Life Imitates Art, or, The Closest Exit May Be Behind You

I find it increasingly important to step back from situations, thoughts, and sometimes well-established behaviors to ponder what I truly believe. I find it a good exercise to balance my natural obstinate tendencies and my self-righteousness with quiet, thoughtful observation and reflection. This is a very good thing to do; a truth-seeking ideal.

It would be easy to live free of self-analysis. It would be too easy to shy away from issues outside our own perspective-bubbles. And it would be far too easy to have neither curiosity nor opinion. People get too accustomed to their own shortcomings that they invest disproportionately in denial, hiding behaviors, and avoidance. Lying to oneself is the ultimate act of disrespect (to yourself and everyone else).

I like to watch situations unfold. And more and more, I provide myself with a check with regard to my influence on these situations and how these situations affect me (context). I also compare what my immediate judgment was with what my analytical judgment reveals. Snap-judgment--a normal human tendency--is frequently without context and is often tangled with emotion and, in my opinion, fraught with error potential. Analytical judgment, while providing a more full palette of information, can take time to process. Balance is key.

So, what am I learning? I'm learning that I've honed my snap-judgment skills to the point where I'm about 95% correct in my Malcolm-Gladwell-Blink-titude. When I judge books by covers, I'm generally correct. With people, there is only one glaring judgment error I can think of, historically, where I was totally off about a person (which turned out to be fortunate since that person became one of my dearest friends). In short, I'm just usually right.

The blessing is that I don't have to spend (waste) any additional time getting to know a person because I generally gather all I need immediately. The curse is that people sometime find me cold, distant, and aloof. Meh, I just don't have time to waste. I sacrifice a slim probability for surprise for reliability.

Anyway, and I've thought this through for some time, I'm kind of over it anymore. I've waded in the superficial and flirted with the mainstream only to come away either disappointed or annoyed. Most people just can't get past their myopic, damaging baggage though. They just cannot help themselves; too lost to find what they need of themselves. Judgment? Toss ballast.

My friends and colleagues, at present, are pretty damn solid though and have helped me realize a thing. The foundation is set. This I know: The time has arrived to move from "I think" to "I know." It's part of a progression where at some point proteges become mentors, students become teachers, and apprentices become masters.
Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Caine: No.
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?
The data is clear and now I know some things now. Not everything, of course, but I'm on the first rung of a very long ladder. I hear the middlespaces.