How We Try Defining Everything and Why We Shouldn’t

By Jameyson

February 22, 2019

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Much like an onion, we develop layers of thoughts, beliefs and emotions around that which would otherwise be indefinable. Take the idea of God, the Creator, for instance. Ask ten thousand people to describe “God” and you will not get two identical answers. Some responses may be similar, but none will be the same.

All attempts to define the Creator aside, God is, in the truest of forms, the essence of all life: pure energy. Anything else is supposition.

Is this not like everything else? Does not psychological instability stem from the inability to accept that which is as it is, without superficial designations and definitions? We as humans are terrified of the unexplainable. Yet that is exactly the essence of most “things”.

Many things, such as “mother” and “father”, have a literal definition: the immediate male or female progenitor. But this, in and of itself, is completely unacceptable. Our own personal experiences define an object. Thus, father becomes, loving, nurturing, disciplinarian, cold, hard, etc., depending on our personal experience with our own father.

The beliefs and ideas we attribute to something are not universally true. Whereas one father may indeed be loving, nurturing and caring, another may be a violent, cruel drunk who inspires fear. Throughout nature, we find examples of both types of father.

One lion may protect his offspring, while another cannibalizes his children. There is no way to understand such phenomena and when we try, our suppositions must therefore be false.

It is universally accepted among scholars that psychological instability stems from a sort of unintentional dishonesty. The inability to discern between fact and fiction is a primary cause of mental disorder. Interestingly, the one thing that most psychologists will not admit is that the whole of humanity suffers from delusion.

In our attempt to define that which is mostly indefinable, we have created a fantasy world that is far from realistic. We are, in the eyes of the famed psychoanalysts throughout history, mentally disturbed and incapable of discerning fact from fiction.

Carl Jung used the concept of archetypes and complexes to describe this phenomenon. An archetype is simply the essence of a thing. In and of itself, it is indescribable. However, as we humans are incapable of leaving well enough alone, we attach meaning and significance to everything. These meanings that go beyond the essence, Jung referred to as “complexes”.

Complexes are much like the layers of an onion, surrounding a core. Ironically, while these complexes are mere coping mechanisms steeped in fallacy and superficiality, and the root cause of our delusions, peeling them away might not solve the human problem.

The solution lies, not in peeling away the layers of delusion to get to the core, but in developing a sort of acceptance. Rather than creating additional layers for what we cannot fully understand, simply accept it as an indescribable reality. Accept the fact that we do not need to explain everything and allow things to exist as they are.

By developing a tolerance for the unexplainable, we can get on with our lives and begin to truly live, for in so doing, we have freed up our mental facilities to fully appreciate and live our lives. We no longer have to be in control or reduce everything to a manageable size. The philosophy to live and let live is wholly applicable here.

In letting go, we are actually gaining greater control over our own lives. Let us finally learn to live…

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