Life is hard.
Every philosophy or psychiatry book or religious book writes this. Everyone with a sizeable life experience will tell us about life being tough. We have the choice of moaning about it or changing what we don’t like. The difference we call attitude. With a proactive attitude it is theoretically not very hard to transcend (overcome) difficulties we encounter. As life and love are actually the same thing and as they cause problems a proactive change is the first step towards creating solutions. Without understanding and respecting time it is not possible to overcome any difficulty.
Love or life, or overcoming any obstacle or difficulty for that matter can be understood and handled when approached in a trilogy:
Truth or being true to oneself (as Moses said), addiction or commitment to truth or dedication to reality as Dr. Peck calls it) Taking responsibility Balance The soul of this trilogy is per definition the almighty parameter; time. I will try to give some practical examples further below.
…is the thing we dislike most when we want to overcome any difficulty. In love or in life not deceiving oneself and constantly checking the maps you have made of yourself or your surroundings is of utmost necessity. Everything changes. Change is the only constant. We constantly need to check the given reality about ourselves or our surroundings instead of setting up some fairy tales or dogmas and believing in them. While working on your own truth you need to adjust the maps you have made of others in your very own interest. Deviations or bias are the natural definition of all cultures. The findings of science are the compass we need for seeking the truth. For example, as people don’t like the idea of death they have dreamt of an afterlife and adorned and glamorized the understanding of it according to their cultures. After the last ice age as the sea levels rose and some 7600 years before present the seas flushed into, what was then a sweet water lake and today the Black Sea, in a deluge of huge floods, so many had to migrate and people must have kept on telling this great catastrophe to one another, so much so that myths arose and people took precautions which they thought was necessary: Egyptian Pharaohs buried thousands of years after this incident had a boat in their burial chambers for the event! First the Gilgamesh Saga, then the “western” monotheistic religions have written about Noah’s deluge to pass the information to the next generations.
It is a lot easier to live in the past shrewdly avoiding any work, or moaning about hardships of today is a lot easier then actually working towards a solution for our lazy species. We like living in the past or dreaming about the future instead of actually working towards a future, maybe because we instinctively don’t trust each other and our capability for cooperation. Living today and working towards a sustainable future is a relieving way of life when a majority gets to understand it.
We can understand taking responsibility only as a function of time. Does something worry you? We start instinctively working towards a solution by complaining i.e. by sharing with others. We start working at a common sense or a paradigm shift towards a solution. If the complaint is an “unjust” action on a personal basis, talking to that person is a lot more constructive towards a solution. But often enough the assessment of oneself or the self assessment of the other person won’t allow such direct sharing and we start a pollution of misinformation with half truths also known as gossip. Doesn’t this often cause a lot of misunderstanding? As no interaction between two persons can be ideally just due to differences of perception a lot of energy gets lost and furnishes further “institutionalized” misunderstandings or scarred bias.
In matters concerning all talking and evaluating problems from different perspectives, is the solution only often delayed with taboos or cultural restrictions? Can a caricature or a joke sometimes sum up the reality a lot easier and better then a learned article?
Is the need for the common good simply population control? Planning ones own family is something which anyone able to understand these sentences can easily do. What about “others” not being able to understand it either through lack of education or through cultural bias? Well, talking about it constantly and diligently is the solution; building up a common sense towards legal adjustments. Distributing nice films about the topic like Al Gore’s Oscar and Nobel winning movie “An Inconvenient Truth” – recommending it or giving it as a present. The more people are committed the sooner the majority will understand that having more than two children per couple can directly be felt as an assault on the water or air supply on this planet or is in a way contributing towards pollution. Time will work towards people with a right cause. The right approach is of course not accusing a family with 3 or more children but educating the children so that hey don’t have many themselves. If the problem is quitting smoking and we have no one else to blame then ourselves it might be a good idea to look for help so that one can focus on the problem and develop a new approach (or attitude Einstellung). Is the problem that your days are spent without a constructive cause? The solution is reaching out to other people. Is reaching out problematic? Solutions could lie within your ego (or in a proactive attitude or lack of compassion) or in correct timing.
The third foundation is balance. For example, working is good towards solving problems. Without work it is not possible to do or understand anything. But too much can cause a tunnel view. For instance, if one does not assign time for one’s family or learning new approaches, only one track-minded work can build up the physical or psychological foundations for disaster in the long term. Your relationships will suffer, your body can start misbehaving. Is food good? Silly question; of course it is and eating is fun as well! Too much can cause disaster. Are germs bad? If they weren’t there our species would become extinct. So good or bad have only a meaning within a balance. Balance is also needed for a proactive attitude or approach and for the fine adjustment and corrections as well as for correcting deviations and bias.
All these three are meaningful with the parameter time as well as with knowledge, setting priorities and focus. As ‘divide and conquer’ is a meaningful modus, also tackling things one at a time and ‘construction (glue and build)’ is a modus for success.
People judge or perceive one another with what they see. The most obvious determinant of the first impression is weight. People will judge the others by their weight consciously or subconsciously extrapolating this input into self control, physical mobility and mental attitude or success. Have you got weight problems? The solution is activity every day and eating less. A multitude of balanced and unbalanced dietary solutions are being offered. Focusing and keeping at it with an overall balance is the solution. Each bit one eats should be a conscious one and the goal constantly being kept in mind. The need for awards and prizes are necessary and the timing of an award is one of the most important arts. Is quitting smoking a lot different? The prize being more mobility and health and saving a lot of money. Do you need more money? Well, a long term attitude and having constant awareness and focus is necessary. Everyone has the right to strive toward one’s end as he dreams of it and has the responsibility for it. The fun part of it is that everyone has a choice and a lot more choices then one thinks. Do you need to solve a math problem? You have focused and it doesn’t work out? Maybe a walk or a theater visit will help? Maybe a game of chess or backgammon? Haven’t got enough time? Well, planning for enough time in the future might be a solution?
We don’t always live with a guarantee for constant success and life is hard, remember? Often enough we go two steps forward and one and sometimes more steps backwards. Sometimes it helps to talk to wise people and sometimes to keep enough space from others and listen to oneself. But we have almost infinite possibilities and after labeling a problem working towards a solution is life itself. According to the final goal that was set some problems will need a few days, some weeks to solve and for communities sometimes a few hundred years. Not far away from today I am sure mathematicians will set up formulas between time and personal education and cultural deviations. For common sense I believe they will soon set up a simple formula for the realization of a new idea in relation to the number of people needed who understand and support that idea.
So balance, responsibility and the pursuit of truth build a triangle and time makes a prism out of it and in any given population as the awareness rises, the achievement of any goal will come closer. Even the goal of a steady human population on this planet so we can survive in the long term will be possible if more and more people become aware and are proactive about it.
The idea of seeing this as a triangle and maybe even describing this in the language of math came up in a fruitful dialogue with Prof. Remzi Sanver, a mathematician. March 2008 Urla mt