Saturday, December 23, 2006


As humans, we're addicted to the idea of things having an identifiable cause, a reason. We like things to be the result of planned, structured action. We're extremely uncomfortable with "bad stuff just happened to X person for no reason." We are terrified of chaos, we crave stability and order and things being under control. This brings about a very great reluctance to believe things that don't fit into our A-therefore-B model.

- we don't want to believe that X% of people are wrongly convicted by our courts, because it erodes our sense that things are right and just and under control. and it would mean we’re ALL vulnerable to the whims of fate and erratically applied laws, and that obeying the law doesn’t ensure our own protection from the state. That’s scary, so we’d rather believe 99.9% of convicted people had it coming.

- we want to believe that an addict's actions are all choices. Which on one level they are, but they may be "choices" that 99.99% of human beings (including us) would decide in exactly the same way (ie, show me da drugs!) in the same situation. To believe that at some point we could lose control of our own will to drugs is a scary thing to contemplate, so we prefer to believe addicts are morally weak and flawed and therefore deserving of their usually sucky lives.

We're not very comfortable with things just happening. So we make up reasons whenever possible, including when we don't actually know the answer. The phrase "Mind your Ps and Qs" is said to come from typesetters needing to be careful not to mix up the p and q, which in the days of lead type they of course would see backwards.
Unless – as others contend – it was about bartenders minding their Pints and Quarts.
Basically, we just want to mark one more small victory in our Quest to Conquer Chaos. In fact, we’re so mad for this kind of thing that we’ll actually get into an *argument* with someone else about the origin of this phrase. What could it possibly matter? What are we defending, other than our need for certainty, our need to be *right*?

We are never so content as when we believe things are under control, in their place, and that powerful cosmic machinery is firmly in gear. “I believe everything happens for a reason,” we say. How comforting to imagine that our fortunes – or even more importantly, our misfortunes – form a key part of God’s inexorable and perfect plan. To imagine that He permits anything to happen without a reason makes us altogether too nervous and afraid.


At Sat Dec 23, 11:06:00 AM PST, Blogger SoozeSchmooze said...

One might wonder...Are we supposed to be something besides Human???
or are we just to understand some of the forces that motivate us...therefore having hope of overcoming them...or just have the superiority of knowing they are there! HA! I see it therefore its power over me is less...hummm thoughts again to ponder!!

At Sat Dec 23, 11:25:00 AM PST, Blogger bryan torre said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Sat Dec 23, 11:27:00 AM PST, Blogger bryan torre said...

well, that's *my* motivation, sooze -- the more i understand about how my own mind works, the better decisions i can make. i hope.

At Sat Dec 23, 08:51:00 PM PST, Blogger SoozeSchmooze said...

I think in that respect you have a very good point and are the the right has been good for me to think about it all...

At Tue Dec 26, 12:55:00 PM PST, Blogger blogball said...

Bryan, thanks for the thought provoking posts.

Just a quick question: When you use the word we throughout these posts are you talking about “We” as a society or “we” as a majority or we as yourself (as Bryan sees it personally)?

At Wed Dec 27, 09:30:00 AM PST, Blogger bryan torre said...

I think all three at different times, blogball.


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