Sunday, June 28, 2009
Our "Realm of Phenomenological Awareness"
To be confronted by a face registering absolute vacuity, is an experience intimately known to most (if not, indeed, all) parents. To see a complete absence of any willingness to understand or the total disregard for all that you are trying to convey, is the all-to- frequent plight of those who bear the burden of teaching, molding, informing, and/or nurturing. And, alas, this phenomenon presents itself to us, not only in this domestic setting, but, indeed, throughout our lives … in countless forums.
Attempting an explanation of involved circumstances, affecting tardy school assignments, to a Teacher who has “heard it all before;” explaining the importance of delivery requirements, to those upon whom those timely deliveries are entrusted; conveying the significance of repairs required by appliances, vehicles, or technical equipment to a 'Service Person;' engagement in the attempt to enlist the involvement of any Other in whatever matter having importance to us … all are, oh-so-often, met with that blank stare, of disconnected disinterest. They do not see any consequence in their acknowledgment of what is offered.
How often have we all asked the unanswerable “Why don't you understand how important this is?!” And we, then, plunge back into a redoubled effort to overcome the ambivalent absence of that Other's interest. “Why am I failing to make them understand?!” we demand of ourselves. And, time and time again, we retreat with a sense of personal failure. Our normal and usual response is to feel responsible for having failed to make clear, and impart, our intensely felt sense of urgency, to that Child, Teacher, Service Person, or Significant Other. We wrap ourselves, anew, in that bedraggled Cloak of Failure, yet again. For, my Dearest Reader, 'tis true! We have, indeed, failed. Why?
For an answer that we can feel has some objective and legitimate basis, I ask you to consider, with me, the lesson offered by the eminent medical doctor, psychologist, and founder of the School of Individual Psychology … the late Alfred Adler (7 February 1870 – 28 May 1937.) Adler is considered, along with Freud and Jung, to be one of the three founding figures of depth psychology, which emphasizes the unconscious and psychodynamics.
It is the Gift of an awareness, of the reality of each of our individual “Realms of Phenomenological Awareness,” that Dr. Adler has given me. He gave me a consciousness of our control of all that is Reality to us … by our willingness to open our awareness to any phenomenon. Unless I allow my mind to acknowledge the presence of anyone or anything … that person or phenomenon is not a Reality to me. It, or they, simply do not exist. I exercise complete control (as you do) over everything that my mind is introduced to. If I am not impressed with the worth, significance, or merit of some individual or circumstance to me and/or my life … it is dismissed from my individual “realm of phenomenological awareness.” I have not appraised them, or it, to have any consequence to me. It, or they, are (quite bluntly) Inconsequential.
So, don't you see, that Child, or that Teacher, Service Person, or Significant Other, do not know what I am saying (or indeed who I am at that moment) as a Reality to themselves … unless I have made them aware of some consequence that will affect them (positively or negatively) and triggered some catalyst that will open their door of awareness, into that Realm, that they and they alone control. When I learned … and accepted as Fact … this Truth, I began to enjoy a respect for everyone else's right to their own Realities … their individual right to determine what, and who, is of consequence to them. And I accepted my personal responsibility for the introduction of any new awareness that I might want to have someone else acknowledge, as part of their Realm of Phenomenological Awareness.
When I am confronted with that blank stare of incredulity or rejection … I know that I have failed either to appropriately evaluate the One to whom I am attempting a communication (perhaps they are not a suitable prospect for my thoughts or concepts) … or, if they are, indeed, the right subject for what I have to offer, I may need to repackage my message in a way that will earn a place of consequence in their estimation. Maybe I, and what I am offering, are simply not significant enough to impress them. I might, just possibly, be quite inconsequential to them. And it is my job to impress upon them, in a more meaningful way, just how significant I, and my ideas, are. If a spoonful of sugar is not working … perhaps a club would be more effective. If my words are not meaningful … perhaps a short note from a recognized Specialist or someone in indisputable authority would command acknowledgment. (Why are the words "Just you wait until your father gets home!" echoing in my mind right now? [smile]) Maybe a presentation of the potential consequences and penalties for dismissal of either my Self, or my suggestions, would admit, who I am or what I offer, into that selectively-controlled Realm of Awareness.
But to continue to repeat and persist in the same presentation that has rendered my voice mute and my offerings meaningless, while clinging to some mindless hope that such mindless persistence will bring forth some new result … is the demonstration of the old definition of Insanity. It is not personal. It is not a rejection of my Being. It is simply the playing out of what Dr. Adler suggested to his audience when he made note of their absence of any awareness of the structure of the ceiling above the auditorium in which he spoke. But … he told them … if he should announce that he had just been given a report from the building's manager, informing him that a great crack had been discovered in the main support beam that held back the many tons of materials above their heads … and imminent collapse of the roof, timbers, concrete, plaster, and all that constituted that ceiling, of which they had, previously, had no awareness … suddenly, and instantly, that nonexistent ceiling would become a dominant Presence in the Realm of Phenomenological Awareness of each of them.
This is the explanation that I gave a prominent Businessman, very recently, when he was bemoaning the refusal of a General Contractor to exercise a sense of urgency in the matter of coordination of phases of construction in a major project. “We are responsible for the finishing elements of this huge project … and all of those upon whom we must wait for our work to begin, are lagging behind the schedules. We will be left as the responsible Party for the un-readiness of the facility for its first function. But we have been well-prepared and simply waiting … waiting … while the General Contractor has refused to urge all of those whose contributions are prerequisites for our finishing phase, to adhere to their required schedules. We, and we alone, are going to bear the consequences (in financial penalties and added expense of extra hours and efforts at the end) for the failure of those others to complete their work on schedule. We have documented our many efforts and meetings with the General Contractor … all of which are ignored and dismissed.” my Businessman Friend explained. “You have failed to make yourself of consequence in his eyes” I responded. “You have not inserted your concerns into his Real of Phenomenological Awareness and made them his. But a brief letter from your attorney will make him, instantly, aware of the consequences and penalties that will be visited … on him … in court … if he does not act appropriately. Into that Realm of Awareness, those lagging workers will become an immediate Reality. You need say no more. Your voice has been deemed as insignificant by him. You, as a Person, and as an Individual, are something that, he has demonstrated, are inconsequential. You must introduce him to someone and something that will unavoidably demand significance … by demonstrating consequences.”
For, my Dear Reader, all that was true in the face of that disinterested Child … is just as true in the face of this grizzled man who controls an enormous project with all of its facets and intricacies. The consequences to the life of that young person, just as the outcome of the building project, will be affected by the willingness of each determining Individual to accept new Realities into that Place that respects consideration.
I offer this bit, of what Life has blessed me with, in the hope that You will find some use for it in your life's walk. For (as you know) a smoother and more pleasurable path is what I want, most, for You. Your happiness and peace are of infinite consequence to me. My love for You has introduced You into my personal Realm of Phenomenological Awareness. And your Presence there is most pleasant. [smile]
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