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Eric 1stDiv, Triumphant

Impermanence

Posted on 2012.01.17 at 13:45
Current Location: 67114
Current Music: John Murphy - Discography
Tags: , , , ,

I've been using the wrong words. For a communicator such as myself, that's bad news. No wonder no one knows what the hell I'm going on about half the time when I start pontificating - and I do. Pontificate. I like the sound of that word. I need a pope-hat, goddammit.


Words. They mean things. I've been toying with the concept of change here lately. Mostly, because I've seemingly gone through a great deal of it myself. Yet there are those who use the word as an epithet, spat from their lips as they would something vile.


But I haven't. Changed. Not really. Because who I am is centered around my unyielding acceptance of new ideas. So I'm pretty much the same as I've always been. The same person who can engage new information and utilize that knowledge in new applications of practicality. My strengths are my weaknesses; my weaknesses my strengths - there is not much there to change without breaking me. My interests may change - that which I desire - like the old BBC show Connections which (lifted directly from Wikipedia) "took an interdisciplinary approach to the history of science and invention and demonstrated how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events were built from one another successively in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology." So it is with me. Successively interconnected.


Its my understanding of the world around me which has changed.


And by very definition, the world itself.


While I have remained affably malleable.


It sounds prohibitive to personal growth to state allegiances, because if the thing we vow to remains unchanged through time, it will probably destroy itself through entropy for the world will change around it regardless. If it doesn't, wouldn't that limit my own wisdom by disallowing me the freedom to contemplate, contrast and compare contrary ideologies? It seems to me that only by embracing everything and testing it can you truly believe in something wholeheartedly - not the other way around!


Wisdom through understanding should be far, far more permanent than that based upon fear; more defensible.


What I didn't understand earlier was how each new experience directly begets a requirement for additional experiences. My information will always be incomplete, but all knowledge is in someway connected. I never know what I need to know next until I finish where I am. Its like following a whirlwind of search-engine hyperlinks but in real/life - how can you challenge yourself with beliefs you have not been faced with? This is why I am well suited for empiricism; thriving upon that which opens figurative floodgates of data on which to process.


I'm not waiting for something better to come along, I'm not even seeking it - I'm searching endlessly for that which will ever evolve: myself. Life is not a constant and neither are we. We are impermanent beings in an impermanent world seeking some semblance of permanence? How fucked up is that? No wonder so many people define happiness differently. Which is another word I need to stop using, for I have learned its not happiness that I'm seeking in myself, nor trying to identify in others - its positivity.


I was recently introduced to the precepts of Secular Humanism which I attempted to quantify through over-simplifying (a process which can assist in understanding at the risk of granularity) and I decided upon positivity. I've heard it said that "True joy can only come from God," but never from a non-believer. I am absolutely entitled to appreciating the majesty of nature without the stigma off a creator attached to the experience, were I to choose to. That being said, I found Secular Humanity's inclusion of altruism as curiously counterintuitive. No doubt a by-product of my over-simplification. Thus a new idea has manifested itself in such a manner than an entire belief system could be fabricated from its inception. And I find that fascinating.


Speaking of me! I'm oft reminded of one of my favorite Serenity exchanges where members of the crew are all arguing and someone states, "Nobody's saying that." Someone else clarifies, "Nobody but Jayne is saying that." Because Jayne *did* say it, a fact dismissed by a member of the crew who wanted only her statement to be true. When I announce my feelings (don't faint, I do have them) out in the open, invariably someone will follow up with, "No one feels that way," contradicting themselves the moment it leaves their lips, because I do. I feel that way! Therefore someone does. Just because that person is me does not make it not true.


Spirituality itself is a malleable word, having both traditional and modern underpinnings. When I use it I'm not necessarily referring to the supernatural, and when I do refer to the supernatural I'm using it as a place holder until my logic can catch up to my ignorance. Many use spiritual to discuss non-denominational beliefs while others use it in a more secular manner to describe the importance of their life-journey. And while I've been aware of the depth of the commitment being felt by those who use it, I myself have shied away from it as descriptive of me or my activities. This has, on occasion, made me appear shallow and unfocused.


I submit to you today that during the authoring of this entry I came the closet I've been in a long time to any sort of emotional fortitude gained through a singular goal, and for me that's a reaffirmation of my own beliefs, which I have outlined here. I am affected by everything I intake consciously with my senses, I am affected by everything I intake unconsciously through nocturnal post-processing, and I am damn fast at extrapolative linking. Change fascinates me, and I embrace it over the only alternative - ignoring its inevitability. Lessons of impermanence have never faulted those who trust in them.

Comments:


suzanne1945
suzanne1945 at 2012-01-17 21:40 (UTC) (Link)
Wow! So many concepts, ideas to respond to. So I'll just jump in. In my many years, I've explored different belief systems, ideas, logical pursuits and have come to believe that the only belief system that really works is belief in oneself. I believe that I'm capable of handling life's problems and joys by constantly learning and adapting. Some say that adaptability is one of the main strengths of the human species. The very impermanence that you describe is that adaptability. In previous conversations, we have talked about those individuals that embrace change and those that fear it. Those that can embrace change seem to thrive and those that do not often are doomed (or at least feel that way.)

