There’s something I’ve noticed about human nature in the quest to figure make sense of why people do the crazy things they do, and while the observation hasn’t brought me any closer to even making sense of my own decisions, it does seem to be a very common occurrence. First, people fear change. Second, they’re rarely completely content with the status quo. Unfortunately for the status quo to make them happy…there would have to be change.
Not that this always lines up in a self-defeating cycle. I, for example, am very much afraid of apocalypse-by-human-arrogance-via-robot-overlords. I promise you, that fear is less irrational than it sounds, but that was another post. This extreme pessimism about the nature of humanity as a race does not have a noticeable daily impact on my discontent over my abysmal diet and exercise habits (or general lack thereof).
My mother, however, did not nickname me Eyore and Tellymonster when I was a child for no reason. With me, if it’s not one half-rational fear, it’s another slightly insane paranoia. I worry. It’s what I do. And for every small discontent in the grab-bag of my mind, there’s bound to be a matching concern if you look hard enough. Going to the gym may seem harmless and even a treatment for my worries about self-image and early-onset degenerative diseases, but I have a minor tendency toward agoraphobia that makes me hate leaving home if I don’t absolutely have to. My worldview being balanced as it is, the agoraphobia (underscored, of course, by general laziness) tends to win.
And then we got a balance board for our Wii.
Do you have any idea how easy it is to be manipulated by a computer program? The Wii Fit games are designed to give you repetitive and pre-packaged responses to your performance. There is nothing especially clever about the AI running the program, if it’s even sophisticated enough to fall into that category. All the same…it shames me. When the little picture of a Wii board says “oof” when I step on, when it asks me if I find myself tripping when I walk, I feel obligated to show it that I can do better. I can weigh less, I can stretch further, I can balanced better. Really, little balance board, just watch!
The nice thing is that I don’t feel threatened either. My animated trainer’s performance is the same every day and by its very mathematical perfection, nothing I feel obligated to compete against, unlike, for example, John’s scores, which motivate me to do better in a way that makes me feel like a barefooted savage who must be better than the other primates competing for the same resources. The motivation I get from the Wii trainer is weirdly powerful, like having a spreadsheet that can cheer you on and click its tongue at you, and the feeling is untainted by any competitive edge. I don’t know how good of a workout I’m getting with it, but it’s more than I was getting before and I find myself looking forward to getting off my rump each day.
Now that I think of it, my fear of the apocalypse-by-robot might get in the way of my desire to be healthier. Unless I can find a program that can similarly motivate me to keep my diet on the straight and narrow…then I might have to welcome our robot overlords.