Friday, June 22, 2007

Can We See the Forest While Living Amongst the Trees?


This article made me think about how willing we are to detach ourselves enough from our own personal agendas in order to connect the dots and see the larger picture.

It's not an easy task. On a personal level, I’ve always felt fairly competent connecting the dots or trees to see the larger picture or “forest” of other people’s situations but I've found out recently I am somewhat lacking when it comes to connecting the dots to form a realistic picture of my own situation.

Always sympathetic or empathetic with another person's particular plight, people have often come to me when things go wrong. I've always been glad to offer my "wisdom", however, I have to admit, that there was a part of me wondering why that person or persons did not see what I saw, after all they were living it. I did not realize how powerful emotions can be when trying to think clearly. Now that I'm immersed in my own drama, something I've always tried to avoid, and not safely tucked away on the sidelines, I have a new 
comprehension and understanding of what it is to star in your own "Lifetime movie" and it's almost impossible to hide or go it alone as much as I'd like too.

This tendency to see the trees, but not necessarily the forest extends to our ability to see what’s really going on in our own neighborhood, state and nation many times making us miss the elephant in the room, so to speak. That’s why we depend on historians to sort it all out after we’re long gone because they are likely to have all the puzzle pieces and can put together the big picture without all the drama of the situation.

This doesn’t mean that it is impossible to see the big picture only that it’s not an easy task and we may have to pay attention and actually think about what’s going on all around us instead of focusing only on what is advantageous to us or our agenda. That’s hard to do in a society where we define success quantitatively, through, wealth, power and status, as opposed to qualitatively. We do not evaluate success by how much a person knows, by his moral judgment, or by his ability to deliver quality results or products; instead success is evaluated by who a person knows, how much a person has and/or earns and his standing in the social hierarchy we place so much importance on.

President Bush is the perfect symbol of what America has become because we all know his success is due to whom he knew, how much he had, and how much his family earned as opposed to what he knows or his ability to think and reflect on what is really going on all around us. President Bush is a “doer”, his decisions come from what he wants to do rather than what he thinks is best for the big picture and everyone in it.
President Bush is the kind of person America values and place on a pedestal. Now, that we've placed him there we're not so sure he should be there but in order to avoid another President Bush we have to redefine our idea of what success really is and try our best to connect the dots to see reality the way it is not the way we want it to be.


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