On Control

Ironically, our culture fetishizes a notion of “control” in much the same way it does one of “wilderness, for some of the same reasons. Central to both is their illusory absoluteness, and the way our vain struggle to attain them does much more to define them in our collective mind than the infallible singularity we read into them.

I’ve always imagined a scenario in which somebody is given absolute control over everything they consider relevant to them. It would be unspeakably taxing to the person’s frail consciousness (which is, of course, comprised almost entirely of systems they have zero say in), if everything from the behavior of others to the transfer of matter throughout their bodies were left to their individual discretion. It would be a nightmarish existence from which no priorities could be derived. Cherry-picking of the colors of sidewalks, the lifestyles of loved ones, every formerly visceral emotional or physiological response, the fate of each individual hair on the body and innumerable other things we usually put down to fate or circumstance would all implore an opinion with equal urgency. Many of the innumerable (previously) self-guided mechanisms we possess and interact with would die of neglect and stagnation faster than they could possibly be reigned over.

Thus, the things we fiend for control over amount to scarcely a fraction of what enables us to even feel that want in the first place; the gaping assumptions of powerlessness that our assertive moments rely on.