Intelligence, wisdom & common sense

Seeing life as a path of binding knowledge to self then using it to navigate our environment, how are we to view all the information currently surrounding us? All the many ways of thinking assailing us with theories or perspectives we might take up, leading us in various directions along often diverging paths. These different forms of knowledge we could embrace.

Who’s to say which is best? Don’t they simply create a different reality? The ideas we accept becoming the path we walk, the choices we make, the realities we uphold or chip away at through our lack of belief in their importance. Each person perhaps building their own reality within our collective one out of all those things they’re seeing as worthwhile or beneficial.

As humans standing within complex realities, perhaps it’s understandable we tie things together in different ways? Various shades of meaning emerging over the years as ideas hold sway before merging to become something else in this constant cross-pollination of thought. Words evolving and taking on new significance as people pick them up and relate them to altered situations.

Each society perhaps having its own distinct body of ideas it hopes to pass on – imparting all it feels to be essential for maintaining its way of life through the understanding of its members. All the conventions, attitudes, convictions and practices that together make up a culture and means of existing alongside others in workable harmony.

Isn’t part of that building up the picture of how it all comes together? All the details of our personal and social lives feeding into the collective realities woven throughout all our lives – everything we do mattering for where it fits within the larger context. Surely nothing we do really falls down the cracks into a place with no consequences? It’s all part of this broader sense of “what life is” and “how we sustain it”.

How, then, are we to place ourselves within reality? We could map it out logically and systemically with that kind of prized and valuable thinking currently reworking our lives through technology: everything broken down into its component parts, lines of causality clearly drawn, leading us toward expected and foreseeable conclusions. This idea that realities can be confidently, knowingly managed that way.

We could just adopt whatever train of thought is generally accepted and acted on – going along with prevailing opinion in whatever direction it happens to be headed. This idea that communities need to think alike and share their basic assumptions if collective life is to run along smoothly, predictably, reliably, and without any unnecessary conflict. That society might simply be asking us to agree.

Alternatively, might we not stand more actively in our knowledge? Seeing not only what society thinks and how those ideas arose, but also how that relates to our choices and their consequences. As if “being human” might mean to fully understand our lives for what they are and exactly how much all we do matters in the broadest possible sense.

Notes and References:

Any escape from cause & consequence?
Doing the right thing, we erase consequences
What if solutions aren’t solutions?
All we want to do passes through community
Common sense as a rare & essential quality
Education as an understanding of life
Can our thinking match realities?
Is there any end to the power of thought?
Charting our own course
The thinking behind technology
Somewhere between ideals & realities

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What we have to fall back on

If the grounding created in youth is something we have to fall back on in later life, what kinds of foundations are we laying? This idea that, at various points over our lifetime, we won’t have chance to “think” and what’s normally beneath our active awareness will be what rises to the surface. As if, underneath our more deliberate actions, there lies all this subconscious training or instinctive muscle-memory.

Like falling, when you’ve no time to plan a reaction and all that’s available is whatever your body knows to do without thinking. All this basic functionality or wisdom that was probably last used, needed or relied upon in childhood – that time we actively explored reality and developed all these abilities we’ve been using since then without ever really having to think about them.

Almost as if youth’s the time for laying down these habitual grooves which can then tether us into healthy patterns over the years. All those fundamental lessons that get etched deep in our understanding as the way to be: how to move, how to act, how to relate to the physical and social world surrounding us. This base level of familiarity and capability that then underpins all we might later pile on top of it.

Which patterns are we learning, though? What’s actually going into this physical, psychological or social foundation that, presumably, forms part of our general well-being and confidence in life? How much of what we experience is forging a steady basis for existence, rather than a lurching or erratic test of our balance? These, of course, are open questions, as who’s to really say what’s finding its way within our subconscious.

It just seems interesting to consider how much is tucked away there; either imparting its strength or draining our own. And, how many useful capacities might actually be waiting there for us later, when we need them. It’s fascinating to imagine how much youth – and, education – helps prepare us in ways we might never realise; that perennial wisdom might be laid down there for us to pick up down the line.

