Civilized, Unnatural Lives

Today was a grey, soggy, fairly cold and unappealing autumn day for a ride. You go out, you feel better for having gone out, but it’s much harder work to get out the door, even though you know you’re very likely to get some benefit from it.

You can only wonder what’s at work there. You know you’ll feel better for a ride, but it’s still a bit of a struggle to do it, just because the weather isn’t great. It’s not even bad weather – it’s just a bit on the dismal side. The reluctance is stupid.

So, why can’t my intellect defeat … what? It’s not an emotional response to a grey day so much as it’s something primaeval – very deep seated. Perhaps it’s a basic human reaction to falling light levels and all the other environmental-climatic changes going on at this time of year. Perhaps, if we’re being true to fundamental, animal ourselves, we actually should just curl up and sleep more.

Perhaps I feel better for having gone for a ride because it’s an – however small – triumph of will over instinct. After all, at root, that’s what civilization is – the triumph of intellect over instinct.

Perhaps the feeling good is real because of the demands of so many of our modern lives, mine included: the exercise, getting out, makes you feel better because an office- and computer-bound daily life is so unnatural.

If that’s true then of course that ‘feeling good’ is only because we’re not being true to ourselves. We’re living a compromise. That’s not inherently bad, but we might benefit from being more aware of it.