Octobeard Check-in: The Itchy Revenge of Neck Beard

Regular patterns are hard to maintain, until they become self-sustaining…

How is this possible? Laws of physics (as written to date and relatively stable) suggest that objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion..

Are psychic patterns not derivable ultimately from physical objects, and thus subject to such laws?

(No, probably not…)

But then, is that not inertia that keeps these patterns from self-sustaining? Do we not give a push to a slowed pattern when we consciously repeat it?

Of course, having studied artificial intelligence, I know that the brain is more analogous to a neural network, and that patterns become more stable from much re-use. Except in some people, of course, those blessed with perfect recall, as illogical as that must be…

After all, how is the structure so radically different in an individual so that they can remember things perfectly, yet it not seemingly be a genetic trait? Are we purely in the province of nurture rather than nature at that point, where the way someone was raised or the experiences of early life shape the ability to remember?

Or is memory truly a process itself that is reinforced from use? And, of course, a positive feedback loop from initial memory success could lead to the process being refined and rewarded, reinforced and deeply ingrained.

All this to say: I had nearly almost forgot this newborn ritual of reporting my weekly beard status. Ironic, considering that it has become even more distracting as it becomes more prominent, yet the weekly release of thoughts was not seen as a lessening of that burden..

I now remember why I started growing just the goatee..

In one more week, this particular experiment will come to an end. A spectacular, goofy, somewhat artistic end, if I’m able to do what I expect to do. And then, it begins again!

I’m going to do Movember. I’m tempted to “cheat”, which is to start from the moustache left from this month’s experiment. But, for the experiment to be proper, I suppose I’ll need to not cheat.

Can I admit something? I’ve never had just a moustache.

Alright, so my confessions are hardly earth-shattering, but they are more admissions to myself that there were deep-seated patterns of behaviour and personal appearance that I never challenged before. I’d try to challenge a few more, but unlike shaving, I’m out of my depth and will need to seek out expert assistance….

Why am I challenging these patterns, and why now? I’ve always held by Socrates’ assertion that “the unexamined life isn’t worth living”. (No, I have not directly read Socrates; such things are on my “list”..) However, I have been timid for most of my life, letting my patterns get established without challenge.

Something “broke” in me last summer.. My extended overseas transplantation shook me, provided me with much mental wandering room but almost no sounding boards, isolation within crowds of unfamiliar faces in unfamiliar places, a sort of glorious, terrible freedom…

In most people’s lives, I suspect there are “moments”, things around which their lives pivot and change. I don’t know if I changed much during or immediately after last summer, although my life soon took twists I did not expect.

Perhaps it truly is a terribly stereotypical “mid-life crisis”. If that were truly so, I would be somewhat disappointed. I hate to be typical, in anything.

Enough thinking! Time for the sleeping!

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