Wednesday, April 1, 2009

65/91 -- Information Pollution

8:15 with Amy

The biggest achievement today was just going to class.  I've had trouble sleeping the last two nights.  Between both nights, I've had maybe 9 hours sleep, so I was worried that I wouldn't have energy.  On top of that, I've had meat fests for lunch both days.  Yesterday, we ate at a Brazilian steakhouse, where they keep coming by with endless varieties of meat:  Garlic Beef, Beef Ribs, Lamb Chops, Filet Mignon, Ribeye, Leg of Lamb, Pork Ribs, Sausage, Wings, and much more.  On top of that, there is a fabulous salad bar (one that has satisfied one of my vegetarian friends).  And then today, we switched countries, when friends took us to an Argentine steakhouse.  So, I felt bloated and a bit afraid of how my stomach would react going in to class tonight.

My stomach was fine.  My focus and balance were terrible.  The balancing series was pretty much a joke.  I was having a hard time keeping my balance on two feet.  I think it was all that meat shifing around inside.  And the lack of sleep made it hard to focus.  But I didn't let it get me down.  Then I lost my balance in Triangle, of all things, and ended up sitting out a set.

Fortunately, balance isn't as much of an issue on the floor.  And despite having told myself that it was OK to take it easy, I pushed really hard on the floor and salvaged the class.  I got a nice compliment on Locust, in second set.  Amy actually was taking directly to me when she was doing her end of pose encouragement, and it got me to push even harder. I may have hit a new peak in the pose, but there's no way for me to know that.  But it felt strong.  I finished off strong and collected.  So my fears going in probably ruined the beginning of the class, but I pulled myself through the fears and ended up with a pretty solid class.

Today, Gates discusses the flip-side of self study.  We live in an age of information overload.  And in addition to the tons of totally meaningless information we see and hear everyday, we also get overloaded with advertisements.  They tell us that things will be great if only we use X.  The pervasive sales pitch is trying to sell people on the idea that they can find happiness externally, so it is the complete opposite (and damaging to) the process of self-study, which aims to reveal how we already have everything that we need.

A few decades ago, Excedrin announced that it had invented a new disease:  "The blahs...."  and proclaimed that Excedrin was the cure for it.  Since then, it seems like the drug industry has more and more focused on developing new syndromes, and encouraging people to consult with their doctors for the cure.  Every time I see one of these ads, I wonder where things went so horribly wrong.  It used to be that people felt bad and went to their doctors, who then recommended a course of treatment that might make them better.  Even that was a terribly flawed system.  Now, we get people who become persuaded that they have some problem because they saw a commercial, so they go to their doctors to demand a drug, which the doctors will give or else lose a patient.  It's a very perverse, and unhealthy way to deal with medical problems in my opinion.  

But I think that problem follows from the pervasive desire to find solutions outside of ourselves.  First, you promise that you can treat every problem with a pill.  And then for the people who don't have problems, you invent new ones and try to persuade them that the new pill for the new problem will be the ultimate answer. (And then give a breathless list of the side effects, and a quick disclaimer that your results might "vary.")  Very sad indeed.

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