Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On Being Awake

Greta Christina reflects on how the body's problems can drag down the mind:

I have a tendency to see having a good nature as something you can choose. ... I see optimism as a choice, a conscious way of framing your life and the world that not only makes you feel better in the short run but makes actual external things in your life better in the long run. And I get truly baffled by people who can't or won't do it.

But when I'm sick or injured, I get a lot more humble about it. I realize that a huge amount of my ability to choose optimism is balanced on some very precarious teeter-totters: good physical health and financial stability being the most obvious.
I am no optimist, and at the risk of seizing on this as some kind of vindication for being a chronic grump, I will point out that during the rare patches of consciousness in which I feel truly and fully awake, optimism presents itself as readily as it seems to do for Greta. Not only am I more optimistic when I can push narcolepsy aside, but it's as though unused portions of my mind light up, ideas tumble one after one another, and connections suggest themselves. It's not that the world is so much more perfect but that I have the will to rise up to it.

And then, too soon, the lights dim again.

Waa waa.

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