Stimulation

Stimulation

There is an apparently endless need for stimulation, at least from those that do not want to be held to their personal thoughts. Go to any shopping center or restaurant and you will be bombarded with an endless stream of stimulation designed to throw off your senses and make you ignore the goals you have in mind. Folks who have to have music playing all the time for fear there will be silence, just look at portable music players over the last 50 years as an example. For most people they would rather would rather this world of chaos than to be left alone in a room, surrounded by silence, themselves and the unwanted thoughts. To be left with those thoughts that you ignore but know to be self evident as true - your internal Cassandra.

The idea of covering up the ugly truth with other things is nothing new, the concept of perfume was to use a powerful sweet smell to cover up the unpleasant smells from a lack of bathing and unclean clothes. Some folks on the autism spectrum use self stimulation (hand taps, flaps, feel of objects) to essentially put an additional load onto their senses in a fashion that distracts from their other less controllable senses. In that way, stimulation is used as a form of controlling the world or at least our perception of it.

Computers and TV are a good example. Your computer uses an astoundingly complex graphical interface with a wide variety of fonts, graphics and animations all to bamboozle you into thinking it is more exciting that it really is. To keep your nervous system on full lock so that more prescient thoughts cannot get through that they just really are not that entertaining.

Fundamentally computers are not that interesting, at least not to the degree that we have to carry them around everywhere and show off to each other what their own little gadget can do. TV's are an endless cascade of sounds and visuals that are changing every few seconds just to keep you on edge and even vaguely paying attention. It is no wonder that some people who are deep into this world of stimulation just feel mentally drained at all times. It is like a drug addict, the load has to be continually increased just to keep the same high feeling as their system adapts to the ever increasing levels.

But this goes for almost anything. To run a system to full stimulation at all times is to wear it out in due time. No stimulation at all can be bad, too much can also be just as bad. This isn't me arguing that all computer and information technology is bad, it is an argument that we are over using it in terms of entertainment and over prescribing this technology as the solution to problems.

Look at the digestion system and fasting, by having a period of when you don't have food it allows your system to re-calibrate. That period of re-calibration allows yourself to start afresh each time. Just as your need sleep, your body and your mind also need down periods. By embracing nothing, if only for a little while, you can achieve something. This would be one of the lessons from Zen, 'all I want is nothing'. That is, the idea that nothing or at the very least, less of something can actually be of a large benefit. It has been said that the world needs to use less, energy, stuff and stimulation - such a simple statement is incredibly powerful and astoundingly accurate.

As you go about your life, try to focus on the different means of stimulation that impact your life and your thought patterns.

How much of the obesity crisis is not just a function of excess food being available but because it is being used to drown out other issues. That the excess calories turned up just as greater society started to turn into a much less desirable state, not that many folks are willing to admit this, which is a shame since it is an interesting state of affairs to be in.

The constant drive to be on social media so that one does not have to acknowledge their own social world around them. To take them away to anywhere but here!

The need for ever more stuff that doesn't really improve ones life in order to get another dose of achievement and the illusion of happiness.

There is a growing trend of people that are moving into 'dopamine fasts;, that is, having scheduled days where they cut themselves off from all kinds of stimulation in order to reset their neuron reward system. This can mean giving up all entertainment, food, external inputs for periods of up to weeks on end. If done in a reasonable and restrained manner could have the potential to be exceptionally helpful to individuals and eventually the rest of society on which they participate.

By over stimulating, one is in turn ignoring. The one thing we need less of nowadays is people to be ignoring things even if they are events and happenings that they do not have much control over. But to keep a present state in things while not using it to excess so that you can ignore other more immediate issues, that is the fine line we need to traverse.

Just remember you cannot do everything. No matter how hard you try.

"Remember: Matter: how tiny your share of it. Time: how brief and fleeting your allotment of it. Fate: how small a role you play in it" - Marcus Aurelius.

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