Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Career Monkey

I have a great job by most people's standards.

I often think I should change up careers...maybe go back into the National Park Service. This corporate world thing has a lot of bullshit burdens to it. Should I be doing something else? Maybe I should be teaching. I like to teach.

I have to remind myself pretty often that part of being human is that there is this constant mental tension created by the fact that we're all the result of a 3.5+ billion year long competition. Makes it hard to live a restful existence when we're all deeply programmed to be dissatisfied with what we have.

I like the Taoist view of this. Some Taoists characterize this tension as the Monkey, archetypal representation. The Monkey tugs at our attention, is constantly distracting us. The Monkey is one of the parts of all our personalities, at least in one metaphorical part. Once you understand the Monkey and his influence on you, you can more effectively ignore him by acknowledging his influence, and just being aware of its influence.

Getting in touch with the Monkey is easy. Whenever you have a thought that distracts you or seems to say "I'm bored," that's the Monkey acting up.

I now better understand the Monkey's origins in the fact that our minds result from forces of evolution on our genes, and by memetic competition for space in our minds. But I still find the Monkey a useful model for dealing with uncertainties. When these "what should I being doing instead?" thoughts start to gather, I look into the face of the Monkey to see how serious he is. So far, he's still just fucking around.


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