or – How Media Saturation Robs Us Of Our Joy
or – an Original Thought is a good thing
We humans find ourselves intriguing, in fact – fascinating. Theories explaining the experience of being human abound .
One theory that I heard as a young man has stuck with me through the years. This theory now finds a rather interesting application in my life of living as an expat here in Costa Rica. I see the possible truth to this theory as I observe what I have come to know as “4th Day Original Thought Syndrome” or “4DOTS” in Costa Rica. Based on this thing that happens on day #4, many decide that they would like to either make Costa Rica Home, or to at least make it a big part of their life.
4DOTS is simple – it’s really nothing more than relaxation. But I need to do a footnote definition here of what I mean by relaxation. It’s more than just having our neck muscles relax and our shoulders lower down by a couple inches, (which they do on day 4). 4 DOTS relaxation has to do with the mind.
It is thought that when we first have an experience as a baby, we fire off a unique circuit in our brain. The experience is profound and frequently pleasurable. We are drawn to the subject experience again and again to get better acquainted. We call this learning.
Let’s say that at the age of 1 year our Mother puts us on the warm, sunny lawn in our back yard to crawl around. A new circuit is fired through our brain and we are fascinated by the greenness of the experience and the warmth of the green. The texture is slightly prickly but not unpleasantly so. There is a humid component and a wonderful smell that we will later on associate with the word “earthy”.
From this point on in our lives this same circuit fires every time we experience warm green grass, causing a familiarity with the experience, and this we call memory. So the theory goes.
(As an aside, i t is thought that the psychoactive drug LSD causes variations in our established and familiar brain circuitry. This can be profoundly pleasurable (or disturbing) and cause fascination with what we adults would consider to be mundane things. This would explain why people on LSD can be seen studying their hand, or marveling at the grass they are standing on. )
But here is the significance of this in relation to Costa Rica. It is usually right about day 4 of a person’s vacation that the liberating effect of being away from the media circus back home sets in. In this setting we have what is known as an “Original Thought” (“OT” in scientific circles). Because it has been so long since we have had one of these OT experiences, the experience is, to say the least, agreeable.
When we visit Costa Rica, we pull ourselves out of our lives of running as fast as we can to stay in one place. Or we may be moving slowly backwards, but whatever.
Right along with the luggage we pack to bring our clothes on vacation to Costa Rica, we are bringing all the mind and thought stuff that is ingrained from our day to day lives back home. In the US this involves a huge amount of a controlled media smorgasbord. At any given time in the US there are 6 hot areas of media coverage:
Running in our heads are the latest tapes of what is going on in these 6 areas. All of this information does not originate inside of our own heads but from without (opposite of within). Of course, we are all intelligent and creative people in our own right. So, we take this information and color it and make commentary on it with our own unique spin, but really, someone else has pretty much suggested to us what we’ll be thinking about as we go through our days.
On day 4 that constant and ever- present chatter has subsided enough to where we may experience an errant thought of something unrelated to the big 6. This experience originates entirely from the source of one‘s very own, personal and private psyche – and this feels wonderful.
The media guys are smart and really good at what they do. However, the power of Original Thought is not to be under-estimated. Media programming does not hold up well in the antidotal face of these common Costa Rican pastimes:
- quiet time in a hammock
- quiet time not in a hammock
- sitting by a waterfall
- sitting on the beach
- a board game
- marveling at the strangeness and beauty of a toucan and/or a sloth
- marveling at the sunset
- marveling at why an Imperial tastes so good in Costa Rica
The Original Thought is likely something creative, or philosophical, or loving, or problem solving. The thought has a slight intoxicating effect. It is under the influence of 4th Day Original Though Syndrome that many have decided to do something outrageous like, say, move to Costa Rica.
I did. And I haven’t looked back.