“Our names are labels plainly printed on the bottled essence of our behavior.” Lynn Pearshall Smith
My radios are all set to 89.3, KCUR so the phrase ‘essential beliefs’ must have come from that NPR station, but I don’t remember the specific program or the context. I do know that the phrase will not leave my thinking.
Lynn Pearshall Smith’s words are part of the standard signature on emails I receive periodically. “Bottled essence’ is such a good use of language showing the idea that some essential beliefs are caught in our core, ‘bottled’ in our essence and motivating much of our behavior. There are times when that essence behavior is spontaneous rather than studied.
I believe that many, if not most, of our values take root in emotion, that what we believe originally comes from what we experienced with deep emotion. These deep roots are partially responsible for our difficulty in changing behaviors, in requiring baby steps to move away from core behaviors.
For much of our society, reason–the intellect–rules. We raise our children in the realm of good grades, SAT scores, the best colleges, professionals–the rational and conscious. We tend to trust what we label as reasoned and downplay what is emotional. Of course all of these are important. That is without question.
There is more to us, to humans that our rational selves. And that ‘more’ is not the instant gratification touted in what passes for entertainment. There is more than the isolation we have allowed into our lives, isolation of TV, movies, iPods, ear pieces, all that diminishes our interactions with one another. And there is so much more than either being funny or being outrageous.
Rather than an open mind focused on learning what other real people have to offer, we take in what a small group of entertainment controllers feed us. The constant diet of entertainment taints our ability to learn from personal interactions and thereby evaluate our bias.
As we move from baby to adult, we learn by observing patterns. The complexity of life gets sorted as we interpret both the patterns and the reactions to our understanding of those patterns. We create our essential beliefs. Parked in front of TV is not parked in neutral.
Much is written about bullying behavior as if it were some new phenomenon. It isn’t, but bullying is growing rampant. The pattern we are nurturing is not one of sympathy or understanding. Rather it is a pattern of Top Dog, Winner, Arm-Pumping Best, In Your Face, Look At Me.
As with many of my rants, I fail in conclusions. I fail to find answers, to balance the emotional and the rational. However, I believe we are more than we have allowed ourselves to become.
I believe that we are far out on the arch of the pendulum as we swing away from what we feel to be the harsh restrictions of our past. I believe we have discarded more of our essence than we have captured in the replacements. I believe that we have allowed the need for dollars and successes to blot the moments of deep emotions that transcend—-that allow us to experience the joining of the emotional and the rational—-to be more fully human.