Saturday, September 8, 2012

Evasion Tactics

I wrote the following and then said, "Man, where did that come from?" And then I answered my own question. These last several months our friends and family, and our very selves, have been ravaged by divorce and heartbreak, addictions and failures and mishaps and pain:

What is it about life that makes us want to numb ourselves? The human condition is defined by our weakness to addiction. Addictions bring us comfort, a safe place, release. We all have them, and to the degree that we are wrapped in them is to the degree that we are hurt by them. Drugs, alcohol, relationships, power—those are the easy ones. Television, talk radio, video games, hobbies, talking, silence, politics, religion. All good things in and of themselves—all destructive when they become addictions.

Life frightens us. At the very heart and rock bottom of existence is a fact we cannot accept—we have no control over it. We are beholden to the elemental forces of the world. We may take our shots, and we may succeed for a time, but we accomplish as ones whistling through the cemetery at midnight. Our IQ and drive to succeed are no match for cancer, for a drunk driver, a stray bullet.

Our control gambits and schemes (like making a living, forging relationships we believe we can rely on) are unstable; we know this somewhere, but we are constantly engaged in pushing this knowledge to the bottom of our mental heap. The endless, unstoppable drip of disorder on the back of our necks drives us sideways to our addictions. They bring us pleasure, and we think that’s why we like them. But more so than providing pleasure, they are blocking us from the pain: the pain of knowing, knowing without the possibility of exception, that death comes for us all, and makes a mockery of what we tried to do with our 28,470 days—that is if the ghosts and monsters of naked, unrelenting reality did not get to us before our three score and ten.

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