Thoughts and other trivia...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sleeping dogs

Living in denial, they’ll tell you, is a sure recipe for disaster. If you ask me, however, it’s a pretty good strategy to deal with issues you don’t want to deal with...if you know what I mean. And, I’m not trying to be cute here. I know this will amount to a bad analogy but it’s like, in cricket, when a batsman does not play at the ball pitched just outside his off stump, we’re quick to endorse it with a “Well played”. This when the batsman has made no attempt to play a shot and has, in fact, let the ball go.

I’m no expert on the subject, I know. At the same time, however, I also know that my own experiences cannot be ignored. Even if what I believe runs contrary to conventional wisdom or popular belief. The trouble with theories, I think, is that there’s too much generalisation. To suggest that a theory – and I don’t care who propounded it – applies equally to all of us is dangerous. Because, then, it enjoins upon us a specific reaction to a given situation. Almost as though we ought to behave and react in the instructed way. A learning by rote, if you will.

That two and two add up to four makes sense. But, to suggest that the same logic should apply to emotions and human experience is absurd. To me, at least, it is. Because our emotions are a little more complex than mathematical computations. The latter is based on a cold, logical progression that allows room neither for deviation nor any creative approach. There’s the straight and narrow and then there’s the wrong answer. Emotions, on the other hand, are rarely, if ever, guided by logic. And that’s perhaps why, many times, we find ourselves reacting differently to similar situations at different times. There’s an unpredictability about us, which, as far as I can tell, is a pretty good warning against painting everyone with the same brush.

Just as we react differently to physical stimulants and physical trauma, among other things, we’ve also evolved different mechanisms to cope with emotional stress, difficult memories and particularly painful experiences. My approach needn’t necessarily mirror yours. Unlike you, chocolate might be the last thing on my mind when I’m down. Unlike me, kissing a stranger on the street when you’re the happiest you’ve ever been may be unthinkable for you. A neighbour’s death may cause you to instantly burst into tears. I, on the other hand, may be completely devoid of tears even when the death occurs in the family. So, if we have completely different responses to sadness, joy and loss, respectively, why should our approach to dealing with past issues be the same?

Sometimes, people are unable to deal with certain aspects of their lives...certain experiences and memories. Sometimes the demons are so large and well-fed that one just doesn’t have the courage to take them on. Sometimes it seems that confronting them will lead to an even bigger disaster. Sometimes, therefore, people choose not to mess with them. To leave them to their own devices, perhaps in the fond hope that, some day, these demons will get tired and lose their way in the deepest recesses of the mind, which is where they reside anyway. And, what’s wrong with that?

Let sleeping dogs lie, I say.

22 Comments:

Blogger Sonia said...

:o( i don't know why exactly. but i'm sad now.

12:40 am  
Blogger Prerona said...

"Sometimes the demons are so large and well-fed that one just doesn’t have the courage to take them on. Sometimes it seems that confronting them will lead to an even bigger disaster. Sometimes, therefore, people choose not to mess with them." ... i so agree with this ... totally!

1:18 am  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

I guess it depends. Some people who live in denial end up causing massive destruction; I have a family member in mind. But there are some things that happened--yeah, it's too bad, but it's time to move on. The choice happens when you see something in your behavior or that of someone else that is causing them to lead an unhealthful life. My two cents.

2:18 am  
Anonymous chandni said...

well I guess u r right.... and thinking about myself..I guess I use both approaches...depending on the situation....

to each his own I guess!

2:05 pm  
Blogger sattva said...

ghost, whatever gives people 'lasting' peace. personally, letting sleeping dogs lie hasn't worked for me, no matter what the issue.

2:09 pm  
Anonymous **silvermoon** said...

I concede that for some "letting sleeping dogs lie" may appear to work, but I think that if that person was true to him or herself the important "dogs" truly need to be faced and dealt with as opposed to the trivial or "control freak ones." Burying important issues is not healthy.

You bring up very good points that we each deal with emotions in different ways. I also enjoyed the way you talked about an interesting phrase in the English language.

Thank you, too, for stopping by my blog. I think I managed to put a voice post up!

5:28 pm  
Blogger km said...

My sleeping dogs snore loudly at night. So I nudge them gently and ask them to roll over on their back. Then I go back to sleep.

6:13 pm  
Blogger ~River~ said...

You really think so?
I don't think it's possible to let the sleeping dogs inside you rest in peace. They need to be taken out for walks and made to play fetch once in a while. They also need lamp posts.

