Relatively confused wizards
Maps of Meaning
People are funny. We can be strong, independent, powerful, innovative, dependable, good and just. Then one thing changes radically and we feel like none of that. One swift drop from a harmonious order and planned schedule to full chaos where everything is scary and unknown and nothing feels solid and reliable.
“We have just lost cabin pressure” is how the narrator from Fight Club would describe it. One moment everything is heavenly perfect and then suddenly it turns into a flaming hell.
In that moment of hell it’s natural to stop and wonder how did it all end up this way, trying to backtrack where it all went wrong and how. Who are we, what are we and why? How can it all change so fast? How are we supposed to handle it?
Jack’s chronic sense of unfinished business
First of all, take it with a grain of salt. The ideas played out here aren’t exactly exact science, but more like food for thought. I have always been obsessed about understanding things, and I found a lot of help in this so there’s a chance you will too.
In order to figure out how it all works and how we interpret the world we must lay out how we see things. There are roughly two kinds of things in the world – facilitators and obstacles. They work like snakes and ladders in the game called, you guessed it, snakes and ladders. Facilitators help you move forward, and obstacles hold you back.
Then there’s the bigger question of relevancy. The biggest perceptual category of all is “that which is not relevant at this time” through which almost the whole world can be ignored. Let’s say you’re typing on a keyboard, the only thing that’s relevant at that slice of time is the space that’s occupied by a single letter you’re about to push. Everything else is irrelevant, everything else is ignored. But when something goes wrong, suddenly an indeterminate set of those irrelevant entities have now become relevant.
The main reason relevancy matters is that our capacity is limited. We can only think and do so many things before feeling overwhelmed and frozen like a rat in a cat cage. So it’s really important for us to be able to distinquish between relevant and irrelevant, to maintain our focus on relevant, to feel and be in control.
When too much of irrelevant creep into the world of relevant it created a chronic sense of unfinished business. The only way to get rid of that is figuring it out. And not just that, but to keep figuring it out continually. To become the master of the category of all things that have not been mastered.
So whenever you’re feeling powerless, wandering in chaos, just remember that you are indeed the shape transforming wizard that’s doing it’s best to keep up with the continual transformation of that which you do not yet understand. You are practicing the permanent solution to a permanent problem. Learn to distinquish the relevant from the irrelevant, and to quote Fight Club once more; let that, which does not matter, slide.
Jordan Peterson – Maps of Meaning
Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club