Sometimes, though, it seems youth’s increasingly a place filled with programs and agendas. And how will all those threads combine within the overarching picture of what’s being created? This sense in which we’re essentially weaving together some immensely valuable backdrop for each individual and each society into which our lives will form a part. Perhaps, though, it’s impossible to say what will come of all this.

Hopefully we’re offered things to help us deal creatively and practically with “life” – solid foundations with an overall sense of wisdom that lets us see reality with flexible enough ideas to match its unpredictable complexity. Emerging with a realistic sense of ourselves, our capabilities and the nature of this world around us. Not swamped by fear but ready to engage constructively with the many challenges ahead of us.

This idea of how we might best go about preparing humans for life seems so far-reaching to contemplate.

Notes and References:

Learning all we need to know
Everything’s interconnected
What are we primed for?
Knowledge, capacity & understanding
Passing on what’s important

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Learning all we need to know

How, in life, are we to be sure of knowing all we need to know? Ideally, of course, we would: life would somehow prepare us for all we’d encounter by having furnished us with the concepts we needed to meet all manner of evolving situations. Each person having such a deep feeling for personal and social realities that we’d all know exactly how to respond to the inevitable challenges of life.

Isn’t that, in a way, what’s required? That the ideas we have in mind match up realistically with this world around us – this rapidly shifting set of interlocking scenarios and choices that, together, makes up the realities we all share. That our minds would be filled with healthy, constructive, reliable pieces of information that, together, constitute a helpful grasp of this undeniable complexity.

Don’t we need to understand exactly how it all fits? What things “mean” for individuals, social structures, and everything else our choices play into. How our own, personal realities and needs ripple out to affect others. The elusive and delicate balance that’s needed at each point where competing demands touch upon any given thing: all those places where us and others, past, present and future converge.

How else are we to live in the world, if we don’t understand what we’re doing and why? As if “all this” is simply meaningless, habitual acts that, together, make up what we call “life”: time spent, words spoken, impacts felt, steps taken, potential destroyed. What is it all? This body of humanity charting its courses across limited space and finite resources. How are we to explain our actions?

There must be fundamental concepts behind it – basic ideas of how to live and why it matters. Underlying currents of “what it is to be human” and how well that’s currently weaving its way through the lives we lead. Beneath the churning waters of every aspect of life, isn’t there some kernel of the human being? This unit from which we extrapolated the complications of modern global society.

And, presumably, youth’s the place for getting to grips with that: the developing human mind coming into contact with the riches of our merging civilisations to arrive at a thorough yet realistic sense for “life”. Each person making knowledge their own, working things out for themselves in the relative safety of childhood, in order to comprehend their place in the flow of events.

If we’re not figuring things out “then”, what will that mean for society? If people enter into it with an incomplete understanding, appreciation or mastery of all that’s required. This sense in which education’s helping acclimatise people to reality – bringing information, developing capacities – so as to avoid problems making their way into our futures.

Although, if we’re asking people to understand and take their place within systems that don’t entirely make sense, maybe problems also lie elsewhere? Even still, seeing what the aim was and working to ensure that that’s the future we’re helping create was perhaps always the point.

Notes and References:

Education as an understanding of life
Will things change if we don’t make them?
Passing on what’s important
How fast can it all unravel?
Rich complexity of human being
Nothing short of everything
Connecting truthfully with life

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Education as an understanding of life

Within everything that’s going on around us, how is it that we piece together some sense of what it all means? Between all the thoughts, ideas, agendas, illusions or misrepresentations, how are we to ensure that the picture we’ve got in mind of “reality” is something we’d be wise to hold onto and build our lives around?

The contents of our minds must be important: all we’re letting in, weeding out, or seeking ways to work around. This sense in which our heads contain all we’ve taken in, how we’ll then interpret things, and the decisions we’re making each moment of every day. Potentially, a place of error or mistaken conclusions compounded, year on year, as our ideas clash up against reality. (Notes One)

As beings that essentially “live” from the mind, the question of how we fill it seems unfathomably significant. If “all we’re taking in” becomes the paths we’re walking, what might that mean for humanity? Education’s “aim” presumably then being to prepare people by enabling them to see how things work – all the practices and values around which we need to be structuring our lives (Notes Two).

