A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Metaphor: Count Your Change

I love metaphors.  This is not the same as, “I love broccoli.”  I do like broccoli and I believe that it is an especially good food, but my heart does not swell when I acquire it.  A metaphor, on the other hand, can fill me with something akin to seeing one of my children drive past me as I ride my bike to school. 

I have been searching for a way to make sensible a very slippery feeling that has plagued me for several years now, since the 2000 election.  I have made money with various activities since that time, selling high-end art, photography, consulting and teaching.   And yet, I have not been attached to any of these things.  Before the election, for many years I did commercial photography, and while I had other significant interests, it was easy to focus real attention there.  After, I have been drawn toward the far horizon, always feeling the need to keep a weather-eye out.  Here is my metaphor: 

I am walking with a group of people in the wild lands over rough and mixed terrain.  I don’t have a good sense of what direction to go in to get back to something; say, back to my car.  The others don’t seem to notice that they don’t know where they are going. I realize that getting my bearings is a first priority, but the others are demanding that I repeatedly count the change in my pocket and do inventories of my daypack.  

I try to explain to them: “Things have changed.  We’ve been lost for too long.  We’ve got to get back, got to pay attention to the distant horizon and find our way.” 

And they say: “Count your change again.  Check off on this form that you have these items.”  

I try, but have no attention.  I want to study the terrain, take compass readings, estimate where we are, figure a line of travel.   No one is interested.  It has been settled.  The solution is to count your change.

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