Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Simple Sighman and The Pieman

Simple thing, this living. You take nothing personally, you choose words impeccably, you assume nothing about everything, and you do your best with what you have and where you're at. That's it. No muss, no fuss. No controlling of others. No ulterior motives. No in-authenticity. No complications. Simple!

And then there's living. We want things. We need things. We desire. We dislike, despise, and denounce. We have passion, certain insight, experience, and un-deniable facts. We cannot let someone take our identity away. We each are unique. And yet...

Yet we apportion ourselves (and others) into neat striations of pie-charts and colo(u)r bands and 
Hierarchical-Templates. We adhere to Astrology. (Cosmology, naturally, appears too complex). We give ourselves birth signs and labels. We perpetuate the fragmentation of an ‘I’ versus ‘You’, and an ‘US’ versus ‘Them’. Each of us is an individual! Yet we at the same time look for bands and congregations and collaborations of people to whom we can give our accord. Birds of a feather flock together¹. "A fish and a bird may marry, but how will they live together."² And we participate in pogroms, in divisiveness, and party memberships. How else to be a Donkey or an Elephant? How else to be a Bear or a Dragon? How does one be a Beaver or a Loon? What country shall I say I originate from? Just who am I?

There are sufficient questionnaires developed to derive an answer. Who are you? Vocational counselors will give you advice. So will your parents, your family, or your church. Psychologists will have you check-in your Family Constellations. Psychiatrists will assess your very chemistry. And your culture will give you an accent, a set of conditioned expectations, and even a birth-right. Your identification papers, your numbers (especially your SIN number) will give you a social insurance against being ‘a-nobody’. (Imagine being a refugee, sans papers, sans proof, sans money, sans ability fluently to speak a new language?) What if you were sans technology let alone manual-skills-sophistication? Imagine taking a Kalahari Bushman and dropping him in New York?

And yet some charts will have you left without hope in their strange delineations of identity. Like looking at a map of the world and realizing you've only ever lived in one city. Perhaps you've been lucky enough to travel a bit; seen some of the world. But at the end of the day, you and I both resort to the life we know, the life in our immediate surrounds. Naturally. And so it is with Intelligences, we presume, especially as delineated in Howard Gardiner's heuristics. We resort to using one of them, predominantly. At issue is, depending on our way of viewing things, is there a chance we might not develop, exercise, or strain our other faculties? Do we have to get our 'knickers in a knot'? Must we be anxious when the occasion does not suit us? Must we give up when stretched beyond apparent capacity? Where's our entelechy, our inner drive?3 And worse, must we adjudge others when we see them not able to do what we (so readily) can do?

Thing is, at any time we forget we are a “whole human being”4, or worse, that so is another, we create for ourselves a microcosm of myopia, malcontent, and miscegenation. We are a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, a babble of sheep. We cease to think truly independently. We cease to realize we are multiplicitous, multifarious, and universal. As such we easily become less global, less provincial, and even less countrified. We descend into the relative obscurity of a citizen of the city, un-noticing and unnoticed as we get counted among the moving masses; a bland face without being recognized as "petals on a wet black bough."5

You see, life ain't so simple after all. After all, which part of Everything is not? (Sigh?)

1. Holland's Theory
2. Tevye (Fiddler on The Roof)
3. Morrie (Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
4. Essential Entelechy (http://mrpswords.blogspot.ca/2016/05/essential-entelechy.html)
5. Ezra Pound

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Essential Entelechy

"How do you make six halves out of one whole? Well?" And so, similar questions plague us.

Entelechy* keeps us at thinking about it. (Yes, it's a Greek complexity.) According to some, the degree of entelechy (an innate drive) determines a person's potential, or not. We are of a mind not to yield, not to give up, always to progress, or not. (And no, perseverance here is not 'obsessive-compulsiveness'; it is more about determination and endurance.) Most of us, it is deemed, simply accept the acculturation and habits of our forefathers (or mothers). We are not innately driven toward more insight. Rather, we give more energy to acquisition. Awards, trophies, products, and even Enlightenment is seen as an attainment. More is better! And the more readily we give our energy toward any given product the more readily we may be seen as one who 'makes the most' of himself. (Herself too). Thing is, entelechy has more to it than that. It is an integrative-force. (Some have called it a soul-force.) And controversial as it is, it enlivens our life, all our lives, known or not.

Metaphorically, we may be adjudged to be a Volkswagen, Porsche, Chevy, or perhaps a Pontiac. (Rolls Royces, we learn, may not be all they're cut up to be). Thing is, some say one can only hope to be the very best vehicle within which the stuff of ourselves is made. (And here the analogy falters, seriously: A real Volkswagen cannot wish itself into being a Jaguar.) Then too, vehicles eventually die. They go to scrap heaps and mayhap get amalgamated, refined, and may even reappear on the roads in altogether a different form. Some older vehicles are nourished and protected and safe-guarded and valued. But most have a predictable life-span. Yet most, even as old rust-heaps, remain recognizable. Humans too can alter shape, change engines, disregard traffic regulations, and are not confined to being one brand over the course of their lifetime. At least, certainly not all humans.

Outliers are defined as those who noticeably differ from the norm. Take Paul McCartney. At 73 he gave a concert that went seamlessly for over two and a half hours last night [April 19th]. The Vancouver Rogers Arena crowd of a staggering 16,000 people was thrilled. Tonight he does the same. He has what the New Yorker calls, 'resilience'. ** It is that quality that allows some individuals more easily to surmount their difficulties. And they do these things not so much with the help from friends and family, and even others, but with the inner fortitude of survival stamped so deeply within that it is as though they retain all the competitiveness of the atavistic sperm of their origins; they will make it! The best they can be! (**A link to the 'resilience' article is below.)

But here's where the 'kind of car we are' analogy really breaks down. It's not just survival, but familial bonding, egocentricity, socialisms, ambitions, and globalism that drives some of us toward higher and higher predominant proclivities. In other words, we tend toward operating generally from one of those hierarchical paradigms (let alone predominantly acting from a paradigm of Integrative Enlightenment). And so, if we keep with the concept that we're bicycles or scooters or motorbikes, let alone lorries, or taxis, or buses, we can easily be dismissive at seeing another in what we see as their 'active construct'. We may assert inherent limitations on their innate potential. Sadly, so may we also limit ourselves! We give up on our interests, waste our passions, or distract ourselves with the side-streets and window-shoppings of life. How to go from being "just a Mini" to becoming a Maserati? ("And why bother?" the bell-curve begs.)

We are divisible, top from bottom, left from right, front from back; that's six halves of one whole. (And so on.) But there's more. We're so multi-faceted as to be an amalgamation of very many experiences and insights and potentialities. Our inner resilience, our determination to do for ourselves yet more than that which has been done unto us, or for us, is the very stuff of a limitless entelechy.  It is the inner stuff that invigorates us when we're tested, rather than it enervating our sense of individuality; that's entelechy. (And if you've read this far, you're more than half interested! Ha!)

* Entelechy: Linda Silverman's Counseling The Gifted & Talented, pp. 44-46