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Matt,

I have always wondered why so many people seem so cognitively static in this fast- and ever-changing culture, while they adapt to the changes on the behavioral level really rapidly. I think a simple answer would be “we like what we are used to.” We are sometimes told to ‘think outside the box’ or ‘get out of our comfort zone’ — I agree that the ‘outside’ offers the chance for exploration of ourselves, our potential, and/or realities that we choose not to face. We nurture our passions, and I believe they deserve to see the light of the day without being confined in the little world of self-concept on either positive or negative valence. We label and categorize other people, phenomena, ideas, etc. to alleviate the discomfort of ambiguity. Ambiguity, however, is where the adventure and reality lie.

As I reflect on my life, there has not been many occasions where I had total control over something. Even the decisions I made for myself were not independent of the environmental pressure. I think we constantly negotiate and maneuver through what appear like obstacles to finally get to an idea. I think this is a reward — something that the surface-level, feel-good intellectual discussions will not earn us.

In this digital age of convenience, we seem to have forgotten the virtue and value of perseverance and diligence, as well as resilience. We get what we want so easily. We don’t wait. We demand. We expect to have it (whatever it is) as if we deserved it from the beginning. We are forgetting to look at the process — who makes it, who provides it, who keeps it available, how it is given, what this whole giving and taking means to us and others on the globe. We may think we are connected with others but in reality, we may only be separating ourselves from everything that sustains our lives.

So, thank you for this great food for thoughts (and I’m getting so hungry I must eat food now).

Mariko

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