For the sapiens Homo, too much of what you fancy leads to chaos.

I am one of those naturally lazy but socially disciplined people who has to follow the Maoist principle of ‘every journey begins with a single step’….and then keep on taking the steps. Once I stop taking the steps, I figure, that’s it. The End. Throughout life, others tell folks like me, “You drive yourself too hard – take a rest”. But this I see as bad advice for we who know how a rest might turn out. My rest nightmare involves getting up, eating something junky, and then sipping gently at four bottles of wine – while watching the grass grow to eight feet in height – before retiring back to bed. I last did that when I was a student (replace wine with grass) but the memory sits in my psyche as a nightmare lesson about how a life without self-control leads quickly to disaster.

My Dad – who was just like me – used to call this “Staying on top of things”. He was a man of steely willpower, Pop: for years he washed and waxed his Honda Civic every week, and then forgot he owned a car. Whenever I cross our pebbled terrace making for the steps to the pool, I stop to pull up a few weeds. If I stop doing this, it seems to me, they will strangle us within weeks: I will become their slave, serving up hourly doses of MiracleGro and asking, “Will there be anything else, m’Lord?” But my instinct is to sod the weeds and instead meditate naked on the lawn.

For some people, bowels must either be regular or abnormally sporadic: go when even the mildest suggestion of evacuation suggests itself, or you’ll be bunged up for decades – an energyless person dragging round the world’s most inflated bottom. From perfectly tuned excretion to fairground attraction in one fell swoop. Others still harbour the same fears about housework and diet: zap every speck of dust you see 24/7 and never let a roast potato pass your lips – or a year later you will be Mrs Fatisher, frozen in cobwebs and covered in dust, your only consolation being the mice that come daily to nibble at that last frozen pizza – the one which started your descent into inanimate blobbiness.

The more sane among you will recognise all this as the telltale belief system of an extreme personality. Everything must have a name these days, and extreme personality (EP) is the one that our armies of excuse-makers and thinky-dinks have attached to me. The problem with their analysis, however, is that it’s underpinned by the assumption EP bad, fluffy good.

Those on the other side of the life-line see and do things in an entirely different way. Relativism, manana, turning on and dropping out, laissez faire, whatever, behaviour is a spectrum, I’m OK if you’re OK, loosen up,chill out, yehbutseefingizzlike, one more biscuit, guilt is bad, arsing about is good……the whole approach is, let’s face it, infinitely more attractive.

Unfortunately, in Fluffyworld things can go very badly wrong for society – whereas in the EP Universe, the pain tends to be personal and private. In Fluffyworld, there are (in no particular order of demerit) obesity, riots, feral kids, deficits, ClubMed debtors, the Secret Family Courts, looting, Seven Kids by Seven Fathers, Olympics tickets anarchy, chlamydia, wind power, nettle wine, Human Rights, Islamist bombers, Tony Blair, multiculturalism, lethargy, and a Franco-German hegemony in the EU. In EPville, there are depressive interludes, obsessive compulsive disorder, and suicide; none of which, to my knowledge, have ever started a war, exploded into a social problem, or got the Daily Mail into a bit of a state.

Ever since the dawn of Person, natural selection has been sticking a judicious mixture of Fluffies and EPs into the womb of Woman across the planet – the aim being to produce a healthy range from policeman to artist. The flaw in this idea is the assumption that no policeman would ever want to ban an artist. And no artist would ever presume to pronounce on the role of the police. The gaping hole in evolution’s logic, in fact, is that it never foresaw how the human brain would develop two hemispheres….and that human social intercourse would further confuse the constant battle between these terribly tenacious twins.

Good v Bad, Light v Dark, God v Devil, Weeds v Meditation, Weed v Getting things done, Buddhism v Plumbing. These are the dilemmas of being human. Chaotic inbetweenness is the result, but this is far preferable to the victory of one over the other. I’ve been a chaotic inbetween all my life, and trust me – it’s a lot more fun than being Ben Bernanke.

