I woke up with my girlfriend. She was sick but I wanted to kiss her. During the night I had begun to feel a bit sick, so I drank a bunch of Lactobacillus bacteria (brand name LactoPafi), which fights the naughty sick-making bacteria, and in the morning I was right as rain. I went to the restaurant to buy food. I placed my takeout order then went to 7-11 to buy drinks and coffee and donuts and bananas, because waiting for takeout is a waste of time. Then I picked up my orders and took a trike back.
My girlfriend was better when I got back. We ate and did things and we napped together. I left early to catch the trains before rush hour.
When a person feels like she is only playing a part in life, TLP suggests, not to try to stop playing a part, but to play the part of a person whose life is of value to others. He fails, though, to explain how that mechanism can work. He makes it sound like you’d be fake forever, only that you’d be faking goodness instead of selfishness. It won’t be that way, because humans as a species are generally incapable of pretending. This is why movie stars often truly fall in love with their onscreen (pretend) love partners; why people who construct and commit to a satirical image of something often become that thing (ex. Lady Gaga, me and my friends making fun of conyo accents); why even the simple acts of smiling or frowning, with no spontaneous impulse behind it, can influence your mood.
There’s a catch, though: the emotion can only be enhanced, not created. There has to be a spark to fan, however tiny and weak. I don’t think you could fall in love with someone whom you fully detest – for whom you feel not an iota of affection – by faking affection. It would never become real.
(Isn’t this what Pinocchio is about? Becoming through acting, becoming by behaving as if; as if he was a real boy, a real human who could care for his father.)
So: behavior influences thoughts and emotions, not only the other way around.
When the thoughts and emotions are already strong and palpable, acting on them strengthens them even more.
I feel so much closer to my girlfriend after that night of being with her, looking after her; some parts of it were hard but I didn’t do anything that I wasn’t entirely willing and capable of doing.
That’s why I want so much for others to make themselves better. Not just to make the spirit willing, but to make the flesh strong.
“The poor get poorer and the rich get richer.” But why? Because society is unfair? Society has always been unfair, that thought leads to a dead end. Let’s try another… People are familiar with the concept of inertia as the thing that makes it hard to move a body at rest. They forget the other, equally true definition of inertia – that it makes it hard to stop a body in motion. Give it a powerful push. Remove the impediments. Watch it pick up speed, watch it grow unstoppable…
I could love my girlfriend and still be unable to care for her. If I were my old, pre-Prozac self, I’d have probably gotten lost along the way. Or fallen asleep with exhaustion. Or forgotten to bring the things I wanted her to take to make her feel better. “It’s the thought that counts.” Only when there is no true need in the situation. Like if I get a birthday card from a friend. The thought counted, it was nice, but I could certainly maintain my personal well-being without that card. And when all the things you do are not indispensable to anyone, in your work and your private life… well… you will feel it, you will know it. The question is whether you’ll choose to change your situation or opt to numb the despair.