It's late. I am biting my finger nails. I have been biting and picking at them all night.
This is my worst habit. The tips of my fingers are slightly stinging and smarting. The ingested nail and skin makes me feel slightly off. My fingers end up looking like shit.
Ironically, I see myself as a relatively sane individual. In most of my actions I see cause and effect. My actions are mostly reasonable to the people and environments I find myself in. Except when it comes to biting my nails.
A week ago I was helping my flatmate fry her chicken. She snapped that I was doing it wrong; and I snapped back that she shouldn't yap so much. It was the first time I got angry in a long time. Perhaps it was the lack of food, it was 5ish and I hadn't eaten all day.
Self control is something I value; but sometimes the puppet strings snap and the mind loses control to emotion.
Most murderers for example fall into this category. Murder is rarely premeditated to any great degree, it is mostly perpetrated by people who would never contemplate such things until they find themselves in a particular situation where they lose control. I remember a hearing a psychiatrist say the biggest mistake murderers make is that beforehand they would not believe they are capable of such an act.
Perhaps the illusion of determinism helps us fool ourselves that our lives are somehow more structured and controlled than they really are. Imagine realising that we often cannot predict or control our own actions let alone another's; the uncertainty of when or where a tsunami will rip through our lives is a paralysing thought.
My boss was caught in a car accident last weekend. A large truck smashed into a car behind him while coming of the highway. Luckily for him the car behind him soaked up most of the impact of the crash. He came away unscathed but the driver of the other car will probably not live.
A moment's lapse and so many lives are adversely affected.
We build our societies and ourselves around notions of cause and effect even when something so whimsical can have calamitous reverberations. We have evolved to embrace the illusion of determinism but it comes with negative side effects.