Calvin: How old do you have to be before you know what’s going on?

 

One of the “open secrets” of our lives is that we really don’t know what’s going on.

We may have all sorts of experiences, insights, thoughts, and maps, but we don’t really know.

Since this is a secret of sorts, and many adults don’t admit to or don’t speak openly about it, it easy for us as kids to think that adults must know.

I don’t know and (I assume) they do.

And when we still don’t know as adults, some of us keep that belief.

I don’t know and someone else must.

Of course, this may be true in a limited sense. Some will have more experience and insights into certain areas of life than I do, and I can learn from those people. But it’s not true in any final sense.

We are all just winging it.

Shared secrets out in the open

 

Shared secrets of this kind is the norm for certain issues, and I assume one reason most people don’t speak about it because others don’t speak about it. Also, many don’t like to have their inconsistencies pointed out and in the open because it means they (or we) would have to do something about it.

The quote is from a previous post.

I think there are a great number of shared secrets in our culture. We know but don’t speak about it because it would rock the boat. We know but, for whatever reason, don’t want to know so we don’t speak about it. Or we would know if we paid attention to it, but since we haven’t yet we don’t have anything to say about it.

If we know but don’t speak about it, it may be for several different reasons. Others don’t so we would go against norms and taboos. We may not want to hurt someone’s feelings. It would put the spotlight on us and make us vulnerable to uncomfortable attention. We may be expected to do something about it.

Here are a few examples of these types of shared secrets:

We accept certain ingroup behavior more readily than similar outgroup behavior.

We give reasons that are not the real reasons for our behavior. (To appear better to ourselves and others, to not hurt ourselves and others.)

We pretend we know when we don’t know. (And that we can’t know anything for sure.)

News in the media is not so much about news as entertainment. They sell a product. It’s not about shedding light on the really important issues in our society and culture. (There are some exceptions, such as The Guardian.)

We pretend it’s ethical to imprison other beings, use them as slaves, eat them etc. We justify doing medical research on them bc they are similar to us while justifying enslaving and eating them because they are different from us.

We pretend it’s ethical or OK (or wise) to not take the interests of future generations, nonhuman beings, ecosystems etc. into consideration in our policies and decisions

Some accept a religion just because they are born into it. Not because it makes more sense than anything else. They do it for social reasons.

Some go into a religion for emotional comfort.

And things I noticed later….

International and national policies are often aimed at lining the pockets of the wealthy.

We pretend that an economic system and ideology (in our time, neoliberalism) aimed at benefiting the wealthy is in the interest of everyone.

None of these are necessarily bad or wrong, but it’s better to be open about it. To admit to ourselves and others what we already know and see the inconsistencies in it. That’s when change can happen.

Is it true we pretend? Yes and no. In many cases, we may know but not know that we know. We need to be reminded or have it pointed out, sometimes by life itself. And I am also very aware that these reflect my own experience of the world and may seem different to others.  (more…)

Allowing as an open secret

 

Here is one of those “open secrets” which I notice through the day, and which any number of practices – and life itself – invites me to notice.

Whenever I allow an experience – independent of its content – it invites in healing and maturing, and also makes it easier to notice what I am.

And whenever I resist experience – independent of its content – it invites in the opposite. Wounding. Immaturity. A deepening sense of I-Other split.

It is really just Life 101, and something we all know somewhere, but also a remarkable practice when it is made more conscious. And it is also something that seems to happen only when all content of experience is allowed, whatever it is, including resistance itself.

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