Enlightened Conflict

fall winter and finding meaning in death

December 1st, 2016

 like-the-seasons-things-change-fall-spring-winter-time

========================

 

“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.

 

Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.

 

Let the light in before it is too late. “

 

 

 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”

===================

 

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

 

—–

Unknown

(via ginger-and-preppy)

 

 

==============

 

Well <part 1>.

 

I just read a an article in one of those local papers you can pick up at Healthy Grocery stores which attempted to discuss how this time of the year <October/November/December> is the season of ‘decay and death’ … and how it was a potent time to connect with the dead <and highlighted several celebrations around the world which do just that>.

This thought was combined with the thought we human folk balk at connecting with death because it … well … seems morbid to do so.

 

 

and summer regrets

               getting rid

       of winter wishes

 

summer and i

=======

 

 

Well <part 2>.

 

I balk at the whole concept of ‘decay & death’ as well as the ‘morbid‘ thought.

 

Simplistically, seasons remind of us the cycle of Life <not death> and that death, in and of itself a sad event, contains at its very core the very simple concept that without Death, there is no Life.

 

This was immortalized in pop culture by Blood Sweat & Tears in their absolutely fabulous song “and when I die”:

 

====

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

====

 

While each Life is a stepping stone for every future generation each death represents a stepping stone for … well … the future.

dialogue with pain

 

I don’t need any Eastern religion wisdom to remind me of this … I think we all know this.

Now … I will admit that connecting with this thought is much much easier for us when we remove any personalized death and accept it as simply a turning of generations. Therefore … one of the reasons we do not celebrate death is because it can get too personal. And if that is a reason … it sure as hell is a good one.

 

But death itself?

 

While death is something we dislike, facing seasons remain something we must face year in and year out. It is a constant affirmation of the turning of time and that some things we may have gained will most likely be inevitably lost in the natural turn of time.

 

And, yes, as today is December 1st I am reminded that Winter is the time of Life’s strategic retreat and conservation of what gives it all life.

 

It is not death. And it is not decay.

 

It is Life’s thoughtful way to insure its existence and survival.

 

It is the time of incubation and rest and restoration for all things to come in the following year.

 

I could also suggest that winter is a time of reflection and … well … comfort. In winter’s dark nights the stars are at their clearest and we have the opportunity to see them as the sparks of potential and wishes and dreams and … well … Life. Uhm. And dreaming is never a bad thing … particularly during the ‘ebb tide of seasonal Life.’

 

I will not argue that as Life recedes in autumn and rests in winter we do, at least emotionally, get closer to connecting with death … but I do balk at thinking of autumn & winter as ‘things associated with death.’

 

.... a time to Reflect ......

…. a time to Reflect ……

I would argue it actually does a nice job of reminding us we need to let go of things. and, sure, maybe we connect with ‘the dead’ better at this time because … well … it reminds us to celebrate what we had and embrace letting go.

 

And that is the thing about winter … it demands to not only be felt but also that you meet it on its terms. Even better … Winter demands us to let go of things we most typically hold onto with ragged claws.

 

You cannot refuse its existence and you cannot ignore what was because what is … is … well … is starkly different. Where Life was once obvious it is now starkly absent.

 

I would note that all Eastern mysticism and ‘being in touch with the universe’ and the ‘natural ebb of the earth’ and all that stuff, at its core, just suggests that we pay attention. Pay attention to whatever energy seasons give us … and more often than not that energy it gives us is … uhm … just good ole fashioned thinking. It gives us the energy to think about our lives, lives lost and lives yet to be lived.

 

Acknowledgement of all of that increases your overall connection not just with ‘the universe’ but rather to the eternal pattern of life and invests a sense of energy into pretty much everything <yourself and Life>.

 

And just as Death breaks things down to the bare essence, winter does the same.

And maybe that is the connection.

 

When things are at their barest, when we are drawn closer to endings rather than beginnings, we inevitably ponder the ‘great perhaps.’

