Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Radical Homeostasis

Marvin Miller and Inger Stevens as a switchboard operator  in The Millionaire (1956)

There are golden boys and girls and those who seem to be burdened with a reverse Midas touch, whereby everything they come near turns to shit. However, "the mass of men," yes "live lives of quiet desperation." Those richly gifted with talents seem to become exponentially richer while those of modest abilities only have  diminishment to look forward to. There are certain unlucky souls who will never need to be right-sized, but the majority fall into a slot, a form of self-conception they become comfortable with since it’s all they know. You may have heard of prisoners who've spent many years behind bars and essentially fear losing the constraints of the penitentiary. At a certain point you might have hated your circumstances, finding your life humdrum and certainly not what you dreamt of. Then there is the turning point where an adult form of “stranger anxiety” takes over and even the prospect of satisfying a dream starts to become a threat to homeostasis. The wallpaper of your quagmire starts to exude a rustic simplicity as does the sameness of your internal décor. It’s like the person who wins the Mega Millions jackpot and all of a sudden finds themselves estranged from their old neighbors and friends and not too happy about it. There was a fifties TV series, The Millionaire, where the amanuensis of a wealthy eccentric by the name of John Beresford Tipton gifted strangers with a check for $1,000,000 (about $12,000,000 in today’s dollars).The results, not always of a positive nature, are what made for the drama. “There are more tears shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers,” said Saint Teresa. As they intone in the recovery movement, “you have to want what you have.” You've heard of radical forgiveness and radical acceptance. Try radical homeostasis on for size.

 read "Is Your Self-Invention a Success?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "How Can We Hang On To a Dream" by Tim Hardin

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