So far, in parts 1 and 2, we have discussed active self-programming, whether positive or negative. As noted in closing of part 2, what I really wanted to discuss is the impact of passive programming on our personal realities. About the same time I had the James Taylor revelation, I began reading, “Thinking fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman. I had considered pasting a short description/review from Amazon, but as each of those I read approached their praise from a different angle, I might as well write my own. In “ Thinking Fast and Slow,” Daniel Kahneman draws upon decades of research in psychology to explain to the reader how our minds work and how our decisions may be influenced by seemingly minute changes in our environment (wow, I’m surprisingly articulate at times). Without denying the notion of free will, Kahneman makes the reader question the true degree of free will exercised especially when making simple decisions.
If we once again, briefly, return to parts 1 and 2 and the discussion of active self programming we recall that an entire industry has developed around the concept of positive self programming for success in our personal, interpersonal, and professional endeavors. If we accept that positive reinforcement can positively affect our lives then it is not much of a leap to accept that negative programming can be similarly impacting. Additionally, most of us can recall a time when we have actively pursued one or the other. Let’s not get defensive here. Sometimes you have to get a little dirty to know when you are clean.
What I drew from Kahneman’s book was a renewed attentiveness to the constant attempts at passive programming that surround us thus impacting our view of the world around us, our version of reality. I was discussing this with a friend over coffee and he recalled something from a book he had read on the topic. I apologize for not being able to site the book, but am content with not citing this as my own. Essentially, we all view life through a lens; in this case we can look at it as a window. I am a little uncomfortable with this as it seems to create a separation between the viewer and the world, but it works for this analogy. Everything we experience becomes a sticker that we place on this window with varying levels on opacity. These stickers obscure (or possible clarify) our vision, the way we see the world. Should a new experience conflict with one already posted the original sticker may be modified or replaced. Intrinsic to this is an acceptance that our views of the world are impacted by our experience. We must therefore accept that our experience, everything we see, do, or feel, is personal. Taken together, everything we experience impacts our view of the world. As the complete measure of all of our experiences is personal, then we must accept that, though we may share much, our personal view of the world, the window that we all look through, or our personal reality, which is based both on active and passive programming/experience is independent.
So, as I want to come to some sort of conclusion, though I may revisit this topic from time to time, we should make an attempt to consider what is truly impacting our decisions, even the simple one now and then. We should think about the situations that we put ourselves in that my conflict with our positive goals and think about why we are there. We should think about the things we say and do that not only impact the lives of others but also ourselves, and take a second to consider why we said it and/or why we did it. I’m not advocating a life of constant reflection; I honestly believe that we are here at some level to enjoy ourselves. However, it might be interesting to note whether we are actually having fun or if we are playing a part, a character from a book, a movie, or a commercial.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra
Thanks for stopping by.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014