Tipping Point October 2016
Events that cause us to move from one philosophy or action step to another are those rare tipping points in life. They cause new thought patterns and create the need for fresh activities that align with our changed level of consideration. Despite our comforts in life, our brain is constantly looking for these defining moments. We watch for anything that will disturb our peaceful lifestyle. Observation is critical to recognize people and events that are just enough outside our “normal” to be suspicious. The ability to recognize dangers through our vision, hearing and sense of smell causes us to recognize threats. Going into an unfamiliar neighborhood, a prison, or a thunderstorm will put us on high alert.
Oddly, our greatest danger may be when we are most comfortable. Then our senses are at rest. Our heads would explode form the stress of being constantly on high alert. This is why, even in times of war, soldiers are rotated in an out of the front lines. Otherwise they acquire “battle fatigue.”
On the farm in the 1890’s you were in control of 90% of your daily activities. Threats to your stability were obvious, and reactions to those intimidations were preplanned and predictable. You rarely interacted with those outside your family and virtually never with those beyond your town.
Today is a different story. Now 90% of our waking hours are spent with people we barely know. On the freeway, eating in restaurants, shopping in malls and stores, at work, and even while watching television we are surrounded by strangers. This environment is very much out of our control. We rely on outsiders to wash their hands before preparing our meals, to turn right when they signal right, and to do what they have promised. We rely on them for our safety, though they are mostly unknown to us.
Beyond the physical, we count on school teachers to train our children in a way that aligns with our beliefs about politics, history, religion, and thought. We count on an internet that will not damage the members of our family, movies that have ratings that are true, and acquaintances that will be loyal and supportive. Our expectations are far greater than they should be concerning people and environments of which we know very little. Our trust would embarrass the farmer and his family of the 1890’s. We may very well miss tipping points that would have caused them to stand up and say, “That is wrong, and we need to fix it.”
Our alert level, despite its destructive nature and stress, should be higher. We already have the stress, though we don’t examine its source so we may as well be alert.