Where has this been all my life?

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What is scary, and what is not?

I am up to page 97 in Shawn Smith’s book, The User’s Guide to the Human Mind. It was published in 2011.

I have long held the opinion that the ideas we are taught about obedience and rules are fundamentally wrong. He amplifies my view of the subject.

Go to school, get good grades, hide your true feelings from the boss, and so on.

There are also rules about living with our mind and with our fears. In my long experience, and with a relatively ambitious appetite for reading, I’m discovering new material in this book.

Our mind is largely grounded in our nervous system. What appear to us as thoughts are, instead, nerve impulses that remind us that something was scary. When I skied I only tried the green runs. The bunny slopes, so to speak. Blue? Black? Not me, thank you very much. Speed frightens me, and I might get hurt. My nervous system enthusiastically embraces those impressions. It is pleased to remind me, and does so frequently.

The more fundamental part of my brain, the part that fears being attacked by lions and tigers and bears, likes this kind of caution, and it summons up dread and fear if I challenge caution.

We are encouraged to seek happiness. Dr. Smith, if I understand him correctly, agrees with me that seeking happiness is a fool’s errand. Our proper objective in life is to be real, genuine, authentic. The primitive part of the brain fears that this might take us to the black ski runs, or get us fired.

Today I gave five dollars to a woman holding a sign on a median strip on 1st Avenue near our house. Three of the four medians were occupied. That was true of another major intersection I drove through today.

My problems are relatively small in the scheme of things. I am working to adopt the slogan of Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine fame: “What? Me worry?”

Since his debut in Mad, Neuman’s likeness has appeared on the cover of all but a handful of the magazine’s 500 issues, distinguished by jug ears, a missing front tooth, and one eye lower than the other. —Wikipedia



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