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There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.-Maya Angelou
Facebook is bad for you! Money spoils people! All these slogans are a way to shirk responsibility. Tools don’t ruin relationships but people do. Tools don’t worsen anybody’s character. Let’s not hide behind the tools.
I am sure you know them too: people who insist that in the past everything was better. That no good music has been created, no worthy books have been written and no decent politician has been in charge for decades. It is often paired with this idea that people (or young people specifically) today are more rotten and broken than in the past.
This attitude always infuriated me and I didn’t know quite why. What this attitude says is “there’s no beauty, integrity and creativity today. My expectations have not been met and therefore the only conclusion I can draw is that the whole world is crap. I don’t have to bother testing my assumptions by say looking for beauty in contemporary culture. I don’t have to open my heart enough to be touched by something that wasn’t sanctioned yet. But saying the world is crap makes me sound like a moody 13 year old so let’s just say the world is crap today and I, the person of discerning taste, am superior because unlike you schmucks, I can actually decide what is worthy music, literature or politics.”
This doesn’t make anybody discerning. It just proves, that you would rather wait for the expert critics to have decided what is worthy and what isn’t. The cacophony of diverse opinions dies down with time and things get very very simple: the winning attitude survives the rest is forgotten. It’s super easy to choose the right side of war or literature when it’s decades back and consensus has been reached. It’s the opposite of discerning because there are no alternatives to choose from.
I have heard rumours that some people get the itch to clean in spring. Out with the broken, the forgotten that was never used and redundant clutter. Yet inside our mind we hold on to beliefs, half-truths and the plane useless. Let’s spring clean our brain as well.
Many of us know if a musician plays a wrong key even if we have never heard the song before. There is an inherent pattern or order we understand without having to consciously worry about learning it. But we couldn’t do it if there were lots of other sounds distracting us.
Let’s pay attention to our own rhythms and patterns by tuning in. We will know if something’s right or off simply by paying attention. We don’t always have to look outside.
Earth laughs in flowers.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today I woke up with a slightly stiff back. The explanation I give myself will change a lot about how I feel about it and the whole day.
- That happens when you’re over thirty. I will just have to live with it.
- My muscles are tensed up, I should see a chiropractor.
- Maybe I got cold during this snowy night. Let’s see how I feel in two days and decide then.
- Why always me? I hate seeing doctors all the time.
- I may have made an usual movement during soccer practice.
Each of these explanations has very different consequences:
- Takes power away from me. I can’t change my age so I can’t change the hundreds or thousands of ailments coming for me.
- This is a solution focused explanation which takes the problem seriously without feeling sorry for the self in a wimpy way.
- Similar to number two, but more patience.
- This also takes power away from me in a ridiculous way, as if the universe were out to get me.
- Encourages me to think things through coolly.
Same trigger, very different explanations. When in doubt let’s take the issue seriously while choosing the most empowering story to tell ourselves.