Friday, March 20, 2015

Idea Protectors

   Recently, I've been working around some loud machinery. Around that loud machinery, I wear ear protectors. This is a necessary thing, so I'm not deafened, but it made me think of an allegory to how I am and should live my life. Allow me to elaborate.
    When my ear protectors cover my ears, everything is muffled. I am allowed to divulge myself into my own thoughts, while more or less ignoring the world around me. This gives me time to think, or focus on listening to whatever is playing on my iPod. This is time where I do not have to interact with others, I can focus on formulating my own thoughts within myself. Such time is important, because it gives me time to decide that which I think. This can be likened to reading or watching television by myself. I am allowing other things to make me think, then deciding whether to reject or accept those ideas. However, all of this is done alone, without community.
   The problem is this: after I'm working with machinery, I sometimes forget to take my protectors off. Sometimes I cycle through times of loudness and quietness, so I leave the protectors on even when it is silent around me. This is problematic, for it is no longer protecting me from loud noises which would harm me, it is secluding me from others around me.
   The time of taking off the ear protectors can be likened to when I step into community and talk about ideas with others. This time can also be spent helping others consider their ideas. This time, like the time of seclusion, is necessary. It allows me to consider multiple viewpoints of the ideas I have formulated and it can help me to reconsider any false ideas I have created.
   Throughout much of my life, I've read things that say, "Go out into the world!" and I've read things that say, "Be still and by yourself." When I encounter one of them, I try and throw myself wholeheartedly into that, and usually end up stopping because I cannot manage to work it out like the speaker has. I've wondered if I'm just too different from the speaker to make it work. The problem is not the speaker's, it is the mine. I should not seek to be wholly social or wholly antisocial. I should seek a balance. Time to myself, formulating thoughts, then time in community discussing thoughts.
   Why don't I do this? I think it comes down to the ear protectors: I want my ideas to be protected. Just as my ear protectors protect my ears during loud times, I need time to protect my ideas while their fragile. The problem is that I keep those protectors on even after the ideas are formed. I don't allow them to be tested or strengthened in community. I'm afraid if someone disagrees with me, that means I'm worthless. If someone disagrees, my ideas are wrong. If my ideas are wrong, that means I'm wrong, and if I'm wrong then that means they must be right! That means that there is no point thinking about other ideas, because they'll be wrong too.
   But where does that leave me? Stuck in a place of protection, without any purpose. I'm not in community, allowing others to help me; I'm not by myself to compose ideas; I'm just cut off from everyone.
   So, what's the solution? Use the protectors in the way they were meant to be used: to protect when necessary. Don't keep the protectors on to keep others away, but allow the protectors to protect while the ideas are being formed, then allow them to be removed when the ideas are to be shared.
   Allow me to sum up with a tweet I sent out a few days ago:

   Thoughts? Comment below!

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