Expectations and Demoralization

Expectations can be nasty and pernicious; they often appear as persistent and fixed ideas carrying a high amount of cognitive stock; especially when they lead us to accept as true what we know is wrong and what we know has to be made right.

In short, expectations are often the means by which we become demoralized and finally, once we habituate ourselves and act in accordance with our expectations, we begin to feel justified in them and even find them impossible to forgo without pain.

Why is that so, you might ask? Because pain is at its basis and few things are as painful in the long run as forgoing and suppressing what we know to be right and wrong, even if it gives us a little short-term pleasure from feeling that we are ‘free’ or ‘liberated’ from our self-imposed constraints.

On Beauty and Perfection

He: No, put that ghastly ornament down. Don’t you dare change that part of you: it makes you beautiful!

She: No, I will do as I please.

He: Do you plan on relating to yourself henceforth and forever by doing as you please all the time?

She: I live in a world with billions of people; of course I am not relating to myself when I say that I will do as I please because what pleases me is to make myself beautiful, which accords with what everyone else conceives as beautiful.

He: If you want to make yourself beautiful, then do not touch those perceived imperfections.

She: What you are saying to me is that my imperfections make me beautiful?

He: Yes, I am.

She: You are lying to me, conning me into being ugly so that you can control me! Everyone agrees with me that beauty and perfection are the same. I become beautiful by ironing my imperfections, those fortuitous creases of my appearance; certainly not by leaving them as they are!

He: My dear, have I misled you? Don’t you see that beauty is the promise of perfection; the siren’s call that proclaims ‘here there is something perfect, but only if you… dare; only if you lean in at the expense of your inclinations to comfort and security; only if you strive to look into me to find for my perfection’. Beauty is a promise that perfection dwells here provided you apply the effort towards perceiving it.

She: But, who will bother with all that these days! People want things given to them, they want them presented and demonstrated to them. If I go by your word, I will end up miserable, discarded, a wretch, no good at all…

He: I am here. Is my seeing your perfection and beauty insufficient; do you seek something more or maybe something else entirely?  And what if what you seek is not beauty at all, but something else which you are confusing with beauty? What if you are applying to ‘beauty’ or to ‘becoming beautiful’ what is reserved for application is something else entirely…?

She: *Blush*.

He: Forgive me, the psychologist in me is incorrigible. Let me put it another way, for you, for my beloved. By making yourself perfect and presenting yourself to me as perfect, you rob me of the life-enhancing enjoyment of seeing you by my own effort. Your presenting me with perfection independent from my own effort demotivates me. I won’t even tell you how your presenting me with ‘everyone’s perfection’, rather than your perfection, strikes me… Now, demotivated as I am, I have lost the means through which I can enjoy not only perfection itself irrespective of whose it is, but likewise your perfection.

She: …

He: What is beauty other than enjoyment of someone’s perfection? What is the presentation of perfection without the means through which we enjoy it? What are beauty and perfection without enjoyment? My beloved, what is bread that sustains, but does not nourish? What is water that bypasses our thirst? What is gold that has nothing left to purchase, my dearly beloved?

She: So what you are saying is that imperfections invite people to seek for perfection and that invitation to search is what you call something’s appearing as beautiful?

He: Sort of… What I want to say is that your imperfections, those imperfections of yours,  invite me to see into or search for your perfection; my lightning-quick acceptance of that invitation is what strikes me as beautiful. Those imperfections could possibly strike others as they strike me, but I dare not project my taste onto them even if I dare to tell them how they should taste something. Ultimately, I leave it to them to decide for themselves how someone or something strikes them…

She: Everyone tells me this and that appearance or feature is what counts as beautiful and so I strive to demonstrate that.

He: Everyone says many different things at different times for different reasons. In short, everyone doesn’t say anything, because everyone does not exist in the way you imagine it does… You don’t have to agree with me, my beloved, but I would that you understood me before you disagreed with me.

She: Go ahead.

He: Here I am: beauty is not the demonstration of perfection, but the promise of perfection at the cost of one’s effort to see into someone’s (or something’s) perfection. If you want to be beautiful, make it your task to invite someone to seek your perfection, do not just give it to them, or, what is worse, do not just give them what you think they see as perfect. My dear, do not give them what they seek.

She: But, that means I shouldn’t give you what you seek…

He: Yes! A thousand times yes!

Whisper #241

Those who feel special and then rationalize it by their possessing some divine right lock themselves into a world of fear erupting as paranoia, jealousy discharging as preemptive abuse, resentment obsessed with victim-hood and, inevitably, their life finds its apex in tragedy.

Hesiod might say these people have made a deal with Chaos and Greek gods always repaid their followers…

Whisper #240

You cannot purchase the future on fear without an astronomical amount of interest on your purchase in the form of resentment, disrespect and unrest—an interest you will be very lucky to keep up your payments on.