GBE 2 theme for the week is “upset.”. NaBloPoMo theme for the month is “relative.” I am playing with this juxtaposition because I really, really, really believe that attitude is just a matter of perspective. I mean how can you be upset if up is relative? The view from free fall can be liberating.
|Take it with a grain of salt? (Image by Andrew Duhan, sxc.hu)|
Upset requires an up and a down. For someone like myself, a confirmed, card-carrying relativist (I have degrees in Anthropology, I think that diplomas more than count as cards) up and down is way too much like black and white. Up or down? Compared to what?
To be upset is to be turned over, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, turning most things refreshes them, but… to be disoriented from the positioning, well, that can be just plain old upsetting. Seriously, if you expect “up” and you get “down,” you may become disappointed. But if you expect a spatial orientation “of some sort,” either up or down will fill the bill. I am not saying you should lower your standards, or expect nothing; I am saying that evaluating the position you are in from the viewpoint that comes with the position gives you many more options than prejudging a viewpoint from which you may have never taken a gander.
Most of the people I’ve met in life would much rather be happy than sad, and jubilant rather than angry. Being upset is not an emotion. Apple carts can end up in a mess from all sorts of feelings or emotions.
The state of being upset comes from, in the apple cart case, rigidity. If the cart had had more flexibility it might have been able to shift and spring back and not have tipped over.
Upset is out of balance. Extreme emotions are out of balance. Fear does not need to lead to hatred. Anger does not need to become rage. Sadness does not have to lead to a black funk. Happiness does not need to lead to mania. The rigid polar nature (as in north/south, up/down, in/out) of up requires a down. If I have to be one thing, whatever it may be, and I do not achieve that state, I may become unbalanced because of the “have to” and not because of anything actually related to the state.
I routinely remind myself of these distinctions because I once operated most of my life from an “upset” perspective. Truth be told, I would not have recognized either up or down if everything in the world had righted itself before my very eyes. I knew I had been knocked over and could not find the proper place to be nor the view from that place because I thought I was supposed to be a version of myself that had never been knocked over. I was more concerned with being upset, knocked over, or not in the right position or place than in taking in all that was around me from exactly where I was. At this same time I thought expressions such as, “No matter where you go, there you are” were absolutely inane. Now I love the playful nature of this near Buddhist perspective.
I now try to live life in balance even though the world is koyanaskatsi and me with it much of the time. No once can be balanced when he or she cannot move. To be balanced, you must know how to move. If you are rigid you are more easily knocked over by minor shifts, more easily upset. It is all relative you know.
Note: Tomorrow’s post will be less philosophical… maybe. I’m off to hear a lecture by Noam Chomsky right now.