The Stagnant Napkin and Newton’s Laws of Motion

    I noticed a piece of trash stuck in one spot on a windy night. I thought to myself, “It’s odd for a napkin not to fly in the wind. It’s lucky it isn’t alive or it would hate the lack of motion.”

    This was revolutionary to me. I began to assume that perhaps it is ‘lack of motion’ that may dissatisfy the living. If not at most, then at least very often.

    Biologically, living beings are creatures of motion. When we rest or die, that motion ceases. Yay, if we rest too long, we simply become dissatisfied.

    Psychologically, our mind and our behavior exist in patterns, cycles, and on these paths we rely. But say we get stuck within patterns that no longer serve us. Are we not just as dissatisfied as if we were at rest for too long?

    Conversely, being in motion or in pattern for too long, and we become overwhelmed. Tired.

    As a schizophrenia patient, I’m well aware of my patterns of insanity. Namely the ones in which I am producing the same behaviors, or more dire, producing delusions in the same direction simply because I haven’t tired myself out yet. I kid you little, I will chase certain ideas until I get tired of them, and once I am, I become greatly dissatisfied. It is literally insane.

    But I cannot be at rest for too long. I cannot be in the same action, behavior, or pattern for very long. If I suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder I would leave these movements at a quicker pace. Though these days I am lucky if an online project keeps its title longer than a week.

    But in order to support our better actions, our better patterns of behavior, to stay the course when we are inspired by a positive habit, a good idea, like an exercise regimen, a good job, or a worthwhile hobby, it is we who must keep the momentum. 

    Or is it?

    According to NASA, here are Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion:

  1. An object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion at constant speed and in a straight line unless acted on by an unbalanced force.
  2. The acceleration of an object depends on the mass of the object and the amount of force applied.
  3. Whenever one object exerts a force on another object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite on the first.

According to these laws, even if you hate it, if you are at rest, you will stay at rest. Conversely, if you are in motion, even if you hate it, you will stay in motion “unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

The lesson I am reaching for here relies on the unbalanced force. 

I propose that your motivation outweigh yourself if you desire to stay in motion. Once you come to rest because you are tired, does not mean that you have stopped, but that you must remind yourself of your reasons and it must be significant enough to propel you into motion again.

We are human beings, and therefore can simply convince ourselves to end or begin anything with either simple or complex logic.

I myself can over complicate my actions with logic. This must be hit with a massive force.

Which brings me to the second Law of Motion. Bigger objects require more force applied. Smaller objects, less force.

We humans rely on a constant force, not a big push. Our hearts keep us alive, otherwise birth would be a much more complicated event (let’s not go there!). 

I also propose that in order to keep positive behaviors going, we ought to connect that behavior to a current, much like electricity and an appliance, not simply set it in motion and wait for it to produce fruit. 

Conversely, putting an end to negative behaviors requires that we pull the plug from it. Much like a brand withdrawing it’s support from a politician due to scandal.

Force is force. And it works two ways: You have it or you do not.

Think about it: We need a constant heartbeat to stay alive, why would our habits, ideas, and lifestyles, passions, jobs, desires, possibly diseases and disorders, be any different?

Stop our hearts and our motion ceases.

What’s the heart of your behavior? What’s fueling it? What are you plugged into that is keeping your behavior alive?

You could probably measure it.

Newton’s third law is about collision, which in the realm of behavior is an introduction of conflict. This is not the purpose of this piece.

So think about your fuel. The heart that’s pumping blood into your patterns of habit. 

Are you drinking so much coffee that your mind is more jittery than your body? Do you have enough energy from your diet? Is alcohol blocking your thoughts (“Isn’t that the point?”)? 

Speaking of thought: Can you think clearly? What’s fueling that? Can you remember short term goals? Long term goals? How long can you think about one object and all that it is relevant to its use? 

The real question is: are you in motion? 

Or are you stuck at rest?

The solution is to stay plugged into the electrical current that moves you. Yes you.

“What’s important to you is not important to me.” – Jack Johnson

Where formerly we thought, “what is my motivation?” Hopefully, the question now is, “what is my force?”

Be Well.

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