I, too, find the use of the word "spiritual" slippery. It is such an emotionally charged word for many people. And yet, if forced to use the word, I could say that when I see a beautiful sun set with all its grandeur and magnificent, there is a spiritual emotion or quality. But calling it a spiritual experience makes me hesitate due to the baggage of the word.

Many people look to science for fact and truth. And rightly so. But scientists themselves know that it is at best impermanent. It is fact until more knowledge is gained and the "facts" have to be updated.
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-17 22:02 (UTC) (Link)
You and your daughter both have a conciseness about explaining concepts I over-complicate in my attempt to describe them. I admire that in you.
pcofwildthings
pcofwildthings at 2012-01-17 23:52 (UTC) (Link)
I remember when Secular Humanism was a dirty word spat out with a measure of venom (and underlying fear, I reckon) to describe what was considered the antithesis of Christianity. When I actually read the affirmations of SH (thanks for that link, btw), it sounds like the most reasonable thing I've read in quite a while.
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-18 11:28 (UTC) (Link)
I remember when I also believed along those lines. One of the scariest and simultaneously most awe-inspiring transitions of my life from one to the other. I was, in all-honesty, born again. So to speak.
pcofwildthings
pcofwildthings at 2012-01-18 14:15 (UTC) (Link)
I was there too, for a while, in my late 20s, early 30s. Interesting how things change.
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-18 15:41 (UTC) (Link)
"No one feels that way," contradicting themselves the moment it leaves their lips, because I do. I feel that way! Therefore someone does. Just because that person is me does not make it not true.

Being only 2.1% of the population is tough. There are very few people I let in to my inner thoughts, and of those who have seen them (which means I regard them as at least accepting), I get comments about how "unique" I am. The word is meant as a compliment, and so I take it as such, but often feels more like they mean an "anomaly."
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-18 16:02 (UTC) (Link)
I'm part of that 2.1% and even I consider you an anomaly!
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-18 16:37 (UTC) (Link)
"Nuff said."

Edited at 2012-01-18 04:37 pm (UTC)
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-18 16:02 (UTC) (Link)
Jean Piaget researched the cognitive stages of development of children. I have always been of the opinion that adults continue through further cognitive AND emotional stages of development. Our brains are very elastic and growth doesn't magically stop when we reach the ripe old age of 18.

But how to explain those adults who do not seem to continue to grow much beyond childhood? I cannot believe that their brains are not as hungry for growth as those who do continue grow. My personal hypothesis is that there is "programming" in place that interferes with it. Deep-seated belief systems that require staunch adherence prohibiting growth; underlying fear that sees growth as risky; mental illness; and the like. Whether these things are due to neurochemistry, experience, or a combination thereof, I don't know.

In any case, I have known people who continue to grow their entire lives and some that seem markedly stuck.
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-18 16:07 (UTC) (Link)
Precisely. I think dentin summed it up best when he said, "There is only one consistent theme: their model of the universe, for that part of the universe they depend on to achieve success and happiness, is inaccurate. An inaccurate model engenders inaccurate predictions, which instigate actions with sub-optimal results, which results in failure."*Fate
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-18 16:22 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, we keep coming back to that, don't we? It's brilliant.
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-18 16:21 (UTC) (Link)
But I haven't. Changed. Not really. Because who I am is centered around my unyielding acceptance of new ideas. So I'm pretty much the same as I've always been.

You and I are both motivated by our desire ~ nay, drive ~ for new knowledge. It is a core characteristic. Asking me not to be curious is like asking me not to breathe.

Like you, I do not regard the knowledge I have acquired over time as having changed me. I am a person who acquires knowledge for knowledge sake, and also hopes to apply said knowledge to 1.) gain further knowledge and 2.) utilize the knowledge to make my surroundings and the people with whom I share those surroundings comfortable.

In that regard, my core is pretty SIMPLE!

However, I suppose if someone took a snapshot of me a decade ago, seeing only my behavior based on what I knew then, and never realizing that there was a time in my life when I knew less and acted accordingly, and that later I would know more and act accordingly, they could view me now and say that I had changed. I am guessing were this circumstance to occur, there could be a couple of explanations: either the person didn't know me well at all, or the concept of growth is not something to which s/he relates and considers.
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-18 21:49 (UTC) (Link)
Tell your mom to disregard what I said earlier about your conciseness.
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-18 22:18 (UTC) (Link)
I was tempted to bring out Abby again, but this will do.
Codekitten
codekitten at 2012-01-23 17:58 (UTC) (Link)
"While I have remained affably malleable."

i'm going to have to lift this from you! the next time someone accuses me of changing or "that is not like you!".


