“What’s invisible to us is also crucial for our own well-being.” – Jeanette Winterson
With my last blog — about the six levels of “well-being” and how “well-being” differs from being “well-cared-for” — I tried to emphasize the point that the ego really focuses on what is outside, external, visible, and objective.
You see, fundamentally, the ego misunderstands “well-being.”
“Well-being” is foreign to what the ego measures and assesses. “Well-cared-for” means having the right signals and markers (the house, the cars, the clothing). The ego doesn’t really want to know “how it feels” — it just want to know, objectively, we have the right markers to show that we are “well-cared-for.” Whatever is outside, external, visible, and objective is … well … “good enough” (according to the ego).
And, for me, the ego’s need for objective “proof” raises the question of our being “good enough” to be fully human. Can we be “good enough” to be fully human if we look at our context solely for its objective circumstance?
I’ve made the point before — we “live our actions into images” in ways that convey purpose and vision.
What is inside, internal, invisible, and subjective lives, imagistically, as a whole within the picture we have about purpose and vision. Our moment-to-moment starting point is always an assessment of “well-being” because we cannot know who we are (objectively or subjectively) without this inner ability to “live our actions into images.”
And that’s where things can go terribly wrong.
Purpose and vision is the place when “well-being” and being “well-cared-for” collide… in ways that define “us” to “ourselves” without our even being aware of it.
Let’s look at an example: Jane has a stressful job. She is constantly worried about things that might go wrong. She believes her fear is reasonable since problems create threats which generate blame which then make her vulnerable and insecure.
Jane has learned to expresses herself in a way that is fully human, and at the same time less than human. Let’s see how her idea of being “well-cared-for” squashes the “well-being” wish she might have:
- Vigilance is the focus of Jane’s imagination. She is only looking for what might go wrong. From her perspective, what get’s renewed is what can go wrong; she only imagines the worst.
- Jane’s actions are all defensive. Choice and decision are meaningful because they bring safety; it is either “act, or be acted upon.” Her actions anticipate everything that might go wrong.
- Jane’s self-awareness is built around fear. She is immersed in the knowing of her fear. The tail that she devours is the knowledge of what fear might do. She ignores everything that might be good.
- Jane’s conscience looks for injustice. Every cause generates its own effect, so blame and attack are deep sources of injustice. She anticipates becoming a victim.
Jane’s human endowments are critical here. Her capacity to “live her actions into images” is the joint expression of Creative Imagination, Independent Will, Self-Awareness, and Conscience. Jane’s human endowments create the interior world that assesses her”well-being” before she, herself, can fully appreciate it.
And the more outer-directed Jane is by what is objectively defined, the less she feels the vitality of “well-being.” She cannot put her focus in two different places at the same time.
Jane “lives her actions into images” by accepting the ego’s need for objective “proof” — and by so doing , she discards the intangible and invisible insights that might increase her sense of well-being.
So … are we “good enough” to be fully human … when we look exclusively to objective circumstance?
Jeanette Winterson writes: “What’s invisible to us is also crucial for our own well-being.” Does this crucial invisibility make us human? I think it does.
What do you think?
Thanks for listening!