Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

20 November, 2007

A conundrum

Two fundamental axioms that have animated my life to date:

Suffering is a function of pain and resistance - This is fundamentally a Buddhist concept (although I walk no Eight-Fold Path) and is something I seem to have intuited at a psychological level from an early age. Shit happens. Pain is a fact of life, and you can deal with it either by accepting that fact or choosing to wish that you weren't in pain. I've always been a "water off the duck's back" type when it comes to this. Acknowledge that you hurt, learn from it, and move on. There's no use dwelling.

The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free - A thought expressed by folksinger Utah Phillips (and for shits and giggles, we could further attribute them to the "Theses on Feuerbach"), this pretty much sums up my views on social change. There are social constraints which shape our behavior, but these constraints are products of human construction, and by resisting these constraints, we can transcend them, hopefully for the better.

So, my question to you, dear reader: are these two tenets irreconcilable? My take is no, and I'll attribute this to some random guy who came to my eighth grade career day (don't ever say those little exercises were useless!). I have no idea what line of work he was in, but he told our class, "There are two types of problems in life [ah, dichotomies!]: those you can change, and those you can't. For the former, since you can change them, figure out what to do and have at. For the latter, why are you worrying?"

While you ponder your answer, have another look at a kayaker getting beat down in a hydraulic to the tunes of Radiohead.



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