Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Matter over Mind

I've never been impressed by exhortations to "will." One of my favorite poems, "Ruby Bates," makes the point this way:

"The Reds are virgins. They wear business suits
And talk a shrapnel-proof logic. They will all die
Of biology ..."

It makes us feel good to tell others that "it's all in your head" or to suggest, implicitly or explicitly, that wishing can make things so. As a materialist, I can't help but feel that this is yet another way that we are dishonest with ourselves and each other, inevitably keeping us from truly becoming what we can be by focusing on that over which we have far less control of than we think.

All that said to say that I think this article sums up the point very well, and does so in a martial arts context that I think most of us can appreciate. The intro alone is worth your time.

Resolutions based on “Will Power” FAIL 80% of the time; Resolutions based on changing the Systems you work in SUCCEED 80% of the time. 
Remember, it’s well-intentioned SYSTEMS that make us fat and lazy. You never walk anywhere because it’s too easy to drive your car. Your car, and all the roads you drive on, are a system.
 STOP saying to yourself “I’m going to try harder” and instead, this weekend just spend one solid hour seeing the systems that reinforce your bad behaviors. And then change them. ”