Vigilance can take many forms

How are we to approach the complex reality of being alive? All these details that make up our lives; all the ways those activities come together; all the struggles we all have; all the weight and history behind the systems or bodies of thought our lives unfold within. This sense in which we’re all “here”, living lives at different points within the same reality, with our main uniting point perhaps being our humanity.

Increasingly, it seems we’re all drawn into this one conversation: this one body of activities where choices and their consequences ripple out to affect people living different lives in remote places. As if the web of modern capacities has extended to pull the whole world into one fairly immediate discussion around what it is to be human. A conversation in which we all have our part.

Within that picture, how are we to address all that needs to be resolved? If, in almost every aspect, imperfections are causing problems that are being felt by individual or collective people, beings or resources, how are we to draw attention to those causes in ways likely to raise the kind of compassionate awareness that can lead to sustained changes in everyone’s lives?

Isn’t that what’s needed? That we gain a realistic sense of what our lives “are” and the impacts they’re having. That we extend ourselves to the point of caring for beings other than ourselves. That such a comprehensive understanding would lead us to make informed, responsible decisions that rightfully preserve the interests and future of all beings calling this planet home.

After all, if the consequences of our actions are far-reaching, isn’t that the extent of our responsibility? Technologies may have stretched the scope of “community” to the point where few can honestly imagine all our lives now play into, but that can’t absolve us from needing to grasp the significance of our actions.

Given that scope, then, isn’t it perhaps more effective if we’re fighting important battles on all fronts? That, each person tackling whatever life brought most pressingly to their attention, they’ll most likely have the strength to see that battle through to its conclusion. This idea of complex realities “needing” the multi-pronged engagement of numerous committed individuals.

Idealistically, of course, everyone would care rightly for everything; but what if reaching that point takes time? It also seems we’re different in how we see things, how we frame them, how we need to discuss them, and how we feel it best to respond. Despite this being one conversation around one reality, how realistic is the notion of a one-size-fits-all approach to change?

What if, somehow, life needs each person to push forward in whatever areas matter most to them while simultaneously finding ways to listen to the concerns of those equally passionate about other causes? Rather than disparate priorities cancelling one another out, feeling glad that we’re all, in our own ways, on the same side in striving to redress the many imperfections of modern life.

Notes and References:

The battlegrounds of our minds
Appreciating other ways of being
Bringing things into awareness
Times of revelation
Anger, and where we direct it
Can each be true to themselves?
Somewhere between ideals & realities
The courage & pain of change
Ways of being & what’s getting left out
Has everything already been said?
All we’re trying to uphold

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Any choice but to take a stand?

Given all the problems within society – all the many things people are rightly concerned about and convinced that others should take equally seriously – how are we to approach those cracks in our collective pavement? This sense in which the entire foundation of our increasingly global way of life seems broken up by all these inherited inequalities, injustices and strange assumptions we’re asked to live with.

In many ways, it seems we’re all simply born into a flawed situation; some stepping into positions of advantage while others are met with the opposite. As if society’s thinking carved up every aspect of our lives with dividing lines we seem to have little choice but to accept. That this is just “how things are” – the realities the past handed to us, individually and collectively.

Is that how life is? An uneven playing field of events set in motion before our arrival. A place where humanity’s finest ideals – from many perspectives – find remarkably little traction in everyday realities. Somewhere we might whitewash things with narratives that somehow sweep complex situations into convenient arcs to serve our own agendas, identities or egos.

Within it all, can we all just think what we please? Seeing life through the lens of our own priorities or concerns and denying those problems it suits us to leave unresolved. As if we might bend realities to meet our distortions, creating versions of events where others’ concerns simply don’t loom as large as they might imagine.

Don’t we tend to see things our own way? Life’s building blocks, for us, being arranged in the configuration we’re used to, we might imagine that’s what life “is” for everyone. It’s perhaps natural we’d accept the face reality turned towards us as “normal” based on our own experience, understanding and complex sense of what things mean and how we should act. After all, we can arguably only “know” life through our own eyes.

