ECHO CHAMBERS OF SANITY

Howard Goldman February 14, 2017 0
ECHO CHAMBERS OF SANITY

 

I am concerned the pace and scope of “perceived” change in our lives is often overwhelming. My long-cherished beliefs are routinely upended and proven “wrong” (i.e. what is healthy; what is moral; what is reasonable at work, what is expected in relationships, what are the lessons from received history) “Everything we know is wrong” is humor, but not far off the mark of my thwarted sense of reality.

You and I inhabit echo-chambers of self-reflected opinion – points of view narrowed by “personalization filters”, and media content that titillates, provokes, and enflames inner rage. Increasingly, I fortify existing beliefs by selecting “news” and discussion that conforms to what I already believe or, worse, want to believe. Debate is a contest to steel my argument tighter and more dominantly, rather than an opportunity to inform and expand what I understand. I demand agreement for what I already “know”.

I see diversity of thought simplistically portrayed and often imposed in commercial imagery – as long as our preferences for diversity are sanctioned along pre-conceived notions of inclusion. My authenticity is subsumed in someone’s smug and presumptive unity of values. Oh, how correct, how superior we are!

Against this often un-examined cultural backdrop I strive to function, and dare I say, prosper.
How can you and I carve out islands of sanity in swirls of unnerving chaos and opaque anxiety?

I have chosen a few personal practices that offer the promise of momentary sanity:

Reading and reflection

I arise each day carving out an hour or so for personal contemplation and reflection. I feed my curiosity about almost anything – reviews of books and films after I have experienced them, political discourse, insight into people I encounter. I “Google” almost every question that I conjure in my head in search of objective information. I work to broaden my basis of understanding, even if it conflicts with smug assumptions. On some self-satisfied days, I approach intellectual honesty.

I also establish a rhythm for each day that is chosen, not imposed by circumstance. I initiate a clearing for discovery and achievement. This framework allows me to engage in the world, newly each day, primed for sanity.

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