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Friday, November 5, 2021

Advocating for closing the gap between perception and reality...

 where do perception and reality meet?


We each hear comments daily that indicate barely a superficial awareness of the subject under discussion. Some of us scoff while others of us let them pass, move on and likely never give those comments another nano-second of thought.
While the "superiority-inferiority" dynamic is predictable, there may be more to this "moment" in time than  the personal level.
Writers have traditionally explored the frontier between "appearance and reality" conscious that at the intersection there is a predictable moment of tension, drama, new insight and perhaps even tragedy.
Question: Are we all enmeshed in a cultural/perceptual current in which we all contribute to the threats implicit in this collision? And, if so, can we transform our participation and thereby shift the culture forward?
Recently, I overheard a comment from a business operator about the location of his sibling's workplace: "Well, you work at a community hospital right?" The responding answer, after the deep swallow of self-restraint, followed: Well, not really,  more like a large tertiary hospital attached to a prominent university serving a large geographic and demographic base with a staff of several thousand."
The "swallow" came from some incredulity (that the full reality was not  known after many years) and also some irritation that s/he was not better known by/to the family member.
Of course, we protect much of our personal information especially in this new digital/hacking/cyber insecurity era. At the same time, there is a tsunami of personal information awash on the internet.
It is the "gap" between these two family members that is at issue.
The time apart, the geographic separation, the difference in career preparation, the age gap and the personal "interest" program and resulting significant perceptions of two individuals explain much of this "gap".
However, relationships that work grow and develop when some relevant information is shared by both parties.Career data, one assumes, might qualify as "shareable" and "relevant" to both.
And yet, even between family members this gap of "unknowing" exists and, coming out of this moment, likely grows through increased emotional distancing by the responding sibling.
Think about this "gap" as a layer of fog that lies deep between various communicators, corporate, political, geo-political and even between professional counsellors and clients.
The "gap" results from both participants, not only the first observer. Indeed, are we not all operating with a fog over our consciousness? And is that fog extant partly by conscious choice?
Eliot reminded us we cannot 'stand' too much reality, perhaps at least in part because the fullness of the reality surrounding us is too "heavy" to bear. And yet, is Eliot on to something far more significant: that we are so self-absorbed in our own bubble that we prefer the faux-comfort-and-safety of that innocence/ignorance.?
The family "protects" us from the threat of interior relationships that are "skating on thin ice" and from "black sheep" of an aberrant uncle, and from the threat of impending fiscal disaster for as long as possible. In fact, without such secrets, many families might well atrophy or even dissolve.
Schools, too, shape "hard news" in the least painful way to help protect the child. Churches, too, emphasize the comfort and safety of agape love while, paradoxically and mostly secretly, engage in the.most venemous gossip and character assassination of selected 'targets' whose behaviour magnetizes their voyeuristic attention and self-assured moral superiority.
This dynamic forces other questions into the table:
* How serious is the Chinese military and nuclear arsenal build-up? And how will we know before it might be too late?
* How serious is the growing supply of  Iranian fissionable material and how will we ever learn the answers?
* How serious is the anti-vaxxer protest to the prospect of reining in the pandemic?
* How serious is the human capacity/ choice of detachment/ignorance/blocking of self from painful truths both personal and public?
* Is there any correlation (if not causation) of chosen conscious blind deafness to hard and painful reality and a rise in specific human illnesses?
* Is there a correlation ( if not causation again) between willful blind ignorance and the resistance to taking  dramatic and pro-active collaborative steps to stem the treat of global warming and climate change?
* Is the question of human responsibility (both personally and globally) shielded by our own paradoxical and willful "ostrich head-in-sand" stance?
Being accused of "reading too much" into that moment of exchange between those two siblings ("community hospital") would seem natural and predictable, after decades of such a charge, for your scribe.
The kind of detachment I choose is to separate from as much "fog" as possible; the price of that choice, however, is usually and predictably isolation, alienation and loneliness.
Please, hold your patronizing pity!
I invite readers to consider opening to your own opportunities to "lift the fog"....simply by noticing it's faux-security.
Cheers!

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