But, given we live within potentially quite imperfect sets of systems, ideas and their consequences, can we really deny those realities? Each of us retreating to the relative security of our own narrative; spinning events into arcs that leave us quite innocent. Don’t we have some kind of logical obligation to understand the networks our lives are woven into? To see what’s being created from all sides?

If the objective reality our lives form part of is broken up by many, many places where flawed thinking is creating situations people are crying out over in frustration, pain or concern for the future, don’t we “have” to listen? To hear the realities our ideas are setting in motion, see the faces of those affected and feel whatever pain has been created.

We might’ve been born into situations beyond our control, but, once in them, don’t we need to understand what’s happening and care about all the details? To admit reality – let it into our awareness – and work to resolve things so “how life is” can match honestly with our ideals about it.

Notes and References:

If environment shapes us…
Pieces of the puzzle
What’s at the heart of society?
Somewhere between ideals & realities
Learning all we need to know
Living through the changes
Conversations we agree to have

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Living through the changes

Imagining that how we’re currently living might not yet be the perfect realisation of our finest ideals, how are we to live through the process of unpicking and weaving things back together more perfectly? If, in almost every area of life, we’ve been getting things wrong to a greater or lesser extent – the consequences working themselves out through the lives surrounding ours – it’s seeming quite a daunting prospect.

Ideally, I suppose, the ideas upon which civilisation was founded would be perfect enough to evolve seamlessly alongside the lives of its people: thinking that was precise yet flexible enough to match all our needs, lead in good directions and provide us with the tools to confidently navigate moments of transition. As if people could’ve had the foresight and understanding to see exactly what was needed.

That kind of perfection being far from commonplace, however, wasn’t it fairly likely we’d need to live through painful moments of course-correction? Times when everything we’d accepted, believed, trusted in and built our expectations upon would somehow have to be dismantled, reworked and re-established in new form. Disconcerting moments of unravelling; rethinking; conceding error; finding better paths.

If the thoughts of the past were essentially these visions, growing out of hard-fought philosophical battles, that came to inspire people with the idea of what’s possible – picking people up with this hope for the future their lives could construct – what’s it like to fall out of the crest of those waves and realise our efforts hadn’t quite got us there? Is it that the ideas were wrong, the effort not enough, or the reality not as we thought?

Presumably there’d be anger, frustration, thoughts of betrayal or being let down. Grief at the lost dream and years spent crafting something that turned out to have cracks, divisions and counter-forces we never imagined would be there. Almost this mourning over what we thought we had falling away – the vision we had in mind perhaps fading apart to reveal the reality of where we stand.

Looking at all that’s around us, though – the consumerism, waste and careless attitudes – maybe it’s simply a bubble that had to burst and fall away? Much as we might’ve sought our sense of self-worth, identity, expression, belonging or happiness within it all, if it’s not a sustainable way of living alongside one another on a finite planet then maybe something had to give?

If our lives were built around mistaken ways of valuing ourselves and the world – ways of being so unhealthy they threaten to tear apart our natural environment as well as the bonds tethering us to community – might it not be better to have things unravel? Some form of conscious breakdown perhaps being wiser, in the long run, than the chronic management of something unworkable.

Thinking of life as a path of progress, don’t we need to truly see where we stand, what we were aiming for and how well we’ve been managing to work towards realising that inspiring vision for the future?

Notes and References:

World, heading for a breakdown?
Times of revelation
Bringing things into awareness
Desire to retreat, need to engage
Where’s the reset button & can we press it?
How fast can it all unravel?
Thought, knowledge & coherent vision

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Nothing short of everything

When it comes to change – to any way of life, really, given how they effectively amount to a slow process of change – how are we to find our way between all the options we’re presented with? Sometimes it’s as if we’re simply surrounded by choices: all the things people saw fit to lay before us as potential paths we might take. Every decision we make forever altering this world we’re living in.