"My information will always be incomplete"
how do you handle making big decisions knowing that you may, at any moment, aquire more knowledge that could/would/should influence that decision?
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-24 17:34 (UTC) (Link)
Great question! And one that has not been easy for me to publicly conclude. My initial reaction was, "I never worry about things I cannot change" and this would certainly fall within that scope. It doesn't tell the whole story, however - which was my second impression - that all of mankind has the same limitations of decision making; all of us, ever. So while I'm awesome and all, I cannot allow myself to be discouraged by not being able to transcend temporal physics, what I would consider the very definition of, "worry." Any information after the fact would naturally be inadmissible as part of the decision making process. As my hetero-lifemate is wont to say, "What am I, Nostradamus?" Its how things like the stock market work - you can never go back based on new information and "un-buy" or "un-sell" just because later information changed the perceived outcome.

I guess I'll have to answer your question with a question. "How would you expect me to otherwise make big decisions?"
Codekitten
codekitten at 2012-01-24 18:54 (UTC) (Link)
that all of mankind has the same limitations of decision making; all of us, ever
you're right and that is comforting to an extent.

in the past i have come across major situations where i would never have imagined i would change my mind (though i'm always open/interested to that). then something shifts (due to new information or self exploration) and i change my mind. i know enough to know that it could happen with other situations...

for 95% of life's decisions that is not a problem. but for major earth-shattering ones it's a little intimidating to consider the consequences of a wrong decision. especially when there doesn't seem the possibility to aquire any more information to help with the process...getting stuck in the "waiting for more input" mode.

your posts do always get me thinking :)
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-24 19:06 (UTC) (Link)
Its an interesting amalgam being open to changing ones viewpoint with the application of new knowledge yet confident in decision-making to be sure. I rarely vacillate nor second-guess myself once I've decided on a path, but I'm always seeking new information for modification.

What I'm trying to say is that just because I am open to changing my mind that does not make me wishy-washy; a trait of the irresolute. But if you articulate it incorrectly, it certainly sounds that way.

your posts do always get me thinking :)
Your questions do the same for me, ma'am.

Edited at 2012-01-24 07:06 pm (UTC)
Codekitten
codekitten at 2012-01-24 19:14 (UTC) (Link)
that does not make me wishy-washy
i don't think anyone would ever describe you this way! :)

you are voracious in your "seeking" as well as being open to new information with your decision making. a wonderful combination!

Edited at 2012-01-24 07:15 pm (UTC)
ehowton
ehowton at 2012-01-25 15:30 (UTC) (Link)
Depends on your point of view, I suppose. My wife has, in the past, suggested that there are some things you absolutely should have strong opinions on - inferring our marriage and ostensibly, our children. And this always falls back to my Devil's Trap post, "You cannot extol virtues of mine that you find conducive to your personal code of ethics without accepting the same ones which may run contrary to it."

On a more personal level, since I've been considering the adherence to allegiance (and at some point I do plan to address each of the paragraphs in this entry separately and in more depth) I've been surprised to find that my vow to this nation was stronger (possibly more ingrained?) than to my beliefs. This is going to take some more brain-power to sort.
Codekitten
codekitten at 2012-01-27 16:33 (UTC) (Link)
"My wife has, in the past, suggested that there are some things you absolutely should have strong opinions on - inferring our marriage "

i mean, i get that. when you make a life-long commitment you want to know what you're signing up for. that it won't come out from under you, say, 10 years in. not that it's necessarily realistic to expect things to stay exactly the same...but i can see her viewpoint.

a side note...j* and i went to see our financial advisor about a month ago. he was reviewing our 403(b) plans and our employer matching. j* has a much more generous plan than i do.

after looking it over he recommended that i stop contributing to my plan and move all future contributions to j*'s plan (since it would make us more money).

i bit my lip for 2 seconds before i LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED! how could he possibly know or predict whether j* and i will move along together in life so that at 65 we will still be a couple? i mean i hope that we will and i would guess that we will but in no way can i know if some new piece of information will come along (to either of us) that may shift that.

how could he, in good conscience, recommend this? he looked at me like i was half crazy after i finally got myself together. oh the tears of laughter!

this example might sound harsh...but we both feel the same way and in that i think it makes us stronger.
Michelle1963
michelle1963 at 2012-01-27 19:37 (UTC) (Link)
Good for you!!! When people enter into marriage of course they both hope it will be ever-lasting. However, imo, there is a danger to the psychological well-being of both parties when they begin to think of themselves as a single unit rather than two separate people bringing their individual personalities, skills, etc to the relationship / family. Two separate people who want to be together rather than need to be together.

Codekitten
codekitten at 2012-01-28 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
You are preaching to the choir over here. I completely feel the same way....in fact even when I first met J* (He was 15, I was 16) I said, "Do you love me because you need me or do you need me because you love me?"

I think most people want a rigid definition of marriage and don't want anything to change. Which is not reality.
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