point of the matter is this: how much longer must we bang our heads against the wall? Hopefully before we pass out from a concussion. I'm not advocating forgoing all tradition and ways of the past, but there needs to be a constant examination of what we do and why we're doing it. Maybe we're not the crazy ones, because tradition is formed when something has worked, but nothing on earth is permanent, and we'd be crazy to think if anything were.

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