Day 5 of Culturistan began innocently, but we took a turn from our original schedule and programming. I woke up with a rather urgent work situation to attend to, so my mind wasn’t totally present when we started either. I was not the only one who walked into the discussion with an occupied mind, as another colleague was also stressed, but about a more personal situation. We ultimately decided to discuss his situation at length before diving into the readings. The conversation became much more personal and the question asked for everyone was “how we can transmute something destructive into something constructive”. You can learn a lot about a person at a point in time-based on how they respond to a certain event or question. But what gives us any right to feel like the world owes us something? Why do we approach life thinking it should go a certain way? Who sold us this packet of lies that we should have any expectations about the way our lives are supposed to unfold? Why do we feel like we “deserve” something?
“Life is always in the right” is something I’ll paraphrase from an earlier reading. While we may not understand what is happening to us at that particular moment, it just is happening and will shift our worldview, like it or not. We don’t always have to have explanations or reasons for everything – and sitting with the unknown is a practice that is not popular, especially in Western culture. Our ego has a need for protecting itself from death by acquiring as much knowledge as possible, and sometimes to our own detriment.
But not all events are created equal. We all come from different backgrounds and have different triggers based on our subjective experience of reality — and it is impossible to “judge” or “qualify” what level of constructivism we assign to each event in our lives.
Afterward, we read “An Open Letter to Eric Schmidt”, and did some role-playing between Google/pro-technology platforms and against Google and technology platforms. I had to argue on the side of Google and pro-technology. Disclosure: While I disagree with monopolies and unfair manipulation at the expense of other companies and organizations, technology and Google has provided us with a tremendous amount of value for human society. Without these platforms, nations wouldn’t have access to each other on the scale or magnitude that is possible today. We wouldn’t have the level of advancement in multiple industries without the open source knowledge sharing that has happened globally because of the internet. We wouldn’t be able to make the same advancement in science and medicine, and transportation. While we can’t prepare for the future in which technology can disrupt your current creations and their use, one can use these disruptions as opportunities to reinvent their talents and crafts.
On another note, I started thinking about the word “authentic”. Since the conversations today were much more personal than any other day of the program, I found that there is a tension in sharing something personal that may limit our sensibilities towards an event. If we cannot objectively see our personal situation from afar, we are limited to the extent that we are able to judge a scenario and in effect “authentically” describe how we perceive an event or experience it.
Perhaps, without a sense of affectionate detachment and objectivity towards our inner world and our ego, we can’t truly trust what we perceive. Our sense of being right will create the most optimal narrative that aligns with what it most desires.