New Theory Explains Why We Find Costa Rica So Darn Pleasant
or - How Media Saturation Robs Us Of Our Joy
or - an original thought is a good thing
I was but a wee lad in the 60’s in Davis California, not far from San Francisco with all of its cultural inovations – free love, music, outlandish dress and of course, drugs.
LSD was in the news quite a bit at the time. It was legal and there was a lot of experimentation going on with it and theories around what it actually did to the mind. Everyone knows about its hallucinogenic properties, but the thing that I found most interesting about it was the fact that it wasn’t regarded as a party drug, but that it was largely taken to open one’s mind. Or put another way – to learn.
As I understand it, the workings of LSD were and are a mystery. There is, however, a theory of how it works that has actually affected my own understanding of the human experience and yes, actually ties into our theme here of why we find Costa Rica so darn pleasant.
The Theory: as a new born baby, our sensory receptors are working to process and understand the experience of being human, which is a thoroughly saturating experience. It is difficult to comprehend the amount of raw data that the slug-like human baby is absorbing.
I remember the day that each of my children found their hand. They were fascinated with it, slowly turning it to look at all sides and then checking out its movement and articulations. Quite the event. Although we don’t really think much about the mundane presence of our own hand these days, as adults, right? Well, let’s say that most of us don’t spend much time at all contemplating our hand.
It is thought that when we first have an experience as a baby, we fire off a circuit in our brains. The experience is profound and frequently pleasurable.
Let’s say that at the age of 1 year our Mother puts us on the warm, sunny lawn in our back yard to crawl around. A new circuit is fired through our brain and we are fascinated by the greenness of the experience and the warmth of the green. The texture is slightly prickly but not unpleasantly so. There is a humid component and a wonderful smell that we will later on associate with the word “earthy”.
From this point on in our lives, this same circuit fires every time we experience warm green grass, causing a familiarity with the experience - so the theory goes.
Theoretically, LSD causes variations in this circuit. This can be profoundly pleasurable and cause fascination with what we adults would consider to be mundane things. This would explain why people on LSD can be seen studying their hand, or marveling at the grass they are standing on.
Costa Rica Enamored & Bewitched Syndrome, or CREBS
Right about day 4 of a visit to Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, something happens inside the brain that is very much akin to the forgoing hypothenations on the workings of the human brain. On day 4, or there abouts, we hit a benchmark known as Critical Mass Relaxation (CRM). It is on this day that one’s shoulders relax down to where they are supposed to be, but haven’t been for years, and the eyes take on a child-like glint.
But here is the big deal about all of this. It is usually right about day 4 that we have what is known as “Original Thought” in the deeply scientific circles that yours truly hob-nobs with. And the experience of having this “Original Thought” is, to say the least, agreeable.
Original Thought Unmasked:
When we visit Costa Rica, we pull ourselves out of our lives of running as fast as we can to stay in one place. Or we may be moving slowly backwards, but whatever. The week prior to leaving we are yet further pressed with trip preparations. We arrive in Costa Rica, we try and manage the Spanish that we find all around us, we mess with a rental car, and we decipher the directions to where we are going. We set about the business of our vacation.
Unbeknownst to us, we are bringing with us all the stuff that is routine and ordinary in our day to day lives back home. In the US this involves an awful lot of media saturation. At any given time in the US there are 6 hot topics:
Running in our heads are the latest tapes of what is going on in these 6 areas. All of this information does not originate inside of our own heads but from external sources. Of course, we are all intelligent and creative people in our own rights. So, we take this information and color it and make commentary on it with our own unique spin, but really, someone else has pretty much suggested to us what we’ll be thinking about as we go through our days.
On day 4 that constant and ever present chatter has subsided enough to where we may experience an errant thought of something unrelated to the big 6 and that originates entirely from the source of one‘s very own, personal and private psyche.
The media programming does not hold up well in the antidotal face of:
- quiet time
- sitting by a waterfall
- marveling at the strangeness and beauty of a toucan
- marveling at the sunset
- marveling at why an Imperial tastes so good
- deciphering why the typical Costa Rican plate "casado" is the same word as the Spanish word for "marriage"
Original Thought is likely something creative, or philosophical, or loving, or problem solving. The thought has a slight intoxicating effect. It is under the influence of CREBS that many have decided to do something outrageous like move to Costa Rica because, by golly, it’s important.
I did. And I haven’t looked back.