 

Back in September I wrote this on the first day of Fall:

 

 

 

I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”. I think we all know what a better world really looks like. I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.

 

And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we begin to better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams. And maybe it is within Winter where , in ts barest of bare essences, we are forced to begin envisioning what could be in plans and dreams because it is left to us standing in the bare environment around us.

time-seasons-change

 

 

What I do know about all seasons is that they are markers of Time … and poetically speaking … Time is always hungry for many of the things we dearly want to endure and do.

 

This makes Time both beautiful and doomed. Yeah. Time is beautiful and doomed. And that is where I really believe the whole ‘morbid time of the year’ goes astray.

 

 

for it seems all of Fall’s stars

                       have fallen

and often summer and i

run through the last warm days

through the cool grass

       gathering stars caught in people’s dreams

with the intent

           to toss them to Winter

through windows of dawn.

 

Summer & i

======

 

 

We, especially in the West, hunger for time.

Conversely, time itself <to us Western folk> has a hunger and its hunger is for ‘things.’

It is a nasty emptiness waiting to be filled.

 

Well.

 

If there is one thing humans are fucking great at … it is filling time and stuffing whatever we can into any emptiness we can find.

 

Death and dying makes us reflect. It forces us to do so. Just as the bare often starkness of Winter does.

And it makes us reflect on what ‘stuff’ we have crammed into whatever Time we have had.

 

Oh. Maybe what it really forces us to do is reflect upon time. and that is where death truly makes us feel uncomfortable … not any morbid feeling but rather it’s just being dead livingthat we have been indoctrinated to focus on living … living life to its fullest, not wasting any time, to do lists that never get completed and just doing shit <just do it>.

 

Nowhere in that list of shit I just shared does death have a place. In fact. Death represents the exact opposite of everything society & our culture almost demands we think about 24/7.

 

And when forced to face death, or feel a need to connect, we are much less likely to celebrate but rather assess … assess our doing mantra versus ‘stop.’

 

Look.

 

Most of us don’t purposefully ignore connecting with death and those who have passed away because of sadness <because if it were we would be more likely to actually do it because the opposite of sadness is reflecting upon the inevitable happiness> but rather because death and past lives force us to reflect upon our ‘doing accomplishment’ <as well as it forces us to stop … which compounds the feeling of ‘shit, I haven’t done enough and I am not doing anything now>.

 

Yeah.

If you can get beyond the ‘doing’ aspect inherently death is more about sadness <loss of something or someone or time> more so than morbidity. Conquer the sadness and you have conquered death.

 

And all of this is just not that difficult <if you are willing to actually think about it>.

 

winter-fall-snow-season-change-lifeSeveral cultures do celebrate the autumnal solstice as the time life & death is closest. I would argue it is less a celebration but rather recognition of that which came before, and that which is dying, so that what will be will come forth.

Generations beget generations just as falls beget springs.

 

Death begets life.

 

This doesn’t mean we should celebrate impending death but rather recognize, even in sadness, life & beauty resides in the future.

 

Fall is of beautiful dying.

Winter is of starkness of death.

Spring is of rebirth from death.

 

This doesn’t mean you can find beautiful things to enjoy throughout any season.  Seasons simply remind us of the fact time does not stand still and no matter how hard we try and fill up the emptiness time offers us day in and day out … leaves fall, winter comes and spring arises.

 

I believe it is the Celtic wheel of the year describes this time of the year as Samhain … “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Just as several other cultures they use his time to reflect upon “that which was.” In my pea like brain … it is a celebration of navel gazing. It is an intentional event to purposefully explore the valuable relationship not only between Life and Death but the past and the future.

 

Listen to the cry of falling leaves,

            but winter breaks the silence

and warms us with words

of how to change it all

      before the Fall completely ends.

