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The International Writers Magazine
: From the Archives - Living

Michael Bernard

A concept that has cropped up a lot recently in my life has been "balance", in general, and there are a lot of different aspects of it that have me intriqued.

I have never been a person of good balance--not overall. I don't keep a lot of different hobbies or interests, or many different forms of entertainment, at any one time. Whatever I do, I do it to the extreme--until something breaks, whether it is me, the activity or interest, or my attention span.

Obviously there are a lot of things which are bad that have negative consequences and repercussions. When we do things that are negative, habitually, that is generally called an "obsession" or "addiction". It is easy to spot these from the outside, as there are typically recovery societies or support groups to help people overcome their addictions and obsessions. Every once in a while new addictions and obsessions are isolated and discovered, and American's are warned about them on the Nightly News, and self-help guru's sprout up on Oprah and tell us how to save ourselves. Maybe the late 20th and early 21st century will be remembered as a time when we are obsessed with ourselves, and are ourselves worst enemies. We are (possibly) destroying the planet that sustains our life, not out of need, but out of indulgence.

Whether this is "An Inconvienent Truth" or a superstitious myth, who knows, and the only way we'll know any better is whether anyone is around to remind us how wrong we were about believing in Global Warming, kind of like Y2K, or eggs (or are eggs good again? I can never keep up with that...), or how it will be like no one will be around the remind us how foolish we were to believe in God if death is just blank nothingness (like a not-experienced forgotten dream), as opposed to the opposite---how the denizens of Hell must remind each others constantly how stupid they were not to believe in God.

Eggs. Whether they are good or bad, the only way it would really make a negative impact on your life are if you eat them too obsessively. Like butter. Or the combined effect of one billion automobiles and coal-burning power plants and nuclear reactors and a million acres a year of Rain Forests disappearing and coral reefs dying and the Sun going supernova (although I cannot comprehend a way that can be done in moderation or with balance) or death ending up Supernatural as opposed to Ultramundane. It's kind of like how some historians relate the Civil War to being the first "modern" war, the first "industrialized" war, and in a way, that is saying, the first war that armies put so much emphasis on anhilating the enemy in vast numbers. Before that I guess was 'warfare in moderation', however difficult that is to imagine.

Basically all topics I know anything about, all hobbies I have enjoyed, all subjects I have any knowledge in, or anything else about me can be traced back to some point in my life where I have obsessed about that particular thing, or at the least, that it is somehow linked to something I obsessed about fully some time in the past. And if there is any resemblance to Intellectual Fullness within me, it is only proof that most things in life are interrelated eventually. I either go through phases where all I care about is one thing (be it myself, model airplanes, old books about organized crime, oragami, Zen Buddhism, reef diving, astronomy, astrology, brain science, car sales, internet programming, or travelouges), or nothing, or myself completely ignoring all else, or everything else ignoring myself, or my significant other, or everything but, ad infinum. I have been like this since childhood. So what is balance?

Would Balance be scheduling my free time to such a degree that I could only segment all activities to one hour each a day, that way ensuring that I do at least three completely different things a day, and maybe throw in a clause that I couldn't do the same activity two days in a row, this way hopefully one day achieving a balance and fullness of different intellectual and entertaining pursuits.

See the problem with obsession is the object, or whether it is considered constructive or destructive. Alcoholism or drug-abuse can in no way be considered "constructive", except in the throws of the DELUSIONAL COMPLEX- -which is the twisted mind of an addict that confuses them to the point that they believe what they are doing is the only right thing. But what about that person who so completely chases after "success", at the cost of all else? This could be considered constructive at first, or forever, by the person in the subjective sense, but in the objective, or the passive observer's point of view, it could be considered quite destructive.

So in the long run the greatest goal is to have Balance, at whatever cost, except to obsess about balance to the point that it overwhelms all else.

© Michael Bernard December 2006

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