Force of Habit

We humans do a lot of things from “force of habit.”

Always sitting on the same side of the table, for example.

The same chair, the same spot.

The same side of the streetcar! I do this, all the time.


Such creatures of habit, hmmm?


Some of us still read “newspapers” … from force of habit.

Even though we surely all know by now that the major news media are owned by corporations (BIG corporations), & have editorial policies that are determined by their (corporate) advertisers.

“He who pays the piper, calls the tune.”


Media Domination.jpg

Picture my naivete, decades ago now, writing a helpful piece for parents on “How to raise kids on a shoestring, while being environmentally friendly” – suggesting the use of cloth diapers (among many other useful tidbits involving habits of lowered or non-consumption), & then submitting this to a publication that routinely carried ads from disposable diaper manufacturers.

Yikes! Give your head a shake, Woman!!

I was gobsmackingly naïve, fiercely idealistic, & utterly unschooled in the ways the world really works.


I was simply awash in naivete & blind trust.


Now I know

Oh, ever-so-much more

Sooooo much more


About how things REALLY work in this world of ours.


& I won’t say it makes me comfortable, exactly.


Not comfortable at all.


But you know?

What we don’t know sure as heck CAN hurt us.

& it has, & it does, & it will keep right on doing so.

For just as long as we remain asleep.

(& then, for even longer, ‘cos the wounds to air/water/earth/our personal health go very very deep indeed)


Me? I’d rather really know.


Next time I ride the streetcar downtown, I’m gonna sit on the “other” side of the car.

& keep reminding myself that “force of habit” can be a dangerous thing – especially if it leads to inattention, or complacency (or smugness) – & it can be resisted.



** a previous posting on habits. Had forgotten about it utterly. My memory is great! Just uh, very short.


Some quotations about habit/s that I dug up:

I went looking for the Mark Twain one ‘cos I remembered it specifically, did a ‘Search’ in my quotations collection on the word ‘habit’, & came up with the others then too.

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs, one step at a time.” ~ Mark Twain (more Twain)

“Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.” – Epictetus  (more)

“I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality.” – Henry David Thoreau in his essay “Life Without Principle,” quoted in Paul Theroux’s The Last Train to Zona Verde – My Ultimate African Safari (a great read, btw!)

“It seems we all have the tendency to move away from the present moment. It’s as if this habit is built into our DNA.” – Pema Chödrön (more Pema)

“Habit is often ‘simply the easiest way to be wrong again.’” ~ Laurence Peter in Diet for a New America

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right.” – Thomas Paine (Introduction to Common Sense 1776)

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.  
Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour.  
Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habit.  
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values...
And, keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” (Gandhi, I think)

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun


++ a couple cool ones with ‘habitually,’ ‘inhabit’ or ‘inhabitants’:

“By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers . . . This palpable world, which we are used to treating with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association, is a holy place.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher & Jesuit priest (1881-1955) in *The Divine Milieu*  (ain't that a beauty??)

“This curious world which we inhabit is more wonderful than it is convenient, more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.” – Thoreau

On global warming: “The inhabitants of planet Earth are quietly conducting a gigantic environmental experiment.  So vast and sweeping will be the consequences that, were it brought before any responsible council for approval, it would be firmly rejected.” – Dr. Wallace S. Broecker, scientist

& then there's this utter gem from Carl Sagan & it's kind of about habit, too, though the word is not mentioned:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark