You are in big trouble if you solely look to prevailing ideas as the lens through which you view the world. Some kind of change is always in the air, but how do we make sense of it? Are you to be blown about like a leaf in the wind? Each one of us needs some kind of grounding.
Losing your agency
“[He] chose neither his tendency nor his views, but these tendencies and views came to him themselves, just as he did not choose the shape of a hat or frock coat, but bought those that were in fashion”. This description of one of Tolstoy’s characters is a poetic reminder of how we can lose ourselves in the noise. How you can move from identifying with one idea today to another tomorrow, such that you lose yourself. But, only because you have not taken a moment to look further.
This is not about ignoring current fashions per se, but rather about engaging with them more deeply. How do you really feel about something? What attracts you to it? Is it born out of deep conviction or are you following the crowd? If it is deep conviction, what deeper beliefs underlie your convictions? If you are following the crowd, what makes you do so?
Grounding the leaf in the wind
Grounding comes from not just a deeper enquiry of the external world, but from a deeper understanding of yourself. For, it is your relationship to the world and its current trends that is the fertile realm.
Understanding how and why you relate to particular thing/person/idea in a certain way can teach you a lot about yourself. It is also information about how you might relate to other things and indeed to all things! This is the grounding that comes from self-enquiry. The grounding that keeps you from being a leaf in the wind.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.