In my last post, I posed a rather simple question about how we behave. In certain situations, we know what we should do and yet we simply don’t do it. We are “unregenerate”. Not all the time, but sometimes. It is not logical. And yet, we are that way. I am, you are, we all are. It seems to be a human character trait.
I remember, for example, my high school literature class. We were required to read a book called “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut. I looked at the book with absolute disgust. Not because I knew what was inside it. I had no idea. I just didn’t want to read it. Why not? Who knows. Perhaps I was angry about something. Or feeling rebellious. But whatever those feelings were, they are also rather vague. The fact is that I just didn’t want to read that book. And so I didn’t and I received an astoundingly bad grade on the test given on it. Oops! That is I did not read the book … until the summer time. Then I opened up the book, started reading, and could not put it down. I loved it. Weird, right?
Here is my current thinking how this peculiar behavior could happen. As humans, we only can act when we feel a given amount of “certainty”. This is what deadlines are supposed to give us. Or when we see the drooling lion eyeballing us. Or when we see something that conditions a positive response (like pizza). Certainty frees us to participate in a flow of activity.
In my case, I generated certainty of a negative kind. I was 100% sure that I would hate Vonnegut’s book. That certainty, as insane as it was, guided me. So how do we generate this kind of powerful emotion?