Doesn’t it all come together? All the habitual or deliberate choices, subconscious ingrained patterns and their strangely contorted modern forms flowing into this marketplace of suggestions accepted, locked in and lived. All of our words and attitudes flitting out there as examples of how to be or condonements for how things are. All these ways we’re going along with what’s enveloping us each day. (Notes One)

Almost as if it’s all one big picture of what we’re thinking, what matters to us, and how well we’re understanding what we’re engaged in. Ideas spreading between us in the social or virtual worlds we’ve embedded ourselves in, reinforcing things to the point where we’re conceivably all living in quite different versions of the same reality. All caught up in our own interpretations of what’s going on. (Notes Two)

Yet, as with fitness, isn’t it all connected? All part of one body where weakness or imbalance affects the whole so only a holistic approach can fully restore health. If it’s all one system, what happens if we pull in different directions with different ideas in mind? If we’re not understanding what we’re doing or why it matters, how can we hope to move together toward common goals?

Given, in the West, those systems are based on the fundamental notion of personal freedom, how are we ever to operate with one mind, one set of intentions or priorities as to what’s most important? Especially when we’re being ushered down whatever paths our interests or wounds led us towards – every possible temptation or addiction having been placed before us as an option. (Notes Three)

Sometimes it all seems like an incredibly fractured whole; imperfect ideas engulfing us to create wounded people and damaging situations as things freely work themselves out across the generations. Everything feeding into this one complex problem without any clear, straightforward solution. As if freedom without values or discipline is a dangerous prospect: which paths will be chosen?

If the lives we’re living – the realities we’re creating – are to be built on notions of freedom, don’t we “need” to understand it all? As if what’s needed is nothing short of everything, everyone, and a constant growth in both knowledge and compassion. Otherwise, won’t we forever be creating problems? Any ignorance or lack of awareness rippling out to become another thing we’ll have to resolve. (Notes Four)

Without looking to the whole body – be it national or international, given how few lives or lifestyles are actually contained within any one set of borders – how can things ever work well between us?

Notes and References:

Note 1: All we’re expected to understand
Note 1: All we concern ourselves with & encourage
Note 1: Gaining clarity on the choices before us
Note 1: How are we supposed to choose?
Note 2: Do we live in different worlds?
Note 2: Responsibility for the bigger picture
Note 2: Everything’s interconnected
Note 2: Connecting truthfully with life
Note 3: Are we wise, living this way?
Note 3: Solving all the problems we’re creating
Note 3: Markets, and what they might mean
Note 3: Tuning out the static
Note 4: Times of revelation
Note 4: The incredible responsibility of freedom
Note 4: Being trusted to use our discernment…
Note 4: How fast can it all unravel?

Thinking more about the process, there’s also How quickly things can change.

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Using shame as a weapon

Are we right to use shame as a weapon? While it might, in some ways, be effective, is that enough of a justification for us to wield it as freely as we do? Sometimes it seems we’re strangely “knowing” about the kinds of tools societies have used in the past to control or suppress their members; thinking it’s only natural we use similar methods to meet modern ends. But where does it lead, and what are we hoping to achieve?

As a means of social control, it seems pretty extreme: this negation, denial or rejection of individuals as a way of pressuring them and others to change. Often it seems to entail an almost complete loss of self, acceptance and belonging as the person involved is ostracised, excommunicated, erased from the presence of their peers. A sort of moral or social “death”. (Notes One)

In terms of punishment, it’s surely powerful and must be painful. Especially if there’s no redress; no formal process; no common standards; no path for redemption. Doesn’t justice generally conform to pre-established terms? Shame normally sitting alongside a clear sense of right and wrong – a tool that’s always existed in relation to the “thought” already governing any given community. (Notes Two)

If our values and standards are in flux, doesn’t that make “shame” a volatile weapon? Given how damaging it seems to be for the psyche – many personal struggles seemingly stemming from that flawed sense of self, worth, agency or blame – isn’t it a risky concept to be throwing around as confidently as we do? On the human level, might it not cripple people’s engagement with life in scarring, unforeseeable ways?

