Question 259 of 365: Are we getting used to the stench?

There are only a few windy overcast days in Denver. We have 300 day of sunshine a year, and it is something we are quite proud of, even if we have nothing to do with it. On those few days in the fall, there comes wafting down from Greeley this amazing odor of cow dung and slaughterhouses. We get that special treat a few days a year, but Greeley gets it all year. They don’t get a break from the stench.

I know from a few science classes that our bodies are capable of adapting to and ignoring a lot. They can work toward equilibrium from almost anywhere. I know this is what people who live in Greeley experience because I have known many. They say that after a while you can’t even detect the smell. They have led happy and productive lives in that town without having to go through the daily stress of a looming odor.

It strikes me that We might just as easily live through other environments that slowly have worn down our senses. We might be putting up with these things simply because we no longer see them as a problem to be fixed, but rather just the way things are. They have seeped too far into the background that we are only reminded of them when an outsider brings them to our attention.

Things like:

1. Adversarial relationships between departments or disciplines.
2. Lack of communication among coworkers, creating a need to know information system and preventing all but the most direct forms of collaboration.
3. A total lack of equity in marriages for the care of children.
4. The gentle racism and overall bias of preference for the known.
5. Tedious workflows that seemingly are the only vestiges of an era without automation or integration.
6. Separation from extended family.
7. Regret for choices not taken and opportunities not capitalized on.
8. Advertising and marketing directly to us.
9. A complete lack of purposeful exercise.
10. An unwillingness to seek our or let new people into our lives.

These are the things we internalize. These are the things we can no longer smell. These are the things that we must be reminded of, lest they become our way of life.

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