We have lost the ability to think. We worry, we react and we perform the motions of our daily activities, yet our capacity to reach down inside of ourselves for answers is fading away. Instantaneous gratification is the standard of living now. Need an answer? Google it. Having a bad day? Update your status on Facebook and ask your “friends” for advice. Some sort of life dilemma? Spend some time online shopping…the gnawing feeling of wonder will dissipate after a purchase or two. These days it seems that we are all just existing in this superficial zone where we simply accept the first answer that comes along. Why has that become the norm? I am certain it’s because of the two F-words…fear and fatigue.
Fear is crippling. I speak from experience. I was watching a documentary a few months ago and was taken by this statement…”this biggest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think”. Heavy…and true. Opposition to the norm is so undesirable now that we would rather ignore the options and just go with the general flow of things. Make it quick…make it easy. How hard is it to say “I would like to think about that before I give you my answer”. For some reason, inexplicably hard. Why do we not want to be alone with our thoughts? Why do we shy away from doing our own research- investigating things by ourselves? Although some decisions and answers do have to be made quickly, the bulk of our dilemmas could certainly sit through the passage of some time. What are we afraid of? Making the wrong choice? Or the fear of being judged for our choices? Perhaps we don’t even trust ourselves anymore.
And fatigue…oh man! Guilty as charged! I emailed a friend last week to ask advice about a relatively straightforward concern. Although I value her opinion, in hindsight, I could have certainly sought the answer independently. But it’s just so easy to type a quick message and ask! The easier, the better. One hundred years ago, there would have been no way I would have hitched up the horse and driven to her farm! Inner resourcefulness is fading. Faith in ourselves is a brittle concept. Each day we are inundated with information to the point of sheer chaos! How can a person make a simple decision these days without being flooded with input from every end! A few months back I had a question about cooking a turkey…Googled it…3 million hits came up! Seriously? How many ways are there to accurately check the inner temperature of baked poultry?
I returned to work today after my maternity leave to brush up on changes that had occurred in my absence. In reviewing some of the equipment, it was explained that “mechanisms” were now in place to make things “easier”. Simple skills like math and troubleshooting techniques have fallen by the wayside. Things have been made stupid-proof in order to avoid “problems” (there is that “fear” word again). Now, to some extent, this is helpful as my job entails the care of people’s health. But when you begin to take away the ability to engage in coping skills and problem solving, you also take away people’s confidence in their ability and their ability to use their allies as resources as well! We learn from experience…ours and others!
Most of the time, I relish in my ability to think. I don’t want it to erode over time. I want to be challenged-to give and receive experience in my relationships with others! The capacity to think critically is a skill useful in virtually every aspect of life. When this is encouraged, one can see the existence of another “”F” word…flourishing of ideas and thoughts!