So, So

 

Look.

reflect brain things

 

I don’t believe we do not celebrate death and dying because we think it is morbid. I tend to believe we do not traditionally do so because we, as in Western civilization versus Eastern, don’t celebrate reflection.

We treat reflection more as  a personal thing and not a larger more public event and celebration.

 

Should we celebrate reflection? Shit. I don’t know. But understanding that seasons can offer us enlightening thoughts about how we actually think about death & Life & holding on & letting go is surely not a bad thing.

 

As for Fall and Winter? I do not think of death and decay. I actually think of flowers. Huh?

 

I credit Mark Strand for making me think Winter is the time to bring flowers into your Life as he describes Winter in his poem called Blizzard of One:

 

“A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that …”

Mark Strand <Blizzard of One>

Every funeral deserves flowers. Every Winter deserves thoughts of Life.

gracefully letting go

March 29th, 2015

 

 
———gracefully let go card

 

 

 

“Teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.”

 

 

via lilac-veinss

 

 

=====

 

 

 

There are moments in the life of a man, and of a nation, when it is right to say:

 

 

I have done my utmost, and I can do no more, therefore I will cease my striving and seek another road.”

 

 

 

======

 

 

“People will try to hold on when their world starts to tilt.

 

 

They will grab onto whatever is in reach.”

 

 

 

Claire Zorn

 

======

 

 

 

freedom feels like hold

Ok.

 

 

Letting go of shit may be one of the hardest things to do in the world.

 

 

Even more difficult?

 

 

Letting go gracefully.

 

 

These are the moments in which you have decided you have done what you have done, done what you consider enough … and you are … well … done.

 

 

These are the moments in which you actually consciously think:

 

 

How do I let go?

gracefully let go lemons

Where do I begin?

Do I let go memory by memory?

How many goodbyes will this take?

Do I leave words with everyone until I have no more words left to give?

 

 

Oh.

 

 

And if I do all this, will it even matter?

 

 

In addition.

 

Maybe I should do nothing.

=

Maybe I should just stand here and let others let me <or ‘it’> go.

 

This stuff, letting go in general, let alone gracefully … is hard. Really hard.

 

 

And while we typically suck at letting the right things go, let alone anything I imagine, we REALLY suck at letting things go gracefully.

 

 

Suffice it to say..

 

 

 

Most people don’t let go gracefully let alone let go at all.

 

 

You just get stuck.

 

You just hold on tight … and then when you do let go you just want to throw it away and ignore it as if you never held it.

 

 

And maybe you get a little confused.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

There is no handbook for “how to let things go gracefully. “

 

gracefully Yep time let go

 

It does not exist and so you must try to find ways to figure it out on your own.

 

 

Frankly … it seems almost cruel that a handbook on “letting go” doesn’t exist <let alone gracefully>. Because it may be one of the most common things we do in Life.

 

 

We don’t seem to notice the almost daily experience as we let go every single day of countless amounts of things:

 

 

Moments.

Minutes.

Objects.

People.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

We may not notice until we are faced with a situation that we want to hold on or that we are the ones being let go.

 

That must be it.

 

 

There comes a moment where we realize we are the ropes in a tug-of-war.

 

Someone holding on at each end … until one decides to let go.

 

 

Someone watches you leave.

 

 

Or maybe you end up watching someone else leave.

 

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

We have lots of personal experience letting shit go.

 

 

Most times things are let go little by little. And in these small but significant changes we don’t really learn the ‘gracefully’ part … just the letting go part.

 

 

In addition.

 

 

Not only do we let most things go in small insignificant increments … often you have no control.

 

 

Things get lost.

 

 

People are going to begin to let you go regardless of whether you ask them to or not.

 

 

I have said it before … but part of growing up is leaving shit – regrets, stuff, people, choices, etc. – behind.

 

 

Well.

 

 

That is the gracefully part.

 

 

Learning to let things go that you not only made the ‘let go decision’ but also the things that were ‘let go’ by someone else.

