Nothing to see here
The traffic was backed up.
We were going to be late.
I was feeling impatient until we crested the hill.
On the other side, there was an ambulance, fire trucks and police.
Helpful people - likely with first aid experience had stopped as well.
I could see activity around one of the wrecked cars. Given where we were, whatever we were was approaching likely wasn’t a pretty sight to behold.
“Don’t look at it bud,” I warned my son, “There’s nothing worth seeing there.”
I looked (of course).
Unable to listen to my own advice (of course) I looked and saw things I wish I did not see.
It wasn’t that dramatic. There was broken glass and blood and medical teams and people in pain. From what we could tell people were alive and soon to be good customers for rehab therapists.
We both looked. We both knew that we were not going to stop and help.
We both knew that there was nothing that we could do.
And we both looked.
It made our stomachs churn.
Our rubbernecking at human suffering merely created more suffering for us.
And it was all too human of a thing to do.
We’re wired to be hyper aware of pain and threat.
We’re wired to find the negativity first. This makes a lot of sense on a survival level. If things are dangerous - and car wrecks show us how dangerous life is - we are attracted to those things on a preverbal level.
Our minds pay a lot of attention to threats and loss. That way we can avoid those experiences.
Imagine a ‘worst case scenario’ - like a housefire, big war, flood or some other unspeakable disaster that change everything. Imagine yourself there.
Notice what happens in your body.
Did you read the foolsletter yesterday?
If not, go back and read it.
Now, notice something real and beautiful - heat from a mug of coffee or tea, sunshine, the freedom of circling birds, the purr of a kitten.
Notice the sensations in your body.
Notice the pleasure.
Given that we are wired to automatically notice the threats and pain of the world it’s important to collect pleasure and goodness.
It takes effort to create stories in our head about the world that move us forward.
It’s easy to come up with stories to hold us back.
Be a ‘Frederick’ collect pleasure.
As far as the car crashes are concerned?
It’s like the old saying goes:
Nothing to see here, move along.