You don't know your breaking point until the instant you hit it
But everyone's built to different tolerances, and you didn't know your breaking point until the instant you hit it.
How had Max kept that crushing fear at bay? He didn't really know—maybe that was the trick? Maybe it was that he'd found a way to bleed it away in the quiet moments. Breathing deep, feeling it slip-ping from him in almost imperceptible degrees.
Maybe Newton had his own strategies—or maybe it wasn't anything you could strategize. It came down to that flexibility of a person's mind. An ability to withstand horrors and snap back, like a fresh elastic band. A flinty mind shattered. In this way, he was glad not to be an adult. A grown-up's mind—even one belonging to a decent man like Scoutmaster Tim—lacked that elasticity. The world had been robbed of all its mysteries, and with those mysteries went the horror. Adults didn't believe in old wives' tales. You didn't see adults stepping over sidewalk cracks out of the fear that they might somehow, some way, break their mothers' backs. They didn't wish on stars: not with the squinty-eyed fierceness of kids, anyway. You'll never find an adult who believes that saying "Bloody Mary" three times in front of a mirror in a dark room will summon a dark, blood-hungry entity.
Adults were scared of different things: their jobs, their mortgages, whether they hung out with the "right people," whether they would die unloved. These were pallid compared to the fears of a child—leering clowns under the bed and slimy monsters capering beyond the basement's light and faceless sucking horrors from beyond the stars. There's no 12-step or self-help group for dealing with those fears. Or maybe there is: you just grow up.
And when you do, you surrender the nimbleness of mind re-quired to believe in such things—but also to cope with them. And so when adults find themselves in a situation where that nimbleness is needed… well, they can't summon it. So they fall to pieces: go insane, panic, suffer heart attacks and aneurysms brought on by fright. Why? They simply don't believe it could be happening.
Yet, certainly, the wise learn many things from their enemies; for caution preserves all things. From a friend you could not learn this, but your foe immediately obliges you to learn it. For example, the states have learned from enemies, and not from friends, to build lofty walls, and to possess ships of war. And this lesson preserves children, house, and possessions.
The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand ...
It’s saying no.
That’s your first hint that something’s alive. It says no. That’s how you know a baby is starting to turn into a person. They run around saying no all day, throwing their aliveness at everything to see what it’ll stick to. You can’t say no if you don’t have desires and opinions and wants of your own. You wouldn’t even want to.
No is the heart of thinking.