“Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we don’t get it.”
— Sloane Crosley
“‘Getting it’ is being able to project the probable results of your current actions and ridding yourself of the potential death threat.”
— Frank Regan, We Don’t Get It: Essays on Nature’s Indifference
We see the dots and we see them very clearly but we just fail to connect them. We fail to read the message of totality where all elements are supposed to connect with each other. We don’t have a holistic perception of the entirety of world events because in a lot of times we only get fixated on an isolated instance that we think is the most important while the rest are of minor significance. And if the former is fixed at the right moment, everything will get better. We think we live in a world of fragmented, disconnected events. We have never learned to look at reality as a web of interconnected happenings and that’s precisely the reason we fail to understand why there are breakdowns in the world in general and in our individual lives in particular. We fail to understand life. We don’t get it.
By and large, our focal point is our individual lives with all their immediate desires, wishes and needs. In attending to these personal matters, we don’t care at all whether others would be detrimentally affected or not. We always tend to prioritize our own personal condition over those of others’. In fact, in most instances, we tend to believe that our respective individual concerns are so imminent that it’s not necessary to care about those of the others’. Even the possibility of stepping on the toes of others while satisfying our needs is not something we believe we ought to seriously care about. In this sense, we only understand our own personal situation and not the others’. The general condition of life in this world is so complex that we are convinced we just don’t need to understand it. We don’t need to get it. In fact, we don’t actually get it.
Each of us is so tightly enclosed within our shells so that what matters are only those within the subjective sphere. One says, “There is nothing beyond my world” which gives us the notion that there is nothing outside of one’s conception of the world. There is therefore a dismal failure of the individual to see the reality of the Other as well as of the larger world whose changes–whether good or bad–depend on the interactive presence of people in such a world. And we likewise fail to cope with the changes because we have been so engrossed with our own private circumstances while things pass by in time and space. We have long ignored the larger reality outside the walls of our skulls and we wake up one morning without an iota of idea of what we need to do. Now we are face to face with the realization that not only us but multitudes of other humans like us are the real protagonists in the ever transforming and unfolding drama of life on planet Earth. Suddenly, we have come to realize that each of us is a part not only of a global but of a grander cosmic network. And now, we are beginning to get it.
At the end of the day, we get to the conclusion that we need to know the true connections of things and events out in the world. The way towards this knowledge does not only involve one’s willingness to break the shell of her/his solipsistic confinement but a genuine desire to get her/himself involved in an honest-to-goodness process of investigation and discovery that at least toes the basics of the scientific method. This trajectory realistically leads us to a more comprehensive understanding of the world and the interconnected components within it that make such a world go round. And now, we don’t only see the dots but also how they connect with each other. In fact, not a single one of them is in isolation. We may not be able as yet to explain the deeper and more complex aspects of some connections but the axiomatic presupposition of their interconnectedness is the foundational bedrock of whatever we wish to further explore with the intent to understand more and better the whys and wherefores of events that pop up every now and then.
With the mental framework that we have thus far achieved, it is not, after all, the end of the world even when we say at the moment, “We don’t get it”. We don’t get it as yet but on the basis of the presupposition of interconnectedness that we now accept as an indispensable premise, we are enthusiastic and confident that something will come out in the exploration that we intend to do or are actually doing here and now with the expectation that sooner or later, we will get it.
(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 08 April 2015