Archive for the ‘Philosophising’ Category

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

October 22, 2019

“Why should I ever feel or be beholden to a view or a decision that was made by me in the past, given it was made by someone who literally knows less than I do now?

— Hank Green (Paraphrase)

This is a great quote, and a great continuation of the post from last week on being wrong.  For one, it provides another point of liberation when it comes to altering what we do in the world.

For two, and even more importantly, it provides a huge opportunity into defining who we are.  Because who we are – these identities we wear and present to the world – they are of our own creation.  They are the story we crafted and now live inside of.  They are born of decisions, often under duress, and based upon our knowledge and the breadth (or lack thereof) of experience in that moment when we were forced to make that decision.

We decide, we set our view, and we proceed into life that way.

But they are, and always remain, just decisions we made.  Inflection points.  And we can re-inflect at any time.  We can re-examine the decisions we made about ourselves, about others, and about the world, and in the light of day, today, this day, with all we have learned since then and all we have experienced since then, set aside what we decided and instead choose.

Again, it’s not that the decision back then was wrong.  Or even bad, per se.  It’s just the decision we made.  At that time.  With what we had and what we knew.

We’re not stuck with it, nor beholden to it.  We get to choose a new we.  And we get to choose that which brings us and those around us more freedom, life, love, self-expression, and peace of mind.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

October 15, 2019

I really dislike being wrong.

In that, of course, I know I’m not alone.  I doubt there’d be many who’d say being wrong is an altogether pleasant feeling.  And that’s just by itself, before adding all the social angles and ramifications that we so (un)helpfully throw into to the mix.

Add to this that the opposite, being right, comes with such an amazing rush.  What a charged and great feeling it is!  We looooooove being right.  And we’ll do all sorts of things to be right.  Oh do we ever.  We’ll sell out, or sell others out, contort ourselves and situations into pretzels, start fights, you name it.  Being right is the best, and we’re ruthless in is pursuit.

Which, I’m sure you can see, can be a rather big problem.  Because we become so committed to being right that we all to easily, accidentally, screw ourselves (and those around us) over… just so we can be right.

So tonight, I want to propose something that will reduce instances of that thing we so despise, being wrong:

“If I’ve been doing something for a while, and I learn that what I’ve been doing isn’t as good or benign as I thought it was, I am not WRONG unless and until I choose not to change what I am doing.”

“I could could say, ‘oops, I was wrong’, but I am not capital-W wrong unless I choose to cling to my actions and barrel on ahead.”

That’s it!  We get to shift when we feel wrong.  For it is impossible to know everything, and it is impossible to know what we as individuals and as a species will learn in the future.  And sometimes, often even, we will learn things that shock us.  “Crap, I’ve been the bad guy!”  But not really… the villain arises only when they knowingly do, or continue to do, bad.  With this, we gain a moment where we needn’t defend ourselves to prove we’re right and avoid being and looking bad.

To put it all another way:  let’s not get our knickers all in a twist about it!  “Nuts, I didn’t know!  Crap… OK, what’s next?”

And with that we alter course, apologize and make amends if necessary, and move ourselves and the needle in the right direction.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

October 8, 2019

(Pairs nicely with the distinction between an expectation and a possibility…)

Image via Night Sky Games

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

October 1, 2019

Let’s dive deeper into the Storytelling post from Sunday, for there’s a lot of good stuff to explore that goes way beyond the stories we find on the printed page, stage, screen, or even those shared around the campfire.  We can take the concept and begin to examine the ever-present stories and narrators that surround us every day, including the most important – the ones in our head.

Simply put, many of the things around us that we take for granted open up and take on whole new meanings when we look at the framework that surround them rather than the thing itself.

This is especially potent to dovetail it with the conversation about systems and on the notion of the path(s) of least resistance.  These systems, be they writ large or the very personal, are mostly never derived in a vacuum; instead they come about, evolve, and are kept in place by notions and narrations.  So too is the same that keeps them in place, reliably producing the same outcome over and over again, even and especially when that outcome is, to one degree or another, deleterious.

This is also a great concept to fortify against false dichotomies.  “It can only be this or this” is not only missing the vast possibilities of both our capacity but also the variations of the universe, but it is also weaponizing a tightly woven narrative that forcibly limits the conditions as to make a binary outcome inevitable.

I’ve long been fond of noting, “We talk about the economy like it’s gravity.”  That is, we talk about it like it is a, or maybe the, fundamental physical force in the universe over which we have no choice but to do its bidding.  Except, when look through a telescope at the cosmos, or when we look through a microscope at the micros, we find no evidence of “the economy” shaping things.  It is the narrative that creates the container we’re in and that turns it into “This is the way it goes; this is the way it has to go.”

