Guarding against conceptual disorientation and reorienting bad attitudes

In my opinion, disorientation is simply the natural tendency in some people of shunning reality in pursuance of their personal inclinations; the popular attitude of leaving what is (reality) to what a person thinks or likes. Experience shows the futility of the thoughts of man especially when they are unreal and Ipso Facto opposed to the Mind of the Maker of all things. He is the foundation of all things; of reality itself. Therefore, anything outside of Him is non-existent. Everything that exists was created out of nothing and only man has God given the grace of being “made in his own image and likeness”; the grace to be truly real, to be like God; To be like He who is. This is God’s gift to man: that “He created him a rational being conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions” . But does not this will have imperfections and limitations? Of course, it does. No one can have whatever they wish for.

Furthermore, in an attempt to run from the often-rudeawakenings of reality, which strike in proportion to one’s level of disorientation, some people love to craft out their own worlds; where they “feel secure”. They make their truths, their laws of gravitation, and most probably their god! But test these truths on the simplest of scales they fail, let him jump from the rooftop he sleeps in a hospital and let him cry all he can and his god pays a deaf ear. Conceptual disorientation can be either outspoken or subtle. But there is one general scale on which to weigh all we hold dear in order not to be greeted at last by a woeful fall from our high horses. This scale is a simple question: is this a truth without any contradictions; is it really real or reasonable? Any truth with a contradiction has a problem and should not be held with tenacity; nothing can be both white and black at the same time. Let us pause for an example to elucidate the point a little. Truth: God is Omnipotent. If we are in the process of discovering any other truth that contradicts God’s omnipotence (which is absolute truth) it means that our theory is wrong not that God has ceased being omnipotent. If there is any form of weakness in our relations with him, it comes from us, if there is any power, it comes from him. This is a simple example of what I mean by weighing our truths.

Again we must remember that “truths” do not depend on us to be true; they do not derive their reality from us. 1+1 cannot depend on us to be 2, and no matter the height of our personal displeasure for the number “2” we cannot change this to “11” (we cannot create our own personal mathematics). Laws of gravitation did not depend on any scientist to be so; rather according to Fulton Sheen, those scientists were instructed by Mother Nature; they learned, they discovered what has always been. And God does not depend on our tastes to be what He is. Some people like him as a “God that destroys” some as “a God that tolerates any sin so long as we’re happy” yet others as a “God that strikes sinners with evils and misfortunes”. Yet none of these can affect what God is in himself. Is it better then to keep depending on these? To keep our world, our truths and our “man-made god?” Or is it wiser to come out of our cocoons to discover real truths even when they are most bitter to us? I think it is much saner to break free from our cocoons to experience the redemptive power of truth. People say truth is bitter. Is it? A sick man says the Chicken you enjoy is bitter, so much so that it makes him vomit. But is this “bitterness” in this Chicken or in his sick palate?

Truth is sweet but our palates are bad.

Reorienting bad attitudes

Maturity has different dimensions. However from my own evaluation, the most important is the attitude we have toward things and life in general. As a prospective husband/wife there must be a conscious reorientation of negative attitudes. Before one can boast of being mature enough to get married, there must be a cultivation of the attitude of seeing the “good” in everyone and in every situation. This attitude saves a lot of stress and makes one peaceful with almost everyone. One of the key things that make marriages successful is for one or two of the partners to imbibe the habit of always saying “ok the deed is done, what next?”; of seeking a way out of bad situations or a way to make things work out better no matter the condition /shape of things instead of capitalizing on accusing others or reminding them of the wrongness of their acts. Of saying “sorry” when we wrong others no matter how slightly, of saying “thank you” when we receive favours, no matter how insignificant.

The above-stated task involves serious personal struggle and prayer. Personality refinement is no easy task as it may involve giving up even what we love the most or things that we are most attached to. But what can be more painful than being involved in a marriage that breeds nothing but regret and unhappiness? Another attitude to avoid is that of judging from appearance so as not to be deceived by our personal (and often imperfect) perceptions and views. One of the key reasons why marriages do not work is because of this mistake; people jump into marriage presuming “they’re in love” when they are only infatuated (Treated separately below). Surely, that emotion you feel for your prospective marital partner may be a pointer to the existence of great love for the person but that emotion is not itself the love. Love resides in the rational will, although it often overflows on the sensual part of man. The emotion is often “sweet”, and so many wrongly cling to it thinking it is the love itself without knowing that such emotions often vanish in time. The problem is not that we feel this emotion, rather the problem is that we build everything upon it; that we find it difficult to cope when we can no longer feel anything in us. Truly one can love without emotions. We can love our brothers and sisters, our parents, our grannies and friends without necessarily “feeling”. The stress here is not on the evil or irrelevance of emotions, for that would be unreasonable, the stress rather is on avoiding such emotions that cloud our sense of judgement. The better attitude is to welcome those emotions when they come, but then prepare for those difficult days when they begin to vanish; it also entails seeing through the veil of those emotions; not setting our “Mr/Mrs rights” as perfect people but always remembering the fact that they are always human and therefore beginning on time to make room for their future mistakes (which inevitably comes).

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