We always make a decision. I type these words and you will decide what they mean to you. It doesn’t have to be deliberate. We are conditioned if we aren’t instead mindful. It will happen one way or another.
We have no experience of it? That’s part of it. What you do fear is dis-integrity. Shall I back this up with science?
I don’t fear death, but I fear pain. And what pains you is not the same as what pains others by default.
I fear being dependent.
There is a basic process they have induced it in the lab through administering the right chemicals. They can make memory links, or at least the synapses associated with them, disconnect. This is relatively easy if the experience has little reinforcement, but it becomes impossible if the reinforcement is strong and repetitive. The brain will reject the chemical trigger and preserve the memory trace.
Therefore, routines? Yes, the brain does prefer its routines, but it will prioritize distress over its preferences for stability and continuity. They can deprogram negative information only when the initial experience was mild. Otherwise it stays, but they have discovered something else, again this is biological and goes hand in hand with the tendency of the brain to preserve negative experience.
I ponder the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” The movie is being discovered to only be a half truth, not completely possible.
When they administered a neutral stimuli (specifically a smell, and associated it with both a distressing and a rewarding experience), if they continued to pump this smell into the environment while the subject was sleeping the negative memory trace became de-emphasized. The subject learned to fear the experience less or even not at all. This happened during otherwise undisturbed sleep with only the neutral smell being continuously present.
So some synaptic connection between smell and memory? Oh, that’s proven reliably that there is a link between smell and memory, but also, memory of reward takes priority over memory of pain.
In dreams, I meant. In dreams also. People commonly report having pleasant dreams when someone begins cooking a pleasantly remembered food for breakfast in the morning.
So you will endure pain, really any pain, when it’s associated with a sufficiently meaningful reward, and thus we preserve our routines and rituals. This is why people with autism are so ritualistic. Routine sensory experience is very painful for them, so the routine provides them with reassurance that everything will return to order.
Sounds like hell. In a way it is, but to reveal the truth behind even that I point to a classical Chinese wood cutting. It illustrated the difference between heaven and hell. The people in the images were in the same exact situation seated around a table trying to eat a meal. In hell, they were all struggling and miserable because their chopsticks were over long, and they could not figure out how to eat their meal. In heaven the same situation existed, but they were feeding each other, and as happy as could be.
Even the autistic can make sense of their world, but they do it through accepting their reality, not trying to dictate a different one.
Hell is two things, and you dream of these more than anything else. Hell is other people, and hell is repetition. Do you dream of much else?
Almost all of your dreams are rehashing your experiences with other people. Not all. The others are encounters with something far worse than other people. In the others, we dream of ourselves. We encounter our own self image and a hideous monster it is, but that happens only infrequently in times of intense personal crisis. That self image tends to be a dream of the dead, but not always.
I had such dreams during my divorce. Not a pleasant time, to be sure.
A dream of the “inadequate”? Yes, rejected or forgotten. We dream this way because we think this way. We think this way because we attend this way. How much of our daily life is spent deeply, mindfully attending to our cherished ideals? How long or deeply do we think of our loved ones?
I think it varies. Indeed. Now how long or deeply do we think on what troubles us? And does this not also include our loved ones?
So perhaps these are off base questions. Your mental wok space can work differently if you train your mind to work differently. Conventional thinking and problem solving doesn’t do that.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.