The Human Condition: Pressure

The same pressure that softens the potato, hardens the egg.

Hey party people….or non-party people…..you know what let’s just stick with the ‘hey’.

I think about this statement a lot. I’m going through the editing process of my first lengthy piece of writing and the beginning stages of my second one, so I’ve got double the writer’s block time to reflect on things. That’s how this blog goes anyhow. This statement – and the other one you’ll find as I delve deeper into my reverie – has been my recurring reflection.

It’s like a song that gets stuck in your head, and the only way to get it out of there is to go through the whole thing from start to finish. So let’s start at the very beginning. I’ve heard it’s a very good place to start.

Related image

The Potato or The Egg?

The same pressure that softens the potato, hardens the egg. All in all, not a scientifically inaccurate observation when taken seriously. Applied to people, it may just be a matter of opinion.

I guess whoever came up with this was trying to say that different people can handle the same pressure differently. That part is fact – we are individuals with our own idiosyncratic behaviours after all. The part that’s unclear, or rather that’s a question of opinion, is the whole notion of ‘softening’ and ‘hardening’.

Image result for boiled potatoThis past year at school, I had a vicious workload to handle and quite frankly I’ve been tired of school since I was about 15. Thankfully my grades don’t look it, but that’s another story for another post. I told my dad several times that I didn’t think I could handle it and I considered dropping out of university more times than I’m willing to admit. Not that my parents would necessarily have allowed me to, but again, different story.

Guess that made me, for all intents and purposes, a potato.

Related imageFast forward to this summer, where my GPA is still high enough to be considered for first class honours and I have neither pulled my hair out, gone crazy, or done something irreparably stupid. I’m still tired as hell of going to school, and dreading September’s arrival because it means I have to go back and work my ass off for one more year. But I survived this year, and right now that’s what counts.

So, I suppose now I’m an egg.

From the way this quote is set up, you think a person is – in a given situation – either the egg or the potato. But if my experience is any good indication, it shows that a person can be both the potato and the egg.

An eggtato, if you will.

And while we’re on the topic of pressure…

There’s another saying I find particularly irksome – due in part to the frequency with which I hear it and my blatant agnosticism:

The Lord doesn’t put more on a man than he can bear.

All ties of the word ‘Lord’ to Christianity aside, let’s talk about this dime a little, shall we?

I feel like this statement got severely misinterpreted. I’m not saying this from my personal experiences per se, but rather the experiences of those around me and close to me that I’ve been privy to.

Image result for the lord doesn't give us more than we can handle

For one thing, I hear this statement – it seems – exclusively in one of two situations 99% of the time:

(A) a situation is deemed unbearable by the experiencer of the situation, and someone nearby offers it as some sort of screwed-up consolation where in the experiencer is meant to infer/trust that if the referent deity didn’t believe they could handle it, He/She would not have put them in the situation

(B) a situation is deemed unbearable by the experiencer of the situation, and the experiencer uses it as a reassurance to him/herself that they can indeed handle it – which they either end up being able to thanks to the placebo effect the statement has of making them actually believe in themselves, or they ironically pressure themselves into being okay in a situation they have every right to not be okay in.

By the way, I do mean situation in the broadest sense of the word.

My interpretation of that statement is a little less individualistic than it appears the world makes it out to be. I look at it as a matter of choice. I look at it much more collectively. I think that no human being is burdened by more than any human being can bear.

That’s where things might get a bit puzzling.

We are created with the strength to withstand anything, but everyone has a different threshold, right? So what if the case is simply that the nature of the burdens or trials or pressures are similar or the same across the board – what Man can bear? It just means that we “choose” whether or not we have the power to overcome whatever it is, right? It means we can choose our ‘weak’ moments, and our ‘strong’ moments, but the pressure is of the same kind.

And, we’re back to being eggtatoes.

 

My Slightly Circuitous Conclusion…

Image result for circuitousNobody ‘doesn’t do too well’ with pressure; but everyone does deal with pressure differently. It seems a misguided notion to me that choosing to bow to pressure makes one the potato. We all can’t be eggs all the time. We’re allowed to pick our battles (and hopefully not let them pick us). We’re allowed to choose the decisions we make, and that includes when to be what.

Shoot, we’re the ones who have to live with the decisions anyway.

I just dont think it’s worth it to overstretch your limits just to try to prove to anyone you’re an egg unless you’re doing it for yourself. In the same vein, you gotta know when it’s time to stop being a potato.

As for me, I’ma just stick to being an eggtato. Works for me.

 

So what are you gonna be today?
CiJhae

 

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