• Posted: May 30, 2011 08:46:08
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Though there are often many ways to look at things, getting comfortable with undeniable reality is a trick. I say a trick, because confronting reality requires us to fix a version of ourselves, a version we may not feel is complete or adequate to circumstances. Sometimes there is time to make adjustments. Other times not. Preparation can enlarge options. Surprise always diminishes them.
Bulking up, menacing tattoos, displaying colors, faces we put on, even geeky glasses, are all overt tricks to help control the reality we suspect we will be forced to confront. There are covert tricks too, guns, knives, explosives, secret alliances, advanced knowledge gleaned from surveillance networks or scientific research. Then there are the various manifestations of wishful thinking: prayer, homage to gods, rituals, incantations, camouflage, magic potions, drugs and alcohol.
Much aligned evolution has equipped us with a few tools for confronting the unexpected that far too few of us appreciate and cultivate: cognitive processing. Danger makes itself known to us through sensory information. Sorting that information into meaningful categories is step one. Too few categories and we misunderstand the reality we face. Cultivating an appreciation of subtle distinctions can help us cope. Modeling dynamics and relationships is step two. Once we understand what we face, a winning response is possible. Failure to understand dooms us. Research and practice improves our ability to model effectively. Step three is imagination and creativity. Dreaming up a way to adapt to or even turn an unanticipated situation into an advantage within available resources is a trick no other trick can match. But again, it's a mental skill that requires cultivation and practice. It won't just happen.
May you always find undeniable reality an enjoyable challenge, never something to fear.
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
23.2 mm 110 mm