Somehow, finding ways of giving us the knowledge and capacity to be fully human and live constructively within our society and this world of which we’re all part. Some workable sense of how individuals fit within the whole, valuing themselves and all others rightly in every area of activity. That each person might be able to judge for themselves what’s best, based on their well-formed understanding of what it all means.

Doesn’t the world “need” us to understand? Not just from our own personal perspective, but also the social or economic meaning of all that we do: how each thing echoes out to become reality within all the lives surrounding ours. Beyond that, to have some grasp of the ultimate meaning of being human – whatever each person might decide that may be.

Now that convention or tradition seem to be so rapidly falling away, how is such an understanding of life to be maintained? Given how often we’re surrounded by questionable versions of reality or insistently-held opinions, how are we to see through all that to grasp where the truth of things actually lies? Between all conflicting pressures of life, might full understanding not perhaps fall by the wayside? (Notes Three)

Sometimes it just seems the demands of life could loom so large they obscure the complexities of how we got here and where we hoped to be heading – that we might rather leave the past behind and walk away from it with convenient handfuls of facts. But if history, despite the challenge of imagining all that’s gone on within it, is what lets us understand the present, can we afford to do that? (Notes Four)

If we’re to stand within modern realities and truly grasp what’s asked of us, isn’t it important that we see what it all means, why it matters and what we can do about it?

Notes and References:

Note 1: The battlegrounds of our minds
Note 1: Do we live in different worlds?
Note 1: Can our thinking match realities?
Note 2: Everything’s interconnected
Note 2: Connecting truthfully with life
Note 2: Is this complicated or relatively simple?
Note 3: Understanding what we’re all part of
Note 3: Seeing where others are coming from
Note 3: How quickly things can change
Note 4: Knowing the value of what you have
Note 4: Going along with what we see
Note 4: Detaching ourselves from the past

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Is this complicated or relatively simple?

Where do we stand between complexity and simplicity? Life, in many ways, seems undeniably complex, but, when broken down, aren’t the individual transactions or choices relatively simple? As if “all this” is a complex sequence of simple steps drawn together in ways that ultimately work wisely, harmoniously, sustainably – at least with regard to nature. But isn’t it also true of our lives? Simple choices, stacked up.

This sense in which everything can be broken down into basic steps which can then be strung back together in a variety of impressively complicated ways. Learning, perhaps, being the act of breaking things down to the building blocks from which knowledge can be recreated and creatively applied within all the true complexity of life, nature, society and the world we live in (Notes One).

Beneath it all, then, is there some form of wisdom? A simple set of principles from which we might successfully navigate all of life’s seemingly unconnected choices. Maybe that’s what technology’s looking for: the code from which life can be reconfigured. But, even in our lives, are there fairly universal values we might rely upon? Some fundamental understanding of how life works that can serve us well in all areas. (Notes Two)

As if there’s thought in nature, in society, and in us – thought we might unravel, understand, appreciate and work with (Notes Three). Each step simply connecting in with many others, emerging as the life we lead and consequences we set in motion. As if, as humans, we might come to understand life and operate creatively within it – knowing what each thing means and the importance of how it’s all coming together.

Isn’t there, then, this sense of “who knows what”? The level of insight different people within society might have of the realities we’re all living in. Children being the ones needing it broken down into meaningful, relatable, accessible steps they might take into the world – education, hopefully, establishing within them a solid yet flexible foundation for life. Some, perhaps, knowing far more than we’re told.

It seems interesting and important to ask such questions; to figure out what ideas people have in mind and where they might lead. Can’t complicated things generally be spoken in simple terms? A few steps and almost anyone could grasp the principles at play, value of what’s at stake, and logic being used to determine the outcome.