 

 

In other words … learning to let things go even when your world starts to tilt.

 

 

Simply.

 

 

Holding on is a shitload easier than letting go.

 

 

And, in fact, I am not sure there is such a thing as ‘holding on gracefully.’

 

 

You are just … well … holding on.

 

 

Sigh.

 

 

Let’s end with this thought.

 

Unfortunately … I tend to believe you encounter more things not meant for you than those things actually meant for you in Life.

 
And while we may eventually get better as we get older with regard to sifting through all these things inevitably you will end up with a lot of shit that … well … aren’t really meant for you.

 

And even more unfortunately … there really isn’t anyone to help you sift thru … no one is going to … ‘teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.’

 

 

That is something you just gotta figure out on your own.

 

gracefully Life

Me?

 

I am a work in progress.

 

 

 

I have certainly learned to let go of things … but still learning to do so gracefully.

 

 

I can only hope that I am more graceful on the important things.

when not to let go (and balloons)

March 28th, 2015

—-

hold on let go balloons

“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go.

Balloons are designed to teach small children this.”

=

Terry Pratchett

————–

Well.

 

 

I have written about how difficult it is for people, in business & Life, to let go of things so much I am not sure I can find any new words to share on that topic.

 

 

In fact … if you google “reasons to not let go” you get nothing.

 

Nada.

 

 

You get jack shit on the topic.

 

 

All you get is page after page of ‘reasons to let go.’

 

 

And, yet, there are certainly times to know when to not let go.

 

 

To be clear … a purposeful ‘not let go’ is a different difficulty for us. While not letting go is something that is mostly based on some version of fear or doubt … knowing when to not let go of something seems to be more about our difficulty in discerning what is important, or good, and what is unimportant , or bad.

 

 

In fact.

 

I think part of the ‘not letting go’ difficulty resides in how we learned to hold on in childhood <the balloon thing>.

 

 

We learn very early on that when you let go of something good it floats away never to be seen again. So we have learned to hold on a tightly as possible to goodbye handanything that could be construed as good <even if it is really a crappy balloon>.

 

We have become so good at it we are almost proud of not letting go. Therefore the problem isn’t our ability to actually hold on … it is choosing what to really not let go of.

 

 

Not letting go is complex compounded by the fact we are complex people.

 

 

Why does the complexity matter?

 

Because there is no formula. No ‘rules of not letting go.’

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

 

Some things are obvious.

 

 

The self stuff, the character stuff, the ‘who you are as a person’ stuff you don’t let go of. They are good balloons.

 

 

 

But after a while you have so many balloons you can’t discern the good ones from the bad ones. Which leads me to suggest I sometimes believe the ‘what not to let go’ choice is an acquired intuition thing.

 

Yup.

 

I just typed acquired and intuition side by side.

 

 

I like to remind people that you are not borne with good intuition. You may be borne with a good intuition muscle but experience strengthens the muscle and it takes some time & experience to ‘acquire’ the intuition necessary to ‘not let go’ of the right things.

 

 

Regardless.

 

I suggest intuition because unless one of the balloons has lost all its air and has sunk to the ground you are choosing amongst a shitload of balloons that maybe all look pretty good to you.

 

 

This may sound crazy because balloons float above you and should seem obvious at all times … but the connections to many of the balloons in your life are actually like links of a chain underwater.

==

“The moment of truth, the sudden emergence of a new insight, is an act of intuition.

Such intuitions give the appearance of miraculous flushes, or short-circuits of reasoning. In fact they may be likened to an immersed chain, of which only the beginning and the end are visible above the surface of consciousness.

The diver vanishes at one end of the chain and comes up at the other end, guided by invisible links.”

Arthur Koestler

==

learning to fly hands
You see the balloons.

Okay. You see some of them.

