Americans Don’t Want to Go Back to Work

Or, Americans are burned out. Which Americans are these? Only the white collar computer jockeys, likely living in big metro areas. If you are burned out and don’t want to go to work now, you probably also felt that way before the pandemic; but pre-pandemic, you kept your mouth shut and your head down and went to work. You should continue to keep your mouth shut and go to work. Because if your job can be done from home, it can also be done from Mumbai. So long white collar work force. Starbucks awaits.

An Essay on the Worth of Self

            This blog is brought to you by introspection.

            Thesis: you are worth something even if you are nobody. The thesis stated another way: the self as mere existing consciousness has value. Because: if one has realized that the greatest possession that one can have is love of one’s own being, then one knows that the bare existent self is valuable. Because: we don’t know how consciousness comes into existence, but having a consciousness is of value.

            Why have I bothered to geek out on the merely existent consciousness and its worth? Feeling value and worth of yourself makes life bearable, even joyful. It is egotistically unbearable to have a worthless self. So I must answer for myself whether I am worthwhile. I have lost the ability to identify myself as something, as a position in society. I have no label like parent or engineer or writer or vowed religious sister. My life has become so simple that it has nothing to point out as its function. Most mornings, I sit and look out my window at a bush. This morning, I permitted myself to just be a consciousness sitting and looking at a bush and to value that consciousness. I experienced being-as-itself. Being-as-itself is a kind of poverty, poverty without the possessions of important actions, societal position, material wealth, etc. But also, a richness. My wealth and self-importance are turned inwards, towards self-value. I get to feel and choose to value that consciousness that is sitting in this body, even if all it possesses are thoughts and feelings. It is at this moment that I come to own my soul. I didn’t read about owning my soul in a book, but I experienced its being and its poverty and I took it as mine.

            Conclusion: This essay is about unravelling the societal conditioning and finding one’s inner truth. It is not the first time I have looked at some facet of self-worth. I experienced a glimpse of self-love and self-worth. Writing helps me to focus, but long term answers seem elusive. It is good to put together the words from my own thoughts, not as a research project based on other people’s books.

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Quotations on Addiction — Not Found in the Big Book

ADDICTION DEFINITION: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” (American Society of Addiction).

HUMAN ADDICTION: “It is becoming apparent that eating and drugs share a common neuroanatomic and neurochemical basis” (Hungry Ghosts page 226. Chapt 20, fn 14, M.S. Gold and J. Star, “Eating Disorder,” Chapt 27 in “Substance Abuse,” by Lowinson et al 470).

CHOICE?: “Addicts had no free will to choose one day not to buy the product” (Dreamland page 55).

WHAT DRUGS DO: “…drugs can’t do anything new…drugs can either speed up or slow down ongoing neural activity—and that’s it” (Never Enough page 30).

NEURAL PLASTICITY: “…there will never be enough drug, because the brain’s capacity to learn and adapt is basically infinite” (Never Enough page 4).

PRE-FRONTAL CORTEX: “…the [addict’s] prefrontal cortex goes offline from the stress, and they revert to familiar and automatic habits” (Craving Mind page 179).

WILL POWER?: “…addictive habits are too deeply entrenched in the brain of the hard-core substance user to be overcome by a simple act of will” (Hungry Ghosts page 317).

UNCONSCIOUS AND AUTOMATIC: “The dilemma of freedom in addiction may be phrased this way: a person largely driven by unconscious forces and automatic brain mechanisms is only poorly able to exercise any meaningful freedom of choice” (Hungry Ghosts page 302).

ADDICTION CONSCIOUSNESS: “…the addiction consciousness was active and looking for more and more external trophies to capture…the anxiety, ennui and fear of the void driving the whole operation…” (Hungry Ghosts 228).

REALISTIC CURE: “…many people—are too deeply enmeshed in substance dependence for any realistic ‘cure’ under present circumstances” (Hungry Ghosts page 336).

WHY BE ALIVE: “Human beings only become addicted when they cannot find anything better to live for and when they desperately need to fill the emptiness that threatens to destroy them” (Chasing the Scream, Mr. Hari quotes Mr. Alexander, page 180).

