Control Freak

Science goes to great lengths to explain natural phenomena. This often allows us to accomplish something worthwhile, such as curing a disease or warning us of a hurricane. There are some instances, however, in which I must admit I prefer the illusion of magic. Take wind, for example. It may be caused by differences in temperature of masses of air, but that's no fun because there's nothing I can do about it. But if you pretend that there is some giant blowing the air around you can at least yell at him to stop. Not only does this make you feel better about something you have no control over, but it makes you look crazy, which has surprising benefits we'll examine another time.

Another example is traffic lights. How many people have some ritual they perform when coming up to a light to make it turn green or stay green? Well, probably not that many. But I'm sure some people do. It may not help, but it makes them feel like they have a measure of control in the situation.

Those are obvious examples, but how often do we fool ourselves into thinking we have control over a situation when in fact we are completely hellpless? Particularly in our jobs and some of our relationships with others (haven't you ever known someone who disliked you no matter what you did?), there is really nothing we can do to change certain things, but we convince ourselves that we do have some say.

I'm not saying that this illusion is a bad thing. It's comforting. Realizing our helplessness in some areas of life could be psychologically damaging. So I guess you should just forget this whole post.


Turbo said...

Can we go back to that whole making you look crazy thing?