Monday, July 02, 2007

The Satisfaction Trap by Louis Evan Palmer

Often enough, something that we consider "good" requires dedication & effort. From this, we easily draw the conclusion that dedication & effort is part of the "goodness" or part of the path that leads to it. Further to that, as part of our generalizing imperative, we then feel, to varying degrees, that if dedication & effort (& talent & training & adversity & perseverance, etc. etc.) are not in evidence then whatever it is that we've attained or acquired or conquered is not "good".

We expend so much effort, & lavish praise on those who expend it, on deciphering how things are built or how things interact that we never seem to get to the why. The why seems to be the more important objective but it's relegated to the "nice to have" category which never gets done.

It's a truism that if something is hard to acquire, we value it more. If it's difficult to learn, to do, to find, to accomplish, or discover, or realize then we feel more satisfaction, joy and attachment.

We order our priorities in service of that feeling of satisfaction & achievement which is so closely tied to the difficulty of attaining it. Is it a valid conclusion? It may "feel" more satisfying but is it in fact? Are we letting satisfaction become the barometer of worth regardless of whether that's valid in itself or whether why we are feeling "satisfied" is anything more than the feeling we get conquering various types of obstacles?

If we could, it would be better to have certitude than merely satisfaction. Not dogmatic certitude, phony book-riddled certitude or that blinded certainty which comes from constant propaganda delivered from an early age. But, to have the deep direct experience certitude which flows from overwhelming knowledge and understanding; to have a compelling & rivetting knowing. Certitude that comes from something deeper than feeling or accomplishment; that is not temporary; that is "satisfied" no matter what. Easy or difficult doesn't matter. Short, long, quick, slow - are irrelevant.

After all, is it difficult to look at a flower or a sunset?

The Satisfaction Trap, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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