Posts Tagged 'slippery slope'

Blind Spot


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.

An Infinite Moment in Time

Sometimes it takes just an instant. A moment of poor judgement, a moment of brilliance, an hour of extreme depression. It can begin or end a lifetime…or a life. The whole universe can be contained in that moment, for someone.

While the rest of us stare at our computers. Sometimes we wonder. Often we just exist, and plod on with a vague, underlying feeling of angst.

Right now many are so dismayed at the death of Robin Williams. Another in a series of famous and talented personalities we’ve learned were riddled with ‘issues’ and suffering from one of the more troubling diseases of our times: depression.

How sad it is that he reached a state where no one was able to help him. Imagine those final hours (or days?) leading up to it. He moved us. And he was also moved.

Meanwhile with much less fanfare a kid gets snuffed in Missouri by a cop. We’ll never know much of what really happened, but the bottom line is in a moment a kid is dead. Or you have a race car driver who possibly had a colossal lapse of judgement in what may have been a moment of anger or spite.

These are just moments for the pontificating world. They are the universes and lifetimes for some. What do we owe each other? Don’t wait until it’s too late.



What do you really want?

In your heart of hearts, what is it that you really want…in your relationship, your career, in life, in your self…what is it that you really want?

It’s not an easy question to answer honestly. It’s not intuitive to answer it profoundly, to move past the surface of desire and get down to what you really feel and believe. But it’s crucial to know. How can you ever get there if you don’t know?

Compare it to…what will you settle for?

Risk lies in the difference. I’m talking about real risk, where you can lose something important or valuable…where you can be hurt. Where you can hurt others.

Most of us are more pain and suffering adverse than we are desirous of fulfillment. Thus begets the slippery slope of compromise.


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