Cognitive Pearl #045 Shevat 22, 5775 February 11, 15

Our epistemological drive fosters the creation of stories which we wrap ourselves in. We are not so much confined by our stories as defined by them. The limits imposed on us by our stories are invisible to us only to the degree that they are not challenged in any way. That is why breakdowns, crises, and challenges are necessary blessings: through the friction that they generate, the edges of our definitions and stories are revealed.


That doesn’t mean that any of us enjoy being challenged. Our stories create a sense of safety; as much as our nature drives us to explore the world, we are also compelled to maintain equilibrium and homeostasis. In the tug of war between those two poles (exploration versus homeostasis) we are more disposed towards homeostasis. Therefore, when challenges occur we resist; we fight to maintain the status quo.


This resistance is immensely important to humanity; if we could change with whatever whim came upon us, relationships between people would crumble. Social cohesiveness, an ideal state for the survival and the flourishing of our species, requires an element of personal stability. It is exceedingly hard to have a relationship with someone who due to moodiness or temperament or disorder, is a moving target.


Yet all this stability and homeostasis business can get in the way of the great joys of human life: exploration, improvisation, and mastery. And when those drives get denied long enough we get depressed.


Now we’re at the best part of our story: one very sad dog.


So stay tuned!