As thinking beings, isn’t it important we understand what we’re part of? What our choices and participation “mean” for the world and all those within it. The kind of future we’re serving to create. How clear is any of that? How transparent are the options we’re presented with and systems they’re playing into? Why does so much seem concealed rather than laid bare? (Notes Four)

Modern life might be becoming too complicated for many to fully understand, but isn’t it important we do? Given our lives impact what’s around us in countless ways, what does it mean if we don’t know what we’re doing?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Everything’s interconnected
Note 1: Connecting truthfully with life
Note 1: Passing on what’s important
Note 2: Systems, their power, whose hands?
Note 2: What should be leading us?
Note 2: Common sense as a rare & essential quality
Note 2: Do we need meaning?
Note 3: The thought surrounding us
Note 3: The battlegrounds of our minds
Note 3: Does anything exist in isolation?
Note 3: Ideas that tie things together
Note 4: Treating people like sims?
Note 4: Does technology oversimplify things?
Note 4: How are we supposed to choose?

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Everything’s interconnected

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

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Social trends, educational realities

With all that’s going on within society – all the attitudes, trends, patterns, ideas, and problems – it’s interesting to consider how it’s working its way into and out of the classroom. Because, if we take it that schools are both a social microcosm and a starting point for many of the things we’ll face in the future, it can hardly be without consequence how well such realities are being resolved, integrated or otherwise dealt with.

Doesn’t everything filter into the classroom? The general attitude we have towards learning, teachers and peers. The capacities we have for paying attention, regulating ourselves or getting along with others. The atmosphere of focus or flippancy; cooperation or disruption; respect or disregard. Many of these qualities seem able to make or break the tasks of education; perhaps, rendering it next to impossible (Notes One).

Sometimes it seems incredible, all that’s currently flying round within society: all the novelty, distraction, criticism, aggression, silliness. Precisely when “life” seems to need our serious, disciplined, intentional engagement in solving the many, many difficulties we’re facing, it’s almost as if the very opposite is what’s most in evidence around us. (Notes Two)

Obviously, the world’s changed a lot in a short space of time (Notes Three). So many of the things – like tradition, convention, expectation – that seemingly used to hold us in fairly harmonious coexistence appear to have fallen away. In their place, we seem to have this strangely insistent self-interest of each wanting to express themselves with little evident concern around shared realities or the interests of others.

Isn’t everything we do both mutual and collective? This sense in which we’re “all” individuals within something bigger than the sum of our parts – all our lives coming together into this “thing” we call community, society or the world. The idea of how we might successfully integrate the unique personality and challenges of each one of us into a workable whole is beginning to seem an increasingly difficult prospect. (Notes Four)

If educators aren’t faced with classrooms of children respectfully engaged with the task of learning and appreciative of the opportunity it represents, how can it work? Of course, if people aren’t seeing “education” as valuable or worthwhile within the world as it now stands, maybe it’s only “natural” this becomes the situation: arguably, the kinds of things being taught aren’t what the future will demand.

Maybe, as much as the world’s changed, how we prepare for it must also change? This sense in which education and society are almost reflections of each other, as we distil down what’s truly essential (Notes Five). How clear are we, though, on the essentials of “being human”? It seems crucial we are; unless we’re happy to simply follow the paths laid out into society’s many marketplaces.

With so much of our future, individually as much as collectively, placed in the hands of education, isn’t it important we get to grips with its potential for either resolving or enhancing the many problematic aspects of modern reality?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Education as a breaking away?
Note 1: Respect, rebellion & renovation
Note 1: What are we primed for?
Note 2: Desire to retreat, need to engage
Note 2: Visual language and spaces
Note 3: How quickly things can change
Note 3: All in such a rush
Note 3: Power and potential
Note 4: What you’re left with
Note 4: The self within society
Note 4: Mutual awareness and accommodation?
Note 4: Integrity and integration
Note 5: Where’s the reset button & can we press it?
Note 5: The incredible responsibility of freedom

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Connecting truthfully with life

Isn’t life a case of needing to know who we are and where we stand? Not just in the sense of our own personality or background, important as those are, but also the larger sense of our place within the ongoing flow of humans calling this their home. Maybe our heritage, our responsibility, is as much “human” as it is systemic or personal? “To live” being to stand within it all.

