Advanced degree in unhappiness: Training for misery

My first-ever comment, from Youtuber Reading Classics, who mentions the idea that many people are masters of suffering.
And I like the idea of training and education, the idea that everything we do is our training and our education, and we can look at it that way.
It’s putting in the hours, it’s going to class, it’s going to the gym.
Everything we do is like that.
And whether we apply it towards useful skills, general conditioning, or towards things that are less helpful and even self-destructive, all these things we can choose to study and train in.
And that can be useful to think of.
No matter what I’m doing, it is some kind of training and some kind of education.
So if I think of actually exercising, actually going through a fitness routine, that is training, where it is dedicated structure designed towards particular positive result. General strength, fitness, weight loss, muscle growth, skills, athletics: all of these things can be developed through an exercise program.
but if we, instead of exercising, play video games, then we are also working out.
I used to enjoy joking about working out my thumbs, the old video game thumb, working on my hand-eye coordination, and working on the skill of sitting in a comfortable chair and not moving my lower body at all.
The skill of being sedentary.
Okay, sometimes it’s a stretch to see it as a skill.
But, in a sense, we…
because it’s very easy.
It’s the things that are real training, real education, are difficult to do.
And so that really makes them feel like we’re training for something new and difficult.
But the easy things, which are also training, are very easy.
It’s like an exercise program where you show up at the gym, and they hand you a beer and a bag of popcorn and point you to the TV lounge and say “Go entertain yourself for the next several hours.” There’s your exercise program.
That’s a very easy program.
Really easy to get on board with that.
Now, of course, the results may be different than the results of a difficult athletic program.
So just like we can use that analogy of athletic training, exercise, here’s also the analogy of education.
Everything we do is our education.
So we can pursue a master’s degree in an academic subject and conduct in-depth study, reading for hours every day, writing precise and intricately developed research papers, memorizing and writing exams, practical procedures, learning them, all these things.
We can put in this effort, and then we, at the end of it, can declare ourselves educated in some way, declare that we have this degree in some skill.
Well, it’s also possible to put in the hours of watching TV.
Think of all the shows that there are to watch.
Think of your curriculum as being each class is like a different TV show, and you have to get through the TV shows.
Each show is like a lecture.
Final exam at the end of each season.
Your final exam is to watch the final episode.
Or however you want to break it down.
And you put in the hours, you put in the hard work sitting on that couch, watching those flashing lights and listening to the recorded sound, and at the end of hundreds and hundreds of hours, you can declare yourself at some point to be a master of watching television.
A lot easier to do.
Pretty easy university to get into.
Of course, the results at the other end may not be quite the same as the difficult academic or practical program that you might have taken.
So we have this option at any time.
We have the gym of laziness and the university of the couch.
And we can get our exercise programs, we can get our degrees, in these things far more easily than we can in real, difficult training.
And, now, I’ve focused on this idea of laziness, like video games and TV, but it’s also the same in our thoughts.
If we think negative thoughts regularly, for hours, if we think thoughts about how we’re no good, and the world is against us, and there’s no point, I’m not worthy, those kind of negative thoughts cycles, they really can go for hundreds, thousands of hours, and it really can be like its own advanced training program in being miserable.
So whatever we’re doing, we’re training for something.
Whatever we’re doing, we’re learning something, all the time.

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