To What Do We Attach Significance?

This morning I have been speculating a little on fate and potential. And it seems to be that the key to unlocking potential lies in what we attach significance to. It is very easy to overlook the seemingly insignificant and discount or disregard it. Amongst the set of things seemingly insignificant there are things of minor significance. But on occasion we may miss an important key. Something may catch our attention, we look at it in a cursory manner and then turn to something else. For a second, we may have some doubt and then go; “nah, it isn’t important”. We make a choice, a decision even, about what we attach significance to.

The potential we manifest in a large part depends upon that which we attach significance to. I could say, “where the thought goes, energy flows.”

Because we live in hectic, pressured times, it is more likely now than before that we may miss some of these keys. And in our missing of them manifest an entire different potential than that which, at least temporarily, was available to us. From the set of available potentials, we are most likely to select what appears to be the low hanging fruit, so to speak.

But that missing of a key in itself can manifest. Where there was space for the manifestation of the missed-key potential something else has to grow. It is only with retrospect that we may notice that we missed the key, because we deemed it insignificant.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever deemed something insignificant only for it to turn out to be highly significant?

Do I take care about that which I attach significance to?

Or am I always on the look out for low hanging fruit?


The Urge to Categorize

Human mind likes to categorize, sort, define, explain, label, set and otherwise pigeon-hole. It does not like it overmuch when it cannot find a good label. I could say, with some justification, that I am one of the few experts in the world on; “monitoring monolayer by monolayer growth on Si(001) substrates during gas source molecular beam epitaxy using femtosecond optical second harmonic generation”. I could also say that I am an unemployed middle-aged man. Which of these definitions best encompasses me?

If we can’t find a good fit, it unsettles us. We want to label. This blog has covered a whole bunch of stuff so what is the correct label for me? To which tradition do I belong? It is a trait of human mind to like definitions. We need a flag of allegiance. We like to know which “side” someone is on. We may even like to “own” someone, for them to be one of “us”. We seek some kind of purity of tradition. We do not like a Jack of all Trades, all that much.

Having cued this up:

How strong is this urge to categorize in me?

Do I find myself doing it almost by default?

If I can’t define or categorize well enough does this upset me a little?

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Now more than ever it is easy to feel so overwhelmed by life and its demands. We are bombarded, assailed and inundated. That utter terror of missing out is amplified by the advertisers; communications come at us at warp speed. We are near constantly at the beck and call of others, there are texts to be answered, deluge upon deluge of emails, ‘phone calls, social media and my pet hate, bloody surveys. We are under so much pressure and here is the weird bit, we think it normal. We must continually be ranked in some league table or other, if only in our minds.

I suspect that many have wanted to stop the world so that they can get off.

Maybe we go on holiday or retreat even, but we take our world with us. We do not piss off into the bush and leave it all behind. We may check our holiday villa for internet access…just to make sure that we don’t miss out while we are away having that much needed relaxing holiday. We are afraid that if we stop “dancing” we will fall off.

We may kid ourselves that a frantic, hectic life is the mark of a successful civilised social being. But it is fucking draining man. What little personal power we have seeps away and we are perennially tired, shagged out and more than a little grey. As a result, we are edgy and on edge. We are as tense as a tense thing on a particularly tension filled tense day. We tend to treat each other poorly and with little respect. There simply is no time. We rush and we hurry; we stress and we moan. Boy how we piss and moan about everything. If this is happiness, then we are as deluded as a highly delusional being on a bad acid trip.

Only when one has had enough drama, when one is filled to brim with it, do we ask the question:

“Surely there has to me more {or less} to life than this?”

Now we might be getting ready to actually stop the world rather than being wistful about it. And do you know what? When you do stop the world you don’t actually fall off!!

Having cued this up:

Have I ever asked the question; “surely there must be more to life than this?” or something closely related?

Who is the Most Delusional?