But the strings get all tangled up and you cannot tell which string to let go of <because you are not sure which balloon will go away> and which one to hold on to. Some of the choices you make as you look at the strings is intuitive. And given some time and experience I imagine the string feels a little different in your hand as you pluck it out from all the others. That is this version of intuition.

 

 

So.

 

 

One of the things I admire most in people is consistent great intuition and how they manage what to not let go of.

 

 

It is an interesting characteristic to assess when you meet people and is fairly easy because you can just look up and see the balloons they carry with them.

 

 

So, in the end, maybe the balloon metaphor is bad … or maybe I simply overused it … but suffice it to say that while there is a lot of free advice on ‘letting go’ there isn’t a whole shitload of advice on ‘what to not let go of.’

 

 

I think it is obvious that there are certainly some ‘be yourself’ characteristics that you should never let go of <although figuring out what to not let go of as you try and improve yourself is not easy either>.
What is less obvious is the other stuff in your life. Experiences, knowledge, even people.

 

birds on hand

I don’t have any answers today. Just questions. And maybe some prompting that this is something we should think about a little more.

 

 

Most letting go advice online is vapid and a waste of time <albeit with good intent>.

 

 

I don’t have any advice for ‘not let go’ other than think about it. We all learn to hold on to balloons because they represent freedom and hope and good things waiting above us. Those should be the things we hold on to and not let go of.

imagination defined

January 18th, 2013

imagination petSo.

 

I struggle to find a more important attribute in a happy & healthy person than a good imagination.

 

Yeah.

Maybe more important than good nutrition.

Maybe I am naïve but I tend to believe a happy mind tends to guide one to a healthier body & lifestyle. And imagination feeds a happy mind <I believe there is a Life formula in there somewhere>.

 

Simplistic? Sure. But you gotta start somewhere.

 

And I also believe all those people who starve themselves or become fitness nuts or feed themselves to attain some absurd body proportions should skip the ‘meal plans’ and ‘counting whatever you want to count’ and ‘tracking plans’ and, instead, begin with what is going on in their heads … their mind <but I imagine that is a different post>.

 

Now.

To be clear <and I will make this point several times>.

Balance. I am not suggesting “daydreaming your life away” or any type of what people call ‘maladaptive daydreaming.’ I am simply suggesting having a good part of your daily diet is made up of ‘imagination.’ That’s it.

 

Regardless.

Imagination is a powerful thing to create a healthy mind <let me just focus on that aspect>. I found some guy named Murray Hunter who must feel the same way I do because he invested a shitload of energy analyzing imagination and different types of imagination and the components of a good imagination. In fact Murray defines different imaginations <which I will outline later in the post>.

 

I think it is helpful to state a reminder that imagination is thinking.

 

Sound obvious? Maybe.

But I tend to believe we don’t … well … often think this way about imagination … or maybe not enough. I tend to believe imagination has some abstract reputation that makes it elusive to the many.  It sometimes becomes a characteristic of a select few rather than an aspect of all of us. In fact … I believe we herd the idea of a ‘good imagination’ into fewer and fewer people the older we get. For some reason we attribute imagination to tangible output and create imagination scorecards for people therefore leading to people who have high scores versus people who have low scores <people with good imaginations versus bad, or no, imagination>. And … well … that is kind of crazy. Mainly because that means we have evaluated an intangible <imagination> with the tangible <results>.

 

To me? That is nuts.

 

We all have imagination.

We all portray imaginative thinking.

We all may use imagination differently.

 

Think of it this way.

Imaginative thinking provides the ability to travel a variety of roads as we move toward some point on the horizon <in a tangible sense that would be called strategies & objectives>. By the way … that thought is relevant to Life as well as business.

Imagination simply provides us with the ability to be more divergent, or random, than logical thought. In addition imagination permits us to move more freely across different fields of thought and constructs of organized ‘attitudes & beliefs’ while logical thinking is more orientated to a narrowly focused path.

 

Now.

