Blog # 189 VITAL SIGNS

Getting regular medical examinations is considered to be a salutary regimen, conducive to the maintenance of good health. Such examinations (“check-ups”) uniformly consist in the performance of a routine monitoring of what is famously known as our “vital signs” (heartbeat, blood pressure, temperature, and breathing). The results of such tests are objectively compared with their respective (empirically derived) standards and a medical determination is scientifically made.

Respecting those fortunate people whose results are adjudged normal, the event is quickly forgotten. For those respecting whom a problem is discerned, most are able to maturely adjust their lifestyle, as necessary and proceed with their life. Some others, unfortunately, seem to become so preoccupied with their health that they may, unnecessarily, delimit their life’s potential for personal growth and self-enhancement. This writing is solely applicable and relevant to the greater percentage of people who have not become pre-occupied with things such as personal health or some other preoccupying issue and are not hampered from freely engaging in spontaneous thought, rational or fanciful.

In the past, we have made particular reference to the rarely discussed subject of our intimate and completely private (lifelong), conversation with ourselves, in which we, in the privacy of our individual ruminative thoughts, dream of good prospects, grapple with real or imagined danger, perseverate over dilemmas, and as well in selective, seemingly meaningful fantasy.

In the context of this dark and private labyrinth of our inner thoughts, we may, at times, be inclined to erroneously construe factual or causal relationships between events which objectively are completely unrelated and thereafter groundlessly proceed to predict consequent outcomes and expectations.  In addition to being rooted in fantasy, such irrational expectations may cause us to take, or refrain from taking the necessary action resulting in some detriment to ourselves or a third party. While we are obliged to acknowledge the existence of this strange phenomenon, we do not in any way, approve of it. With great and abject apology, we have shamelessly pirated the title “vital signs,” from its proper application, {as used in the stated scientific procedure of making medical judgments by comparison of findings with fixed criteria} for this exotic dynamic. Albeit irrational, the perceived association of certain discreet stimuli can similarly,  but erroneously, function as the basis for consequent assumptions about reality.

Illustrative examples of such irrational predictors of future prospects (vital signs) are as follows [please take note that we have elected to include only positive signs]:

  • Randomly flipping a coin which fortuitously falls into a cup located far across the room,
  • Waking up from a night’s sleep, feeling very hungry,
  • Seeing an expansive rainbow following a drenching rain,
  • Unexpectedly finding an item which has long been missing,
  • Finding money in a new location,
  • Observing that today’s  breakfast coffee is stronger and more aromatic than usual,
  • Experiencing success in catching a train or bus at the very moment of its departure,
  • Preparing and serving fried eggs without breaking the yolks,
  • Receiving an invitation to dinner from an admired, but unknown neighbor,
  • Impulsively, but successfully, leaping over a large rain puddle,
  • Inhaling a scent reminiscent of a pleasant past experience, perhaps seashore or woodland.

It may be speculated that these perceptions of pleasant occurrences,  subjectively construed as vital signs of some future pleasant happening or successful enterprise, are, in essence, a product of one’s creative imagination, or that they represent a fragmentary recollection of one’s previous experience.  A similar dynamic and speculation would, of course, apply to signs which are perceived as negative.  Regarding the totality of these perceptions, however, it would be useful and preferable to summarily discount them, and rely as much as possible, on rational thought and empirical experience.


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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.

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