Monday, November 26, 2007

Is God on holiday?

I read this amazing quote the other day:

Holding a grudge against someone is like taking poisonand then waiting for the other person to die!

This is so true it isn't even funny!

We poison ourselves all the time and then wait for others to die, or to rescue us or to do something, anything……wring their hands, shake their heads, write a poem, applaud?

So what has manipulative behaviour got to do with God being on holiday? Stay with me a minute, I'll explain.

I remember as a child seeing a movie about an extremely manipulative woman. Her final 'piéce de resistance' was to kill herself so that the others felt eternally guilty. I remember being blown away by the idea that someone would actually go through with this.

Bit of a gamble don't you think? What if they didn't feel guilty but instead cracked open some champagne and celebrated? You can't exactly come back and say, hey mate, I think you missed the whole point here! Or bonk them over the head (well, as far as I know you can't but then we'll never know will we?)

Thinking about manipulation reminds me of those Skinner box experiments they do with pigeons and mice and other animals. I remember once watching a video of pigeons playing ping pong just because they knew they'd get a food pellet at the end. There's that classic one where Skinner (or whoever) wanted to go away on holiday and dreamt up a scheme to leave all his highly trained animals unattended. He put the pellet feeding devices onto a timer. Every half an hour or so a pellet would pop out into the food tray irrespective of what the animal happened to be doing at the time.

When Skinner (or whoever) arrived back from holiday he/she came back to a wonderous sight. All the animals were doing really bizarre things and each one something completely different. One animal was turning in circles, thinking that this is what caused the pellets to arrive. Another was hopping on one foot, another was lying on its back kicking thin air, another plucking out its own feathers or whatever…you get the picture. Basically the animals thought that whatever activity they were doing when a pellet arrived was what caused the pellets to drop so they kept doing it until another pellet dropped... ad infinitum. Which just goes to prove they had the system cracked, didn't they?

So, maybe it's the same with us. Maybe every now and then God actually goes off on holiday and puts the pellet dropping device on a timer. We think the pellet's dropping because….well…you tell me?!

Superstitious? Who me? Manipulative? Who me?

I think being manipulative is what defines humanity. Let's blame it all on our opposable thumbs. We are built to be manipulative. To break and re-make things around us.

We've even taken this idea to its logical extreme. Our thumbs are an illusion. What we actually do with them is just a shadow play of our thoughts.

I think the real question is, do we act or re-act?
What are the real reasons behind the choices we make?
To what extent are we proactive rather than just reactive?
That's the basic choice we face every moment.
What's motivating us?
Need to control or need to be?
Fear or fun/love/trust?

If the pellets are coming out anyway we may as well be doing something that gives us pleasure and a deep sense of fulfillment.

It sure beats pulling out our own feathers.
Or someone else's.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home