Friday, March 12, 2004

Of Emerging Patience

I think the majority of the meaning in our lives comes from our interactions with others. However, because of human nature in general and the current, fast-food, fast-paced, sound-bytes-and-flashing images nature of the society in which we live, we have a tendency to be very impatient with one another (and with ourselves). We want results and we want them NOW and it doesn't matter whether we are talking about extracting happiness/meaning from our interactions with food, with entertainment, with one another, or from our own thoughts. If it isn't instantly visible, we assume that it isn't present (or, at least, aren't willing to wait around to find out).

The problem with this Weltanschauung (a German word that represents the concept of what more or less translates to world view) is that it has created a society of people who are not comfortable talking about anything that dips below the surface of what is simple and easy, and who do not know how to interact on a level that is anything more than superficial. The tragedy of that is, most of the "good stuff" (at least in my most humble of opinions) lies below the surface. After all, just think how much of that plain, vanilla yogurt you have to dig through in order to get to all the fruit at the bottom! To put it another way, as Tom Barone once said in an attempt to explain the complexity of the relationship between teaching, learning, curriculum, and life, "Meaning can never be rushed." Yet, people continue to search for happiness/meaning/fulfillment in the places, people, and pursuits where we are least likely to find it. (And I am not absolving myself of this criticism, either.)

The most satisfying components of any interaction take time to emerge--like a rose, like playfulness--and require the patient nurturing of an environment in which they can flourish. Too bad I don't remember that at times when I am feeling impatient with the various pieces of my life, my relationships, and myself!

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