Overlooking Logic

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Don’t listen to logic, listen to life. For the longest time, that sentiment made no sense to me.

You enter into life and your thinking-mind (the part that chatters all day long) tries to brute-force its way through. Unfortunately, this babbling big-mouth doesn’t know anything, and subsequently fails at every step. Your thinking-mind then determines that “life sucks” and it’s too hard — then it proceeds to bad-mouth life from here on out. Sound familiar?

“Logic” is a trick that your thinking-mind uses to convince itself that it’s right about everything. Logic relies on a foundation of facts yet your thinking-mind doesn’t bother with actual facts, it simply cobbles together a framework of plausible beliefs based on incomplete data and hearsay evidence. It will then bend and twist every situation to fit into its system of “logic”.

So basically, “logic” is a lie your thinking-mind uses to feel justified in its failure. But if “logic” is a sure route to loser-ville, what’s left? Well it turns out that life doesn’t need to be figured out. If you simply listen to life, it’ll tell you exactly what to do and where to go. If you can just get that blathering part of your mind to shut-up for once, you can receive all the instruction you’ll ever need.

Members of the Serious Thinkers Club don’t naturally integrate into life because our thinking-mind is so prominent. Therefore, we have to manually shut it down. But don’t worry, that yapping jabber-box is not who you really are, it’s actually preventing you from being who you really are. Nothing of value is lost in the process — you’re simply removing a thorn from your side.

If you’ve noticed, we all have a bunch of attributes that define our character — but an always-complaining scaredy-cat is not a legitimate attribute — it’s a side-effect that occurs when the thinking-mind is at the helm. It creates a selfish, self-centered creature that perceives nothing but the worst in its surroundings. Silence it, and a whole new wonderful world opens up before you.


Limits of Logic

One of my biggest mistakes was attempting to live a logical life. Basically: if I can’t prove it, it doesn’t exist. Which sounds stupid when I say it, but seemed to make sense at the time. As a kid growing up, you really can’t prove much at all, you’re basing so much of your information on what people are telling you — hearsay evidence at best, which kind of defeats the point.

From my perspective, if I couldn’t see a logical path then the endpoint was unattainable. Therefore, I could only attempt what was simple and obvious. Oh boy does that limit your options in life. In one sense it worked, I really did live the very limited life I imagined. But in another sense, it was so constrained and lackluster that it was kind of meaningless.

But the thing is, you’re not supposed to know how to achieve your goals and dreams — that’s what makes them special and exciting. Duh! If you can directly perceive the way in which to attain something, then you’re not thinking big enough. For example: based on the resources available to me at the time, living in a single-wide mobile-home at a trailer-park seemed the most logical path — and I took it. Whereas when I stopped being a slave to logic, I traveled across the country to move into a two-story top-floor condo with not one, but two balconies. How did that happen? I HAVE NO IDEA. It doesn’t make sense, at least logically.

For several decades mind you, I thought logic was the ideal way in which to live a sensible life. I was wrong. It is in fact the WORST way to live. If you’re unhappy with your life right now, I’m going to guess that you too have attempted to live with a logical outlook. My advice: quit now and never look back. If you pay attention, this is what successful people are always saying: follow your dreams, just do it, don’t take no for an answer, make your own luck, etc, etc. Logic and success are on opposite sides of the coin.

Life is very good at fulfilling expectations. If you expect nothing, you get nothing. Whereas if you expect a zany outcome in which your wildest dreams come true, you can get that too. There are people today that are paid millions of dollars to record themselves playing video games, to mumble into a microphone alongside a beat, to simply talk about their lives on camera, to draw cartoons, to sell ugly Christmas sweaters — the list goes on and on. But the common denominator is this: logic is for losers.

Logic, no and never.

Bullied Life

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

As a serious thinker, your toughest challenge deals with your ability to appreciate the life you live. Your negativity will cause the world to appear as if it’s a sadistic nightmare-realm hellbent on your destruction. Even though objectively, the life you’ve lived thus far has been relatively easy in terms of the effort exerted to maintain your physical existence.

