I picked up the tiny cat again today. Granted, she is not as tiny as she used to be. Especially in the ‘roundness’ department. And she proves it regularly by rolling around the house, discovering new hiding places. Her main nemesis, meanwhile, is me, who enjoys picking her up and putting her down somewhere else, thwarting her plans.
Why is that relevant? Because I have terrible impulse control. I know exactly that as soon as I pick up the tiny cat, she will start to complain. Then, she will start to claw at my hands and wrists. I will think it is okay (she is not super aggressive about it), and not five minutes later, I will get teleported to the itchiness dimension. Allergies.
Why am I doing this to myself? It is fun to pick up tiny cat, obviously. But why am I doing things, despite knowing they are bad for me? I’ve written in the past about having an addictive personality, but I don’t think that is necessarily to blame.
Instead, maybe it is just that the very concrete desire to pick up the tiny cat in the moment outweighs the more abstract knowledge of the inevitable consequences. Or it is that I’m just so addicted to convenience that I deliberately ignore my knowledge of the consequences, because they would stand in the way of immediate gratification.
Could it be that, while I understand the concept of future consequences, I don’t perceive them as ‘real’ until they actually come to pass? Because for so many things that I do, I know exactly that they are going to be a problem later. Yet here I am, doing them anyway.
I haven’t yet decided on this. But I suspect that there may be some deeper traits of human nature at play here. After all, everyone struggles with this kind of stuff, all the time. As individuals, but also as a species.
Sometimes I wonder. If I, as an individual, am a small member of a larger whole, our species, could the same be true all the way down? Are there cells in my body right now that binge on proteins or whatever, despite knowing that they shouldn’t?
Probably not. Perhaps there are some cells doing self-destructive things, but they probably end up self-destructing for real. Maybe that is the real difference here. While other animals and smaller creatures can definitely engage in self-destructive behavior, we are the only ones who can do anything about it. Can being the operative word here.
Well, I guess there is an empowering thought. It is not that I’m just too basic to act on my knowledge that there are some things I shouldn’t do, it is that I’m advanced enough to be aware that there are some things I shouldn’t do. Now I just need to find out how to put that knowledge into practice.