Understanding this world we’re stepping into – what we’ve been aiming for; how well it’s going; which parts our lives play in the success of any particular aspect of it – seems important if we’re to have any ability to correct things as they drift off track (Notes One). This sense of needing to line ourselves, our thoughts, up truthfully with “reality” in order to fill our roles wisely and responsibly.

And it’s interesting, in that light, to think how much of all we’re told sits within theories other people have about life: political, economic, social, spiritual, psychological beliefs others hold now or held in the past. In a way, aren’t almost all the thoughts we have about reality simply theories we’ve accepted and built our lives around? The best, most convincing or pragmatic solutions we’ve been offered so far.

If we had the “perfect” theory – one that encompassed absolutely everything and guided it all towards total harmony, eradicating every problem on the way – life would, presumably, line up with our thinking and all our actions fit perfectly within it. Its compelling logic having been something our minds could not deny, we might’ve happily taken our place within such a beautiful theoretical system.

As it is, it often seems we’re living jumbled up alongside all kinds of ideas about life – all the many and various interpretations people have made, conclusions they’ve reached, and plans they’ve set in motion. Each action, each word constantly spilling over into this shared space we all people by our presence. Each person, conceivably, having quite different ideas in mind about what’s going on and what it all means.

Surely though, somewhere, truth comes into it? This idea that there’s truth behind our intentions, our understanding, our capacity, that we could, somehow, manage to communicate between us. Creating common knowledge, if you will, over what we meant – however imperfectly we might have executed our vision. This “truth” that’s somehow split among each one of us; until we succeed in bringing it to life. (Notes Two)

Learning what everything means – behaviours, systems, expressions, artefacts – seems the essential task of education (Notes Three). This sense in which we’re forever trying to pass on an understanding of what matters, so people know enough to take their place in this world. As if, by learning the “code” for reading reality and speaking into it, we’ll eventually appreciate what it all means and act well on that knowledge.

With the world now being so blended and fast-moving, though, how can we ever be completely sure of whatever “truth” we have in mind?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Navigation, steering & direction
Note 1: Understanding what we’re all part of
Note 1: One thing leads to another
Note 1: The power of understanding
Note 2: Joining the dots
Note 2: Modern challenges to relationship
Note 2: How much do intentions matter?
Note 2: Diplomacy and knowing where we stand
Note 2: Is honesty actually the best policy?
Note 3: Where education stands within society
Note 3: Passing on what’s important
Note 3: Common knowledge

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Where education stands within society

When it comes to learning about “life” – where we stand, all we’ve been through, how society works, which qualities we’ll need throughout our years – it’s interesting to consider where our ideas come from (Notes One). As, while there may be limitless ways of approaching life and choosing to live it, won’t the decision over “which” paths to take and things to hold in mind essentially “become” what society then “is”?

Isn’t education, in a way, leading young people onto the paths we want them to walk? Telling them tales that hopefully make sense of the world around them and help them identify, uphold and pass on all the things that matter within that landscape. Bringing together a comprehensive, balanced, compassionate understanding of “life” as it currently stands along the path humanity’s been walking.

Distilling all the knowledge, understanding, insight and vision of human heritage down into accessible, digestible, compatible nuggets of wisdom that might grow up alongside the next generation of adults seems a beautiful task. This hope of, somehow, conveying where we’ve come from and what we’re aiming for – each of us always a step, a link in many long chains – so that everything’s responsibly taken in hand.

Yet, between all the voices and agendas, how much agreement do we have over any of these things? Aren’t everyone’s priorities, concerns and interests increasingly incompatible? Sometimes it seems “education” is simply the meeting point of countless causes: economic, governmental, cultural, social, personal, global, spiritual, environmental. This vortex of passionate, heartfelt concern within which children live.

Because, of course, we know youth is “the moment” where the future’s set in motion and foundations are laid that can take lifetimes to unravel, rework and set straight (Notes Two). So much happens there to shape each individual’s self-esteem, social confidence and general engagement with charting their “best path” through life.

