Last night my son went into a frenzy while eating his meal. Not a new occurrence in the house and something we have gotten used to. But while throwing his tantrums he slipped, hit the side of his leg against the centre table but luckily fell straight on my lap. In the end there was no physical or collateral damage but for his perceived leg ache.
Hence, his frenzied behaviour went into overdrive. I was having dinner on the sofa and in an instinctive reaction I managed to divert his attention towards a glimmering light in the horizon. What I sold to him was the story of a spaceship landing from space! Although it was far from reality, he bought my story and was compelled to get distracted. Miraculously, he stopped crying in an instant. My wife who had left her plate and was standing beside him, sold the story to him with full fervour until he was completely pacified.
Although, this was not a new incident, I somehow felt the urge to brood over it. Hence, I endeavoured to pen down this thought.
I found similarities between this incident and what happens to us daily when we walk our dog. My dog is very territorial and whenever another dog approaches him, he goes into a frenzy wanting to tear the probable competitor apart. To make him come out of this hysteria we distract him by making weird sounds, much to the amusement of onlookers. We ignore their giggles because more often than not we manage to salvage the situation using this technique.
I often wonder, why small children and dogs take so little time to come out of their hysteria when distracted? Although, I am not an expert in child or dog psychology, basis my past experience I came to the conclusion that it is because their conscience is clearer than ours. They are neither biased nor egocentric. Hence, they have the remarkable ability to attain normalcy through distractions.
We, my friends on the other hand are not so lucky! On the contrary distractions are detrimental to our well being. In a world where new stories, many of which are factually questionable are being hurled at us every second, the power of distraction could prove to be fatal. These stories have the capacity to take us into a frenzy and divert us from our real issues. Since, we are biased and egoistic, unlike children we cannot come out of our hysteria and become victims of our rage. Only few manage to come out of this vicious circle while the majority gets trapped in it.
To see things factually, objectively and in isolation is the only way out of this vicious circle. But this is easier said than done. Such is the power of distraction!
Photo credit: theladders.com