December 5, 2006
Last night I had another small introspective break through. Lately I've been thinking about two central and separate concerns:
One is that I employ several non-helpful, fretful and angsty avoidance strategies to put off work that I feel even remotely insecure about. For a while I've been working with the assumption that this springs from a need to protect a weirdly inflated subconscious image I have of myself of being the smartest guy in the room.... that it seems better to not try and have something fail than to give it my best, still fail, and then be "dangerously aware" of my personal limitations.
Two is an abject fear of being helpless, and also being unable to help someone else who is helpless. I've always though this might have sprung from seeing my dad get sick and die when I was a young teenager. It's almost a little trite to blame the death of a parent, but still that was a very harsh lesson that things don't always work out for the best.
But...what if the self-limiting behaviors of the first point spring less from this inflated ego thing -- because I know I'm at least consciously able to have a realistic idea of my place under the bell curve, despite being an only child -- and are actually just a response to the fears of the second? Could there be this element that I'm afraid a given tactical situation, like at work, might be "the one", the intractable problem that just can't be solved by me, or the group, within the parameters of time and resources of the assignment? That I'm not seeking to avoid knowledge of my own limitations, but of the fact that the universe has no obligation to seem "fair" to me?
I guess the negative behaviors probably spring from both concepts, protection of an inflated ego, and from knowledge of an callously indifferent world. But the thought of a "fear of helplessness" might have reverberations even in my day-to-day worklife was a wake-up.
I guess that's an advantage people with faith in an Activist kind of God have: a fallback position that no matter how craptacular any given situation seems, someones got their back, or failing that, it's a negative part of some positive master plan, or failing that, it doesn't have too much of an impact on the only thing that really matters, which is one's eternal fate.
Icons of the Moment
So I'm heading to Delaware tonight. I'll be staying again at the Brandywine Suites, near the trainstation there. I just have to say, I enjoyed this big mass of icons that shows up on their "Check Availability" page, even though there are some repeats. It's just such a nice study in minimalist iconography.... each icon is on a little 13x13 canvas, and I know from experience that that's not a lot to work with.