Thursday 24 May 2012

Self-concept & Worldview & Crises

     “The change from storm & winter to serene & mild weather … is a memorable crisis which all things proclaim.” Henry David Thoreau

      “In the physical sciences, dramatic shifts to very different ways of thinking are common. In fact, they are regarded as essential.”
      Ramo JC. "The Age of the Unthinkable. Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It." Little Brown & Co, NY, 2009.
     Is our worldview / self-concept something solid we can hold onto and depend upon - OR - but a provisional model (paradigm) in a rapidly changing world? The more we identify with it as a solid, unchanging "me", "who I am", the more powerfully it colors our perception and influences our thoughts, speech & behavior. Our worldview / self-concept is the operating system (OS) of our life. Yet how conscious of it are we?
     Do we actively avoid examining our OS? Do we "keep busy" with work and distractions? Do we pursue "mindless fun", proclaiming "this is as good as it gets" - while "I can't get no satisfaction" plays in the background? Does being quietly by ourself provoke anxiety? And in the company of others, do we quickly fill silent moments to avoid dreaded "dead air"?
     My Dad, who lived for almost 86 years, witnessed his parents, 3 younger sisters, and all of his closest friends grow old, get sick, and die. Such traumas ("shipwrecks") can & do cause "the world as I knew it", including "who I thought I was", to disintegrate, numerous times within a lifetime. 
     “To undergo shipwreck is to be threatened in a total and primary way. … what has dependably served as shelter and protection and held and carried one where one wanted to go comes apart. What once promised trustworthiness vanishes." Lesser E. “Broken open. How difficult times can help us grow.” Villard, NY, 2005.

     Afterwards there are 2 options: shrivel up, cynical, vengeful & miserable OR construct a new, broader, more inclusive model of reality that can contain what just happened.
     "When we have been through a trial and survived it – or better still, transformed its terrors into revelations – then we begin to approach other adversities with a different attitude. Change and loss may still knock us off the horse, but soon we are back in the saddle, stronger & wiser than ever. As life progresses, and we continue to transform and refine our consciousness, we gain more insight and humility, greater strength of character, and deeper faith in the meaningfulness of life." Lesser E. “Broken open. How difficult times can help us grow.” Villard, NY, 2005. 

     PROACTIVELY studying one's worldview / self-concept is uncommon (avoided) in our society. Yet the millions of people who meditate, do precisely that - specifically to achieve greater & greater clarity about reality - how things actually are.

     Which works better, avoiding or facing reality? Is becoming a competent swimmer reasonable when only the timing & number of shipwrecks is unknown?

Photo: Veltchev

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