Thursday, May 13, 2010

Heart of a Child, Mind of a Scholar

What we need is less fear. We have been trained by the media, by society, by school that failure is bad. We foster a catalogue of these failures and their supposed, intrinsic, negative value. In a word, we "regret" our lives away. The older we get and the more we listen to what comes our way without thought of implications, the more fearful we become of regrets.

You see, most of us don't really fear failure. We don't like failure. We want to avoid failure. However, the amygdala (what Seth Godin calls "the lizard brain") fears pain in its most general sense. In "caveman" times it was there to keep us alive, but in modern man, it largely causes us to shy away from abstract discomforts. So we fear not the failure, but the baggage or stigma of that failure. We fear regrets.

Young children don't know what regrets are. They lack the social conditioning that produces fear of the past. Their fears are useful, like fear of the stove, or fear of a bully. They don't fear social interactions that are not (in their eyes) overtly threatening. However, the thing that makes children magical creators, is the lack of the very thing that is necessary to be productive—experience.

The challenge is maintaining the heart of a child while gaining the knowledge of a scholar. Knowledge brings both fears and comforts. Those who are inundated with fears seek only their own comfort, while those who are comfortable shut out the knowledge that brings risk and fear. We live in a world of stone-headed economic realists, and starry-eyed "follow-your-heart" idealists.

Neither are in touch with reality. Until we can bridge the gap between these two—develop individuals that are both—we will continue to have a degenerative state of war in our public consciousness.
FEATURED MEDIA: The Anatomy of Peace - This is a remarkable book which brings to light the deepest issue behind all human conflict: the heart at war. When our "way of being" toward others is not founded on a heart at peace, we create conflict in all of our relationships. The challenge is accepting that we are to blame for many of our problems, but we also hold the solution.

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