Good ole Murray suggested that imagination is probably more important than knowledge <as knowledge without application is useless>. I don’t agree with that. Mostly because I do not believe you can have imagination, or at least a productive imagination, without some knowledge. Or maybe better said … more knowledge leads to more imagination. But. Rather than invest a lot of energy debating that knowledge/imagination conundrum … I will simply suggest this is the infamous chicken or egg discussion. It is simultaneous and circular. You cannot have one without the other.

 

Anyway.

Most of the following words are his and I apologize to him if, as I edited his words <to shape my own thoughts>, I have changed his intent in anyway.think

 

Suffice it to say that imagination has multiple dimensions <too many if you actually buy everything Murray is trying to sell us>. But I do believe it is helpful to analyze the different aspects of the imagination rather than simply suggest someone is ‘using their imagination’ or ‘has a good imagination’ because … well … as with most things in life … not all imagination is created equal.

 

So. If the topic is not only of interest to you but also important to you then understanding some of the aspects may assist in how you approach enhancing a healthy productive imagination. Here is how Murray breaks it all down <note – I am including all his categories but I do believe he dances on the head of a pin on some aspects>:

===

Effectuative imagination.

Let’s call this random imagination. Effectuative combines information together to synergize new concepts and ideas. The ideas tend to be ‘visionary’ and are often incomplete. This type of imagination needs to be enhanced, modified, and/or elaborated upon as more information from the environment comes to attention and is reflected upon.

Effectuative imagination can be either guided or triggered by random thoughts, usually stimulated by what a person experiences within the framework of their past experience.  These people may also be maddening because they incubate <pondering a specific problem> by leaving the problem alone … the occasional attention lets the mind wander possibilities … or nothing … and randomly imagines a solution.

Effectuative imagination is extremely flexible and allows for continuous change. This is an important ingredient in entrepreneurial planning, strategy development, particularly in opportunity construction, development, and assembling all the necessary resources required to exploit any opportunity.

I would suggest we hate and love these people and their imaginations. In our process driven world we want to give a deadline and specific objective and milestones … and these people go to the beat of their own drum.

Here is an even crazier thought. Everyone can do this. Crazy, huh? If you buy into the randomness then some people will portray this random imagination weekly … and some once a decade. The really sad part? The once in a decade person is screwed in today’s world. If they do not deliver today they get put in a ‘non-imagination box’ and we ignore them.

Too bad <for the rest of us>. Because, frankly. an effectuative imaginative idea is an effectuative imaginative idea. One is not any better or worse than another. Quality is an independent variable where each is discrete in its value. These people, to me, are builders. Often they are building something that has never been built before <these people are often miserable because they see shit other people do not see … and, as we know, most people are resistant to the truly ‘new’>.

 

thinking divergence convergence

===

Intellectual imagination.

Intellectual is utilized when considering and developing hypotheses from different pieces of information or pondering over various issues of meaning say in the areas of philosophy, management, or politics, etc. Intellectual imagination originates from a definite idea or plan and thus is guided imagination as it has a distinct purpose which in the end must be articulated after a period of painstaking and sometimes meticulous endeavor. Murray used Charles Darwin as a prime example. Intellectual imagination <the ability to imagine that which seemed semi-unimaginable> developed his hypothesis leading to The Origin of Species which took almost two decades to gestate and complete. Darwin collected information, analyzed it, evaluated and criticized the findings, and then reorganized all the information into new knowledge in the form of a hypothesis <I imagine we can find dozens of examples beyond Darwin>. Intellectual imagination is a very conscious process.

 

Personally I put this in the ‘renovation’ category. These people use their imagination to take that which is, break it apart and ultimately imagine it all in a new configuration. These people are less miserable than the miserable Effectuative people mostly because at least their imaginations are using mostly existing pieces to suggest change and new.

===

Imaginative fantasy.