You were right about it being “me versus the world” — but unfortunately, you’re the bully that’s been repeatedly attacking life. When you experienced existence for the first time, you freaked out and mistook the initial feelings of excitement for pain and reacted in the worst way possible. You overreacted and now you need to apologize and atone for your unwarranted attack on life.

You’ve no doubt disparaged life a hundred times over throughout the course of your existence. Existence is a gift that you straight-up power-slammed into the ground. But here’s the thing: Life loves you. Despite your bad attitude, you’re still here right? And when you finally calm down and attempt to overcome your toughest challenge, life is here for you once again.

When you start looking for good in the world, you’ll find it — it’s everywhere. It’s always been there, your pessimism just didn’t allow you to perceive it. And the way you make amends with life is easy: start by enjoying the gift you were given. Don’t criticize it, don’t avoid it, don’t look for the worst in it — just find something to appreciate in every moment as the scenes of life flicker by.

Logical Deduction

So what can you prove?

At some point around preschool-age, you developed a realization of existence.
You’re surrounded by a cast of characters.
You’re experiencing a personal story that’s tucked within several larger narratives.
A bad attitude causes you to feel bad.
A positive attitude causes you to feel better.
Enjoyment is the preferred state-of-being when compared to all others.
You have memories, but memory is a faulty mechanism fraught with interpretation issues, problems of perspective, and decay.

First, you can conclude you’re within a story populated by a cast of characters. Second: striving to enjoy this narrative is the best use of your efforts. Third: in order to enjoy something, it must be performed with a positive attitude. And fourth, the past is based on shaky assumptions and can’t be used as a predictor of future events — so the only thing you can rely on is “right-now”.

What all this boils down to is this: by fine-tuning your immediate attitude, you are in direct control of your happiness in every moment. If you choose to interpret right-now in the best possible way, you will enjoy life. Therefore, the logical path through life necessitates the cultivation of happiness through the development of a positive perspective. Q.E.D.

Negativity Scene

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Let’s review so far. Here are some highlights for overcoming negativity:

1. Accept and appreciate that you’re smack dab in the middle of a story. Notice the narratives and watch them unfolding before you — they’re everywhere.

2. Abandon any notion of a harsh and brutal reality in which you’re a fragile creature struggling for survival, subject to the whims of a random world, alive today thanks to your luck and cunning. Now THAT’S one hell of a fairytale to tell yourself! Anyone would be scared sh*tless by that kind of reality. Well good thing it couldn’t be further from the truth.

3. What is true, is the underlying benevolence of the world. Your current existence is a testament to the fact that survival is not a thing — life has been coddling you this entire time.

4. Yes, you most certainly can sabotage your story. Understand this and don’t do it. Your story is influenced by you expectations. Expect the worst, receive the worst. Expect the best, receive the best.

5. Therefore, in every situation, make an effort to expect the best. Don’t default to negative expectations: that’s dumb and that’s why you’re not enjoying your time right now.

6. Problems add to the enjoyment of life, they’re the obstacles that challenge us. If you don’t like your current crop of problems, stop focusing on them and new ones will replace them. The more positive your attitude, the more positive your problems will be. Whereas if you’ve got a bad attitude, your problems will be equally as bad.

7. Abandon your first impression of existence. You were just starting out and unfortunately interpreted the intensity of your initial experience as scary. Your snap-judgement led you to see a nightmarish world of gloom & doom — but the good news is: you were wrong. Abandon your stubbornness in maintaining an outmoded idea. Start fresh and appreciate the world and the gift of existence.

And just to be clear, this is not a belief-based system. If you simply sit still and observe the circumstances going on around you, you’ll readily see all the character-filled stories with all their intricate plots. You should also realize that a seemingly bad situation doesn’t cause a bad experience — a bad attitude causes a bad experience. Now that all this has been pointed out to you, the obviousness of actual-reality should be easier to perceive. And if you have any further questions, that’s what I’m here for.

Lowering the Intensity

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Let’s illustrate this concept with an example.

