Week 3/2019 – spiking

This week has been a roller coaster of productive days and rest days. I’ve finished my second embroidery project for the year (all before the 20th, I’m truly shocked), started work on a visual art series adapting some of my micropoetry and started learning about hand lettering.

Find following: an observation of the human survival mindset, a poem titled “Methodology” about the flexibility of belief and a poetic fragment.

Careful reading,

It’s all about survival

Beneath is it all, the drive to survive is the strongest and must consuming of all. Thriving is nice: having financial and social certainty and security, knowing there’s sustenance, shelter and support readily and freely available. But for so many of us just finding a way to live through each day is the primary goal. The bare minimum line between living and dying, whether that death is immediately physical, mental, or more subtly: giving up on hope.

I know my levels, I know the tipping points that I have avoid to just keep surviving. And I know what it does to me to exist in ‘survival is everything’ mode. When I am broken down to just getting through this minute/hour/day/week/month, suddenly everything can be sacrificed. Right up to that steel wire line between living and dying, because survival mode puts the terrible thing we’re all trying to avoid front and centre. It turns on the flashing lights and wailing sirens. We don’t stare our own demise in the face, but we look at it out the corner of our eye, compulsively checking and rechecking the distance between us and it.

The world looks different, in survival mode, time dilates and contracts, value shifts and priorities reshuffle. Enjoyment becomes less important, functionality becomes paramount. Life is broken down into a clinical equation of ‘living equals energy divided by necessity’ only that equation doesn’t balance easily. So things get cut out. But survival mode isn’t rational or logical, it doesn’t think long term. It’s concerned with getting body and brain through this thing right now, and if it doesn’t have the energy to do all the things a more rational mind would do, it prioritises.

The more time I spent consumed by surviving, the more the altered mindset hangs around, the more I notice how much surviving is what motivates us. While our response is different, the underlying driver is the same, and it doesn’t take much to track back patterns of actions and motives to point back to a survival mindset. The characteristic lack of spare energy, the physical and mental effects of compounding stress, and the reversioned morality and priorities that comes from feeling persistently under threat.

We’re just trying to survive, but that’s no way to thrive.


What I believe is
Situationally dependent,
Morally flexible
Ethically stable.

Seeking seeking,
Outcomes, efforts,
What goes
And what comes.
Factors change fortunes.

Our aching bones, hold us back no more, than gossamer wisps. We persist.