The philosopher, Descartes, wanted to find if there was anything that could be known for certain.
We believe our experience shows us what’s actually real, but can we ever be sure?
Couldn’t our thoughts and perceptions really be the intended result of some elaborate, cosmic trick?
It seems like countless explanations could account for our experience; yet for the experiencing itself—the perceiving, thinking, questioning—to not exist at all makes no sense.
Is this line not a question?
If experience must exist in some way, it would follow that there must at least be a reality.
How could absolutely nothing exist if this question exists?
Descartes would say the certainty of experience proves that we too must exist in some way: “I think (or perceive), therefore I am.”
Yesterday I shared some thoughts about why all my wasted years might really not have been so wasted after all.
Recording and putting my experience together to share has shown me the part of me that’s always continued on in every state.
Now, my addictive behaviors didn’t vanish right away when I started putting my experience together to share; but my perspective did begin to shift and widen.
I’ve since gained a far clearer sense of myself, and of the person I want to become.
On that note: I’m supposed to be writing about controlling addiction, right?
Instead, I’ve been going on about relationships, feelings, identity, dreams, writing, philosophy, and so many other concepts besides just my simple desire to escape the bad consequences of compulsive weed use.
But I don’t think our lives can ever be compartmentalized in reality.
We can momentarily consider individual aspects while looking either forward or back.
We can examine each of our values and behaviors individually.
But what we are is a uniquely integrated series of combinations playing out in time.
What we are ties physical experience to reason, self-esteem to opportunities, desires to limitations, memories (or art) to a sense of self, and so many other shifting worlds which all crash together, gel, split, and evolve (or devolve) simultaneously.
Seeing how life’s many parts integrate can be extremely helpful and beautiful.
It also makes trying to sell any kind of valid one-size-fits-all solution impossible.
Or, it should.
I once wrote this while high and having a conversation with my wife:
“Life has many parts.
“Either every part moves forward together, or one will hold the rest back.”
I wrote this another time (also high):
“Be aware of all your WHYs and which parts of your life they touch.
“All I really want is to fully apply myself.
“I see that I can only reach my potential when addictions are controlled.
“For me, a big part of reaching potential has to do with writing, but we all have potential to reach.
“We all deal with limiting and addictive behaviors that hinder us from being our best selves.”
I have many reasons (or “WHYs”) for wanting to control addiction.
I’d like to improve my relationships, and to be more effective at pursuing goals.
I only have one life to live, and I want to be the most efficient, dynamic me that I can be for the rest of it.
I always hope to be moving closer to that ideal, even as the ideal itself shifts and expands with me.
As I record and share my experience, it becomes increasingly impossible to ignore exactly how my addictions and compulsions hold me back from being the person I want to be.
What are your reasons?
Also, what does the thing you’re currently addicted to give you?
Do you experience more of that benefit if you do whatever it is in a non-addictive way—only when you choose to, and not compulsively?
If addiction is doing what you tell yourself not to, you’d surely get more from the experience if you could wait until you knew it would be right (or better), no?
Is that a common balance to strive for regardless of the substance, chemical, or activity?
Less is more, right?
Thinking along Descartes’ lines: I can’t imagine a non-reality in which the questioning or perceiving that we come to take our identity from still occurs somehow.
If such a reality can’t be comprehended (and I see no reason to believe in it), wouldn’t it be safe to assume that your experience is something you can be more certain of than anything else?
What is your real experience . . . who are you?
Whatever you want to do or be, I encourage you: Record and then go public with your experience when you’re ready.
Then, as you grow, whatever holds you back must either die off or evolve with every other combined part of you.
When that happens, it’s like seeing every aspect of the life you want ganging up on every hindering, limiting force.
Your addictions and compulsions don’t stand a chance.
Tomorrow: cutting through your conscious fog.