However you choose to live your life, refuse to settle.

As both just a person, but especially a Christ follower, this is something that i have witnessed in so many people in life over and over again. Not everyone, fortunately, and it is the ones who refuse to settle who keep me hopeful and energised and aiming at a thrive-filled life, but just so many people give up fighting or dreaming or pursuing passion or believing they can change any part of the world and this is so sad to me.

But i think i read something that makes it all make a little more sense.

settle

i have just finished reading Scott M. Peck’s ‘The Road Less Traveled’ and while the number of ‘L’s used in the word ‘traveled’ in his book title deeply disturbs me, i found it to be really interesting and helpful in many ways. Much wadier than the typical book i would give attention to, but well worth the pushing through. And i would highly recommend it.

This extract i want to share follows on closely from the really helpful posts i shared on mapping, which you can catch up on over here if you missed them [and seriously do, cos they could revolutionise your life] and looks at a Dedication to Reality:

The third tool of discipline or technique of dealing with the pain of problem-solving, which must continually be employed if our lives are to be healthy and our spirits are to grow, is dedication to the truth. Superficially, this should be obvious. For truth is reality. That which is false is unreal.

The more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world – the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions and illusions – the less able we will be to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions. Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost. 

While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be. But many do not want to make this effort. Some stop making it by the end of adolescence. Their maps are small and sketchy, their views of the world narrow and misleading. By the end of middle age most people have given up the effort. They feel certain that their maps are complete and their Weltanschauung  [Yes, i had to look this up: A comprehensive world view created by the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society’s knowledge and point of view – Wikipedia]is correct [indeed, even sacrosanct], and they are no longer interested in new information. It is as if they are tired. Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.

But the biggest problem of map-making is not that we have to start from scratch, but that if our maps are to be accurate we have to continually revise them. The world itself is constantly changing. Glaciers come, glaciers go. Cultures come, cultures go. There is too little technology, there is too much technology. Even more dramatically, the vantage point from which we view the world is constantly and quite rapidly changing. When we are children we are dependent, powerless. As adults we may be more powerful. Yet in illness or an infirm ol age we may  become powerless and independent again. When we have children to care for, the world looks different from when we have none; when we are raising infants, the world seems different from when we are raising adolescents. When we are poor, the world looks different from when we are rich. We are daily bombarded with new information as to the nature of reality. If we are to incorporate this information, we must continually revise our maps, and sometimes make very major revisions. The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful, sometimes excruciatingly painful. And herein lies the major source of many of the ills of mankind. 

What happens when one has striven long and hard to develop a working view of the world, a seemingly useful, workable map, and then is confronted with new information suggesting that their view is wrong and the map needs to be largely redrawn? The painful effort required seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and almost unconsciously, is to ignore the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world tha would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place. 

[from ‘The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth’ by M. Scott Peck]

[To read the first part of these three pieces i shared, which introduces the map idea, click here]

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