Procuring Pain

Dear Rich, why am I a masochist?

Well dear reader, you seek out pain in its various forms because it’s an easy way to feel alive. So not only are you a masochist, but you’re lazy. You use fear to make even the mundane seem thrilling, you use frustration to make your blood boil in every endeavor, you actively suppress your own enjoyment of life, and you use hurt to sour every experience.

You and I both know you can do better. First, let’s accept that you’ve been purposefully torturing yourself for lo these many years. Cheap thrills, I get it. But that kind of fun doesn’t last forever, you need something more meaningful. And that “something” is already inside of you waiting to come out, yet you’ve been preventing its development.

Second: if you want to stop the pain, stop hitting yourself. The pain you’ve been feeling is self-inflicted. Third: when you cease seeking the cheap thrills produced by pain, a more meaningful path through life appears to you. From there, you do you. THAT’S the person you were meant to be, the one that surfaces when you stop your stupid hobby of humiliation.

And the best part, my dear lazy reader, is that you simply need to stop your pain-producing efforts. That’s right, you need to become even lazier! Just sit there and watch for now. Observe what you’re doing to yourself — then the absurdity of the act will cause you to stop. Once you see the torment happening in real-time, your own sense of decency will kick in.

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Masochism Maelstrom

Note: in this context, masochist means someone that seeks out pain on purpose.

You might be a masochist if…

You constantly provide yourself with content to complain about e.g. reading the news, browsing an infuriating website, communicating with certain acquaintances, watching shows that make you feel bad, etc.

In your mind, you dredge up unpleasant scenes from your past or you imagine an unpleasant future.

You keep performing an activity despite poor performance, all while maintaining a losing-mindset, causing you to fail at aspects you would normally succeed at.

You avoid things that might actually be fun for you.

You insist on doing things the hard way.

You intensely focus on minor aches/pains and other discomforts, allowing them to influence your life and daily routine.

Is masochism just a personal preference that should be honored?

No, it’s a low-quality way to spend your time. It’s like eating junk-food instead of consuming something nutritious. In the long run, you don’t feel satisfied by the pain, you feel empty and incomplete.

So how does one stop being a masochist?

You’ll need to replace it with something better, something more nourishing. The first step is to recognize that you’re a masochist and that you’re done with the pain-loving lifestyle. Next, you’re gonna wanna take some time to think about the painful and frustrating life that YOU have been putting yourself through. You sadistic sicko. Next, you’ll need to seek out new ways to spend your time. Since you won’t be torturing yourself any longer, you’ll need some new hobbies.

This will take some effort, but you can do it. There’s creative pursuits, pleasant activities, lighthearted entertainment, loving something, connecting with others, celebrating stuff, being helpful — whatever incites delight. And during this exploration and experimentation time, you’ll need to recognize those moments when you’re absentmindedly seeking out pain — when you see it, shut it down. Luckily you can use the feeling of pain as an alarm to indicate that you’re doing something masochistic again. In brief: feel pain, stop doing what you’re doing, do something better instead.

Notes on Virtuality

Just had a bit of a snow storm. Guess what I didn’t have time to think about… virtuality…? That’s right. How captivating the snow was, especially with the accompanying physical activity of shoveling. As a shoveler of snow, it was all I could think about, I was knee-deep within a white world. I could feel the cold, the wet, the wind, the strain on my muscles, the feeling of being overwhelmed with the weight of crystalized water.

So in that stretch of time, I was lost to the world. Not in a bad way of course. But the world used its power to attract and hold my attention. Later that evening I developed a bit of a headache that lingered for quite awhile. Eventually I remembered that I should use pain as a physical alarm/reminder that this world is virtual. In the instant I assigned that virtuality value to the variable of pain, the sensation of hurt ceased completely. Interesting.

And another thing I noticed is that I’m always fatigued. I tend to fight sleep and sleep seems to fight me right back. It’s been a war stretching back as far as I can remember. I will now assign the value of virtuality to the variable of sleepiness. If I should yawn or feel low in energy, I must think of virtuality. Remember, it’s not because the two are related, it’s simply a trigger that will remind me to consider the illusionary nature of the world, when otherwise I’d just get lost in the day’s activities.

But I do wonder whether drowsiness is a way to keep me ensnared as I travel through the day in a dreamy daze. I notice that exhaustion has an intoxicating effect, resulting in poor decision making and odd ideas. I figured I fought sleep so I could think more, but what if it was a trick, a way to lower the quality of thoughts. Interesting. Yet, these particular points came about right before I went to bed, while extra sleepy. And this phrase just popped into my thought stream: Stay rested, stay aware. Interesting.

Pixelated Planet

The world can be a gruesome place. That is, until you realize it’s all pixels.
Projected pictures — images formed from little colored squares of varying shades.
Within this mosaic, borders are defined by contrasting colors, lacking true separation.
A frame-rate simulates movement as points update on a coordinate plane.

Tints of skin slide along a gradient of hexadecimal values. Blood is just #FF0000.
Pain is a response to the perceived injury of paint — to shifting values in variables.
Fear is the belief that pixels are more than saturated hue. Yet there is only light.
Witness life’s radiant glow, the spectacle unfolding, appreciating the artistry of existence.

Feelings Juicer

Life seems to be an emotion extractor. By whatever means, life will attempt to get you to feel something. It’ll physically hurt you, it’ll give you things, take them away, abuse you, introduce struggles and triumphs, scare you, delight you, anger and appease you — life will do all sorts of things to incite your emotions.

So whatever actually triggers these emotions, be it another person or thing or some circumstance, is not the true instigator — life is. Life is doing this to you. To get angry at someone or something or some circumstance in particular, is misguided anger — it’s shooting the messenger.

That’s not to say we should direct our emotions towards life itself. Just realizing what’s happening and what’s causing it, will tend to defuse emotions that are too intense to deal with. It may help to think of life as the mischievous host trying to get a rise out of his guests.