it’s all #fakenews …

As human beings we live in two worlds.

There is the external physical world. The world where we can touch a tree, watch a wren dart from shrub to shrub, scratch our elbow when it itches.

Then, there is the world of our mind and imagination. The world where we can feel hurt by what that person said and imagine what they meant. We can dream about our tomorrow and recall distorted truths of our past. A world where we believe the stories and myths of our mind. Our own fake news generator, if you will.

This second world is a virtual reality that can appear and feel just as real as the external physical world. The shoulds and musts are powerful, motivating, compelling.  Indeed, when it comes to your emotions and your imagination, the virtual world of your mind can be more real than the real world.

Our mind seems to muddle these two worlds. What is true? What is real? What is imagined? What is story? What is fake?

It seems too that our society is slowly shifting to value this second virtual world more than the first real, physical world.

For now it seems, in our modern media enabled world, we not only create our own virtual stories and myths, not only listen to those of our family and friends – those we might meet within the real world – now, we are bombarded by the stories, myths and imaginations of billions of others from around the globe. Real people we will never meet, with all their distorted stories of self and associated experience.  And we believe them. Or respond to them. Or worry about them. Or take them on as ours.

Recently, I read that more than 15% of Twitter’s 319 million users were not human. So not only are we engaging with the thoughts of other people, people we don’t know; we are listening to robotic programmed outputs from 48 million unknown devices. All adding to the melting pot of real and unreal, true and imagined, solid and distorted.

Yet each interaction is enhancing our own virtual sense of the truth. Augmenting our own thoughts and emotions. Building a more complex, layered perception of self, our place in the world and all its global dangers and intents. Causing us to be more curious, more mentally stretched, yes. Enticing us to respond, to debate. Yet also to worry, to feel pressurised, scared even. It drives a need to know. A need to be part of. Inclusion not exclusion. Powerful emotional draws deep within our ancient animal brain.

I wonder if this contributes to the rise in mental health and well-being issues? I wonder what this holds for our future as a species?

The internet increasingly drives our lives. You’re using it now to read this. We read reviews of products from unknown people and trust them. We read tweets from unknown people and respond to them, emotionally, cognitively. We scan page after page of Facebook posts, skipping across our timeline like a never ending movie.

You are reading this blog. In one sense it’s not real.

I am of course.

But these thoughts are the creations from within my mind, my virtual world. True, you can choose to ignore them. You might see reason in them. You might concur. You might though, above all else, wonder what else you interact with in the world that isn’t real?

Challenge yourself to be curious; to question what you hold in your head and how that in turn impacts your thinking and how you feel. Is it real? Is it your imagination? Or is it a distortion of someone, or something, that doesn’t serve you well in maintaining your mental and emotional well-being? Maybe anything that does that, whether true or not, is the real fake news?

Maybe take time to stand with your hand on a tree.  Ground yourself.  The tree is real.

Go well people.

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does every question..?

questions

Does every question have a presupposition?

Well it seems that one does. It’s worded to suggest they do. It presupposes all questions, without exception. It presupposes you know what a question is, or a presupposition indeed.

Some coach colleagues and I were discussing this. Playing a game if you like. Who can come up with a question that is presupposition free? We couldn’t.

Even the simplest questions do.  For example, ‘When?’  The question presupposes you have a language for date and time. It presupposes you know what I’m talking about in relation to ‘when?’. It presupposes that I want to know, that you know, and that you want to tell me.

So if every question has a presupposition (and I welcome suggestions of ones which don’t), does that mean that we, the questioner, have a view, a plan, a judgement, a perspective even before we phrase the question? Maybe conscious, maybe outside our awareness?

Does it mean that the question is really in service of us?

The questioner’s need. Could it be that it’s about confirming our prejudice, our view as the questioner? Or could it be about filling in our gaps in knowledge, or about extending our knowing? Or about confirming our map of the world; fitting your world in, for congruence? Or about our belonging or our sense making?

We think of questions as ways in which we expand the perspective of those we throw them at, but maybe they are instead a means to reaffirm our already held perspectives?

 

auto pilot takes me the wrong way

be here now

I’ve moved desk over the weekend.  We have had an office re-organisation and one result is I now have a different desk position in the office.

Today I have been confused. I have entered through the wrong door, headed for the wrong part of the office, gone the wrong way for the toilet. Several times. I have been, and seemingly continue to be, befuddled.

