The Underbelly of a Hobby Horse

Hobby Horse

We were in science class and the project was to draw and measure a crooked line with the measuring wheel. I drew a jagged line resembling a series of mountain peaks. Beside me Cathal Mc Sweeny took a different approach. He drew a smooth broad line of rolling hills. It struck me at the time that I’d made the project more difficult for myself and how much easier it would be to measure a smooth line than to struggle unnecessarily with the jagged zig zag in front of me. Nevertheless, I persevered and we thus, took separate paths on the road to discovery.

How come some people sail through life, while others hit every post and pillar on the way? We do it to ourselves. If we’re used to difficulty we will create a situation that has obstacles. If we’re used to an easy life we will experience a pleasant journey. Life is complicated or is smooth or lies somewhere between. In the end how we tackle situations is what makes us all different from one another.

I have an exploratory mind. I’m not willing or able to coast on the surface. I want to know what it is that makes me and everybody else tick. Why are we all different and what makes us who we are? That’s my bag and I’ve got to know what’s in it.

A few years ago, (that’s the way it is now, years go by) I was in Harold’s Cross and walked through the long triangle-shaped park where we sometimes played as children. There’s a small playground with a merry-go-round, swings, slides and climbing frames. I liked the merry-go-round best of all. A circular platform of wood one foot wide and about ten feet diameter suspended from an iron frame rotating around a central pole. As we pushed and pulled at the heavy wooden seat, we ran in a circle to get up enough momentum, then jumped on the moving platform. I would lay my head back so it brought the clouds above me on a magical circular journey as I flopped into dizziness, staring into the blue.

There were lots of children playing this day but one in particular caught my attention. He was a curious one and although we all wonder, some are more inquisitive than others. Lying on the ground he scrutinized the underbelly of the rocking mechanism with squinting eyes. The hobby-horse moved too and fro just inches above his nose. He was viewing the innards to see how it worked.

It flung me back in time to when I too was young, to the memory of my big brother Eamonn. He was always tinkering, fixing and poking He made things, took them apart and put them back together again. He once spent half the day catching flies to throw into a spider’s web just to find out how a spider never gets stuck in his own web. The discovery he made was that not all the threads of the web are sticky and that flies don’t always get caught because they sometimes bounce off the clean threads.

Is it that we are curious about some things and not others? For instance, I was never interested in history. What arrests me is the present. Mostly I question how people operate. How do we motivate and activate? How do we create or indeed, as in most cases, miscreate? The source of a situation in the present is what grabs my curiosity.

As children we weren’t actually encouraged to be inquisitive or adventurous. We were just left to our own devices when we were at play. However, in school as at home our brains were bombarded with facts, a pastime that threw me into total apathy and depression and sucked the lifeblood from my creativity. ‘Curiosity killed the cat, information made him fat’ was a saying that attempted to hone us into finding data more desirable than being curious.

In other words, employ your brain to store information but don’t look for knowledge because that’s dangerous. That can lead you to your death. A child can take such things very seriously and literally. It took me a long time to discover it but the fact of the matter is, it’s the other way round. By only storing information all the time without reaching for new solutions, we can end up suffocating knowledge. We substitute it with intelligence that we mistakingly call knowledge.

We give people who display an aptitude for holding information the title of being knowledgeable. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Knowledge doesn’t come from information. Information comes from knowledge. Unless we explore new areas of investigation, the knowledge dies. We’re left with a fat lot of information that keeps going round and round. In this case we never develop past being well-informed but without being knowing. No new discoveries are made. We regurgitate old information under new headings. Does this sound familiar?

One of the major problems we have in the world today is we’re well informed but we’re not knowing. It comes from the belief that information is power. Information without knowing ends up being misused and becomes an abuse of power. In many cases, we settle for what we already know, verbally and intellectually. We batter anybody that comes up with a new theory because it threatens us and puts us in doubt of our own abilities. It rocks the boat and erodes our safety, so we pick holes in it and insist it follows constricting rules. We only have to look at establishments to see how tied up they are with rules.

Protecting the establishment becomes the priority and fear is given full reign to guide the decision-making process. The main culprit here is doubt. We have doubt built into every system and with that doubt comes the mistrust that is the hallmark of our protected lives. We doubt our own abilities. To cover our lack of courage we fearfully employ various strategies to protect ourselves from those that could know more.

If we admitted the doubt we could move forward. But no, we prefer to stay frozen, to cover it up and stamp on anything that seems a threat to our already privileged, proven theories or safety. We like to have insurance before we make a new decision, never exploring ourselves but making sure that any one else’s new exploration first complies to our safety measures. If it goes beyond the boundary we pick holes in it and attack it from an informed but not a knowledgeable place.

When eventually a new discovery squeezes through the tightly closed gate, we don’t protect it. Instead we hammer it by supporting cheap imitations and saturate the market with unholy replicas to beat the band. We threaten the sacred with the same disrespect we do the rest of the world. This comes from a belief in scarcity. We don’t see that if we opened the gates we could be flooded with new ideas. Or is it we do see it but we’re protecting our already outdated organizations, institutions and their interests?

I say all this not from a critical perspective but from an observer’s stance. I see why we keep repeating the same actions. We view the world from a physical perspective. However, we can’t just keep on doing the same things. There would be no forward movement. Instead, we could take a different approach and let go our hold on what we know is certain destruction. That would open up a whole new world of discovery, an exciting and creative adventure.

But in order for us to do this we need some guarantees that we’re not giving up everything for hocus pocus, hotch-potch ideas. My suggestion is to not give up anything at all at the moment. Try out the idea of developing our own personal creative abilities first and increase our awareness. That way possibilities begin to open up. It isn’t that we will need to go against your will. We’ll gradually see the need for alteration and begin to make these changes naturally over time. As more people realize the old approach will simply fall away for lack of support.

These moves are already happening in many areas and the changeover is occurring slowly and steadily. People are becoming aware and realize the need for change. This is one reason why we are experiencing turmoil at the very core of our institutions. There will come a point when a noticeable proportion of the population will realize and a flip over will take place. The point of no return will surely cross the threshold to a new and exciting life.

It’s an inevitable passing. We are entering a new era in our history. This is an exciting time. Personal knowledge and creativity is taking precedence over institutional information, over fear, doubt, illness, protection and insurance. We’ll have knowing, healthy, acceptance, and assurance from within and it’ll be natural to live with love, joy and no sign of fear on the horizon.

I look forward to that day.

My next blog ‘How to pack a bag’ deals with how to start making that transition, to begin using creative awareness so you can transform your view of the world.