Tuesday, February 9, 2010
walking the same sidewalks
It's been attributed to Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin and several pop psychology gurus. Doesn't really matter who, I guess, the quote is profoundly true.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
You'd think I'd figure out I can no longer eat cake for breakfast and a bag of chips for lunch. You'd think I'd learn that if something isn't working then I ought to change tactics. You'd think, huh?
Being wise is not so much hard, as it takes time. Time to learn stuff about ourselves and start to see patterns and trends in our behavior. But even then, we are all pretty dumb, insane, maybe.
A poem, then. Sometimes called Autobiography.
I walk down a street and there’s a big hole. I don’t see it and fall into it. It’s dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to find my way out. It’s not my fault!
I walk down the same street. There’s a big hole and I can see it, but I still fall in. It’s dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to get out. It’s still not my fault.
I walk down a street. There’s a big hole. I can see it, but I still fall in. It’s become a habit. But I keep my eyes open and get out immediately. It is my fault.
I walk down a street. There’s a big hole. And I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.
— Portia Nelson (There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery)
The sheer amount of time I’ve spent falling into holes, floundering, trying to get out. Experiencing the frustration of finding myself in one again. Thinking I knew better. It’ s a little sad.
But I think the sadder part is realizing that the shortest chapter in the whole autobiography is the last one: I walk down a different street.
And what's that *Scott Peck says, about this avoidance, this unconscious choice to remain in our 'stuckness' as being the root of all mental illness?
I am certifiably insane, then.
*(Referring of course, to his The Road Less Traveled. Great, insightful book).