8:04 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Sonia: Why're you sad? You mean the post made you sad? In which case...apologies.


Prerona: Thanks. I think you and I are in minority here.


Enemy of the Republic: You're right... "some people who live in denial end up causing massive destruction" but not everyone. That's pretty much what I'm trying to say...that we're all different and the way we approach our problems/issues will also be differet.


Chandni: That's it...to each his ownn!

8:31 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Sattva: I guess each one of us has to find our own way of coping, isn't it?


SilverMoon: "Burying important issues is not healthy." But, don't you think, what is a important issue for one will not be so for another. As a result, there will be two different approaches to the same issue.

That voice post is such a great idea. Just heard it and saved it :-)


KM: Ha, I know what the operative word there is...back! :-) Still thinking of monkies on the back? :-)


River: I think I need to write again and elaborate...because I truly believe in what I've written.

8:37 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

you have the most amazing things to say. And you really make me sit up and reflect on things. Thanks for another brilliantly written post.

10:04 pm  
Blogger Salil said...

Really well written. Bad time for me to read it though, I don't like introspecting at this hour of the morning. :)

Must wonder though - is time the best healer? Or is it, as someone once mentioned to me, the best villain?

10:47 pm  
Blogger Sonia said...

the demons don't get tired. they bide their time and emerge stronger than ever.

12:55 am  
Blogger GEL said...

Yes, GPTJ, I see that side as well.:)
(I just figured out why your blog name sounds so familiar.I'm very "into" music. Bruce Springstein!)

I don't delete comments on my site (unless spam or hate-filled), so yesterday, your comment must have vanished from the web hoster because I was reformatting the site a lot. Your compliments are very nice and help boost my self-esteem. Thx!)

4:11 pm  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

hey, different people cope differently -- that's my theory anyway :-)

7:33 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Salil: Is time a healer? Well, that's what they say. But, as I've said so many times before, I don't believe a word of what they say. Besides, if you ask Ray Charles, he'll tell you that, sometimes, time stands still. So,what're we going to do? :-)


Sonia: You're right but the alternative is also pretty scary, isn't it? Almost as sacry as battling with a revitalised demon, no?


SilverMoon: No, I didn't mean that you deleted my comment but just that I was surpried that it had vanished. And, as I've said in my second comment on that post, the mistake was mine. So, no harm done :-) And, I see you liked the scrambled eggs recipe :-) Pity aboiut the curry, though


TR: Precisely what I say, man...to each his own.

11:30 am  
Blogger cactusjump said...

Interesting, but my experience has been that the demons don't just go away and that dealing with them can get rid of them faster than you think, leaving you free to move forward.

1:02 pm  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

They say that sanity is a choice you have to make. There are topics (If we have to die, why live at all? Does love really exist? Is the world around me real?) that you can brood over for the rest of your life without emerging any wiser or happier. In my opinion, they're all 'well left'. My life may be short and meaningless, but at least it won't be morose.

7:15 pm  
Blogger eve's lungs said...

Unless you deal with demons as they come they get larger and more well fed until suddenly one day they gobble you up .. its like any difficult task that one keeps pushing back till one has solved the easier ones - tackle it first and get it out of the way .Approaches to problems and situations are profoundly subjective , so youre quite right in saying that a set theory would definitely not apply . But sometimes one needs to sit and analyse reactions also .. it helps to refresh your own insights and attitudes . Having ranted so much ... I'd say wake up all the sleeping dogs and THEN stifle their barking yourself .

5:47 pm  
Blogger Sonia said...

by letting it be, you'll ALways have that tense feeling in you, where you're worrying about when you'll finally have to face it. i feel facing it and getting it over with is much better. cos then you can breathe easy. and maybe finally get some sleep.

12:22 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

CactusJump: Your demons, drunk on the constant dose of films, may be weak enough to confront. Mine have no such extracurricular activities :-)


MockTurtle: The "Well left" approach is what I prescribe too, unless you're fabulously blessed and can send each of those deliveries crashing away.


Eve's Lungs: Hi! I agree with you and the theory is fine too but, as always, there have to be exceptions to every rule. The problem is that, sometimes, it becomes something of a Catch 22...you can't move ahead till you resolve a pending issue but, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some issues just cannot be resolved. Or, can't be resolved without causing damage to people other than yourself. So, what do you do?


Sonia: That's what I'm trying to say...you don't HAVE to face these issues. Because, at times, resolution of certain issues can cause greater damage. Therefore, I think, it's better to suffer occasionally.

11:12 am  
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