Posts Tagged 'alternate universe'

Blind Spot

selfreflection3.erase

Aside from our other senses, we are temporarily blind to the half of the world located behind our head at any given moment. Some call that our blind spot. However, it’s not completely blind because we’re aware of the fact that we aren’t seeing it, not to mention the fact that the blindness is usually pretty easy to remedy when we need to, though it can be dangerous if we’re not paying attention.

Contrast that with our actual blind spot. Ironically the very place where the eye connects to the brain (via the optic nerve) is an area on our retina where we do not see – the blind spot. We do not notice it, and are thus unaware of it, because our brain fills the gap by extrapolating the likely content from the surroundings. We make it up. Fortunately this defect in our vision is small enough that it rarely causes a problem.

Combine those two characteristics and there would be significant issues. Imagine large areas of your vision that appear to be functioning fine, but are in fact being made up by your brain. We would call that being delusional (or one of a few other maladies).

Yet we are, in fact, delusional to some extent. We roll through life with our programming while being largely unaware that we’re thinking and acting according to it rather than objectively processing all the input we receive. These blind spots in our awareness – things we haven’t been programmed to be sensitive to – are all around waiting to trip us up. Most of the time the stumbles are minor, however, on occasion we can go pretty far astray and not be aware of it. We can hit the wall and crash, or we can do more subtle damage that we don’t see for a while, or we get what appears to us as having been randomly blindsided.

There is no solution to this in the moment. No easy shortcut to improve your odds beyond simply acquiring more wisdom as you experience more of life. You must start by accepting that what you see and believe is not an objective reality. It is simply what your brain has selectively chosen to make you conscious of. The best you can do is educate yourself and work at being informed and aware. Work at empathy by forcing yourself to be sensitive to others. Prepare within reason for mishaps so you can recover. There is a discipline to managing the risk, but in the end it’s impossible to eliminate it all. Being prepared includes the perspective of knowing we can’t be completely prepared. We must still be willing to act. To risk that we may be stepping into something that isn’t as it appears. Once we recognize how often this actually happens in our lives it could help us reconcile the fear we have when we do see the potential pitfalls. The risks our limbic system chooses to put in front of us are often as overblown as the risks we don’t see that are glossed over. Even the seemingly sure things had them. We just weren’t aware of it.

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Crumbs

Ghosts

The leftover scraps that aren’t used. Not always actively discarded, just not cared for or even noticed in many cases. Think of projects started, but not finished. Photos taken, but not looked at more than (maybe) once. Ideas (poems, songs, papers, letters, thoughts) written down, but not revisited. Slowly turning to dust in an attic or on a shelf somewhere. Pieces of our history and makeup casually brushed aside in favor of the urgent and riveting moments of now. Like film frames on the cutting room floor these annals of our lives succumb to entropy and become trivia, or are completely forgotten. What story would they tell about us?

And what of the people along the way? Some, perhaps important at one time, now relegated to mere acquaintances, or lost to time altogether. Or truly gone. Even the unimportant ones had a story. We could have connected.

And we must know that even though we’re each our own little sphere of awareness in the world, we hold a place of unimportance for others, with the relatively few notable exceptions. Of course, many times it is unnoticed because the process/status is mutual. But sometimes we do see it. There’s that moment where we begin to realize that we’re the scraps of someone else’s life. Our existence may be acknowledged, and maybe we even get a smattering of quality time, but it becomes obvious we don’t really have a place. Even though we may want to, it is not our choice to make. We are discarded. Not in a mean or callous way. Just a thoughtless one. Just like crumbs, we disappear under other footsteps into the pile of the carpet of life and will not be noticed. Quite a hollow feeling when we care enough to recognize it.

So many stories unexplored, like ghosts passing through one another without feeling. We’re too selfish or afraid. What could our lives be if those connections had been made or maintained?

Nurture.

Half the World

Half the world wants to be the other half.

Think versus Do

The sometimes crippling weight of leading versus the powerlessness of following

The desire for popularity versus the difficulty navigating the superficial

The boredom of this career versus the risk of that one

The lack of recognition of the engineer versus the lack of respect of the salesman

The danger and chaos of the city versus the boredom and closed mindedness of the country

The loneliness of the wallflower versus the emptiness of the extrovert

The burden of being self-aware versus the random and frustrating outcomes for the clueless

Here versus There

We struggle because in most cases we got “here” in part through a series of semi-random occurrences: luck, or fate if you believe in that. Even the things we thought through and decided to do or change were based on limited information. We’re very well aware of what OUR difficulties are. We don’t know what it’s really like to live in that alternate universe of being the other way. We tease ourselves with little fantasies about it. We sometimes even take actions to try it out. We rarely commit. We can act in another capacity for a time, but we are who we are, and most of us who are “sane” believe we aren’t going to fundamentally change that.

Better get on with it and be.


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