There Are Certain Things In Life That Happen Only When We Don’t Think About Them

“My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
image - Unsplash / Vo Minh Thong
image – Unsplash / Vo Minh Thong

You don’t think about solving 1+1.

You don’t worry about how you are going to walk to the refrigerator.

You don’t worry about how you are going to get oxygen in your body a year from now.

It would be ridiculous to worry about these things.

Actually, trying to think about these things would drive us insane.

If you look at any of the above close enough they will stop making sense.

Only a madman and a mathematician would argue that 1+1=2.

Anyone who has become so self-conscious they couldn’t walk normally knows how difficult it is to walk while thinking about it.

Imagine being worried that you might stop breathing if you go to sleep.

They’re all ridiculous and they’re all scary.

Basic math, walking, and breathing are all so basic to our existence that we don’t think about them when we do them.

When we do think about them we stumble and fall.

You may have heard of The Centipede’s Dilemma:

A centipede was happy – quite!

Until a toad in fun

Said, “Pray, which leg moves after which?”

This raised her doubts to such a pitch,

She fell exhausted in the ditch

Not knowing how to run.

There are certain things that can only happen when we do them without thinking about them.

The centipede was tricked, for a moment, into believing that he must understand the mechanics of his legs.

Obviously, centipedes don’t have this problem, we do.

Someone came along and said:

So what’re you going to do with your life?

What’s your 5 year plan?

What is your purpose in life?

And we trip. We fall over this question. We try to answer it.

I’ve come up with a lot of dangerously clever answers. I even thought a few of them were original.

The only thing that has actually satisfied the question though, has been intense action.

Writing or exercise or reading or talking with friends or eating. Every time I’ve tried really hard at something I’ve found my purpose in life.

I can’t report these moments. They aren’t things you wrap up in a package and pass off.

The reason you breathe is because you are alive and want to stay alive.

The reason you read is because you want to read

There is immense pressure to justify your life.

Nothing kills the feeling of being alive faster.

Don’t let them trick you into answering dumb questions.

Fuck the toads. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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