COMPULSION: “…compulsion is a culturally learned pattern to distract you from self love” (Mind Body Code page 111).

ADDICTION/ COMPULSION/ OBSESSION: “…addiction is acquired dependence… compulsion is uncontrolled behavior… obsession is intrusive thoughts, difficult to stop…” (Mind Body Code page 206).

SELF DESTRUCTIVE DISTRACTION: “…addictive behavior is self-destructive to avoid feeling worthy.” (Mind Body Code pg 25).

SOCIO-CULTURAL DISTRACTION: “…addictions are socio-cultural self-distractions that serve to avoid worthiness.” (Mind Body Code 205).

EXISTENTIAL BURDEN: “…addiction … an attempt to shed my existential burden instead of carrying out the struggle…” (12 Rules for Life, Jordan Peterson page 323).

BODY BUDGET: “…drug addiction is often a misguided attempt to relieve the suffering from a body budget that’s chronically out of whack.” (How Emotions Are Made, pg 188)

JUST STOP THINKING ABOUT IT: “Asking a heroin user to stop thinking about heroin is like asking a drowning person to stop trying to catch a breath of air” (Overcoming Opioid Addiction, Adam Bisaga, page 31).

MORPHINE MOLECULE: “Most drugs are easily reduced to water-soluble glucose in the human body, which then expels them. Alone in nature, the morphine molecule rebelled. It resisted being turned into glucose and it stayed in the body” (Dreamland page 39).

WHY RELAPSE: “Most relapse comes not from the craving for the drug. It comes from this whole other level of unmanageability, putting myself in compromising situations, or being dishonest, being lazy – being a fifteen year old” (Dreamland page 293).

FALLING PREY: “Ambivalence feeds on discord, and the person who is still hostage to addictive thinking may eventually fall prey to it” (Overcoming Opioid Addiction, Bisaga page 205).

Finished the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee

Finisher Certificate

I did it. I finished the 2nd Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. It took 54 days, 147:37 hours of running. 642.9 miles.

I finished 5 days faster this year than last year. This speaks of focus, intention, health, expansion. Despite the heat, I did the miles relentlessly. While focused on doing miles, I did little else.

I now return to other projects and qualities of my life.

Reflection 3.99: Deep Investigation

            Just these words, “deep investigation,” lead me out of superficiality and inwards towards the mother lode of spiritual value which exists as my soul.

            Superficiality is obsessed with drugs or behaviors of choice. Deep is stable, integral, beneficial. I can become conscious of my depths. I can know my deeper self. I think these words: Stable. Integral. Beneficial.

Reflection 3.98: Habitual Contemplation

            So my obsessions form the general direction for my addiction, or any part of my emotionally troubled human life. I will get what I think about. The same mental energy I use for my obsession can be turned to my spiritual consciousness, if I want.

            Having a good job, family, comfort, is not enough to replace my opioid euphoria, or my tryptophan wellbeing. A spiritual quest is enough. Accomplishing a dream is enough. My greatest dream is connection with my inner consciousness. I habitually contemplate this.

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Reflection 3.97: Practice

            Going to work is a spiritual practice of simplicity. Working on yourself is a practice of transcendence. Going to work, inner work or outer work, is a practice of the power of will, not will power.

            There is a crummy feeling when someone says that I have no will power. There is a magnificent feeling when I feel the power of will. I stop and feel the difference. I go for magnificence. I embrace the power of will. It is my truth, willed for me from the beginning.

Reflection 3.96: Human Spirit

            I stop a moment and consider the life within me, that which is very quiet. I hold that energy without condition.

            I need to find a procedure which brings me to my basic human spirit. Practice. Refine. I change my outer life to honor my inner spirit. I have this “thing” inside me, call it what I may. I just visit it.

Reflection 3.95: Fight For Your Soul

            Indeed. In my pursuit of shallow addictive behaviors, I trashed the relationship with my inner who-I-really am. Soul, human dignity, inherent worthiness are some of the names for the spirit within.

            I want the relationship back. I don’t want my addiction. I want to feel good without my addiction. Being sustained and guided by the spirit within is my truth and my choice.

            My addiction or my soul? I ponder a moment the words spirit within. Whisper it to my insides. I give it a short time.