Might it not also create an atmosphere of terror, hypervigilance, doubt, aggression, despair? A powerless uncertainty over where such lines may be or appear retrospectively. This shifting unpredictable earthquake underneath the fabric of our lives where any number of mistaken habits, traditions, beliefs or assumptions might suddenly be called into question and cast into the fiery waters of irredeemable judgement. (Notes Three)

With modern societies fluidly blending into a shared global reality, can we really be said to have one clear set of established terms? Aren’t all previous value systems and ways of life combining into an evolving code for an emerging humanity? All of our previously unshakable, well-known guidelines being revised, broken up or set against one another in pitched battles.

How are we to navigate that? How are we to renegotiate an agreeable set of values for a diverse body of people? How are we to deal with the fact others might’ve been raised with quite different beliefs, attitudes or behaviours towards common everyday occurrences? If we’re all holding firm to whatever we see as right, how’s this evolving conversation to happen? (Notes Four)

Maybe it’s only “natural” we turn to tools such as shame in an attempt to re-establish clarity. As a means of communication in a complex ongoing conversation, however, is it truly as straightforward or unproblematic as we might hope?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Tempting justifications of self
Note 1: Empathy in a world that happily destroys
Note 1: The dignity & power of a human life
Note 2: Codes of behaviour
Note 2: What is acceptable?
Note 2: People, rules & social cohesion
Note 2: Human nature and community life
Note 2: What are our moral judgements?
Note 3: Having boundaries
Note 3: In the deep end…
Note 3: Does anything exist in isolation?
Note 3: Ideas that tie things together
Note 4: What holds it all together
Note 4: The conversation of society
Note 4: Why assume there’s only one set of values?
Note 4: Detaching ourselves from the past
Note 4: Words & relating as paths to change

Looking to cultural voices that model ways through such challenges, perhaps there’s “Women who run with the wolves” or Rich Roll & the spirit of transformation.

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What should be leading us?

Of all the qualities that “live” within human society, which “should” be leading us towards our future? Should it be profit or growth – progress at almost any cost – or are there other things that could stand against such imperatives? Should it be the stronger or the weaker who are our greatest concern? Can we call ourselves “successful” as humans if we’re destroying our security or allowing our own to fall behind?

Is there just “one way” that should dominate? A sort of “survival of the fittest” mindset where one particular view of what it is to be human – what our choices, priorities or values should be – inevitably comes to drive all others from the field. As if, logically, one set of ideas must defeat all others and emerge victorious as the only way to live. Sometimes it seems to be what we’re aiming for; limiting as any such vision might be.

Almost as if all we’re really doing here is arguing over what that “way” should be: picking at all the areas “this” isn’t working, isn’t bringing our finest values to life or creating a future many of us want to be living with. That, facing such a huge disparity between our ideals and realities, we struggle to understand where others are coming from or where the right paths are toward creating better solutions down the line. (Notes One)

As if “life” is always about seeking this balance between the “top down” idealism of concepts and the “bottom up” realities of the lives we lead and ways they affect us. Isn’t there often a vast dissonance between the two? Between the values we might hold dear and the evidence presented by the world around us – all the ways we’re treating our surroundings and all that’s saying about our true priorities, concerns or beliefs.

Doesn’t it matter how our lives make us feel? This question of how well our systems work “from the inside” (Notes Two). If society’s not working from the human perspective – the perspective of all people living within it – what are we to make of that? If structures or assumptions are making anyone feel their lives aren’t worth living, how well can such a social system truly be said to be functioning?