 

30 thoughts on “For the sapiens Homo, too much of what you fancy leads to chaos.

  1. Thanks JW, every time I think you have said it all you come up with some more stuff I can say, “yep, absolutely”, too.

    Keeps me sane, heaven knows what it does for you.

  2. I like the sound of grass growing to eight feet high – if only we can find a market for it nearer than Amsterdam

  3. I’d hazard a guess and say that such neuroses are the product of a mind addicted to planning, terrified of failure and a need to feel valued, am I right? I know because I am the world’s worst (or best). Being neurotic sounds so negative but in my book, it’s what great people are made of.

    That ‘go with he flow’ ilk just lack that tenacity that gets things done when all seems lost, they also never plan. As my old inspector use to say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So there’s nothing wrong in being a teeny bit crazy, the alternative is sleepwalking.

    • I so easily identify with this. Just the other day I was musing to my better half that many must think me completely mad because of my attention to detail – I was specifically referring to a condo renovation – but it applies to most things in my life. I’m glad there appear to be others out there who think the same way. And yes, I too think of it as a means to success in life.

  4. Too much Chateau de Nozieres leads to a delightful blog.
    Forgive me if I’ve got this wrong, but I thought your Dad was still with us?

    • Well remembered, Dave. The sadness is I use the past tense, because while he is still here in physical form, he hasn’t been my Dad for several years.
      There are going to be millions like Pop before long….with nowhere to live. The EPs have thought about this, but the Fluffies haven’t. C’est la vie.

      • I think the fluffies have thought about it. Thus ‘the big society’ leads to a further break down in the social contract entered into between the taxpayer and the government. There will come a time when people will be told – its your family – its your problem ! Just keep paying the taxes which were supposed to make it a shared issue.

      • I believe it was off “Revolver” which came out in 1966 and surtax rates were in the 90%. But as someone else said “what goes around comes around”.

      • I believe the rate was actually 98% for them at that time. Hence the Line “Put clever pennies on your eyes” as 2% (pennies) was all they were getting out of each £1

      • I think it was “declare those pennies on your eyes” a reference to the custom of putting coins on eyelids. Those were the days, before decimalisation, Mary Hopkin (and her little lamb), when pennies were a bit more substantial than they are today. And then later came the “Piggies” to eat their bacon – could just as easily be a reflection on events today. Tomorrow never knows! (J Lennon)

  5. My Mum told me this and now I tell it to my kids and they are starting to listen “the only people who give a s**t about you are your family” look after them.

    The State, I can’t even begin to express my feelings, defence yes public order yes education health maybe if we can get it without propaganda. Beyond that let the user pay. Immigration stop EU stop human rights/ H&S stop. Get back jobs where we add value then we have a chance as a trading nation. Maybe open the pits up again for power independance not frickin windmills.

    IMHO this won’t happen, we are looking to move abroad and our son is doing a marketing degree (starting this year, phew) and we’ll encourage him to go abroad.

    The UK is on a slow decline, most people won’t spot it until it is too late. Me and my family have.

    • imho a marketing degree is for women, my boys are studying heating and plumbing trades and already have career offers.
      Expats are welcome to emigrate and give the uk a good kicking from afar, but we who remain, who have the grit to work out our problems for ourselves do not enjoy seeing them return when the going gets tough and take the welfare state and the overstretched nhs for granted.

    • Hold on! The State-public order? Doubtful. Education and health? Well, that depends on the definition of each.

      The State is a taker and a faker-it surely isn’t a maker. Not too sure that the decline is slow, either.

  6. …..”The UK is on a slow decline, most people won’t spot it until it is too late. Me and my family have…..”

    Dynamic observation backed up by MBA credentials .
    Australia in particular headhunts at this level.

      • It also has the world’s most overbought housing market.
        90% of all raw material Aussie output goes to China. 73% of all Aussie output is raw materials.
        Australian pneumonia is coming.

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