“Most emotions are responses to perception—what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too. So check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness of your paradigms—what you believe. Just because you believe something firmly doesn’t make it true. Be willing to reexamine what you believe. The more you live in the truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly…”
I’m in a book discussion group and the above title and quote was taken from the chapter titled “Verbs and Other Freedoms.” Some heady stuff out of a bizarre, fictional account of a father wanting to come to terms with his young daughter’s murder. I sped read this book by William P. Young, “The Shack” published in 2007 when it first came out. The second time around, I’m reading it more leisurely and thoughtfully because I am discussing it with nine other ladies.
In our discussion last night, the context of this particular chapter brought up expectation vs. expectancy and also responsibility in relationships and rules. Of course, I see things almost in a 3-D way (the latest fad in cartoons for movie goers). First, I perceive things from an American point of view, also where I have lived in other Asian or post-Soviet cultures but finally I am currently trying to absorb the Kazakh culture in Astana, Kazakhstan. American + other Asian or Ukrainian cultures + Kazakhstan = 3D!!!
“Perplexed” is the main verb for me when living in Astana, I’ve used the highly descriptive word “flummoxed” before too. Kazakhs have about 120 different nationalities living amongst them so that mix includes people from Germany, Korea, Turkey, Russia, Mongolia and other countries from the Soviet Union.
What happens when conflicting paradigms come in contact with one another? Do the perceptions of differing parties compromise on their own and embrace the other or do they stiffen up by adhering to their own rules that are their culture’s norm? Do some cultures seek truth in their paradigms? Do the Kazakhs want truthfulness to be a part of their culture? Do they have some tried and true proverbs that speak to that issue about truth? I doubt it. Obviously, I have more questions than answers.
I don’t think anyone purposefully seeks after wrong thinking. To me, that would be like a person going after poison with self-destructive motives. Many people are sincerely convinced about their own perceived truths and what has been handed down to them from their elders. Are they willing to reexamine what they have been taught in order to make a paradigm shift? Wars are ignited when paradigms bang into each other, the hotheads can only think about killing the other person with supposed “wrong thinking.”
So how does one “live in the truth,” as the author William P. Young, suggests in this fictional account which is totally unrelated to Kazakhstan? Yet in a way, I think there is much soul searching among most Kazakh and Kazakhstani people in this vast land. This might be stretching it, but the murder of Kazakhstan’s reputation has happened, it was once a proud and prosperous land going back to the great conqueror Genghis Khan. Just as the father in this fictional thriller has to come to terms with murder and seeking vengeance, so too Kazakhstan has to resolve some age old issues.
I believe the younger Kazakh people in today’s 21st century generation are taking responsibility and want to have a global perspective. They want to be in relationship with the rest of the world of the big global players but there are rules to go by in order to be counted in the game. However, at the same time the Central Asians are holding on to their cultural norms to respect their elders. Unfortunately, many of the older people in Kazakhstan haven’t made the paradigm shift into the globalized world we live in. We have a recipe for disaster and maybe no hope. We talked about hope last night, that’s what keeps us moving forward. Will the Kazakhs be able to keep their forward momentum going?
Yes, the older people have strong emotions one way or the other about believing that the Soviet Union was the best because there was a perceived stability. The post-Soviet undercurrents swirl around all of us who live in Kazakhstan depending on what happened in the past, what is currently happening with the world economy in peril and what will happen in the future. Soul, spirit and whatever else makes up a person besides emotion and intellect is very important too. That is why I’ll end with this quote that I love attributed to Arnold Bennett:
“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.”