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Leave of Presence

July 10, 2012

Right now, I’m a little worried for myself, simply because I find myself to be increasingly subject to the same old human flaws to which everyone else is subject. In my case, most of my hypochondriacal episodes revolve around existential concerns. I want to be writing more, creating more, doing things outside of work that have more permanence or forward momentum than the immediate satisfaction of a well-cooked meal or a well-mixed drink.

Granted, those immediate pleasures are nice, and lead to the accumulation of a lot of good brain chemicals, but they don’t do everything. Putting food on the table doesn’t quite put food on the table, to mangle a metaphor. Subsisting is fine and all, but the level of psychic and physical effort required to subsist well seems to foreclose new opportunities at times.

In terms everyone is familiar with: I work, come home, and more or less veg, with a lot of food/drink/game procurement in between and around those events (so as to make the existential vegging really pleasant). The overall structural society is built to maintain the vegging as a sufficiently satisfying raison d’être to avoid revolutions. Well, for me that seems to be working quite efficiently.

Perhaps what irks me the most about being human, too human, in this way is that it reminds me how difficult it is to actually assimilate consciously learned lessons into a daily existence. We may learn the lessons of history in a book, but until we start acting upon those lessons, we may as well not have. Smokers may nod and agree that they’re killing themselves, obese people give lip-service to a doctor who tells them they have to diet, and writers will sit down and tell themselves to write something.

And yet, as I sit here and write my own little self-admonishment that is again all-too-human, I must remember that all the lessons of history accomplish less change than consistent practice. And that all of the methods of subsistence may do little to nourish.

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