Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Restlessness

Is there something wrong with me? Do I have psychological problems?

If I’m hiking, my mind sometimes wanders to a building project. If I’m working on a building project, I daydream about hiking. Why am I not always content with where I am and what I’m doing?

About two years ago, I noticed a book with the title “Anatomy of Restlessness”. On impulse, I purchased it. As I read, I could identify with author Bruce Chatwin who felt a need for travel, new jobs, different experiences and novelty. Why are we this way?

In a science or philosophy magazine, I read an opinion on why tourists will drive miles out of their way to see the world’s largest ball of twine. Evolution favored animals that noticed the unique and different. In a herd, the weak and sick look and behave differently. They stand out and may be easier prey. The predators that survived developed an ability to identify the unusual. We no longer stalk the herds but we have this drive and it causes us to watch for the unusual – such as the world’s largest ball of twine.

As a human – the most highly developed predator – I continue to respond to evolution’s force and search for ways to improve my probability of surviving life’s challenges. Why do I hike and travel and build and learn useless information? I do these things in part because they are enjoyable but mostly because of an inner genetic compulsion.

Why am I restless? It’s not because there’s something wrong with me. It’s because evolution made me this way.

One of the wonderful things about life is that if we do the things that come naturally then we’re the happiest. I’ve learned to enjoy my sense of restlessness. It’s who I am. It enriches my life.

3 Comments:

Blogger Buffalo said...

How boring would life be if we focused on one thing, and one thing only? How narrow would our life be if we were capable of focusing on one thing, and one thing only?

11/21/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger whitesnake said...

Not sure what to say....

I still haven't found what I am looking for!

Sounds like a good line for a song!

11/21/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Michael said...

Yes, but those same instinctual impulses are also responsible for behaviors which are destructive and counter-productive for a species that has evolved technologically, yet is a slave to social biology which has hardly budged since the hunter-gatherer days. Trouble is, when individuals evolve, the whole recognizes them as "different", and cull them out of the herd, keeping us on a path towards doom. Watch any science fiction movies that depicts individuals whose mutations give them extraordinary abilities and the end is usually bad for the evolved individual. Who knows what kinds of people are being studied, probed, and imprisoned in Area 51?

11/21/2006 06:41:00 PM  

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