Rob Brezsny writes: U2’s singer Bono, says that all of us suffer from the sense that something’s missing from our lives. We imagine that we lack an essential quality or experience, and its absence makes us feel sad and insufficient. French philosopher Blaise Pascal referred to this emptiness as “a God-shaped hole.” Bono adds that “you can never completely fill that hole,” but you may find partial fixes through love and sex, creative expression, family, meaningful work, parenting, activism, and spiritual devotion. I bring this to your attention, because I have a strong suspicion that in the coming weeks you will have more power to fill your God-shaped hole than you’ve had in a long time.
If you look at Bono’s take on the human condition, that we are designed to be forever somewhat unfulfilled, to experience a gnawing black hole in our insides, what Bono calls the “god-shaped hole” a 3% truth value statement… then, muscle test says, the truth part is that some things provide temporary relief, reprieve from the feeling of that emptiness, but it is his list that is flawed… not the idea: him including meaningful work, for example, don’t belong to the list. Neither does creative expression… the rest: it depends on you. Parenting could fulfill you, but often you don’t know what the heck you are doing, so it leaves the hole unfilled.
The idea that this hole is part and parcel with being human is valid empirically, and it also makes sense that a physically weak species can only survive if they have this desire to be more, to know more.
The desire to know more is what we call epistemic curiosity… don’t let the strange word, epistemic distract you: epistemic simply mean “for knowledge”, as opposed for distraction, for entertainment, for pleasure, for diversion… This second kind we call diversive curiosity.
Epistemic curiosity is immensely satisfying. diversive curiosity leaves you hungry, like Chinese food, or romance novels. Good for Chinese restaurants, or romance writers, bad for you.
There is a third kind of desire: the desire for something to have… an experience, to own, possess, dominate, or have power over.
Unfortunately the desire for pleasure, possession or dominance or power is stronger in the largest segment of the population, and it’s growing.
Epistemic curiosity brings fulfillment, a sense of well-being, like good food. Diversive curiosity, or the desire for possession, dominance, power, or pleasure leaves you with a gaping black hole that ultimately consumes your life and your dreams and aspirations.
Unfortunately, for the largest majority.
Why is this so?
In my experience with lots and lots of people, when the desire number is up… life satisfaction and the willingness to earn what you desire is down.
The two numbers: ambition and desire are a good representation for epistemic curiosity and diversive curiosity or the desire for experiences.
The two numbers lead to mutually exclusive futures.
I’ll bring an example from food again: you either have good health where what and how you eat nurtures your body, or you’ll be given to eat the kinds of stuff that seemingly fills the hole in your being… by being immediately satisfying.
Or another example: you either do your work, or give in to your distractions, email, texting, or even thinking about your troubles.
The main difference between the two kinds of living is the speed with which they delivery satisfaction. Fast satisfaction delivers transient results… the fence that goes up fast, comes down fast.
Sugar yoyo is a great example. Masturbation is another great example… especially if you compare it with the experience with someone who you love, appreciate, and deepen the connection with every day.
Your TLB is a very accurate indication to how fast you want the results to come. Even an insignificant sounding climb or your TLB from 1 to 2 is a huge difference between what you are willing to invest in and how much.
In my programs I take you where you are at, and with thoughtful and personalized methods, exercises, conversations, I attempt to accomplish the impossible: turn you towards curiosity and away from the immediate pleasure.
You weren’t always like this. There was a turning point in your life where you became the pleasure seeking person you are now.
My job is to take you back there… to before the turning point, and pick up the pieces.
We do this in the Playground, and we do this in the Juice Exercise.
The Juice Exercise is a deceptively easy, light, and innocent feeling process, that done well gets to the heart of the matter, and reveals the innocent and still curious you, so we can bring the divine core of you to you life, now.
The divine core of a person is their epistemic curiosity. That, epistemic curiosity is the only real difference between animals and humans.