The perennial chore of clearing the attic is relatively easy. More difficult is the selective elimination of obsolete and useless thought patterns. The recommendations made here are not oversimplified or reductive; they are made with recognition of the difficulties inherent in such process. Our much vaunted “free will” is, in fact,  encumbered by our psyche, our personal chemistry and our upbringing However, this process is vital to the enhancement of  life.

The suggested procedure is the sorting out of the “attic’s” contents to result in a division of the items into three (3) categories: (a) disposable junk, (b) potentially recyclable items and (c) valuable items to keep Illustrative examples are set forth below:

(a)  Disposable Junk

Cynicism, Pessimism and Hopelessness

Many cynics and pessimists maintain that they are possessed of a higher degree of discernment and understanding of life, present and foreseeable; they would see everything with a negative prospect. Such predictions can be self-fulfilling and as predictable, result in (a reinforcing) disappointment.

When a disappointing outcome occurs, it should be treated as a discrete, perhaps unique, experience and not part of a predictable opera.


It is merely by the accident of birth that we randomly acquire our physical characteristics and our belief system (see Blog#3). Mythology and fear of the “other” limits growth and is injurious to all concerned.


Certain people, in order to mitigate their feelings about the unknown future,  resort to such useless practices as astrology, tarot cards, tea leaves, numerology and other primitive and misleading devices. Personal solution of problems and existing questions can only be sought by way of our rationality; these bogus devices just get in the way and can be harmful.

Egocentrism, Selfishness

Life is not an autobiography; planet Earth is populated with vast multitudes of others, all of whom aspire to the good life. The desire to manipulate others is insensitive and immoral; it may also be motivated by an inability to achieve control and order in one’s own life.


The underlying basis of jealousy is fantasy .It may emanate from unrealistic expectation or a creative perception of the “success” of others. It is unhealthy, useless and a waste of time.


We have natural, innate, fears that are useful and protective; viz., fear of falling, fear of fire, fear of wild beasts. However, there are some who live a life of perpetual fear without logical or empirical basis; examples include, fear of failure, fear of change (see Blog#15), fear of others. These limit spontaneity, growth and individuation resulting in an inadequate life.

It is to be noted that there are some fears, “phobias,” the elimination of which usually requires the intercession of qualified third parties.

Predisposition, Snap Judgments

Those who classify and make judgments of others without factual basis,  expose themselves to a charge of bias and are prone to error. The chance of successful results is enhanced by attention to the relevant facts, as well as sufficient interpersonal interaction. (See: Blog#18).

Over- Reaction

An objective appropriate and calibrated response to stimulus is essential to life and health (see: Blog#23). The inclination to react excessively to all disappointment, regardless of kind and degree, puts unnecessary stress on the body; if not nipped in the bud, it  can become a conditioned response. This category might also qualify for “2”.

(2) Possible Recycle

Poor Self Control

Often the best response to unfriendly, even egregious remarks is no response. Statements of this kind do not deserve a response. If a reply is mandated, it should be made in a measured and restrained way; otherwise the potential for necessary and meaningful communication will be lost.

Slavish Adherence to the Past

For certain insecure folks, repetition of past ways and patterns of thought are sufficient. New ventures and new activities require too much daring. The insatiable quest for security and fear of criticism keeps these folks in an archaic prison. They suffer the loss of new and better ways, the excitement and stimulation of new experiences and a lack of individuation.

New foods, friends, interests, and activities lend freshness and excitement to  confident spontaneity, and a sense of a life well spent.


The exchange of differing opinions is a most salutary way to operate a democracy. Unfortunately, we have experienced a breakdown of civic amity (see: blog#21), evidenced by the enmity and even, hatred, of those who have differing opinions. This causes insularity, disunity and a poorly administered government  tasked with satisfying everyone. The free exchange of ideas should not be perceived as threatening and should not be  divisive.

(3) Items of Storage to Keep

The following items, stored in the attic should be kept, permanently and never become obsolete. Since they are self-explanatory, a mere listing of the same is deemed sufficient. These include:

Ability to love and be loved, tolerance of others and all points of view, a feeling of personal self- worth and a recognition of the worth of others, the aspiration for self-fulfillment,  respect for the environment and its natural inhabitants, capacity for genuine apathy and charity.

It is essential to liberate our spirit by cleaning out the attic, removing the useless clutter, and taking pride in our valuable possessions.


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

One thought on “Blog #33 CLEANING ATTICS”

  1. Thanks P, this is my favorite blog post. Very thought provoking and deep. Should print it and post it up as a reminder of cleaning out my attic.


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