This post pertains to the realities of learning, change and the importance of truth. When we learn, beginning as small children, we take in abstract thoughts and ideas, we learn how to get around and deal with our world. Like programming a computer we fill our minds with data, and like children, we look to our future. But the computer analogy only goes so far, we’re not computers, we’re complex organic beings. Educating a human being is not exactly the same as programming a personal computer. A major difference is that with us the software (ideas, thoughts, mental constructs we take in) significantly direct the physical development of our brain. Our neurons create connections and pathways to accommodate our growing body of information. You might say our software significantly directs the development of our hardware.
In our day to day lives are we creating an internal “map” of the world which is going to serve us well? Or are we building neuron bridges to nowhere? Does the world increasingly make sense to us as we see and understand the interconnectedness of it all? Do we recognize and feel that we are vital beings within a vital world? Or do we feel increasingly lost and isolated? The presence, or lack of, truth can make all the difference.
There is another important aspect to the physical reality of our brain “arranging” itself to accommodate the concepts we learn, internalize, assimilate. When we want to “change our mind” about something, it is not simply a matter of erasing the previous content and inputting the new. There are physical structures, connections within the neurons of our brain which may require change, reorientation. The more central to our core beliefs and behaviors the concepts we want to change are, the more complex the change required.
In a book entitled “Aesthetics of Change” author Bradford P. Keeney describes change as being a recursive process. We visit and revisit the matter at hand gradually reshaping our thinking and behavior.
This concept dovetails nicely with the physical reality of a myriad of neuron connections that may need to reorient in order to be in place to accommodate the desired new patterns. And the process may also require new neurons to develop and take their place within the brain in order to have the circuitry available to accommodate the change. Both of these phenomenon take time. Gradually we address enough of the various aspects of the matter within our mind until we have sufficient detailing in place, until we have tipped the “neural scale” toward change.
We need to be realistic, patient, forgiving and supportive with ourselves and others when we’re in a process of significant change. When we find ourselves backsliding with a thinking pattern or behavior that we have resolved to change, we need to recognize the event, process any new thoughts or information we realize during the event and renew our commitment and effort to the desired change. Persistence in the process is going to have a lot to do, maybe everything to do, with our chances for success!
We are inescapably a part of the world and universe in which we live. The good news is that what we need for an enjoyable, meaningful, fulfilling life is here, now. The question is are we tuned into our reality in a way that allows us to recognize and access what we need? How we perceive and feel about our world and our lives is often a matter of how much truth we have operational in our life.
Whether or not the information and concepts we take in are accurate, truthful, very much affects our ability to negotiate the world around us. This is equally true in regard to both the very nearly insignificant and the most important issues we face.
Imagine you are a world traveler. You have just landed in a strange city in a strange country. You don’t speak the language. There are some places you want to see and some things you want to get done. Fortunately, you thought to purchase a guide book before your trip. You consult your guidebook and start on your way. But the guidebook’s directions are not accurate, you can’t find the places you want and need to find. You become increasingly frustrated, upset, disappointed. By the end of the day you’re feeling worn out, depressed and ready to go home. Now think of that scenario as being your life.
A lack of accurate information about our world, what’s going on, who is doing what, truth in other words, can and will have the same sort of negative effects in our lives. We can and will be as negatively affected, as lost, as a visitor in a strange land with a faulty guidebook.
If we are in harmony with our environment things go more smoothly for us. There is less stress and friction in our lives. If, as in the traveler scenario above, we are trying to do our best but are working with faulty, inaccurate information; then we will be plagued with things not going the way we want. Our best intentions may remain unfulfilled dreams. We can become ineffectual, experience failure, not because of a deficit within our intentions or our efforts, but because we have been working with inadequate, faulty information.
A lack of truth will diminish both the quality and quantity of our lives.
It is not in our best interests to become cavalier or insensitive to whether a thing is true or not. Somehow, someway the falsehoods in the world will affect us either directly or indirectly. One of my favorite sayings is; “Culture is to people as water is to fish” (author unknown). Just as fish do not do well in polluted water, people do not do well in a polluted culture. Many things can pollute a culture. All of them in some way are related to a deficit of or a disregard for truth.
We need to recognize the importance truth plays in our internal ecology and our attempts to negotiate our world. Truth is what will provide us with mental coherency and integrity. Truth can save us from the sometimes painful, grueling chore of having to reorient our minds, our lives. The reality of the world-at-large is that too often people are intentionally or inadvertently sent building lives around erroneous information or falsehoods. We owe it to ourselves, our families and loved ones to make a dedication to truth central within our personal values.
Speak out! However, it is essential to realize it’s a dialogue. Share, listen, learn, adjust, refine.