Table of Contents

Targeting and refinement

I have to find the target before I can hit the bullseye. In Pigeon toed: a minimalist mistake I went through an elaborate process of refinement to adapt my walking to the uberminimalist water shoes Leela helpfully suggested. I was aiming at the wrong target. Not even the spiffiest laser sight will help me hit me hit a target to the north if I'm shooting south. In that case no refinement was needed. I already had the shoes I needed. I'd thrown them over for some alluring minimalist crap. Likewise I became homeless because I insisted on aiming at shared housing and couldn't find it. I had to get all the way desperate before I could accept that living alone was what I needed. Since I moved into my new home my life has been nothing but refinement. I'm learning to use my ordinary life in my new home as a tool for making progress with love.

Likes and dislikes. As I get free of mental distortions, e.g. acquired tastes, my likes and dislikes gradually become reliable guidance. My real undistorted likes and dislikes come from the deepest part of me, from who I really am. They are honest visceral responses, my bottom line. I can't make myself like or dislike something or someone. But the mental garbage can be insidious. For instance, I have a longstanding idea I should like apples. Apples are good for you, an apple a day, pectin blah blah blah. But I don't like apples. I didn't like them as a kid and I still don't. I finally gave up on trying to make myself like apples; I never acquired the taste. Tobacco and booze were both acquired tastes. In my earliest recollections both of those vices were nasty. But I acquired those tastes, that is my thinking overruled my body's honest reaction. I acquired a taste for chocolate in the mid 1960s in Kenya, right about the time I started drinking booze. As a kid I much preferred vanilla. I finally stopped eating chocolate in 2021. Not because it was an addiction I needed to cure. I just got honest enough with myself to admit I didn't really like it anymore. Losing my acquired taste for chocolate is an example of evolving tastes. Food that's good for me tastes better; old indulgences become uninteresting. The idea of drinking alcohol is now deeply repellent. Evolving tastes are an example of making progress with love. The transformation of who I am via making progress is the only kind of change that's real and permanent.

Acquired tastes. My first acquired taste wasn't for food or drink, it was for the sensation of inhaling smoke: first tobacco, then cannabis, in the mid-1960s. At about that same time I acquired the taste for alcohol and chocolate. Looking back at all that, now almost sixty years in the past, it's pretty easy to see that acquiring a taste is a process in which my culturally addled thinking overcomes my body's good common sense which says, with simple eloquence, That's yucky.

Refined sensibilities. I don't get refined sensibilities from education no matter how many degrees I collect. But I also don't get them without being very well educated indeed. The refinement of taste and sensibility is a slow and difficult process, as slow and difficult as making progress with love; the two reflect each other. Refinement reflects development.