Rationality -- Part 1: Diminishment / by Michael Nichols

Only a flesh wound. Only a scratch. Only a splinter. Just a little headache. It's nothing. Don't mind me. It doesn't matter.

The things we say to other people tell them how we want them to think of us when we think that they think something about us that we wish they didn't. We lie. We don't want them to see the depth of our hurt. After all, we wish we didn't see it ourselves, but what can you do about that? -- well, we will get to that part later.

Sometimes, it's a big deal and we underreact. Sometimes, it's a small deal and we underreact. A million mixtures of problem size and personal reaction can be made, all depending upon you and how you have learned to deal with things. But the universal reality is that we wish everything to be different. Human beings are good at seeing flaws.

We are also well versed in the art of hiding. Exhibit A: the silent ones, the quiet ones. Don't make a sound. Don't disturb the peace. Don't tip the balance any more than it already has been. Even if you don't like what is happening, don't make it known because that will complicate things. You will have to deal with your problems, work, express, be vulnerable, all of which is taxing to the soul. It takes away from your energy. You become tired, hungry, sore, worn out, stretched thin. In this way, we attempt to trick the world into thinking that we are stronger than we think we are, but this is not the truth. Eventually, pressure makes a soul erupt like a long-dormant volcano.

Exhibit B: the rebel. We look at the pretty part of it, the ray of hope within the shadows of dismay. No situation is as bleak as it may seem, and we refuse to let the darker side of things take control of our minds. Distance is remedied by digital communications, telephony, letters, and road trips. Rebels look past the distance itself and see how it can be circumvented. In the end, distance is just a dictator to be overthrown.

Exhibit C: the empathic. They understand that the intent of the situation was not to cause pain. It was unintentional, accidental, though not beyond understanding.

Exhibit D: the improviser. They understand the changing nature of the world, and they can go with it. They are completely capable of playing the cards they are dealt, livingĀ in the unforeseen.

Exhibit E: the historian. It's not like unfortunate things haven't happened before. The world has been corrupted, and we suffer the consequences of that. When bad things happen, it's the world that screwed you over, not necessarily the person.

Exhibit F: the prophet. Given that the world is corrupt, it can be expected that it will come between you and the things your heart desires. We can usually only live in spite of that.

Exhibit G: the fatalist. It sucks, and things will never improve. We are doomed to misery.

Exhibit I: the willingly ignorant. It's not really happening. It can't happen. It won't happen. Deny. Deny. Deny.

We can try to diminish the blow in so many different ways. That doesn't stop it from coming. That doesn't make it stop happening. That doesn't undo what has happened.

Fortunately, this is not the point. We weren't meant to stop it.

So, now what?

----

Part 2: Dealing