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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Realistic & Unrealistic Structures

The saying that “attitude is everything” always stirs up a counter-current in my mind—attitude is not everything.  Attitude is a frame of mind that may or may not fit the structure of reality.  For example, I have a power bill that’s now due.  I can think that the power company will not care if I don’t pay this bill.  However, this benevolent structure of forgiveness in my mind does not match the requirements of the power company.  Given enough time, I will find that the power to my home has been cut off despite my winning attitude.  Another example of conflicting structure was the geocentric model of the universe.  Thinking that the earth was the center of the universe did not make it so.  Attitude does not create reality in this sense.  Attitude that attempts to put a spin on reality had best hope that the spin aligns with the facts.  Now is there a sense in which reality is created by attitude?  Of course, it is done all the time in matters of tone or social atmosphere—we feel correctly and strongly that we have a say in this human creation.  The question is whether this tone or structure will be will be treated kindly by the inexorable forces of nature.  Even if it’s not, we may take pride in having fought in a lost cause—we made a uniquely human contribution (based on choice) to the battle—however doomed.  We can imagine mankind destined to be wiped out in a year by a catastrophic epidemic.  I feel certain that even under these circumstances, many would die with a good attitude, no matter how puzzling and unrealistic. They would die affirming the human condition of choice even in the teeth of tragedy.

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