flame retardant

This is the sort of day when I should not post, and I will explain why by the use of a metaphor.

When you're cooking noodles in a pot of water, there are several distinct stages.

First, tiny bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan. This indicates that the metal surface of the pan in physical contact with the water has reached the boiling point.
Second, bubbles start to form throughout the water. This means that the average temperature of the water itself has reached the boiling point. The noodles start drifting around, bumped and jostled by the escaping pockets of air, and in the increased heat they will absorb moisture and slowly become edible.
Third, the carbohydrates in the noodles will start to boil along with the hot water, and the stream of bubbles will condense into a sticky cloud at the top of the pot. Soon enough, the sticky residue starts to push up the lid of the pot, spilling out over the edges. Left unchecked, the stickiness and the water it carries with it will eventually extinguish the fire underneath the pot.

Now to hook up that image with some referents. Conscious me, including both intellect and emotion, is the water. The drives and desires that motivate me are the fire. The ideas and plans I have are the noodles. My sense of self-preservation is the lid.

How can I keep it all going without boiling over? The best way is to do something useful. That is, to take some of those noodles and eat them. Stretches the metaphor a bit far, but it'll serve. The problem with this is that my unconscious mind's definition of "something useful" is stubborn, vague, and backed up with all manner of contradictory assumptions. If I'm doing one useful thing, taking out one forkful of noodles, there's more six times over left in there that I'm not doing. If I try to do damage control in a mood like this, I'll just end up dumping twice as many noodles back into the pot as I'm taking out, and I'll boil over again even faster. So the best thing to do is chill. Pour in some cold water instead. Slow and steady wins the race, old girl.

I'm not terribly upset about the contradictory assumptions. Can't be helped. As I'm fond of saying: If something is not accessible by your conscious mind, that means it is in constant use. And on important, day-to-day issues your brain usually doesn't trust your conscious mind not to mess everything up. So each little assumption, each little piece of a one, has to be hunted down individually and re-engineered. That is, if you can hang onto conscious awareness of it long enough to do anything with it when you realize it.

Thing about consciousness is, it tries to turn everything into a symbol. Consciousness works best with symbols. Like that metaphor Geds was using the other day--the man with only a hammer in his tool box sees only nails. But once you've taken a hardworking personality component like an assumption and made a symbol of it, you're no longer working with a component of your personality. You're working with a symbol. So you can juggle the symbol around all you like, but it isn't going to change the way your personality functions.

I want friends and a peer group as badly as Geds wants a mate. These assumptions I've gotten close to just recently, ones I've been hunting for years, all have to do with my fitness to be a friend. And their content would probably surprise the daylights out of my few friends for the first five or ten minutes. Then they'd think about it, think about how I act, and then go, "oh, duh, that explains that. sheesh, what a silly thing to believe!"

But for now, all I've got is a sticky, slightly flammable wave of ultimately flame-retardant goop.