Don’t both sides – the ideals and realities, top and bottom – form part of the one reality? Those living “within” these systems perhaps even being better placed to speak of their understanding than those at some distant, shielded “helm” where realities barely touch them. Isn’t there pragmatic wisdom to living life, knowing it, and seeing exactly how problems arise? (Notes Three)

Maybe, then, the best leadership comes from us all? Those aware of the long, convoluted philosophical conversations that led us here. Those living with the realities that conversation produced. Those imparting understanding of it through education, culture or the media. And, more generally, those upholding it all in countless big and little ways as citizens. Doesn’t society rest on the dialogue of everyone playing our parts?

Notes and References:

Note 1: One thing leads to another
Note 1: Caught in these thoughts
Note 1: Where do ideas of evolution leave us?
Note 1: Seeing where others are coming from
Note 1: What if solutions aren’t solutions?
Note 2: Shaping the buildings that shape us
Note 2: Values & what’s in evidence
Note 2: Truth, behind art and tradition
Note 2: What it is to be human
Note 2: “The way things should be” as an add-on
Note 3: Those who are leading us
Note 3: Treating people like sims?
Note 3: Humans, tangled in these systems
Note 3: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 3: Value and meaning in our lives

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Anger, and where we direct it

Of all the anger we often, quite rightly, feel in life, how much ever finds its rightful target? Aren’t a lot of our irritants remote and inaccessible? These distant, near-imaginary people we can never hope will appreciate the pain they’ve caused. Or, problems closer to home we mightn’t be able to resolve. Sometimes it just seems we’re stuck with many un-addressable things, and a lot of stagnant emotion.

Maybe it’s “modern global reality” or “life with technology”, but it seems that anger can easily be misdirected. That we might be angry about events far beyond our control, leaving us with potentially futile free-floating emotions of little productive use. Our indignation sparked off by systemic, conceptual flaws we ourselves are relatively powerless to fix.

Or, the words and sentiments of others can enrage us – all this content that’s churned out each day as people from vastly differing backgrounds join in this one, fairly unregulated conversation. Aware as we may be that words can cause incredible harm and erroneous ideas can grow to troublesome proportions away from careful observation, we perhaps hope to eliminate them before damage is done.

Within all that, aren’t we generally left with a lot of directionless, unresolved emotion? Almost as if we might start to live with this undercurrent of anger – or, sadness – at the state of the world and the people living within it. This simmering resentment, despair or frustration that often seems to be just below the surface, ready to burst into flame at any relatively minor infringement that happens around us. (Notes One)

Aren’t we aware of a great deal, these days? The ins and outs of politics, international affairs and individual lives being thrust before us at every moment. So much analysis, so many updates and topics we’re conceivably meant to keep track of and follow along with as concerned citizens and members of humanity. So much we could – probably, should – choose to care deeply about. (Notes Two)

As humans living within arguably quite flawed social systems, where are we to direct our anger? Do we fight one another, or those in positions of authority? Are our battles ideological or practical? Is it the people currently at the helm of potentially misguided ships that merit our frustrations – those shaped by and defending it – or the ones struggling under the difficulties that set in motion?

Are we to get angry at the causes or manifestations? Given how they blend together as what we simplistically call “life”, it’s perhaps impossible to separate the two: isn’t it all flowing through the complex fabric of our everyday realities? Seeing what truly caused something – where blame actually lies – mightn’t be straightforward. Like a game of pass-the-parcel where “someone” ends up seeming to be in the wrong.

In the words of Aristotle, “to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

Notes and References:

Note 1: Does anger ever, truly, help?
Note 1: Humans, judgement & shutting down
Note 1: Is telling people what we want to be true a lie?
Note 2: Where’s the reset button & can we press it?
Note 2: Reading between the lines
Note 2: What’s the right mindset for news?

Finding a good balance between the fierceness of thought and tenderness of emotion was also one element of Sensitivity & the place for feeling.

