It's A Negative Experience Wanting A Positive Experience
Wait...what? Did I read that right?
"It's a Negative Experience Wanting A Positive Experience"
Last Monday, we covered Mark Manson's "Feedback Loop From Hell," but that was only the beginning of the bizarreness and eccentricity evident throughout the pages of this book that I can't help but continue reading.
The more I follow his words, the more connected I feel to Manson, almost as if he's describing me, and my problems, within the chapters and their subcategories piece-by-piece, shrinking the puzzle of my life into something so insubstantial, yet positively so.
How the heck does he accomplish that...?
I'll tell you:
- He Introduces the Backwards Law (Philosopher Alan Watts)
The title of this post, "It's A Negative Experience Wanting A Positive Experience," is an example of the Backwards Law.
Confusing I know... but listen to this,
"[The Backwards Law is] an idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place."
The title makes sense now...
"The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more desperately you want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you."
We could end it there, BOOM! Mic drop!
...but I want to share Manson's secret to avoiding this reality.
Now, I'm really confused. Oh wait, here's the answer...
"Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or squash it or silence it, only backfires."
By not trying, Manson is telling us not to avoid as we try to avoid failure, as we try to avoid suffering, as we try to avoid struggle.
"Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it."
If only "not trying" was that easy, as in its own right, not trying is a struggle all its own. Avoiding pain, suffering, adversity-- it's in our upbringing, in our make-up... but, you have to admit he has a point.
I suppose it starts with a conscious shift in mindset. Every time we're faced with a problem, instead of running away, we should strive to accept it at full-face value.
"If you're able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable."