Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wisest Words I've Heard Recently...

"It just is. The mind will try to figure out the rights and wrongs in all of it - take no notice of the mind - at the end of the day it's a calculator trying to balance the spreadsheet."
-my friend Simone.

3 comments:

Umlud said...

True, but:

While I agree with your friend, Simone, I would like to point out that sometimes the calculator ends up with an unbalanced spreadsheet, even when it's given the correct set of rights and wrongs:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/?page=full

I've been thinking about the phenomenon written about in the article (and in the journal paper cited in the text). Sometimes, to paraphrase the village elder from Achebe's Things Fall Apart, "Sometimes the truth that is a lie is harder to accept than the lie that is the truth."

... of course, read another way, I could also be agreeing with Simone. It all depends on what the prior statement was... :P

tall penguin said...

Great article, Umlud.

The context of the quote was in response to my obsessing over a recent decision, and its rightness or wrongness. The mind can really make us crazy with all of the "what if" permutations (mine does this particularly well, much to my chagrin, and has driven me quite close to the edge of sanity on more than one occasion).

Sometimes, you just have to make A decision, and become comfortable with the idea that the rightness or wrongness of said decision cannot really be determined so quickly after making it, if it can ever really be determined at all.

The mind wants to calculate everything into a neat little spreadsheet and get it to balance; it's that whole black and white thing, but life is horribly (and wonderfully) grey. This is something I'm still struggling with. Living sanely in the grey, even after much work on my part, is not yet my default setting. I hope it will be one day. Soon.

Of course, I don't want to put words into Simone's mouth, but that is what her words meant to me and why I considered them to be so wise in light of my present mental meanderings.

zensim said...

Yes TP, that was the intention in the meaning of my words :)

Insightful article Umlud. And thank you for recognising that the truth of my statement is relative to the moment and context. As the article so aptly describes, facts (or 'truths') can never be fully relied on either. Which only further serves what TP and I were discussing, that you could go insane trying to find an answer to satisfy the mind, as in the end you can't even trust the facts or even the source of the facts.

I believe it's important to delve into the emotions which drive the beliefs (or even to discover the unseen beliefs below the 'facts' we take for granted). As the article pointed out, self-worth comes from feelings good about oneself. Which means one is more adaptable to changing one's course of mind if one doesn't feel that makes you 'wrong' (or feel threatened). Instead it is possible to feel happy and be aware of the process of growing and evolving - as a process of 'is-ness' (just like I watch my seven month old constantly, moment to moment, grow and adapt at remarkable speed, I have learnt that I am also doing it - I just have the level of objectivity to enjoy watching myself do it, as much as I watch and observe her doing it).

It's a delicate balance between emotion and trusting the mind - using the mind as a resource and tool, rather than allowing it to be the ruler :)