I haven’t lost my ability to think. I still know where doors and facilities are. I can still see. Yet I keep going wrong. Ending up in the wrong place. Going the wrong way.

It serves to demonstrate how much we do on auto pilot. Without thinking; without conscious thought at least. We just set off. Our heads filled with other non geographic, navigational stuff. Thinking instead about what we will do when we arrive, or about something we mustn’t forget.

I’m sure I’ll re-calibrate. Might take a day or two. Eventually though, a new autopilot route will have been programmed. I will be free again to wander without thought, arriving at my destination with no need to engage brain or use up some of my thinking bandwidth.

Life can be like that.  Something we take for granted changes and we are momentarily discombobulated. That which needed no thought, now requires some – for us to even function. These changes aren’t always physical; about our surroundings. They can be emotional too. A new emotion emerges. An unfamiliar one. Just like a new desk position, we need to adjust. Take note. Become familiar.

That way we stay flying.

Turn off autopilot and live with presence.
Live with attention.
Live with intention.

the discombobulation of Monday…

patterns

Today I have been discombobulated.

I feel a visit to the Recombobulation unit is required.

Bank Holiday Mondays do this.  A longer weekend, a shorter working week, my internal calendar all askew and confused.  Tomorrow should be Tuesday but it’s Wednesday.

Patterns in our lives, conscious and unconscious – we cannot escape them. Somehow I am conditioned to believe today is Monday, because I have returned to work.

When is a pattern constraining and when is it useful?  The pattern of the week helpfully allows me to unconsciously orient myself, but what do I lose? Do we lose sight of possibilities, tied down by the pattern? Does a pattern that becomes a habit make us lazy, rigid, stuck?  Maybe there are many more unseen patterns in our lives, driving us down certain pathways?

Recombobulate.  Recombobulate. Recombobulate.

Now I’m a Dalek !

unconsciously patterned

image

How often do you change what you do?

I don’t mean change job or your career.  I mean change behaviour.

How much of your daily, weekly, monthly routine is just that, routine?

Do you get up at the same time? Wash, dress and eat in the same order? Do you always have a cup of tea? Eat the same things, drink the same juice? Do you go to work the same way, leave at the same time, make the same checks before leaving?  Do you have the same routines on arrival at work? Get a coffee, hang up your coat, switch on your computer, go to your locker…? Do you have lunch at the same time, eat the same choices, go with the same people? Do you leave at the same time, get the same bus or train, have the same routine when you walk through the door at home?

Do you shop the same day of the week? Wash the car or cut the grass Saturday or Sunday? Do you do the washing or ironing on a set day? Do the kids have after school club every Tuesday? Do you go skiing every year, or have a week in the sun?

How often do you deliberately change things?
Do you change more than you don’t?
Do you maintain more than you alter?
What might happen if you changed more?

It’s not that change is intrinsically good or bad, it’s simply that so much of what we do becomes an unconscious pattern, a sloppy given, an unthinking routine. It’s a missed opportunity to experiment, to learn, to improve.

 

mindless thinking?

image

The mind’s job is to validate what it already thinks

Byron Katie

Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we are thinking. That we are using our higher cognitive capabilities to make choices, rationalise, decide. To use our intellect.

Our minds are perhaps the best pattern forming device we know. So once a pattern is there, we usually lose the ability to think around it. Instead our brain tells us what it believes it already knows. It post rationalises so as to prove its pattern is correct.

Something to think about?

the passing of life

image

When we hear the sad news of a celebrity or significant public personality passing, it reminds us of our own past.  Often our connection is to a shared time – the music we listened to, the films we saw, the events we witnessed.

It is the memories of those days, those shared times, the recollection of our own dim distant youth and the good times therein, that often brings the sadness, the emotion, maybe the tears.

When people close to us pass away, the number of connections is more, the richness of the memories even brighter, deeper, warmer.

It is at these points of passing, that we reflect on our own mortality. When lives end, we pay attention to the passing of our own years. Time slipping away.

Yet life is passing with every moment.

Each passing hour, minute, second is a moment of our own lives; and so many we let go without conscious thought.

So many pass without reflection to their significance; so many pass in the blink of an eye; so many slip away without time to relish their part in the contribution to our own evolution, our own personal learning and growth.

So many pass without awareness to the contribution we make to the richness of others memories. The people we touch. The difference we make. The memory making moments our existence has had, to those around us who will be here long afterwards.

The passing of life isn’t about death, it’s about now. This minute, this moment.

 

RIP David