Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monitoring Anxiety

A lot of our behavior--I'm not sure how much precisely, but let's say a large heaping spoonful--has to do with mitigating anxiety.   We avoid things to avoid anxiety, mostly, and when we have to face anxiety we often times turn to coping mechanisms.  That's basic, I know, but consider the idea that we cope by not thinking about things, or, alternatively, that what we do think about--the subject of our thoughts--is primarily driven by anxieties, or to state it positively, by that which we find attractive. 

The trick here is twofold.  One, our understanding of a thing, person, event, place, object, changes when we "attain" it--the meaning we attach to it changes, and the way we view ourselves in relation to that thing/event/person changes as well.  Two, we like to pretend that a lot of patterned behavior makes behavior predictable, but I think that our great worry as humans is that which is unexpected.   Again, that might sound banal, but consider a world we walk around in every day that is not predictable.  What's the first place you think of?  A kind of war torn country maybe?  Well, maybe. 

Predictability in essence allows us to relax.  The more we know about what will happen, the less we worry about it. The less we know about behavior, the more animated and crazed we become.

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