Monday, February 22, 2010
Diversity and adversity are necessary catalysts for personal development. We all want to grow, to develop, to become more than we are. None of us want the adversity, but it seems that the development cannot be had without the adversity. The same with diversity: there cannot be change and change without pain – birth pangs of a sort.
No eruption from a chrysalis comes without pain. And yet we are not masochists.
Youth grows through ignorance, but beyond that first flush growth requires courage because we know that it will hurt and we have no joy in pain.
To growth and courage; to Life!
Success in life requires the embodiment of opposites: to be tough and tender, to be focused and exploratory, to be dissatisfied and accepting, to be exacting and ….
How does unshakeable conviction allow for fallibility? How is passion reconciled with reason?
Are you all of one thing or many things? Do you embrace ambiguity?
I realise now that it does no good simply to ask these questions without also attempting personal answers. I think that you are less interested in the questions that I can raise than in the tentative responses I can make. Not to risk failure is to remove the possibility of admiration. So, I should care and not care all at once.
I think that I am all of many things; that I know much and understand little and that my certainties diminish with each year. To want to be ordinary takes great courage. I do not know if such a desire is admirable. I do not know my becoming self.
It is not possible to properly judge people; we lack enough information. Social sanction is effective and necessary: I am my brother's keeper.
It is impossible to change another's mind; we lack authority. As with children, example is most persuasive.
It is possible to change ourselves. It is also very painful. Why would you do it?
I have seen women present with hugely ulcerated breasts from breast cancer that had been growing for months. Asked why they had not sought medical advice earlier they would respond that they had hoped it would "just go away". Delay guaranteed an early death. I could never understand it.
There are people at the opposite spectrum: "I sprained my wrist 3 weeks ago. I am still getting the odd twinge. No, it's not painful really. Yes I can move it fine. No, I haven't hurt it again. Why today? Oh, I just thought that I'd make sure, you know, that it's nothing serious. It's fine? Really? Ok. Thank you so much."
People are entirely without logic.
School teaches us about science: Newton's laws, organic chemistry, Ptolemy's triangle. School misleadingly teaches us that things are explicable. People are not explicable. Still, we seek to understand others in the hope that they are less muddled than ourselves.
Apropos relationships: candour actually does work.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
This is an almost universal response to personal disaster. Disaster seeks no desert.
"Why?" questions are very often not useful because they do not admit comprehensible answers. They are intensely circular.
The secret to life is not to get stuck: accept what happens and move on.
I have always held that it is not necessary to be obvious. I do so now despite Murphy's Law – clarity is no guarantee of understanding: if you explain something so clearly, so simply, that no-one could possibly misunderstand, someone will. As someone else observed, nothing is foolproof: fools are ingenious.
Of course, I have not been obvious. It is the only consolation for being misunderstood….
I am committed to balance, good habits and small wins. Kegan observes, nevertheless, that such agreeable public commitments are often sabotaged by unacknowledged internal commitments. Read that as FEAR.
Success, however defined, can only be achieved through such process: balance, good habits and small wins.
It is no error that lack of balance is associated with insanity and achievement mandates persistence which is habitual and every great object attained must be reached incrementally: Even the greatest journey begins with ….
Knowledge of the desiderata is not enough. Life is lived in deeds not beliefs. The Japanese demand "Fu jen jikko" – "No words, action!" – but actions are powered by meaning and meaning is shaped by words.
So as a gift of meaning, a yardstick and a recipe I offer this: balance, good habits and small wins.
Failure is not equivalent to incapability. Capable people fail. Successful people fail. Failure like success is dependant on intent and context and perspective.
There can be no learning without the possibility of failure and self-as-learner is a highly efficacious self-concept. Especially today.
People who consider themselves successful attend to their successes not their failures despite the fact that their failures outnumber their successes. People who consider themselves failures attend only to their previous failures: belief becomes self-fulfilling.
Easy to say and difficult to do: Court failure; learn; move on.
Comity and fairness go well beyond law and justice. Justice is the impartial application of the law and the law is a matter of legislation. Law gave us Treblinka and apartheid.
It is accepted that good people can do bad things: there is a difference between action and disposition. And circumstances can be extenuating. Life can be harsh; it is certainly and indubitably unjust. However, that does not necessitate that it be unfair. A will to fairness is hard-wired into our brains: we know it when we see it.
Children of 3 and 4 can tell you credibly that something is unfair.
Comity and fairness constitute the essence of the social contract. Cooperation is a superior survival strategy and gifting is both selfish and altruistic: there is a social ecology.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I wrote a letter to my one true love, my primary, my alpha and omega;
I wrote a letter to my loves, my moon, my sun, my tides, my firmament;
I wrote my beloved; I wrote our magic, our music, our mystery;
I wrote all the things I could not say, all the things she would not hear;
I wrote my joy, I wrote my fear;
I wrote my touch, my breath, my heart;
I wrote her taste, her sighs, her light;
I wrote my love a letter and put it on my wall;
I wrote our magic, our music, our mystery;
and when I was done I found
I wrote my love in a language I could not read.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
As a child my perfect world was one in which I had immediate access to the answer, whatever the question. I almost live in that world were I to be asking the same questions I asked as a child.... My questions now are wicked, dynamic, insoluble, tenuous, poetic....
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
I believe that there are several recurring and continuing tasks that are independent of life-stages and roles. These are:
* Self definition and calibration
* Architecting capability including wisdom
* Educating perspective
In conversations I tend to seek to stretch perspective or challenge prejudice, to aggravate or to inform. The status quo has no intrinsic utility and there can be no change without some agitation. And I need no special license to agitate.
For those who reflect on their responses to me I am useful and for those who do not, I find them useful. Opportunities for growth grow scarcer and more difficult with time. Attitudes and perspectives petrify.