A Well-Disciplined Machine
January 11, 2015•891 words
There are days, such as today, when I have absolutely nothing to write about, but in want of expressing myself or feeling productive, I sit at my computer and stare at an empty page and a blinking cursor. “What can I possibly write about?” I ask myself pessimistically. I scan my mind for possible ideas, things which might have happened today, notes I may have written down that might lead to a potential post. Nothing. I sit staring at the document for a few more minutes, reluctant to give up, when finally I accept the fate of the situation: there is nothing to be written. I close the document and am now left staring at my desktop. No! I fight the urge to give up. I will write about anything, I tell myself — just write. I reopen the document and begin writing about whatever spills through my hands.
Who is it, at this point, that is writing, my hands or my mind? — the sound of ice dropping from my ice maker sounds like gunshots, which never ceases to scare me. It is my mind that writes, because at this moment, I was at a loss for words, and I looked to my hands for guidance, but they lay dumbfounded on the keyboard, waiting for a command. My fingers only obey. But what if my hands refused to cooperate? What if I had told them to type, but they rejected my command? Impossible! I think. My hands do not have free will — they merely react to my thoughts! And so how is it, that at times, our mind instructs our body to do certain things, but our body refuses? Get up out of bad you lazy fool, my mind instructs my body. But my body buries itself deeper in bed and cries “NO!”. Who is it that is in control at that moment? Am I insincere in my wanting to get out of bed, and recognizing this, my body seizes the chance for more rest? Is my body by default wanting of more rest, or more activity? Or perhaps it is just indifferent towards change, and would rather remain in its current position to conserve energy? But who is my body to dictate what is better for it, when my mind knows of all the current factors behind my decision: it is time to wake up, go to work, and earn a living so that I may feed my body, so that it may be sustained. Has my body, after all these years, not understood this simple concept? Could we not work together to attain a goal that would be beneficial for the both of us?
Who is it, I ask, that refuses to cooperate with our current commands? “Don’t eat that cookie!” my mind commands my hands and mouth, but they refuse to cooperate. “Go for a walk, so that you may be healthier,” my mind commands my legs, but they sullenly refuse. Objects at rest remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force, says physics, and perhaps my physical components only wish to obey the laws by which they are defined. Perhaps then, that the commands of my mind are the outside forces, but that these forces must be so strong and resolute as to be unquestionable. The wind is an outside force capable of uprooting trees from their homes, but it requires a certain amount of vigor and wilfulness to achieve this goal. Leaves will dance to a gentle breeze, but will be forcefully detached by the autumn wind. And so we can say that not every thought is equal in weight and force; that for our legs and hands and mouth to cooperate and execute our relatively difficult commands, they require not just our default command level, but a roaring and upheaving command filled with such energy and force that it is undeniable. It is not enough to command your legs “walk” or your body “move” or your mouth “do not open to chocolate”, — no, you must become god-like in your force, and summon all the power and authority within you to prepare a command so powerful and grandiose, that you may only have the mental resources to execute that same breed of command once or twice in a day. Your commands must be so powerful, that you are out of breath the moment they are uttered. Breathe in all the air around you so that your chest puffs out and your hands extend rigidly behind you, and blow into the trumpet of your body a reverberating “WALKKKKKKKK!” that shakes the floor beneath you, such that your legs begin to tremble from fear of your authority. And then go for that walk.
Your will is a depletable resource that regenerates every night in your sleep, and a sign of a successful day is going to sleep absolutely exhausted and empty, or “ego-depleted“. Every morning, you have a full tank of “ego” that you may use to execute sudo-level commands: use it all, whether wisely or unwisely, just use it all. Anything leftover doesn’t rollover to the next day — everyone starts fresh in the morning. Eventually, your body begins to respect your authority, and requires less and less effort to cooperate with your commands. At this point, you become a well-disciplined machine, capable at a moment’s notice to execute any command your mind desires.