Most of us, perhaps all of us, have a little internal program running around in our brains. It was developed by the subconscious and has a well-earned name: The Awfulizer.exe
The subconscious is that part of you who says: “I know what I did. I’m going to dwell on it.” You might also call this program your conscience and unless you’ve murdered a child, it should pretty much leave you alone.
But there’s a bug in The Awfulizer‘s code. In response to almost any unanticipated stimulus, The Awfulizer produces a Boolean error and goes into a loop. It is in this loop where The Awfulizer produces an unending supply of spurious and specious responses to almost every conscious thought. This is the process we call Awfulizing.
The Awfulizer most often glitches at night and in stressful moments and this glitch is responsible for The Awfulizer‘s most common error: The 3:00 AM Terrors. In the 3:00 AM Terrors, your eyes suddenly pop open and every possible outcome of every possible event you can possibly imagine, is unreservedly negative. Examples abound. Here are a few: How awful will it be when I go see the boss. How awful will it be when the repair shop calls. How awful when the doctor reads my X-ray. How awful that I will eventually sicken and die.
Suicide is without a doubt the most egregious indicator The Awfulizer is looping. Naturally, there are lesser consequences than suicide! Nervous breakdown and exhaustion come to mind. So do psychosomatic illnesses. And don’t forget compulsive behaviors like lint-picking and hair twiddling.
Truly, The Awfulizer is pretty awful, for Awfulizing is, after all, an illogical process.
So how do you shut the damned thing down? Well you can’t.
What you can do is feed The Awfulizer enough good data to where the loop is interrupted and The Awfulizer goes back to its normal, benign state running in the background.
Here’s the protocol: The first thing to do is gather a list of thoughts you’d like to have. (Of course The Awfulizer will still be running so this task can be difficult. Be prepared.) These thoughts can be anything: Driving along in your old muscle car, bedding the hottie in the espresso kiosk, being out on your buddy’s sailboat getting blasted on Scotch.
When The Awfulizer next occupies all your realtime, injecting its malignant and poisonous thoughts, shout STOP! Keep shouting Stop until The Awfulizer pauses to digest these unanticipated commands, then grab one of the nice thoughts from your list, put it in your consciousness and give it 100% of your concentration. Of course The Awfulizer, being The Awfulizer, will try to kick the nice thought out of the mix, taking over once again. When it does, repeat this protocol.
If you decide to invoke this protocol, you’ll be shouting Stop about every three seconds, maybe less. However, as time goes on, The Awfulizer will pay fewer and fewer visits. Eventually, it will stop and return to normal.
Now because The Awfulizer concerns itself with the future, you must do one other important thing: You must purge from your mind any thought of the future. You must concentrate on and living in the moment. For example, if you start thinking about your retirement portfolio, a thought which causes much sturm und drang, immediately cast the thought aside and focus on something that is nice right now. For example, concentrate on the beauty of a leaf’s dendritic venous structure. Continue concentrating on the here-and-now until the nice thought completely consumes all realtime. If you don’t, The Awfulizer will take this pause [in concentration] as a GOTO command and start driving you nuts again.
Normally, you should be able to this by yourself and come out with a wonderful and happy life. However, if you’re having trouble mooting The Awfulizer, go see someone. As to who that someone might be, don’t afraid to contact a Kabbalist, a shaman, a yogi, a medicine man, or someone of a similar cast. They can offer not only wisdom, but some worthy aids such as peyote and weed.
As a final antidote to The Awfulizer, remember that the future — even the very next moment — is absolutely and totally unknowable. And being unknowable, the future is simply not worth worrying about. I wonder how many people who Awfulize about the future find the future turns out to be something they never even considered.