Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner
Deffils (Imps of the Mind)
Originally posted on September 22, 2011
I think that one of the most useful things we can do is to confront the little niggling voices in our minds that drag us into lower consciousness. There are many kinds of foolishness, and some of it feeds on ignorance, mainly. What I call “deffils” (rather than devils) are little complexes that are often so subtle that they seem okay, or at least not that bad. What it occurred to me to playfully name as “deffils” are not devils in that they don’t seek definite evil or enjoy pain. They are closer to imps or gremlins or tempting spirits, names for imagined “beings” who inhabit the mind. They are avoidable, and they have great power. But recognizing them for what they are allows the maturing “choosing self” to contain their influence.
Deffil 1: I don’t want to grow up, pay the dues of being grown up, have to put up with annoying realities. Why should I? Why can’t I just enjoy myself, take it easy? What’s the problem? I ask these simplistic, seductively plausible questions. I don’t make pronouncement, but there is something oddly compelling about such questions. I mean, why shouldn’t I ask? It’s just an innocent question. You can’t blame me for just asking. I can play this game in and out along with the other deffils.
Deffil 2. I don’t like it. My not liking it needs to be respected. I feed on the entitlement to be respected. Occasionally my not liking it speaks to a deep inconsistency between what is asked of me and what I want to give. Far more often I claim the same prerogatives of obsessive doubt about the most trivial of things. Too much this, not enough that. I don’t accept what is happening. I thrive on blurring the already blurred boundaries between creative dissatisfaction and mere grumbling and complaining. I don’t want any realistic confrontation about being a baby. My cleverness is that sometimes what I’m complaining about has merit.
Deffil 3. I don’t feel like it. Feelings are paramount. In this psychological society, it takes advantage of the permissive sentiment. Occasionally it’s more valid than not, and I’ll get truly neurotic if I overload my system and generate neurotic or psychosomatic complexes. But often this whole gambit is subtle self-indulgence in lieu of actual issues that must be wrestled with.
Deffil 4. I use hi-falutin language in the service of my childish desires. I’m rather clever about using words like enlightenment, pure, transcending, love, peace, and other forms of psycho-spiritual jargon to justify my getting what I want and getting away from what I don’t want.
Deffil 5. Cynicism, it won’t work, never mind, why try, just give up, they’re all fools anyway, or they’re all corrupt. It’s too much, just leave it alone, any excuse to justify my being a slacker and to avoid taking any responsibility. As with most of the other deffils, there is often a germ of truth to these complaints and excuses—and that’s all it takes for me to blow it up into a full-fledged cop-out.
So, that’s for starters. I welcome your writing and suggesting others. Tell me your name and whether I may use these, comment on them, and acknowledge you for your help.