Part 2: What exactly is control?
Hey there kids (and non-child age humans),
So as was mentioned last week, I will speak of Batman, and that abstract construct of an idea known as control.
Before I have Bruce knock some sense into you, I must ask several questions.
First question: Do you know what control is?
Second question: Do you have self control?
Question C: You do? Really? How much?
Just like my friend Josh, I love to make lists. Here is a list of fictional characters that I will discuss in order to get the concept of control across to you with:
I know, it is a long list, but try to keep up.
As previously mentioned, control is an excellent way to deal with fear. It is why you would prefer to be driving the car in the ice storm, instead of your friend (who happens to be a professional driver).
The need for control is not always rational.
So because I was cut short on Batman by the network last week, this week I will use Batman as a primary example of control.
Why is Batman awesome? Or why is he generally considered the coolest superhero (which is strange because he is not superhuman)? Why is it that when people asked how he knew something or how he did something, he can respond “ I’m Batman”, and we accept that as a viable answer?
It is because Batman takes it upon himself to control everything he possibly can in his vicinity. He does this mainly through lightning fast planning and a knowledge that spans pretty much everything.
Most importantly, he is in control of himself.
Self control isn’t exactly a bad thing. The world could stand to have more people that control what they do. But that raises the question of, “How do you control yourself?”
Thank you reader for bringing up that question, it was good. Next time don’t interrupt me, just raise your hand and I will call on you after I am finished speaking.
There is a reason Batman can control himself in a way you have yet to comprehend. It’s pretty simple when you think about it for a second or 967 seconds.
He has an all consuming mission. His mission is the purpose of his life, there is no other purpose. Every waking and sleeping moment is devoted to it. And it is a singular mission. When you have only one purpose and don’t spread yourself out, it is pretty easy to control yourself. But it is rather hard to get to that point. In his case, his parents were murdered in front of him causing extreme trauma.
Does Batman have friends? He has strategically placed people who are loyal to him.
Does Batman have a family? Well, his parents are dead, so is one of his “sons”, and his protégés really don’t like him. Okay so he has a dysfunctional family.
Does Batman enjoy his life? That is a hard question. He gets satisfaction from what he does, but only enough to make him continue his quest after each successful mission.
But does he enjoy it? Doubtful.
To have a mission that is all consuming you need to be obsessive. My favorite version of him shows that he has OCD. He is the superhero that turned his mental disorder and ordered it to give him the ability to be the best at crime-solving and fighting.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a fun (read: not fun) disorder that can cause inflicted individuals to obsessively repeat certain actions to deal with anxiety or fear. It can be crippling, especially when your fears are of common things. Like milk, eggs, heights, cracks in sidewalks, the great outdoors, the great indoors.
This brings me to another detective that has OCD and a trauma that is all consuming.
Adrian Monk had OCD, but he had a love in his life that helped him overcome his fears. His wife, of course, was murdered in an explosion because (insert reason here). This caused his already horrible anxieties to cripple him. Strangely enough the thing that made him lose control and succumb to fear is also the same thing , that on rare occasions, allowed him to overcome his fears.
In some ways Monk is the opposite of Bruce, Batman controls his fear to a ridiculous extent. Monk lets fear control him to a ridiculous extent.
I will give a short list of some of his fears for reference.
Dentists, Germs, Needles, Milk, Death, Snakes, Mushrooms, Heights, Crowds, Elevators, The “miracle of birth” , Disorder, Fear itself, Imperfection, Risk, Change, Beds, Bees and hornets, Bees in blenders, Cats, Caves, Clouds, Dogs, Darkness, Dirt, Dust, Soccer riots, Enclosed spaces , Fire, Faces, Frogs, Glaciers, Hailstones, Infections, Ladybugs, Lightning, Mice, Monkeys, Nature, Noise, Places, Possums, Rabbits, Rats, Rivers, Round things, Slime, Spiders, Tigers, Tsunamis, Airplanes, Blenders, Boats, Buses, Driving, Trains, Trucks, Taxies, People and Cities, Beautiful women, Blankets, Bridges, Bullies, Chalk, Clowns, Dirty Hands, Disappointing his father, Dryer Lint, Feet, Germs , Harmonicas, Kissing, Ladders, Lasers, Lepers, Naked people, Public Speaking, Puppets, Rodeos, Soccer Riots, Spitting , Touching, Tunnels, Underwear, Vomiting Food, Charcoal , Decaffeinated coffee, Egg whites , Milk/Creamer, Mixed veggies, Multi-colored Pills, Mushrooms, and Lists.
I’m quite frankly amazed that his therapist didn’t just throw himself out a window.
The point of that list is that there are two extremes when it comes to control. There is a lack of control (Monk) and there is too much (Batman).
There are no hormones that are strictly associated with control, like with fear. So the science behind this is psychology (which despite what a lot of people think, is a real science).
I feel like my point might have gotten lost somewhere.
You can spend all of your effort attempting to control everything. Or you can exert no effort and control next to nothing.
The truth is that when it comes to control, you are limited.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to exert some control over your life.
These are a few things that you can control, but that won’t necessarily cause insanity:
-The amount of spices you put on your food
-How much you exercise
-The number of movies you purchase
Here are a few things that you can’t control. If you try, you will go insane:
-Where dust falls
-The number of burritos you want in your stomach
-Breathing exactly 10,000 times per day
You might have noticed that these were really specific, and as such not very applicable to your life. If you didn’t, shame on you. Go read some Sherlock Holmes and come back with greater control of your observational skills. (By the way, how many of you have realized that I bold random words with the important ones. It is just to keep you focused until we get to the point. Next post, I am going to bold words to subconsciously desire something. Don’t worry, it will end up being something like pizza or world domination.)
Ah, the point. There is a point in this ADHD mess of a post (I have it, maybe you have noticed).
The point is that people attempt to exert control over their lives to deal with fear. Occasionally (believe it is that rare if it helps you sleep) people try to use control to deal with fear in obtuse ways. They dress up as bats or they starve themselves, and even will go as far as to manipulate everyone in their life with only their self interests in mind. It is easy to take a coping mechanism and take it way to far. That is all dressing up as a bat is (try to argue, I dare you. Unless you are Jeff Winger, in which case you are right Jeff, you are right.)
It is hard to recognize that you are overcompensating when you are doing it. That is why it is important to talk to people you trust (Unless you don’t, in which case I honestly have no idea how to help you. Except to say not trusting anyone is also an extreme coping mechanism. Let people in. Friendship is Magic.)
I also would hazard a guess that having an all consuming mission is probably bad.
Everything in moderation, people.
Which brings me to next time. Next time I will indeed be talking about the Magic of Friendship and how it can help you overcome the need for control. I’m also going to be talking about the science of love. Which if I think about it, has kind of been done to death. But it is important to know somethings that will better inform your choices about love.