R - I = P
Has anyone else noticed how we human beings tend to stay attached to plans / desires / habits after the original stimulating purpose (ie, the reason) for the behavior is long gone? A good example of this is the got to change lanes syndrome. We are trapped in heavy traffic, someone to the front and someone to the sides. Our frustration to get around the person in front changes to getting in the adjacent lane, and when we get the chance we of course we change lanes even though the person in front turned off two blocks back.
A friend of mine coined the expression R I = A to represent this phenomena. R is reality, I image, and A anxiety. It turns out this applies to a much wider range of behavior than we originally thought. When we loose something, such as Epictetus broken cup, we go through a loss because of our attachment that can only be described as anxiety over reality not being what we want it to be. If we replace the A with P for passion it becomes even clearer. Passion is a direct consequence of the difference between how things actually are and what we wish them to be. I am a consultant to a business that is going under apparently and R I = P is so obvious in almost every conversation in the office.
But what about when things go our way? Excitement happiness, when the outside world apparently matches our desires for the moment, seems to mean that R = I. But which is dominant? In the vicious person I is always dominant and R matching I, even if it truly does, is only an intermittent snack that gives us a false sense of doing things right; much like Pavlovs dog.
In the virtuous person R takes precedence. In the sage there isnt any difference between R and I and thus no passion.
This may over simplify things, but R I = P can be applied to quite a range of behavior. Take war for example. Violence is the penultimate means of getting R to conform with I. All efforts at control are the same thing. One person attempting to force another to conform, or one group attempting to control another group all amount to attempting to change R instead of I. This is why using law or governmental policy to accomplish some task is a last resort in my book. Control over others, such as when raising children, is understood to be temporary only, with the higher purpose being to train and encourage our charge to become a self-reliant responsible independent agent.
So, when we feel a pang of passion, what is really the problem? Is it R? Or is it I? And what is always within our ability to change?
R I = P is in line with another principle: KISS (keep it simple stupid).
- I couldn't help notice the at least superficial correspondence between Steve's description and the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq.On Sun, 2 May 2004 07:04:41 -0700 "Steve & Oxsana Marquis" <marquis@...> writes:
Has anyone else noticed how we human beings tend to stay attached to plans / desires / habits after the original stimulating purpose (ie, the reason) for the behavior is long gone?