26 January 2011

Making Sense of Life, and stuff. Pt 1

While I'm no Foucault, Emerson or Bacon, I do know that knowledge empowers us. Even more than that, understanding often comforts us. It is in the understanding that we can know what we are dealing with, good or bad, and begin to make sense.

"What's our situation?"

We humans like to make sense. We like to be coherent in our communications and in our thinking, to understand and to be understood. A little more of that and there'd be less declared, and undeclared, war.

But let's domesticate it a bit. When I woke up this morning I first tried to make sense of my surroundings.
  1. It was light out (Summertime in NZ!).
  2. I was in my familiar bed.
  3. A car was starting up outside.
  4. I wasn't late for anything.
  5. I didn't need to move immediately.
  6. I chose not to turn the radio on.
  7. Nothing much hurt.
  8. So far so good.
Other times I've woken up in strange places with lights flashing outside and unfamiliar noises echoing off brick walls. No, it wasn't a police raid. A friend and I had made a quick trip to Chicago and we got a room right beside the flashing red sign that advertised VACANCIES.

Making sense is a normal human response to new data or unknown factors.

We tend to live conscious of underlying conditions of reality and make our choices on the assumption of those conditions being static. We think of those things as truths. Sometimes they are scientific truths.
Other times they are relational or cultural. They are the paradigm or frame within which we make our choices based on the sense we've made of what's happening around us.

By now, I think the philosophers are laughing at me and many other readers are thinking I'm talking around in circles. This blog is called Conversations@Intersections for a reason. Please join in and set me straight, or elaborate or confirm. I'd be most pleased.

What I'm most interested in is how we make sense of life. When we get a curve ball unexpectedly, when our plans turn to custard, when the wheels fall off the bus, how do we respond?

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