Category Archives: Perspective Taking

…conscience as life loving life…

“Sacrifice still exists everywhere, and everywhere the elect of each generation suffers for the salvation of the rest.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

Theater is full of dramas that exalt “sacrifice” as love.  These dramas make the statement that any change is intolerable:

  • If balance – once experienced – cannot be restored,
  • If love – given freely – cannot survive, OR
  • If one’s relational boundaries – as originally experienced – cannot be justly maintained.

And, of course, sacrifice is then both honorable and inevitable.  Self-identification requires it.  We cannot stand apart from the love which grounds us to meaning and purpose.

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…conscience and the horsemen of the disappointed dream…

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” – Emerson

Whether we realize it or not, we carry a future orientation, a continuing belief in something more … something more for us and for the world we live in … and along with that belief comes disappointment.

Our ability to be conscientious … to do the right thing, to hold a sense of integrity about our actions and decisions … that capacity doesn’t include disappointment does it?  Disappointment is supposed to come afterward … after we are done, learning, committing and doing, right?  After we have exercised conscientious action … well, maybe not …

I don’t like being disappointed any more than you do!

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…creative imagination as creative insecurity…

“To hope — to open one’s anticipations to the possibility of fulfillment in the future–is to expose oneself to further anxiety.” — Samuel J. Warner

Of all our endowments, creative imagination is the least “secure.”  Conscience, independent will, and awareness (the other three) are more dependable;  at least in the claims they make upon our thoughts and feelings.  But creative imagination?!? … it’s the quicksilver of insecurity – an intangible means of transportation to worlds far away, long ago, and immediately present.  No wonder we are often baffled by the associations we make – almost without even trying.

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…creative imagination as variable opinion…

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts”  – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

In legal circles, a short acronym describes the art of legal thinking.  It’s called IRAC.  It’s short for Issues, Rule, Application, Conclusion.  Lawyers use this “formula” to build a context for the characterization of a conclusion.  When used, it runs something like this:

  • The issue at hand is: Robbery.
  • The rules regarding robbery are: it’s illegal and to prove “robbery” the following criteria must be satisfied….
  • The application of the “rules” to facts would be… and
  • Therefore, my conclusion is: this particular event was a “robbery”… under the rules of law.

(Just to be clear – I’m NOT a lawyer.)  And, needless to say, most people do not think this way.

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…nature and nurture…

I’m going to stick my neck out here.

I’m going to tell you — without any empirical data — that people filter data according to what is useful and valuable to them AND they overcome those filters in ways that can only be described as learning.  But here’s the catch:  learning is not entirely voluntary.  Learning is simultaneously unreflective, unconscious, and involuntary AND reflective, conscious and voluntary.  Learning is both completely intentional AND completely instinctual.

So… what’s going on here? … Is this a nature – nurture discussion? … Well, yes … and no.  Let me explain.

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…the unintended path of growth…

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– | I took the one less traveled by, | And that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost

We only have ourselves to blame.

The most commonly held bias in American is that someone is ALWAYS responsible; someone must ALWAYS take the blame.

And here we have a volatile area of reflection.  Even the well-intended statement, “He can who thinks he can,” is often mis-translated into “He can who thinks he can … if he chooses to be responsible.”

Our ability to do most anything, — even those things commonly called “personal growth” — are increasingly seen as statements of “willing responsibility.”  How much does it mean to us?  How much are we willing to assume responsibility for our actions … even when it is clear they are “unintended”?

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…framing our trust so it can deepen…

“Desire is proof of the availability…” — Robert Collier

In case you missed it, my last post was about the movie, Big Fish (a 2003 father and son drama by Tim Burton, starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, and Jessica Lange, see …trust and its release …).

I looked at that movie because it illustrated the mystery of trust – both our capacity to extend trust and in our ability to release it once it no longer serves.

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