March 25, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on March 24, 2018

We really have little idea just how susceptible our minds are and how difficult – if that’s the right word – it is to maintain sovereignty. Note: I did not say control. I said sovereignty, by which I mean the ability to focus attention where we want it focused (not where things or events tell us to focus), to be responsive (but in a controlled manner) instead of just reactive. Sovereign also means you have some insight into – and therefore wisdom about – all the amazing subconscious processes going on in your mind. A few weeks ago I got another one of those survey emails from, which I usually ignore. This one was about weight, though, a minor (ha) obsession of mine, so I bit (pun). I was told to enter my height and weight, and I learned also that genetically I’m predisposed to put on weight and be heavier than average. Then I was told that the average woman is several inches shorter than I am, and that, at average height (which is several fewer inches shorter than I am), she weighs a whopping ten pounds more than what I weigh when I’m at my (personal) top limit. In other words, I’m way (weigh!) below average, yet 23andme tells me I’m genetically predisposed to be above average. Consequence? Subtly, oh so subtly, my will power has been sabotaged – okay, I sabotaged my willpower, I let it happen – and I have gained two pounds. Exactly as if 23andme gave me “permission,” as if it’s somehow “in the cards” that “heaviness” is inevitable. It’s all BS. It’s not inevitable, and it’s important to define the goal and the ideal and to “strive on with diligence.” Biology is not (necessarily) destiny, at least not all the time. Sovereignty is a real thing, and in need of protection, strengthening, maintenance.

Now, if a little thing like that (being told about genetic “predisposition” …okay, maybe it’s not so little a thing, to be told about genetic predisposition, but still…) – if a little thing like that can derail a person so quickly, think of the damage a mother’s programming language can do. Or a father’s. Or anyone in the immediate family romance. It is a romance. These are the people – the initial people – to whom we give our hearts. The power they wield… And then we continue to give power to (thereby contributing to the diminution of our own) to industries and agencies whose sole purpose it is to get inside our heads and hijack our attention. I think the outrage economy works – and it’s possible to see it so clearly amongst my left-liberal tribe in matters Trump – because in the face of truly complex problems it gives the mind a simple focus. And, because it uses tribal affiliation to sharpen and strengthen focus (albeit momentarily, not truly: focus is only focused for a short time, until the next “outrage” comes along), it lessens the feeling in the individual that maybe, just maybe, s/he is wrong. The king really is dead. Long live the king.

Today is another cloudy, overcast day. Today is another day overcast by clouds. Today is another day overcovered by cloudcasts. The clouds, cast in one continuous scroll, crossing the sky from left to right, are pale with slightly darker striations, barely differentiated in color from the main gray-blue. A scroll – for writing? Yet there’s nothing written here that I can read. Maybe I’m illiterate. Probably. People used to be able to read clouds, especially (I’m supposing) if they lived by the sea and made their living on it. This scroll is quite high, relatively speaking: I just watched a gull wing its way effortlessly through the huge, empty space remaining between “sky” (where emptiness starts above the rooftops) and the covering clouds above. It did not have to maneuver through the clouds. I have been inside that kind of cloud cover. In Vancouver, in a highrise, it can happen easily. I don’t like it – like a bird, I prefer to fly through the emptier space, not have clouds, like “outrages,” distract and hijack my focus. Preserve my winged sovereignty, if possible.

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