As far as we’ve come as human beings, dominating the world with our technology and ingenuity, it’s amazing how simple some of the processes that rule us are. Psychologists and physiologists have demonstrated rather effectively that there are two levels to who we are as people: the well developed cognitive structures of our brains that are used for higher reasoning, and the more primitive basic structures that handle most of our automated bodily functions and our reactions to the world. Watching enough YouTube videos from content creators like Jordan Peterson will give you a reasonable idea of how all that works.
The part that really got to me today, though, was after I watched a video about typewriters that promptly implanted a desire for me to do something related to typing. My first impulse was obviously “wow, that’s cool, I kind of want to go get a typewriter now so I can play with it”, but that was mostly because the video was about correcting typewriters and I thought the way that it worked was really cool. (They use sticky tape along with the incorrect letter to literally pull the ink back off the page, in case you were wondering.) As most decent typewriters are several hundred dollars since they are pretty much all antiques at this point, going out to buy one just for the novelty isn’t really practical.
Despite the rationale behind avoiding the purchase of a logically useless device, the desire to type still remained long after I moved on to other videos. This obviously doesn’t occur with everything I view, so there is clearly a very specific reason why watching a video about typing prompted a desire to type: typing is something I’m exceptionally good at and it triggered a part of my brain that is extremely well developed. The neurons in my brain recognized something I’m quite proficient in and the parts of my brain that have become automated by more than thirty years of keyboard use got moving with the expectation of returning to something they’re oh so used to doing.
So the reason this article exists at all has nothing to do with some kind of philosophical or theological or political point that I had a strong desire to make…it’s simply here because my fingers felt a strong desire to type something out, and if I’m going to spend the time and effort putting virtual text to virtual paper, then I might as well put it out in blog format so that it isn’t a complete waste of time. As I’ve said in a recent post, I complete detest wasted time and effort, so at the very least the time I’m spending putting all this down in written format will be ready by at least one other person, making it not a completely useless act.
That said, many times the initial reason we set about doing something is rarely the deeply rooted impetus that causes us to act…or at least isn’t the last or most important reason. Obviously the physical urge to type something isn’t enough to justify a full blog post for someone who expects to get between eight and ten paragraphs out of a blog posts, each of which must fall within the three to five paragraphs required by the older APA standards (I’m a 90’s kid). To get more out of an article than simply to satisfy the impulse my brain decided to latch onto requires a bit more of an esoteric justification than just typing.
This of course led to waffling about for a little while as I slowly worked my way toward justifying actually logging into WordPress to start a blog post and trying to stretch the content out into the aforementioned eight to ten paragraphs. As we are now at six paragraphs, I’m obviously working to find a way to take the idea of impulses leading to action in a direction that allows me to successfully complete this post within the parameters that I’ve arbitrarily specified as acceptable for public consumption. And of course it’s completely arbitrary when you consider the fact that some blog posts contain single sentence “paragraphs” that seem to be perfectly fine to most readers yet are galling to old school people like me who believe that a paragraph should be a block of text.
Anyway, rather than going off on a tangent explaining why single sentence paragraphs are likely the result of how text is displayed on mobile devices (see what I did there?), I should probably stick with the original premise of this post. As someone who struggles with an obsessive or even addictive personality, I’ve learned over the years that there are just some things about the more primitive part of my brain that simply can’t be shut off until I satisfy the urge. This can be quite unhealthy if they are certain things that shouldn’t be indulged, but fortunately for me the things that get under my skin tend to be mostly harmless and just cost me time rather than my health.
And now that we’ve reached the ultimate goal of this post by reaching the desired eighth paragraph, I will now release you into the wild armed with a small bit of information about impulses and responses, as well as the fact that someone who has done a LOT of typing over the years can be triggered into typing by watching a video about typewriters. I’m sure you either already knew that, or didn’t care to know, but as I said at the beginning of the post there was an urge that needed to be satisfied, and you were unfortunate enough to click on my obsessive need of an entry.
So I suppose now you can go be impulsive about whatever it is that drives you. Good luck!
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