Given that people like to compete and win there may be some competition about who is the most delusional. For example, you might think that I am delusional. But am I more delusional than you? If you are obsessed with winning you may not like to concede defeat in the battle to see who is the most delusional and thereby lose sight of what the battle is all about.

When one goes to an amusement park one can, if one so desires, get on a merry-go-round or a rollercoaster. First there may be some ritual queueing. Then once you have mounted said device you are briefly transported into merry-go-land-world or roller-coaster-world. For a few minutes that is your world and if on a roller coaster, the ups and downs, the twist and turns, have all your attention. These can be quite gripping and all absorbing, you may even shit a brick or two, metaphorically speaking. Then the ride finishes, you get off and pay some money, perhaps, to buy a photo of you and your pals for a keepsake. You have stopped that world and can go back to your normal life. The one that is free of delusion.

It may not occur to you that you have paid to be engaged in a metaphor of your day to day life.

If you don’t get on the ride, you can observe others hurtling through space and time in the name of “pleasure”, you are a little detached from the experience.

Until you have stopped the everyday world you are engaged in it, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns. You may have that “reality” for seventy or eighty years. Along the way you collect plenty of photos to remind you of your ride. And it is only when you shuffle off the mortal coil that the ride stops. Whilst the ride is in full swing you are engaged in its local reality. Anyone who does not share your reality is clearly delusional whereas you are not.

When one stops the world, the ride, one can look at it as more of a detached bystander. One can see the ride hurtling through space and time in the name of pleasure or success.

Having cued this up:

Who do you reckon is the most delusional, is it you or is it me?

The Duality of Precedents

As duality is something of a theme here, it was only a matter of time before it popped up again.

This notion of what has gone before and how it was handled or “managed” is a basis for human law; it is a basis for both academic and corporate governance. People refer back to a precedent to justify. Each time we allow a new approach we are creating a precedent. If for example one turns a blind eye to misdemeanour, we are creating an enabling precedent for further misdemeanour. The thin end of the wedge has been allowed. Before long we have so many precedents that we need a massive library for them.

We rarely consider that how we treat pretty much any situation creates some kind of precedence. “But last time that was OK, how come the rules have changed?”

But here is the thing, precedent is not unilateral. It is two sided, at least. If we treat someone poorly, we are setting a precedent. Sooner or later they refer back to that precedent and think, nah…Or maybe they take that precedent as an example of how to treat others, so the precedent pass-the-parcel game goes on. Precedents can propagate outward and as in the case of Alien versus Predator, they can be widely cited to justify.

To use me as an example. I have done some things which were certainly unexpected, if not unprecedented. How these have been handled has created a stack of precedence reference material which may be referred to later by the “handlers”. It has created a set of precedents in my mind about how people will respond under certain stimuli. On the basis of these precedents I have chosen not to do things because I have a whole stack of precedents. So those “handling” me have their precedents, and I mine. There is no THE precedent, there is at least a duality of precedents.

How people treat me creates precedents.

If one is an experimentalist, as I am, one probes a situation, observes the response and notes the behaviour. It is then logged in my precedence look-up table. “This is the kind of response I have had before. On that basis, that precedent, it is no longer worth trying that approach.”

If someone is trying to do something new there is no precedent for people to refer to. So, because of that lack of precedent, it is unacceptable. Yet they set the precedent of treating the new stuff in a closed way, sending the message we don’t want anything new-fangled, piss off, sling your hook. This further concretizes the precedent for conservatism.

Can you see the circularity that a reliance on precedence introduces?

Those “in power” set a precedent and those “not in power” ought to obey. But those “not in power” take note of the behaviour and store it as a precedent. In revolution, if you suppress the peasants brutally, this can be relied on as a precedented behaviour. So as a revolutionary you stimulate this suppression precedent, it worked before, so it will be repeated. Slowly the revolutionary stimulates so many suppressions that the peasants have had enough and revolt. Ask Tsar Nicholas.

Precedent is not a unilateral thing.

Having cued this up:

How heavily do I rely on precedence?

Is it possible that precedence is in fact a double-edged sword?