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How quickly things can change

In life, does change happen fast or slow? Everything generally being made up of tiny actions and choices, it can easily seem there’s this inertia to “how things are” and changing them would require a lot of insistent effort. That life drifted into “this way of being” over decades and centuries, building up all these habits and thought patterns that would be hard to shift. But, is that really true?

Thinking of the – probably unscientific – notion that it takes twenty-one days to change a habit, there’s this idea that “all it takes” is a consistent window of conscious intention. That deliberately focussing on something over a period of time would effectively train us in a new way of being and make that our default behaviour.

But, beyond individual habits we might hope to make or break, what about complex situations and patterns of thought? If our lives – individually or collectively – are essentially made up of many small actions and agreements, how are we to conceive of changing things on that level?

Each item on our list would presumably have its logic, its reasoning or justification for doing things that way. All coming together in some form of “big picture” that’s perhaps full of contradictory ideas: a strange mix of tradition, preference, belief, fear, and social or cultural expectations. Why we do things the way we do them seems a deeply personal reality to unpack.

I’m not even sure “how” you attempt to change the items on that list? How you’d pull one out, dust off the logic originally surrounding it and decide to do differently. You obviously “can”, but we’d be living within a shifting reality while changing our beliefs about it: unpicking the threads, discarding their origins, choosing new ideas. Where can we stand to do that? (Notes One)

So, in some ways, change might be easy – you just change something – but deciding what to do instead doesn’t seem straightforward. Do we choose an alternative simply because it’s there; because others are doing it; because it’s deemed popular; because we like the idea of it? Between all the options we’re presented with, which path should we choose?

Because, in reality, things can change very quickly. With the current situation, all our habits pretty suddenly had to change as society ground to a halt for its own preservation. Whether that lasts or things pick back up where we left off remains to be seen. How easy would it even be to create meaningful, lasting changes within the systems we currently have?

That said, haven’t recent decades given almost every aspect of life new form? Technology having shifted us into different ways of operating or thinking about things, it’s interesting to imagine how much has changed in that time: all we might’ve lost or picked up by way of its daily insistence (Notes Two).

Within it all, how clear are we of the picture that’s being created, ideas informing it, or overall meaning of the changes taking place in our lives?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Being trusted to use our discernment…
Note 1: Passing on what’s important
Note 1: The value of a questioning attitude?
Note 1: Personal archaeology
Note 1: One thing leads to another
Note 2: Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Note 2: Can “how we relate” really change?
Note 2: Mastering life’s invisible realities
Note 2: Trust in technology?
Note 2: Shaping the buildings that shape us

Somewhere alongside all this Things change, over time asked slightly different questions about the process of change.

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Will things change if we don’t make them?

Do things just continue on, unless we somehow decide to change them? Everything staying the same until the moment we do differently and alter the flow of events. As if we each have the agency to create change or keep things as they are. Everyone deciding which things they’ll carry forward, which they’ll change, and why.

One path must then be that of passivity, apathy or trust in any wisdom you’ve received: continuing on with whatever you’ve been told in the hope those before us knew what was best. Accepting “the way things are” or “how things are done” as traditions we mustn’t break. Dutifully repeating words and actions in the faith that they’re the right way to go.

Alternatively, there’s the slightly more active stance of questioning, trying to understand, seeking better solutions, “improving” how things are done, and thereby becoming responsible for whatever your intervention sets in motion (Notes One). If we feel things aren’t quite working and mightn’t be leading in the best directions, don’t we have to look with fresh eyes and make our own judgements?

Of course, then there’s always the risk of error, criticism and blame. Doing nothing but what we were told, there’s always the option of saying it wasn’t our fault. But, is that enough? If we exist in the flow of time as intelligent creatures capable of understanding the world and our roles within it, is it enough that we defer to others instead of using our own minds?

