Friday, March 18, 2011

Correlation and Causation

Life is complex.  I know that I can't create a control for my life, one to compare my drinking self to my non drinking self and then see how much of a difference [was not do to chance] BUT, things are slowly and surely getting better for the sober self that sits here writing these words.  I'm not completely out of the woods--certain images and ideas and themes haunt me--instead, the woods look brighter and smell a touch sweeter. 

I've always been the solitary sort of type.  After school as a kid, I left as soon as possible to get home.  I used to read a lot.  I used to stare at the sky a lot.  I used to walk through the woods to get home and hop from log to log in the murky territory where backyards blended into forest.  Music illuminated my solitary world.  Social events in college were strictly awkward for me, and I mostly didn't attend--I preferred to study because it was easier, in a way... it was an easier way to cope.  It wasn't because of any religious upbringing--in fact, my upbringing was very secular, probably because my father and mother were raised in relatively strong religious households (of different religions).  Anyway, guess what?  When I drank, I got social. I had bouts of drinking in high school that stopped for a moment in college, then picked up toward the end.

It is easy to think that life is about choice--we can choose to do different things, and then correlate choice to living, freedom of choice to what it means to exist: pure choice.  Having a choice means that we can decide if things change, in some small part anyway, and that gets me excited--that's why we work really hard to keep the idea of choice around at a basic level, and we always wonder whether we're making the right choices to get information about people who made them (and originally faced similar choices) to compare what they got for their choices.  Being stuck, being depressed, is often correlated with an irrepressible permanency that we feel we have no control over--the tough part of life is to push into the density of the substratum itself with the base knowledge that you must, for some reason, continue to go on, and not be clear about the reason for going on.  That's what we must do, though, no matter.  Every once in a while, though, someone seemed to open a window to our own little sweaty basement factories, and by then we've adapted to the must, and the mold, and the fresh air is almost religious.  It is, you know, turning around to face the fire, and all that happy horse shit.  There's a moment of greater understanding through sheer experience.

Part of the answer to the reason we like choice is because we like to tell ourselves stories about why we've come where we have come.  We like to insert our own levels of causation even when we cannot possibly have that knowledge without some bizzaro self that gives us information about our alternative life choices [which would be weird!].  It is what we do as humans to find meaning where there is none.  And, the trick: to recognize that, just because we insert meaning doesn't mean that our meaning is meaningless, to us.  I think.

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