The older I get, the less sure I am of what I know, but the more sure I am of myself, because I know myself better. Combing through childhood, the psychology behind being drawn to familiarity, and my personality strengths – they highlight limitations.
Limitations and common detriments are important to know. This is why living in the information age is the best time to be alive, because we can sort through our thinking and examine ourselves and data more objectively. We are working together to comb through what is real and what is helpful going forward.
When I accepted my limitations, I was able to gain focus and clarity. When you’re a child, you don’t have airs about you, you are yourself in an unadulterated form, and so it provides extremely valuable information about who you have always been.
For centuries till now, humans have explained whatever they didn’t know with projection. They put their personality or perspective in the gaps of understanding. The world appeared flat from our vantage point, so this was an accepted fact. White light looked white, not a rainbow combining to one. There were things we had no explanation for, so even if a theory sounded implausible, there was often nothing else with which to counter.
Most of us have simulated our own reality, twisting the truth to fit our pre-made value system. A professor once said, “There is a lot of reality, and very little you, so you better make sure you’re on the side of it.” Perfectionists detest reality, and so can be unable to bridge the roads to bring idealism to this world: For an unhealthy perfectionist, impatience, anger, and control are paramount. For the healthy perfectionist, patience and judiciousness emerge. Maybe impatience and control produce results, but not long-term. The long-term is on the side of reality.
Every person projects into the unknown to some degree. This is why humans depend on what is articulated from another, because unless you are an almost exact mirror of another person in society, you will project your values into the other person’s needs or desires. When we recognize that our words and gifts speak more about us than others, we see things more purely.
I am drawn to people familiar to me, in either personality or upbringing. I remember the day I lost my belief in systems. There were many inconsistencies and injustices that I couldn’t defend. It’s a devastating thing, to lose community and surety in a brief time period, and I’ve watched the effect it takes on others. There is a lot of incentive to keep things as they are. Nothing ever feels the same. Childhood imprints upon us a taste for certain things, and those preferences largely stay to some degree.
I will always be hopeful. In my bed at night, I always held hope that there was a God, and that he was wise and caring, that he’d allow Pat in. Every person hopes differently and describes God differently, and I listen carefully because each person focuses on the text that resonates with their values. I held out hope for the future, but I didn’t hold to the verses that I had enjoyed, the wisdom of the past, which was my mistake.
The systems I left didn’t strive for objectivity. Most systems prioritize conclusion over all things – and there’s good reason for this: When you can cut research short, you receive confidence and productivity, which (1) was our greatest priority in the days before electricity for survival and (2) those that are most productive make the rules in societies. What we lose for cutting research short is perspective, innovation, flexibility, and accuracy.
The information age challenges systems because the list of human biases and a great deal of knowledge is accessible, so bias is harder to stand by.
No peace in resentment, no wisdom:
Leaving systems behind was not an error, but my error was that I justified my resentment. I was resentful of the people that abused these systems, the people that backed the reprehensible and inconsistent, the disregard for biases. I projected my priorities onto those in control.
But there is nothing more deadly than an us versus them mentality since the history of man, because when we are on the defense, most things are justified, a level head is hard to keep, and a great deal of perspective is cut off.
I was reduced to instinct without an internal protocol to handle common circumstances. When you lose courage, clarity and peace of mind are close behind. Perhaps with integrity and introspection, peace can be found in the middle of any system, even.
I went back to the start, to my childhood and went through each premise separately, not tying them to a person or ideology. When I put aside my pride, I could gather experience, draw from the past and all principles I’ve heard, to form a personal sustainable protocol. I asked people for help and for direction. In the end, every person has to go their way and defend their systems and choices, find the most objectivity they can find and test it against reality.
We don’t set millennials versus Baby Boomers, conservatives versus liberals, or thinkers versus feelers. To prioritize only what we are takes the humanity and value from the individual. Pride hampers growth, limiting us to solve problems in the ways we’ve always tried. But without pride, there are lessons to learn from everyone and in every circumstance.