Fantasy creates and develops stories, pictures, poems, stage-plays, and the building of the esoteric. This form of imagination may be based upon the inspiration of some fact or semi-autobiographical experiences, extrapolated or analogized into new persona and events that conform to or stretch the realms of reality into some magical alternative option. Imaginative fantasy may be very tangible in its construct … very structural <people in real world settings, past, present, or future … or with real people in mythical settings>. Fantasy may totally disregard the rules of society, science and nature, or extrapolate them into a created future. imagination portugeseFantasy can also be based upon human emotions, distorted historical facts, historical times and political issues, take a theme and fantasize it, encapsulate dark fantasy, or evoke urban legend. Imaginative fantasy can be a mixture of guided and unguided imagination and appears to be important to artists, writers, dancers, and musicians, etc.

These people are extremely happy people … but this imagination lives in an alternative world <which means they may not fit in with the rest of mainstream very easily>. This imagination seamlessly eases its way into the world because most people clearly identify it as ‘not change’ but rather ‘not real.’ We love these people because on occasion in their ‘non-real’ imagination they figure out a way to articulate something real in our own lives. We rarely judge them on everything they do and say but rather on those magical moments when they reach inside us and show us something about the way we think or feel.

===

Empathy Imagination

Empathy tied to Imagination is an interesting category. It suggests a capacity to connect to others and feel what they are feeling. Empathy imagination helps someone put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Let someone know emotionally what others are experiencing from their frame and reference. Empathy allows our mind ‘to detach itself from one’s self’ and see the world from someone else’s feelings, emotions, pain, and reasoning. Empathy links us to the larger community and thus important to human survival in enabling us to understand what is required to socially coexist with others.

Interestingly, this type of imagination, besides being extremely important in Life, can be an important characteristic in Business. It enables one to think about how competition thinks and reacts and what they would do. I guess branding can also be considered a result of empathy as marketers try and capture connections with potential customers by appealing to their emotions, self identity and aspirations.

===

Strategic imagination

While Murray didn’t suggest this … I will … this type of imagination to me is very specific. Strategic is concerned about vision of ‘what could be’, the ability to recognize and evaluate opportunities by turning them into mental scenarios, seeing the benefits, identifying the types and quantities of resources required for taking particular actions, and the ability to weigh up all the issues in a strategic manner. This type of ‘imagining what could be’ helps a person focus upon the types of opportunities suited to them <their personal motivations being the main driver>.

 

I tend to believe  that strategic imagination translates into what we everyday schmucks would call “wise people” <not wise asses>.

===

Emotional Imagination

 

I call this “imagining how I may feel” imagination. This is concerned with manifesting emotional dispositions and extending them into emotional scenarios. Without any imagination, emotion would not be able to emerge from our psych and manifest as feelings, moods, and dispositions. Fear requires the imagination of what is fearful, hate requires imagination about what is repulsive, and worry requires the imaginative generation of scenarios that make one anxious. Through emotional imagination, beliefs are developed through giving weight to imaginative scenarios that generate further sets of higher order emotions. Emotional imagination operates at the unconscious and semi-unconscious level. Emotional imagination a very powerful type of imagination and can easily dominate the thinking processes.

By the way … I tend to believe people who have a vivid emotional imagination are typically emotional wrecks. These are the people who constantly swing between envisioning what would make them happy and living through ‘what if’ misery <I struggle to think of anything more excruciatingly painful>. These people are almost the exact opposite of what Eckhart Tolle would call “living in the now.” They live in the ‘what if.’ Me? I would shoot myself. What a waste of a good imagination.

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Dreams

 

I was surprised Murray threw dreams into Imagination but I included it because I included everything else he dreamed up <sorry for that>. He suggests that dreams are an unconscious form of imagination made up of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations … just that this imagination occurs while you sleep rather than when you are awake. An interesting thought. Dreams show that every concept in our mind has its own psychic associations and that ideas we deal with in everyday life are by no means as precise as we think. Our experiences imprint our memory passing into the subconscious where the factual characteristics can be reacquired or be revised at some point. Regardless … we are not in control of our dreams … this is completely unfettered imagination <an interesting idea in its own right>.

