Saturday, December 8, 2012
The Great Escape
A good synaptic retreat contributes to creativity or, rather, to the distinctive that results in creative thinking, but that's getting a bit technical, which always borders on non-sensical.
The words "What If" always - and I mean, without fail - make me think and say "hmmmm".
A small, barely audible force of breath incredulously makes its way out my nose as if hot on the trail of that truth fellow: that elusive, very slippery ambiguous little "tell it all" rascal that suggests he's got a box of insight intended just for me.
My efforts unfold in my mind's prewritten script. For my role in this play, I am rewarded with this genuine, uniquely manufactured plastic trophy with the words: "Your Name Here" especially engraved just for me. The critics give me two thumbs up and my picture appears on the cover of Life Magazine with the caption: "Can't fool me."
The thing about creative questioning and/or seriousness inquiries is that the evidence we uncover is 100% equivocal, even if its so-called "scientific".
The words "What if" offer a magical kind of pleasurable escape from our initial interpretations, which define us. If we live in a place of fear, we constantly beg to have those interpretations changed. Fear-based interpretations cause us to protect ourselves BEFORE the flood of emotional turmoil (associated with events that came before this precise moment) has a chance to emotionally sweep us away again with that very real and imminently dangerous truth rapid that lurks just beyond the rock of our present vantage point.
When people doubt information, like a news story they read on a Twitter feed or an excuse someone gives them for not calling, the words "What if" magically flood the mind with doubt in the Shadow Realm of "What If".
When we ask "What If" from the Shadow Realm of our mind, our journey doesn't begin at Point Zero, it instead begins from an origin of pain, whereby it desperately seeks to reproduce itself by only acknowledging answers that fuel the doubts and fears.
This is the world where our only desire is to say:
"Ha! I knew it. I was right all along!"
Congratulations, here's another trophy.
Fear-based "What Ifs" are the ones that bring us down in a painfully creative crashing kind a way where we die a million deaths before the moment at hand has a chance to manifest. These are the thoughts that wound us before we die. These are the thoughts that wound us even if there's not a rapid in sight.
They turn the joys experienced in hypothesizing, that naturally outward expanding phenomenon mirrored throughout the universe, and stomp all over it.
But how do you know if you've hypothesized under the influence of a Shadow Realm "What If"?
Good question (and another trophy for you). When the answers you get remain painful for days, months, or even years to come during normal consciousness, they're probably the shadowy ones that lurk behind the deep, dark allies of our brain's synaptic pathways.
They turn a leisurely promenade through our mind's eye into a frightening, but secretly thrilling, race through all the intellectual errands we detest. Instead of walking into our mind's shop of Teddy Bears, where we normally imagine their soft fur, envision ourselves or someone else hugging them, and then walk out into the world and go buy or build one at Build A Bear in the mall...
We indulge instead in the Shadowy "What If" realm where cute little Giggles the Bear hideously metamorphoses into a scary Voo Doo Bear Doll aimed at getting revenge on Mrs. P for making us clean the chalkboard after school for the minor infraction of suggesting she was wrong about something and didn't know as much as she thought she knew because she came here to school with a bunch of kids everyday instead of going outside and checking on things for herself.
Instead of assuming with the answers in place, we could use our magical "What If" words for good, turning this cleverly disguised inquiry into a healthy "What If" by asking Mrs. P to tell us more about her experiences.
A SPECIAL THANKS going out to Mrs. P for waiting to point out until after class was dismissed (thereby protecting our dignity, even though we attacked Mrs. Ps) that we had accidentally allowed ourselves to indulge in destructive behavior, attacking without knowing or having the common sense to ask first. Irrespective of the validity of our inquiry, it came from the Shadow Realm of doubt, which is why we presented it in such an incredulous fashion whereby we didn't seek truth, we sought only to make our friends laugh and distract the teacher from realizing that we hadn't done our homework. This is not seeking, this is confirming a bias or supporting a prior agenda.
(Disclaimer: Deconstructive rational thinking is a bit difficult for a kid, but it shouldn't be a problem for a healthy adult.)
Of course, Mrs. P could have had a fight with her husband right before school, got irritated by our clever little inquiry, and justifiably (under the terms of social amnesia) lashed out at a poor, innocent little kid. Fortunately, she didn't.
(Disclaimer 2: Mrs. P turned out to be pretty smart, which is a good trait in a teacher.)
Trophy for Mrs. P
The words "What If" offer us the greatest of escapes. They allow us to joke around and use our creative minds to hypothetically produce new, worthwhile ideas. Ideas that allow for more than one hero and more than one interpretation of truth.
On the Sunny Side of "What If" tantalizing mysteries allow us to uncover the structures of reality we missed, the ones that offer new insights worth considering for longer periods of time (especially in normal consciousness); they offer relief from the illusory insights that haunt us; they even answer the question: "What if a Priest and a Rabbi walk into a bar?"