In life, isn’t everything layered upon everything else? One thing leading to or related to countless others in ways we might never imagine. Life having woven itself in and around and through all these regular or occasional sequences of events. Threads drifting, often behind the scenes, from one situation to another that, on the surface, seems almost entirely unconnected.
It seems as true of nature or thought as it is of our lives: things all interrelate. Making changes in one area, we may be surprised by consequences elsewhere – not having seen exactly how it all comes together or where effects would be felt. As if, in almost every area of life, we’re potentially tinkering with things we don’t fully comprehend. (Notes One)
Aren’t we overlaying experiences each day? Some things being confirmed by repeatedly consistent results; others challenged or proved wrong as reality acts differently. Each affirmation or denial either reinforcing or weakening our understanding of what’s around us. The connections our minds make – the lessons we draw from life – being perhaps strengthened with confidence or shaken by doubt.
Almost as if we’re working to piece together a comprehensive picture of reality up there: hoping, eventually, for our ideas to match the world around us in perfect, purposeful harmony. That we might, one day, develop a thorough enough sense of things to confidently intervene in life and cause only enhancement; rather than accidentally creating all manner of problems we’ll then need to redress. (Notes Two)
From the learnings of youth through to the years of adulthood, aren’t we hopefully refining our knowledge? Building on what came before to create a reasonable, responsible sense of where we stand and what everything “means”. Constantly revising, adapting or expanding our earlier ideas to accommodate the growing awareness our experiences have offered. (Notes Three)
Things that had once seemed easy suddenly becoming complex as we dig beneath the surface and realise there’s so much more to it. As if we’re forever revisiting the same subjects and reviewing them with the eyes and minds that intervening time has developed in us. Life, perhaps, being this ongoing project of deepening, broadening, extending the scope of our understanding to “match” reality and weed out our misconceptions.
Isn’t there a time to learn each thing and a way of presenting complex realities in simple enough terms for any stage of development? First steps on which further knowledge can more easily and securely be built. This sense in which our understanding of “life” can be constructed layer upon layer to faithfully reflect reality and give each person a crystal-clear sense of where we stand within it and what all our responsibilities are.
It seems important to develop: a realistic yet flexible understanding of life. Not just in the sense of getting ahead or playing our cards right, but grasping, with the full scope of our humanity, exactly how we’re related to our surroundings and the deep significance of every little thing we might choose to do in our lives.
Notes and References:
Note 1: Beauty and wonder in nature
Note 1: Personal archaeology
Note 1: One thing leads to another
Note 1: Does anything exist in isolation?
Note 2: Doing the right thing, we erase consequences
Note 2: Solving all the problems we’re creating
Note 2: Understanding & staying informed
Note 2: Where education stands within society
Note 3: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 3: What it is to be human
Note 3: How ideas find their place in the world
Note 3: Detaching ourselves from the past