The Persistent Malaise

Malaise is defined as, a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify. In modern society we yearn for clarity, safety, control, and known-risk experiences. A known risk experience is something which brings a rush of adrenaline but is actually statistically speaking, fairly safe. Our efforts to make what is uncertain seem certain to ourselves, and to others is ultimately avoiding our inner state of the persistent malaise.

For some who have discovered uncertainty to be a good friend, you may not need to read further. For those who see uncertainty as something to be avoided, fixed, or feared, you’ve stumbled upon some writing you may need and may be ready to receive.

Certainty is based on comparison with something in our past. We think or say, “such and such must be the case because of so and so.” You see of course immediately that the current “such and such” becomes the past “so and so” in the next moment and our minds begin the inevitable inner stacking or looping which causes our brains to name and then store this “certainty” which is really a justification within to convince ourselves we are “right.”

Because we yearn to be right or correct (righteous) , we internally “catalog” and then externalize these stories of certainty which become part of the bigger story of who we tell ourselves and others, who we are.

Over time, our genetically developed desire to be right, combined with a bunch of inner stories and chapters of stories which are incomplete truths at best, combine to make us recognize our inner fiction as fact. This false sense of certainty we’ve created is a house of cards which is very fragile. So fragile in fact that there is a “house of cards inner maintenance process”, open 24-7, that is constantly repairing and fixing the constantly breaking story (house) and further telling the owner in a variety of ways, your story is righteous, carry on.

Now before you get too caught in judgement about what’s been written in this blog thus far, realize you have an inner human drive to be right so if you don’t understand what’s been written, you will want to explain to yourself that you either understand what’s been written and then try to categorize it based on something in your past, perhaps think about someone else who “needs” this piece, or you will try to dismiss what’s been written as not true or misguided.

If you are feeling a sense of uncertainty or uneasiness about what you’re reading, you are on the right track.

As humans in modern society, we want to avoid feeling a sense of malaise. The problem is that malaise is reality. We are beings built to survive and reproduce and thus are constantly interpreting and reinterpreting our environment, coming up with conclusions quickly to survive the saber tooth tiger attack … er I mean getting the best parking place at the grocery store…

Our brains evolved over billions of years to make snap decisions for our survival and for our procreation. The problem is that in modern society, all those snap decisions pile up creating a story we tell ourselves which is always based on past information which we cherry pick to reinforce the story we tell ourselves. Some refer to this as unconscious bias but be careful naming any inner experience too quickly.

Rest assured, if you’re feeling a malaise at the moment, you’re still on the right track. In fact, rest into the malaise (reality) you may be feeling and don’t try to get away from it or fix it, through a false sense of certainty. Certainty is the enemy of the present and the present is the only place and time where you will find truth.

You may be becoming aware of how your inner yearning for clarity, certainty, judgement, righteousness, etc. is the story you use to avoid what has perhaps become scary to you, uncertainty, uneasiness… the persistent malaise.

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