Updated Definition Of Insanity?

“Doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome” is one working understanding of what insanity is (maybe not a clinical term, but a working one for us non-medical people). I know deep in the dark recesses of my inner self that, unless I make real, significant changes in my way of thinking, I will continue to exhibit the same, reoccurring pattern of self-defeating behavior and the physical and psychic decay that marks my current state of existence.

Each morning I leap climb crawl out of bed with the vision that today will be the day I am successful in [INSERT PET IDEA OF THE WEEK HERE]. Each evening (or more likely, several hours past midnight) when I slip crawl collapse into bed and review the day’s events I am forced to conclude that I have totally failed at [INSERT PET IDEA OF THE WEEK HERE] and will have to try harder tomorrow (or more likely, later this morning).

Apparently I’m insane, as I do this daily.

Take my computer activity for instance. I know if I start working on a project I tend to get so focused that I can easily spend a couple of hours straight at the keyboard without ever moving more than 8-10 inches. When my vision drifts toward yellow and the needs of the flesh become insistent I am reminded remaining stationary for extended periods is NOT a good way to live with arthritis.

[Insert commercial for Depends here.]

There have been several “get up and move” assignments for the PET IDEA OF THE WEEK with the “expected” result (or lack of same). As I pointed out in an earlier post, ” I am only a good intention. I am a really, REALLY bad implementer of change.” So I guess I must submit the plea “not guilty by reason of insanity” for my actions.

Except maybe today can be different. With the death of my I-Pad, I have broken out my Palm Pilot again (mostly to use as as calendar app; my cell phone version is worse than my old Franklin Planner after dropping it in the toilet a few times). One of the apps on the expansion card is a program called PocketDoan that can be used to signal the passing of a series of time periods.

I think it was made to assist people in meditation / prayers / yoga / psychic activities, giving a gentle tone to start the next activity. [2 minutes pass here.] By shifting the burden of keeping track of how long you are doing [INSERT ACTIVITY HERE] from your conscious mind, you can better focus on  successfully accomplishing [INSERT ACTIVITY HERE].

My “Computer Work” program is a 20 minute period of productive work, followed by 2 minutes of “rest eyes” time (when i stop looking at the screen and either do distance vision exercises or just palm my eyes). This cycle repeats twice and after a third work period I get a 10 minute “get up and move” notice. So I get an hour of work time every 74 minutes with an “enforced” break to stretch and keep the joints from freezing up.

This post is being written in the third cycle tonight. So far, I have gotten up twice in the last couple of hours and this is two times more than I would have earlier in the month (week) [day]. And my eyes have been allowed to “rest” more than they do in a week of normal life (sleep not included).

It is way too small a sample to determine if here is a repeatable pattern or change in habitual behavior as a result of this experiment, but I am cautiously optimistic about the future. I will try again tomorrow and see if I can keep up with this new “program.”


What if I make a successful change in activity but there is no change in results? The presumption inherent in the initial paragraph is “if A implies B” (same action generates same results). The thought is if I change the action it should change the outcome or “if NOT A implies NOT B” in logic form. What if this is invalid logic? What if it really doesn’t matter what I [10 minutes pass here] do, that the outcome will be the same if I try or not (Yoda not withstanding)? What if another working definition is “doing different things but experiencing the same outcome”? What if Pavlov’s legacy is no longer valid?

I am fearful, but will press on. Perhaps tomorrow will be better and the signals from my Palm will allow me to breakthrough my current rut. I can be hopeful.

And Dilbert was right, the pellets are excellent.


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