So there I am, Ryu versus Ryu (Street Fight II Turbo). After a relatively easy victory against Dhalsim, I’m on to the second match: “Japaaan!” But no matter what I did, I couldn’t defeat him. He was my mirror image, yet he was better in every way. “Fight!” “Ha-do-ken!…Ha-do-ken!” Fireball after fireball came at me — and when I got rocked, he closed the gap to finish with a Shotokan-style throw. No matter how many times I pressed “Continue”, I couldn’t get passed him.

While you were partying, I studied the Ha-do-ken. I’m no noob by the way, I studied the moves. Down, down-right, right + punch! “Ha-do-ken!” Boom, fireball. I can perform the Sho-ryu-ken (Dragon Punch) and even the Hurricane Kick. Maybe I’m just too slow against a computer, maybe I buckle under pressure, I dunno. But then my son, my dearest little boy wanted in on the action. I told him of my failure and he vowed to avenge his father.

His favorite character is M. Bison, and he used him to easily defeat Dhalsim, just like dad. But when he got to Ryu, it was the same story all over again. No matter what he did, no matter which character he continued with, he couldn’t get passed Ryu either. I told him he better throw in the towel for now — it just wasn’t going to happen today and it’ll only lead to frustration. He listened like the good boy that he is. Well, at least for a few minutes.

I was in the kitchen and heard him say, “Hey dad! I’m doing a lot better now!”. I go check it out. He tells me how he went into “Options” and turned down the “Difficulty” setting to as low as it could go. Suddenly he’s breezing through every opponent in the roster — even Ryu. He ended up beating the game and was proud of himself for doing so. He went from being mired in frustration, to feeling like a champ. There’s a good lesson there, and it’s this:

If something is too tough, stop, you’re only going to make yourself angry — then simply take an easier route. That’s it. And that’s exactly what this Overcoming Negativity series is about: lessening the intensity of life. Life can be as hard or easy as you make it. If you’re a masochist and you want a tough life, all you have to do is focus on negativity, let pessimism be your prevailing philosophy — and boom, life becomes a hellish nightmare of continuous fireballs flying at your face.

As a player in the game of life, you definitely want obstacles, but not insurmountable ones. Ultimately, whatever you jump over doesn’t matter, those hurdles contain the significance you grant them. In my case, I stubbornly believed that Ryu needed to be defeated at the default difficulty level. I was wrong. Once we cease our stubbornness, we can go from loser to champion simply by selecting an intensity that’s more rewarding. And in fact, I just turned down the difficulty level and beat Street Fighter II using Ryu — it works, I feel great. “You win!”

Obstacles of Course

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

In the classic video-game, if Donkey Kong rolls a barrel down at you, do you stare at it, examine it, find displeasure in its appearance, perhaps hate it, curse its existence, wonder why such a thing would be thrown at you? No, you jump over it. Then the next one, and the next, and then the next barrel — until you reach the top. If you stop to ponder, you get crushed.

All the unpleasant, unappealing things you see in life are mere obstacles meant to be overcome and forgotten about. You’re not supposed to take time to examine a hurdle, you’re supposed to leap and move on. So by stopping to ponder, you’re impeding your progress along the path. You’re taking these obstacles too personally, despising them, when you should be appreciating them instead.

If Donkey Kong didn’t throw barrels, you’d simply climb up to the top and win every time. How long do you think you’d play such a game? How fulfilling would victory feel? It is the obstacles you overcome that give meaning to the game. Obstacles form the foundation of every game — and you’ll notice in any story, the central-character must always overcome something.

Your problem therefore, is not “problems”. Your problem is your negativity towards problems. You should want problems. Without problems, you’d walk straight to the top, securing a hollow victory of no significance. Why do we exist in this particular world? To overcome obstacles — that’s the enjoyment we seek as embodied beings within our avatars of flesh.

And your primary obstacle right now is negativity. Once defeated, a whole world of entertaining obstacles opens up for you. But to unlock them, you need the ability to appreciate the lighthearted-nature of the game. If you’re sitting there deathly afraid, then every merry adventure will seem frivolous and not worth the risk. To get to the good stuff, the pessimistic attitude towards problems must end.