Blame it on the Mosquito

I just saw an entertaining post on my Facebook news feed. It pictures a sage old monk and the words,

“ It is only when a Mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize, there is always a way to solve problems without violence”.

And you can wave the mosquito off of your crown jewels and slap it in the air (the mosquito, not your testicle(s), right?

There was a time in my early twenties when I was a vegan and pseudo Buddhist. I let far too many mosquitoes have their share of my blood.

Now I splat them at any opportunity.  It’s a preemptive-strike strategy to ensure such tormentors (or the parents of future tormentors), are reduced to a longed for extinction level.

And of course the non violent option exists at all times.

As do an unlimited variety of alternative options (you could sing to the mosquito on your balls ( or similar lady bits), make it tea, let it feed…) that we conveniently forget are available to us.

One of the most limiting patterns of behavior that I encounter in my work is that of ‘ cause/effect’.

It goes something like:

Mum to small child:  “I smacked you because you were being naughty”.

Actually you smacked her because you chose not to find a different way of communicating your own frustration.

The boss to her employee:

I shouted abusive language because you didn’t complete the work I asked of you.

You shouted abusive language instead of a hundred other ways of communicating your needs, like, maybe, a memo?

The Husband to his wife:

I flew into a rage and swore at you because that dick-head cut me up in his car and you told me to “chill-out”.

You could just take your wife’s advice on that one. Or pull over and have a little dance.

Cause/Effect in living organisms is a myth, as demonstrated clearly in an analogy by the late, great, ‘Gregory Bateson’, in his example of kicking a ball.

Place a ball in a field. Measure the weight, dimensions and surface area of the ball along with any wind speed etc.

As you kick the ball, have your strike speed and foot angle measured.

Using a three hundred year old equation, it’s possible to predict where the ball will land, within a few inches or so.

Kick a hundred different sized balls (of which you have the measurements) and you will get a hundred accurate landing predictions .

Now change the ball for a new object. One of which you have all of the previously mentioned dimensions, weight and surface area etc.

With all of the measured elements in place, calibrate to your kick, and boot as hard as you can.

Are you able to predict where the object lands?

The object, by the way, is a living Cat*

Can you make this prediction?

The answer is obviously ‘ no’.

The cat, and a hundred others that you could use for this experiment, is not at the whims of ‘ cause / effect ‘.

It does not go in a predictable trajectory because of one obvious aspect to it’s existence.

The cat has choice.

And that choice may exhibit by running left, running right, curling up in a ball, biting your leg, scratching your eyes out …

All living organisms have choice in how to respond to an event. And yes, that includes you and I.

Consider how you might experience life differently if you ceased to rely on the cause / effect myth, which hisses, an insidious lie: “Outside events and people, make me respond in this way”.

Every action we take is a choice and our responsibility. I admit that some of us are conditioned more than others to react in certain ways, but that conditioning isn’t a fixed code in our brains and nervous system.

Picture for a moment any person who you know to mostly present themselves as miserable and depressed through their behavior. They may even have ‘proof’ from their Doctor of their depression in the form of a little note and a prescription for green and white pills.

Now give that person a round-the-world ticket and an unlimited supply of cash. Or a date with their fantasy lover; or a chance to swim with dolphins or whatever the event is that would lift them to a level of previously unknown joy, curiosity, enthusiasm or excitement.

Is the event a cure or a catalyst? It certainly isn’t a cure, as there is no pathology for depression. Yes, maybe there are lower levels of neurotransmitters, but this is as likely due to the effects of ‘ doing’ depression, rather than ‘having’ depression.

With a new context in place ( you just won a million pounds!) the person will likely respond by re-organizing their thoughts and feelings and making new choices. They may even enjoy a smile or two.

Suck this up, though it is a bitter/sweet bite. We have choice at all times. Which means that you have no excuses to make, only responsibility to take.

If you think I’m wrong, I’d love to hear why?

* I love cats and would gladly put myself between one and an incoming boot. Bateson used the animal purely for his analogy and as far as i know, never tested this example.