Given the power formative experiences have in shaping our lives, it’s perhaps hardly surprising everyone has something to say: don’t we all want to fix problems, smooth out differences, create systems that work for everybody? Bringing all that together in workable ways doesn’t seem straightforward, though (Notes Three).

If the task of education is to stand between the interests of state, business, family, culture and the individual and mediate some kind of respectful agreement between all parties, how’s that to work? Attempting to “redress” social or cultural backgrounds seems to step between children and their families; an interesting place for anyone to try to stand.

As times get more fraught, the question of how it’s all going to play out seems important. If children are to exist at this strange vortex of cultural, economic, technological, political and familial forces, how are they to broker some kind of understanding over which voices to trust or paths to follow? (Notes Four)

We might all have something to say about life’s priorities, but the idea of who we choose to become and how well it’s coming together into a healthy, harmonious society doesn’t seem easily resolved.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Where do we get our ideas from?
Note 1: Knowledge, capacity & understanding
Note 1: Ideas around education & responsibility
Note 1: Common knowledge
Note 2: Personal archaeology
Note 2: Living as an open wound
Note 2: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 2: Modern challenges to relationship
Note 2: The self within society
Note 3: Mutual awareness and accommodation?
Note 3: Understanding what we’re all part of
Note 3: The thought surrounding us
Note 4: Which voice can we trust?
Note 4: Passing on what’s important
Note 4: The stories that we hear
Note 4: Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Note 4: Reading between the lines

Looking to the timeless nature of such concerns around the ideas we have in mind was one focus within Plato & “The Republic”.

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Passing on what’s important

How much of what we’re all passing on in life is truly important? Not just to us and those immediately around us, but also for our community and the world more widely. Wouldn’t we hope that almost everything we were being told were meaningful, important, and worth structuring our lives around? If not, what kinds of bricks are we building our lives with?

Isn’t our view of life and sense of what’s important within it going to be shaped by everything we’re told? By all the direct and indirect examples offered to us by family, community, culture, education, news, and so forth. Don’t we take it all in? Accepting it, on some level, as an acceptable way to be living, relating, talking, thinking, acting, feeling, and behaving in life.

It seems reasonable to assume that’s how we’re getting our ideas on things (Notes One). But, how much of what’s around us is being offered up in the knowledge that “that” is what’s happening here? In all probability, many of these things must fall under being entertaining, enjoying ourselves or just the light-hearted passing of time. Maybe it’s assumed we’ll “know” not to take things seriously or make them part of everyday life?

How are we to know which things to take to heart, though? If we’re being presented with a completely mixed selection of serious and ridiculous ideas about life, how can we know which we’re dealing with? Not being clear on that, there must be a chance we’d take silly suggestions seriously while brushing significant ones aside. Wouldn’t that be quite difficult for the world around us, in a number of ways?

Passing anything on, there presumably needs to be quite a high level of awareness around what we’re saying, what it really means, why it matters, and how those we’re conveying it to will need to integrate it into their own, personal understanding of life. The “recipient” presumably also needs, somehow, to know which things to take seriously – isn’t accepting what’s handed to you a pretty essential step in the chain? (Notes Two)

In that, it seems there’s quite a large communicative element to living within society: all these ways we’re establishing, acting upon, upholding, and conveying meaning through all the moments of life. This idea that “the way we live” paints a picture of how we see things and how much we’re valuing them all (Notes Three). We might not truly “mean” everything we sometimes seem to be saying, but it’s perhaps all still out there.

Doesn’t it all matter quite a lot for the lives we’ll be living? If the ideas we have in mind prepare us for life and how to live it – furnishing us with the insight and skill needed to navigate wisely from beginning to end – this whole task of successfully passing on what matters seems so important. As does developing the discernment needed to clearly see what’s being offered and know whether to make it part of your own view of life.

Notes and References:

Note 1: What we know to pass on
Note 1: How ideas find their place in the world
Note 2: Education as a breaking away?
Note 2: Knowledge, capacity & understanding
Note 2: Meaning within it all
Note 3: Is honesty actually the best policy?
Note 3: The value of a questioning attitude?
Note 3: Values, and what’s in evidence
Note 3: Joining the dots

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