There’s a King James version, new testament bible verse that reads, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth.” I mostly hear those verses as inviting faith to lean into mystery, and to take some responsibility for participating in the process.
From psychology, I’ve always been quite intrigued to observe the principle, “what you look for is what you find.” This principle conjoins us with the grand pattern of projection — we see what we know, or, we see in others what we are ourselves. It’s just another reason that we need community for sense-making, and diversity to bring us to broader sense-makings.
Pulling all of that down, here’s some simplicity that I often see in groups (or in public media reports). If any of us seek “offense” (knowingly or not), we’ll find it. In word. In deed. In gesture. In subtlety. In implied meaning. In behavior. If any of us seek “kindness” (knowingly or not), we’ll find that. In all of the above. If we seek both, we’ll find both. It’s the power of the human psyche, in all of it’s imaginative capacity and in its neurally entrenched limitations.
Societally, in these times, I’m coming to observe and wonder, about how much we are unconsciously polarizing to extremes (again — this might be part of the natural life cycle of civilizations). On the one hand is “find the offense; find the injustice; be hyper vigilant in protection.” Ah, this is such important work. Life work. Societally changing work. Evolutionary work. Except, I would suggest, when it isn’t, which for me is when it tips to the psychological fulfillment of confirmation bias — finding what we seek. “It’s all offense. It’s all injustice.”
On the other hand is “find only the kindness, only the goodness; be hyper vigilant in calling out the higher good.” Ah, this too, is such important work. Except, again, when it isn’t, which for me tips into a pollyanna, rose-tinted view of “all is well, and only well.” Denial runs too closely with that one.
I remain so interested, and grateful, to be with people that see some of this psychological, emotional, and spiritual complexity. What we seek, we find. If I spend the day looking for the color yellow, I’m going to find oodles of yellow in the day (that was likely already and always there).
These are musings. I suppose for me today, they challenge me to ponder the plethora of range and spectrum, the differences and the difficulties, that are already and always there — so as to not get stuck in rather narrow track, or unwillingly swept along on others narrowed preference that can be right for them but not for me. Musings that wake me further to what is and what I might seek to challenge.