 

I will admit that I mostly left this in my post because I have a pen & paper next to my own bed. I am not sure I would call what I do when I sleep as “dreaming” but I certainly think. And it helps if I wake up to write down what I thought <before the ‘brilliance’ slips away>. I hesitate to call this ‘dreaming’ because I think of words, business & ideas … not unicorns, angels and stepping through rings of fire to save some damsel in distress. Regardless … this is an interesting aspect I am glad good ole Murray thought about.

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Memory reconstruction

This type of imagination is the process of retrieving our memory of people, objects, and events. Our memory is made up of prior knowledge consisting of a mix of truth and belief, influenced by emotion. Recurring memory therefore carries attitudes, values, and identity as most of our memory is within the “I” or “me” paradigm. Memory is also reconstructed to fit into our current view of the world. This means it is also very selective.

 

note: If you are truly interested in this delineation please do not hesitate to pick up Clotaire Rapaille’s The Culture Code. You will be interested because this type of imagination has to be consciously redirected because Clotaire does a fabulous job in suggesting some of the memory imprints we have are solidly imprinted in our subconscious … therefore dictating a thought platform from which our imagination leverages from. An interesting paradox if you believe imagination is a blank slate.

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Done.

Whew.

this has turned out to be a bear of a post to write & edit … which is a shame because it is on a topic I truly enjoy … imagination and knowledge.

 

In the end I wanted to break down imagination into these somewhat absurd delineations to make a point. Knowledge <and curiosity I imagine> have almost always been discussed in infinite terms. While, oddly, imagination has been discussed as finite <as in some people do not have it>.

imagination colorsThe relationship between knowledge and imagination is inextricably tied. And both are expanding geometrically throughout Life.

Murray suggested somewhere in something he wrote that this exponential growth is devaluing knowledge  <but not imagination>.

I disagree.

 

Adamantly disagree.

 

I believe the value of knowledge, in particular, is increasing exponentially … because the game of Life has raised its competitive bar. Therefore people need to be able to use all their tools, imagination included, to be more competitive with Life <not other people>. Developing capabilities to investigate and assimilate information and inventing new ways of looking at it is becoming increasingly important. Honestly that thought is at the core of Enlightened Conflict. It is the next step from encouraging curiosity <and actually acting upon your curiosity>.

 

 

To end this whole post & thought.

dream seeking sky

Seeking knowledge and using your imagination is certainly something internally driven. However … to fully prosper it needs to be nurtured … given the space and environment to be successful.

 

That will not happen until everyone … well … at least the everyones who can crush the potential … recognize everyone has a vivid imagination when given the opportunity. And maybe that is why I went into such excruciating detail on differentiating imagination. Maybe somewhere in the excruciating detail some anal retentive manager/leader will latch on to a reason to give someone a chance to use their imagination.

 

Letting Go … Holding On (a painful lesson)

January 29th, 2010

dog love snoopy

Well.

 

 

I love contradictions.

 

I have always believed the moment you own a contradiction is the moment you capture an emotional and intellectual awareness.

 

I encountered one on Tuesday.

 

Letting go and holding on.

 

 

That was the day my 15 year old dog died. That morning I was ready to let go and wanted to hold on.

 

 

Walking into the vet with my dog’s head resting on my shoulder I had already said goodbye alone at home. I was ready to let go. what dog look

And yet.

When I laid him down on his towel at the vet I asked for a couple minutes more.

 

I wanted to hold on. What I chose to do was scratch him behind his ear and say goodbye. I know he couldn’t feel it. It was more for me then it was for him. But. It was my last time to hold on to him before I let go.

Letting go and holding on.

I was right.

 

<insert a really big, deep sigh here>

 

Owning a contradiction is powerful.

Enlightened Conflict