As ever, little is truly inherent.  Contexts, however, can make it seem like so.  By bringing mindfulness, inquisitiveness, and a little literary wonder we can read beyond the lines to see the author’s hand at work, freeing us to see things more broadly and more clearly.  Whether in determining who we know ourselves to be as an individual, or who we know ourselves to be as a society, or as a species, the constraints melt away and we’re open, ready to write our more perfect future.*

 

* Which, of course, in turn we can, at a later time, revisit and see the additional “author’s hands” that were perhaps invisible to us at the time, letting us once again go beyond to write an even more perfect future… and on, and on, and so on.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

September 24, 2019

Tonight in comic form…

Absolutely wonderful.  Pair it with previous posts on Mr Rogers, including what he gave and how deep into our hearts he saw.

Comic by Twistwood, based on a post by Matthew Wisner.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

September 17, 2019

There was a story I heard some years ago about Australia*, and drought.  In that there had been this stretch of years of quite severe drought.  Things were tough, many faced hardship, and it just went on, and on, and on.  Until they found an interesting way to end the drought:  they introduced legislation that said it was not a drought.

Which, admittedly, at first sounds like the ultimate in shenanigans:  It’s a drought, it’s physical, you can’t just paper law it away!  But once you let it sink in, you get that what they were saying was simply this:  “This is not a drought.  This is [the new] NORMAL.”  They weren’t tying to legislate the physical universe.  They were recreating their relationship with said universe.  They were being present and reforming their realities:  “We have been operating under a fantasy, that there is, and should be, more water available to us.  But that is not so.  This is what there is.  Let us now act accordingly.”

And boom, from then on, rather than creating systems, building things, and living life as one might in a water rich place, and then trying desperately to do with less and suffering all the way, they instead could design, create, build, and live in ways that handled, managed, and used the water that was there in reality to its fullest.  They could treat water with the respect it needed.**

We can do the same thing in our lives.  We may have feelings, upsets, barriers, insecurities, and places where we experience failure that keep showing up, causing hindrance and hardship.  And we keep thinking – hoping – that one day it or they will end.  Because that’s how it should be. ***

Yet, there it is, remaining, as persistent as that drought.  And so we can declare for ourselves The [New] Normal, giving us a baseline from which we can stop resisting.  We can let what is be, and in so doing gain freedom.  We stop being controlled by it and instead gain the space to say “Ok, here’s what’s so.  What’s possible?  What’s next?”

From that new frame and with peace of mind we begin our new path, leading us to greener pastures and worlds of abundance.

 

* To which I will be upfront and state that I cannot be sure I’m remembering it right or the interpretation I heard about it was right… and reading the Australian Department of Agriculture’s webpage on drought policy is not entirely helping me determine if it is accurate or not.  The action that took place in 2008 during the National Review of Drought Policy could be it:  “The review found that drought conditions in Australia were likely to occur more often and be more severe. It also recommended that drought assistance programs be restructured to help farmers prepare for drought rather than waiting until they are in crisis to offer assistance.”  That said, whatever the specifics are what I took from the story (as expounded above) is still entirely relevant, and powerful as an entryway to and for transformation.

** And I would say deserved.

*** And it’s not to say those areas can’t be transformed; they most certainly can be.  But sometimes the very attachment we have to it not being there is what gets in the way of us transforming it and allowing it to disappear.

h1

Storytelling Sunday

September 15, 2019

“…our relationships with works of art, particularly those that have a massive impact on us, changes as time goes on.  The things that inspire you at 16 probably won’t inspire you or at least in the same way at 26 or 36 or any age past that.  And even if something has soured in your mind, mocking it wholesale seems more a sign that you still need it, and less like you recognize its flaws while appreciating the role it played in your life.”

— Andrew Saladino

I really like what Andrew creates in his video essay on outgrowing movies (and outgrowing art in general).  The whole trope/idea/action of “growing up = trashing what you liked before” is unfortunate.  Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of the phrase “you must leave things behind”?  Either way, outgrow is a much healthier word:  “I used to like that and it used to hold meaning for me.  Now, it doesn’t in quite the same way.  While it may not be perfect as I remembered it, it still shaped who I am, and I can revel in my excitement for it back then.  I can let it lie in the middle ground and go forth boldly.”

And for those times we revisit something and it is everything that we remember it to be — and sometimes revealing itself to be even more meaningful now?  Then its time to dance on the rooftops in unbridled excitement!