Beware the Justification Hydra

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“You need more antioxidants,” my doctor said.

“Is that like chocolate?” I asked.

“Something like that,” he replied.

I thought maybe if I had the best chocolate ever how could anything be bad. And even if things are bad, I’ll feel good. And when you feel good, you have less stress and when you have less stress your body heals better.

Maybe that’s how comfort food works. Even if comfort food is technically “bad” for you, the cheesy, starchy, gravy-laden goodness does such a wonderful job of making you feel so good that it all evens out.

Is this how justifications begin?  Perhaps. We have deep wells of ability to structure our arguments in favor of what we already know we want. Or as Niccolo Machiavelli might say “Justifications begin when you will but do not end when you please.”

Yes, when do those justifications end? They become living, breathing entities whose only mission is one of survival. By any means necessary is the justification’s mantra.

The comfort food justification has warning signs: lethargy, butter shortages, an unexplained fifteen pounds. As you notice these warning signs the justification battles back by creating sub-justifications: butter is on sale, the cold and snow are dangerous, the weight hoarding is a genetic left-over from cave man days. Things start to get complicated.

That’s why you need to keep your justifications simple at all costs. A good strong and simple justification is easy to stand behind in the beginning and the desire of what you want can rally behind it. Be strong. Don’t let the justification hydra breed in your fertile subconscious.

And when you grow weary of the justification’s side effects, a simple justification is so much easier to attack. Perhaps there is more force needed to topple the beast but it is just one single-headed beast. Look that justification in the eye and say “I don’t believe in you.” You can do it.

So choose wisely and be simple and true in your comfort food justification.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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