Monday, December 22, 2008

Mountains and Molehills

I know an individual whose problems seem insignificant. Often I look at him and think, You just don't have a clue how easy you've got it. His microcosm is secure, his wants and needs provided. Danger is non-existent. His life, from my point of view, seems to consist of nothing but whimsy. Whatever he wants to do, he does (within certain parameters of reason) and what he does not wish to do, he does not.

Yet, I'm quite sure that he feels differently. The absence of danger doesn't necessarily translate into content. (Just ask President Bush.) He is a creature of some habit. His habitual lifestyle, which seems to me to be a study in self-satisfaction, is a way of life that, to him, is paramount. If his routine is frustrated even slightly, the tectonic plates shift, and he is shaken. Yet I don't believe he is to be faulted for this. From his perspective, the trauma generated by an invasion of his comfort zone is no mean bother. If his world is all he knows, what blame can be laid upon him if a disruption of that world (constituting, perhaps, nothing more than the excitement caused to the nerves of a fish when an aquarium is tapped) causes self-pity, and fear?

I have seen him frightened by shadows and hiding from nothing more than a ridiculous perception of danger. I have even told him how silly he is. Reasoning with him, I point out his misconceptions. But I suspect my reassurances are lost in translation, and he hears nothing but gibberish, and sees nothing but wild gesticulation.

If his world were expanded, would some of the unknown be absorbed into his enlarged sphere, or would the unknown expand in direct proportion to the known? Is there a set number of unreasonable fears that can be diminished by facing each one? Or, for every fear deposed, does another spring up to take its place? If he is of such frail constitution, wouldn't a greater disturbance to his larger environs be of the same quality as the lesser disruptions of his smaller world? Fear is not absorbed by relief, it is only displaced. In fact, if his mindset remains the same, each terror vanquished might very well heighten his fear, as he becomes cognizant that, although this particular thing is not as big as he feared, that could only mean that there are other things awaiting him so enormous that they have heretofore escaped his consideration. Experience magnifies the scale. Every time a bigger problem presents itself, he becomes aware that, for that problem to be rendered insignificant in relation to the size of the world, the world must be larger still, and thus hold even bigger problems. So, instead of expanding, his world implodes, and he grows more frightened still. So long as he is satisfied with the smallness of his world, better to let him continue in his ignorance.


1 comment:

Devan said...

I love that picture of Adagio, our kitty!!! It does look like he is wondering what the big, wide world holds...(of course, in reality he's probably "bird-watching"--he's favorite thing to do at that window!)
It's sort of comforting, in a way, to have a little creature so "worry-free" in our home. I would do well to take a lesson! :o)
By the way, good blog...