Thursday, March 1, 2018

Reaction, Response, Reflection

Reflection is everything. By it we grow. We learn to fear the scorpion. We learn distrust. We learn survival. "I won't do that again!" We alter our behaviours and reactions and responses. It becomes a fundamental imperative, or not. Yes, some-times we simply do not learn. Sometimes we keep repeating our mistakes. It might be as simple as spelling it's when it should be its (or alot when there is no such thing,) but we do it. Repetition can be our downfall. Habit can trip us up, and indeed, we get up and do it again!

Reaction is primeval, in most instances. Acculturation is in our DNA. We learn reaction from our fore bearers, from our families, from our cultural constellations. And unless we question or take our cue from observing others not to do this or that, we continue reactively to kill grass snakes. Yet it is amazing how many apples have been consumed within Biblical history. It is amazing how many pigs have been killed. It is astounding how many wars we've had. It is incredible that we bicker over guns and tanks and resources and taxes. We still do not have it right. We still are insufficiently reflective. We still do not temper our responses. And we still simply react.

Responses are of very many levels. They are, ideally, the measured and the considered and the thought-out preferences to a given situation. We all know that. But still, we tend to react. (Few, for instance, change the WTF? phrase to a "what to fear"; or "who to follow"; or "which temperament follows?") It is easier to follow pattern, to follow suit, to dress oneself in the cultural predilections of the times and to fit within the norm. After all, the great bell curve does not like outliers. It distrusts outliers. And so, we advance together, slowly, like an inch-worm, stretching out together as a culture only when impelled by some significant need to move. The Internet has provided us with that. Growth. There has been a growing response, stretching out in multiple directions. But when one imagines, conceives of, or even introduces the inevitability of The Singularity (thanks to Kurzweil and the AI advances in microbiology and Nano-bots,) there is generally a negative reaction. It's as if we, still in our caves, can only grunt with fear at the thought of TV. Yet surely its influence on the masses has been to elevate, to unify, and to make significant to a man his responsibility to and connection with mankind. No? Oh, that's because...

Reason gives us too many excuses. Our reaction to things, ideas, influences, snake-oil and smoke and mirrors has given us a way of living that is driving up 'the selfie' of our idiosyncratic natures. We are deeply self-obsessed. Our reality TV shows feed our narcissistic investigation of what our species 'is really like'; such that we may see ourselves not only reflected in 'the Stars’, but may also excuse our behaviours, our reactions, and our habits. Our TV has given us a license to be 'as somebody else is'. Children are most susceptible. Habits of language, of dress, of conduct, and of thought itself are inculcated by the watcher. (Even if never watching a TV until our 20's, as did my brothers and I, growing up in Africa,) we still are deeply imprinted by the prevailing cultural aspects of our times. We follow 'role' models. It's natural. We are not necessarily taught how to respond rather than to react; and then, even more so, not taught how best to reflect, so that one's response, “when the lesson comes around again,” may be even more-better tempered by maturation and insight and compassion than it was before.

This is no moralistic missive. It decries naught. It merely invokes the passages of reflection that might provoke our individual lives into being the series of lessons that they appear to be, such that our enlightenment may bring us peace, piece by piece. We can hardly have done but what we did; we were as sufficient unto a given moment as was our totality at that moment. But it is our reflection that will at least prepare us to have a yet more-better response to the moment by moment existence of our lives, in the grander scheme of wanting always to contribute to the health of the whole. Always. (And what a reflection of Humankind’s potential would that not be!)