It’s perhaps not easy to say. Maybe the things the past and those within it set in motion were wise and we’d be right to follow in their footsteps. How are we to judge the rightness of any course of action? Especially in this fast-moving, interconnected modern world. How can we see how all our choices come together? To judge, we presumably need to understand realities and the significance of our place within them (Notes Two).

We might keep doing the same things, trusting it’ll lead to good outcomes – and maybe it will. But sometimes circumstances change, actions take on new meaning, and doing nothing different might mean something new: going with the flow of an altered environment (Notes Three). Don’t circumstances always change? Within our lives or the world around us, habitual choices can easily become the wrong thing.

What, then, should our involvement be? Are we to be agents of change or its passengers? We might want to be handed “the right answer” – some catch-all solution that’ll work in every situation (Notes Four) – but are there truly such prescriptions to be found? What if nothing’s going to be solved “once and for all” but everything of value needs the constant reinforcement of us reimagining what it means for any given scenario?

Maybe “life” is more a picture of ongoing engagement? The need to always read and respond wisely if we’re to ensure any changes we’re going along with or serving to create are really what we mean to be doing.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Passivity, or responsibility
Note 1: Too much responsibility?
Note 2: The need for discernment
Note 2: Right to question and decide
Note 2: The value of a questioning attitude?
Note 2: Questions around choice
Note 3: One thing leads to another
Note 3: Can we reinvigorate how we’re living?
Note 3: Making adjustments
Note 4: What if solutions aren’t solutions?
Note 4: Doing the right thing, we erase consequences
Note 4: Whether we make a difference

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How much do intentions matter?

In the scheme of things, how much do our intentions actually matter? Given how often, somewhere between the birth of our idea and the place it reaches its target, things seem to go awry, does it matter what we meant if the results are quite different?

We could have the finest intentions yet still cause devastating consequences. People might give very little thought to things, but somehow create good outcomes. It’s interesting to consider how often these things might not carry through – getting lost somewhere along their way into the real world. It’s almost like there’s two realities: the ones in our heads and the one happening all around us.

Perhaps it’s similar to communication not being successful if our meaning’s not conveyed? We have these ideas, feelings and plans in our heads – all these thoughts about our understanding of life, our relationships within it, and how we’d like things to be – and somehow need to send them out there for others to hear, so they know where we’re coming from. How often does that work out perfectly? (Notes One)

Between the words we choose, way we’re communicating and countless other factors, the likelihood of our message getting across as we hope may be quite low. It just seems things get lost on the way. As if our words and intentions all get thrown out into the void of communal reality and tend to float there, getting misinterpreted or never quite becoming what we thought.

Maybe it’s simply that any act of communication – words or deeds – is fraught with strange, uncontrollable obstacles? There’s the clarity with which we understand our own ideas and motivations; the skill we’ve got in wrapping those thoughts with words and sharing them in ways others are able to receive; then the fact others may, from their own frame of reference, interpret our meaning or delivery quite differently.

Isn’t “reality” something we have to create shared agreement over? Everyone perhaps needing to interpret things the same way, if we’re to have just one conversation about it all. As things stand, it seems we’re often cherishing our own perspectives and fighting against those others are offering. If we’re always seeing things through our own eyes, assigning our own meaning, can we ever hear what others say?

It just seems that a lot of these things take work on both sides – this whole give and take of sharing reality. Working on clarifying our own understanding of life and motivation within it seems valuable. Developing our communication skills so others stand a better chance of hearing what we say seems a worthwhile use of time. Patiently finding new ways to convey what matters, even if others don’t see it, is probably important.

Because people’s intentions surely do matter? Our understanding, awareness, concern, and the kind of values we’re basing our lives on must count for a lot in the bigger scheme of things. Those qualities might be imperfectly delivered, expressed or executed, but surely it matters that they’re there?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Going towards the unknown
Note 1: Letting people change
Note 1: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 1: Authenticity & writing our own story
Note 1: Whether we make a difference

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