The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Beyond individual control

A while ago a friend stayed for a few days allowing us to explore the surroundings together. It was a nice occasion to exchange a lot. As he is concerned with the current geopolitical situation a lot of our conversations addressed the larger conflicts.

A theme that emerged from these conversations was his habit of analyzing the situation based on an assessment that someone needs to benefit from the situation.

However, it also meant that we regularly had to hypothesize what these benefits could be. It meant that we also fantasized about what these benefits could be and imagined one or the other conspiracy.

It is an interesting exercise. But also, one that can quickly lead to meaning-making where facts are being used to validate assumptions and imagination. It often is the source of conspiracy theories. It also is a way people use to give themselves a sense of safety. It’s a sense of safety that is based on knowing what the danger is, where the enemy is, and consequently how it can be addressed.

This means that existing anxiety has somehow been contained and regulated. And yet, it is ending the analysis a step too early. Like any emotion, anxiety can be contagious, where much of the worry it generates is hypothetical or beyond individual control.

If it is hypothetical, worry keeps an anxiety alive that may never become relevant. And if the worry points to something that is beyond individual control, there will be little relevance to one’s actions. In both cases, the next question is what to do, to address one’s anxiety.

It might be a more difficult question to ask.




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