Sunday, April 12, 2015

Four Stages of Duck Arrangement

Stage One: Goldilocks
What's wrong with this world? Why is there always too little of what I want and too much of what I don't? Why are things so seldom "just right"?

Symptom: Bewildered anger and dissatisfaction
Ideal age: 1-5

Stage Two: Whack-A-Mole
I can make it happen. Just as soon as my ducks are all in a row, I'll find happiness!

Symptom: Anxiety
Ideal age: 6-14

Stage Three: Faux-Insight
This fucking world sucks, and I don't get my due. No matter how hard I try, ducks never line up for long.

Symptom: Depression
Ideal age: 14-24

Stage Four: Insight
It's not about me, nor should it be! Let the ducks behave as they will; happiness is wanting what you get, rather than getting what you want!

Symptom: Peace
Ideal age: Adulthood

For some reason, a great many grown-ups are still at stage one. Though there are also plenty of numb, beaten-down stage three people who believe they're at stage four. And those who reach stage 2 tend to get stuck there until the stress nearly kills them - or they experience some life turmoil which jars them out of their stupor.

It's inescapable: everyone must traverse all four stages; peace is unattainable until you've first passed through both anxiety and depression. The big surprise is that equanimity springs directly from abject dissatisfaction. We assume happiness will arrive when circumstances are happy; when those damned ducks finally line up, but that's a sham we fall for again and again. External circumstance is merely an entertaining kaleidoscope (to be relished in all its kooky turns). The disjoint has been entirely internal all along; a matter of perspective. It turns out equanimity precedes contentment, not vice-versa.

Further reading:
The Toddler and The Steering Wheel
"The Deeper Implications of Holiday Blues"
"Ballasting Happiness"
"The Monks and the Coffee"
"An Adult View on Preference"
"The Times Everything Worked Out"
"Uncommon Terseness"

No comments:

Blog Archive