Blog #23 Measuring Stimulus (Redux)

The subject of the attempt to react appropriately to events (stimuli) has been treated in earlier blogs (9, 19) as described to one’s perception of reality.  As we get older a relatively balanced and accepting perception of the self evolves (Blog #6) including, ideally, a measured response to events as they occur.  However, this subject is of such great import that the present addendum may be useful.

Events have a way of occurring, things happen bringing change (Blog #15). Yet events or happenings only matter, to the extent of our corresponding emotional response to them.

Since perception is not the identical twin of objective reality, the conclusion, that responses to various events are varied, appears to be reasonable.  The response may be almost instantaneous, depending upon previous self- conditioning.

This is contrasted with our autonomic responses (reflexes) such as the patellar reaction, blinking at bright lights   and startling at unexpected loud noises. Excluding such automatic, reflexive responses which occur without conscious thought, other responses to stimuli exist over which we have some power of choice; further, the selection of an appropriate response may be a very significant ingredient in the living of a satisfying life.

Aesthetic and other positive reactions to beautiful music,   sunsets, art and the like may vary, yet are always salutary and have a positive impact upon our health and lives.  It would appear to be more useful to deal with the stimulus-response ratio in matters universally understood and perceived to be unfortunate or even tragic.

It would appear to be useful, since the phenomenon of perception varies and is malleable (unlike the reflexive responses set forth above) to discuss the quantum and quality of individual response to events. Our reaction   to a troublesome or negative happening may be shutter-click instantaneous, however the reaction may be quickly photo -shopped.

Again, the extent to which we assault our bodies and minds with terror and negative perspective, may have a deleterious effect upon our health; it certainly has an impact on our joy and satisfaction with life.

  1. suggests a useful mode of dealing with perception of unfavorable events, would if employed, might result in better perspective and balance. It requires a bit of (mental) woodworking, but is worth it.

One might construct an imaginary set of wooden shelves, perhaps ten (10) shelves high. Immediately after completion (varnish not required) the shelves are to be strictly and permanently allocated  as to  events so that the top (10th) shelf is for the most major tragedies such as death of a loved one, diagnosis of inoperable, terminal, cancer and matters of like consequence.   Perhaps the lowest shelf could be allocated to such minor stimuli as, the appearance of a “zit”, shaving nicks, broken off fingernails and such other matters of like import.

A progressive allocation should be made in accordance with the   ascending empirical and objective materiality of likely occurring events (this is why it is crucial that the woodworking and allocation be done in advance).

Thereafter, it is only necessary to assign or relegate the importance or depth of troublesome situations as they occur, to the proper shelf to avoid over-reacting, and uncalled for stress.

{with a wink}  p





Published by


Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s