Agile Self Management ($)
Managing a project is the same as managing one's mind.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
— Dr. Seuss
I was going to write about how we remember emotions, but saw a connection between this and project management, so I’ll defer writing about emotions until next week.
The connection is that they both guide us from different directions. Emotions are an ache, while executive decisions are an advertisement. It’s another good cop/bad cop, or carrot and stick metaphor.
Emotions are my primary interest. I think we’re entirely misunderstanding them by giving them a second class citizen status. We like to think we’re a rational people and that we make top down decisions, but it is on the basis of emotions and emotions only that we get divorced, start wars, and elect dysfunctional presidents. Given how firmly we’re controlled by emotions, it’s amazing we are able to resolve anything.
I’m also a firm believer in fractals being everywhere in nature (Simply.science, 2018). You must get beyond the notion of fractals as pictures and understand them as migrating patterns. Whenever you have a structure on one scale that has evolved from and repeats a structure from another scale, you have a fractal evolution.
Boats are fractal. Small boats displace the water and float because they’re lighter than water. But if the boats are too small, of microscopic size, then different properties of water prevail and boats no longer work. Below the scale of one inch, the surface tension becomes too high relative to the viscosity and boats don’t sail right.
We can grow boats up to almost a mile in size, and they continue to behave in the same manner. Beyond that size, given our current technology, and their fragility and dynamics, they become impractical. It’s not the physics of water that’s a problem, it’s other practicalities. Nevertheless, within that range, from lengths of centimeters to kilometers, we can build and navigate boats using the same principles and designs.
Dreams are fractal. We build them in an effort to find the self-similarity in our experiences. We’re looking for patterns in the scale, dynamics, and function of our experience. Our dreams reapply the structures we know to see if they work for other structures. We do this by conjoining them in theory and playing out “life experiments” with the results.
When yesterday’s new acquaintance reminds us of our successful childhood relationships, then, in our dreams, we’ll turn translate them into a dog to see if the relationship still holds, or maybe into a car, dragon, or sunset.
Our dreams don’t make sense as serial narratives because they’re not, they’re parallel narratives. Dreams are comparisons of different approaches to the same subject. If you recall your dream moments as a gradual morphing between different perspectives, they make a good but different kind of sense.
Seeing dreams as a lecture in executive planning makes them seem psychotic, but seeing them as a scrapbook of emotional reflections allows you to consider each scene as its own story, a story told by the relationships between the elements, not their progression in time.
Emotions seem to come from nowhere because we don’t intentionally construct them. They’re not entirely reactive because we generally contain them. They’re like horses who know more about making progress than the people who ride them. We tell them where we want to go, but they remember the terrain better than we do and prefer to make their own path.
Our thinking selves lack emotional insight; we’re not open to our own emotional guidance. Our emotional guidance would very much like to find a stable grove and relax in it. There is something called “emotional intelligence,” but it’s misunderstood. We’re told emotional intelligence is your ability to get along, to empathize, and to understand others. This is just one consequence of what emotional intelligence really is, which is a bigger picture condensed to one of a few attitudes.
Each of our emotions has a vote in our role in any environment: happy, sad, frustrated, angry, bored, loving, etc. These emotions come to the fore without argument or justification, and they don’t care to justify themselves with evidence. The evidence for each of these emotions is built up from our feelings by our rational minds. A good justification seems compelling to our rational mind, but makes little difference to our emotional self.
The central question for the management of our lives is how to collaborate with our emotions. The horizontal approach is to build co-creative relationships. These are the best kind, but it seems we’re losing the knowledge of how to do it.
More commonly, we build vertical, authoritarian relationships. We refer to them as co-dependent because the power structure of each level depends on the other, but they could be better described as conjoined, separate, and unequal. You don’t get emotional equality from relationships built to fulfill unshared needs.
We’d have more successful marriages if couples viewed their endeavor in entirely practical terms, like a factory or an assembly line. The result would be a much lower rate of divorce and a much higher rate of stable, meaningless relationships. And this is what we did have before marriages were supposed to provide love between the partners.
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