The Value and Danger of Self Editing

It’s both useful to not be able to think about particular things, and dangerous…It’s important to be able to NOT think about things. Not only are there times when what we suppose to be active thinking (it’s actually just making associations, mostly in a kneejerk reactive way) be placed on hold so we can have purer perceptions of the moment…but we do need the *skill* of being able to NOT think about a disturbing thing, at times. If I agonize about some nightmarish news story about the abuse of children as much as I might be emotionally inclined to, I’m going to become fairly paralytic, unable to move on with what I really need to do in life. I’ll become irresponsible toward my family and my work…Last night I was thinking about two instances when I was able to confirm that someone stole ideas and material from me which ended up on television–I know this from meetings at studios I had with these or related people, scripts I wrote which they had, other clues–and how it was stuff I couldn’t sue over for various reasons…and it tortured me to think about it. Just made me miserable. I had to go to bed. Today I’ve engaged the mental device that allows me to *mostly* NOT think about something I can’t do anything about…you can see that it still comes up a little…and this is important. Still, I learned from that theft of my intellectual property. And in the case of nightmarish news stories, I file it away as part of my desire to help children in the world (I’m going to be taking up a certain mentoring volunteer program soon), yet I still need to be able to put such things out of my mind. But the PROBLEM is…the DANGER is…that this same useful ability to edit what one is thinking about, to change mental “directions”, to distract oneself or simply turn away, within the mind…can be really harmful, too. We can ignore harm we’re doing to our own family; industrialists, say, can turn away from truly looking at damage that their herbicide, their fracking, their exploitation is doing to people. They can rationalize it–or, more often, simply ignore it. They use the very same skill that I use to edit my stream of thought. They can sometimes use that skill in legitimate ways–but they also use it in destructive ways. The skills that help us survive can be destructive, and ultimately can harm us. Because when we blot out responsibility, we damage ourselves, too…

2 Responses to “The Value and Danger of Self Editing”

  1. Kay says:

    I just wanted to ask you a question about one of your books. Have you watched all the episodes of Grimm? I’m reading the book now and am just curious.

  2. John Shirley says:

    Kay, I’ve seen most of them AND I’ve read a lot of the actual scripts…I had everything approved by the producers of the show…

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