Playfully Adventuring Upon The Edge of Your World(view)

The Value of Playing the Edge | Psychology Today
Pushing beyond your assumed limits is called edgework. Here’s how to play it.

In the natural world, the edge is where the action is. The zone between two ecosystemswater and land, or field and forest—is where the greatest diversity and productivity are found, as well as the most predation. This is fitting, as the Greek word for this region, an ecotone, means tension. But it’s characterized by a fertility that biologists call the edge effect.

In human affairs, the ecotone between the life you have and the life you want, between your status quo and your potential, is equally fruitful if not fitful, full of passion and suffering, productivity and predation. The exercise of pushing beyond your assumed limits into this zone of intensity and virility, in search of fulfillment and new possibilities, is rightfully referred to by sociologists as edgework.

It’s a kind of personal anarchy, an affirmative revolt against your own stuckness, as well as the entrapments and over-determined nature of everyday life (they don’t call it the “beaten” path for nothing). It’s not loss of control, though, but an acute sort of self-control, says Jeff Ferrell, author of Making Trouble. It’s self-control in place of control by others, whether church and state or job and gender, and it’s based on the understanding that if you don’t control yourself, somebody else will.

“It’s self-control for the sake of self-determination,” Ferrell says. “Self-control in the interest of holding on to your life while letting go of it. Self-control that gets you hooked on the autonomy of self-invention. It’s a defiant disavowal of secondhand living. It’s the refusal to live in a cage and have food thrown in.”

In fact, the primary evolutionary advantage of these behaviors comes down to exploration. Some members of any tribe, especially in new environments, have to investigate what’s dangerous and what’s not, and test the limits so that others will know what they are and either avoid them or exercise caution in approaching them. The explorer and aviator Charles Lindbergh rightly asked, “What civilization was not founded on adventure? Our earliest records tell of biting the apple and baiting the dragon, regardless of hardship or danger, and from this, perhaps, progress and civilization developed.”

Thus the importance of supporting the dragon-baiters, both in society and in ourselves. Of keeping alive the role of edgewalker, outlier, provocateur, and imagineer, the one who stands outside the shop window looking in and questioning; who lives in the liminal zone between civilized and wild, conformity and rebellion; who dives beneath the surface of life to its depths.

The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said that “civilized” society is defined by having five qualities: beauty, truth, art, peace and adventure, and that it preserves its vitality only as long as “it is nerved by the vigour to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.” And the same goes for its civilians.


“Knowing Thyself” Through AI

What if Artificial intelligence could accelerate self-knowledge?
How interacting with artificial intelligence will boost your own self-awareness and teach you how to become a better learner Published on Medium and first It is still a common belief that machines will eventually know more about humans than we ever will, as they are able to absorb and

So, next time we ask ourselves how artificial intelligence could augment humans, perhaps another response may be, by making us more human. Artificial intelligence can help us understand ourselves better and faster.

There’s been a ton of chatter recently about Artificial Intelligence but I think most of the discussion is completely missing the point of its true potential. That being helping us to understand ourselves at a deeper level by learning about us and expressing who we truly are.

For example, I’m completely perplexed why someone hasn’t create an AI for this already, that harvests the decades of content you’ve written on your blog and then articulates who you are in a clear and concise way.

More than anything, we all want to be truly seen and understood. What if AI could achieve this by seeing the patterns within our own lives and understanding the meaningful relationships arising from them? This could create a completely new way to articulate yourself beyond the outdated and severely limited resume.

Vertical Development

The Unfolding & Emergence of Your Authentic Self

Stop Looking for Your Authentic Self | Psychology Today
It is right in front of you.

Your “authentic self”

Your authentic self is right here in front of you. It is the summation of your life programming from your parents, siblings, peers, teachers, employers, societal norms, and the marketing world. In other words, you are the product of who everyone else has told you to be. All the messages are internalized and become your own inner voice telling you how you should be. The outcome is a lot of noise in your brain of self-judgement and that of others. We call it “self-esteem.” It is a mismatch of your powerful unconscious brain versus your conscious one. It is endless and wears you down.

When I read the above for the first time, I laughed and thought the author must be crazy because that’s not your authentic self. What he’s describing is your programmed self, something that most people are completely unaware of. In effect, just because someone thinks they are an “adult” and are “independent”, it doesn’t mean they are psychologically mature and psychologically independent.

In fact, if you look at Life as a roleplaying game, we are effectively non-player characters during the initial part of our lives growing up (similar to Ryan Reynolds character in the movie Free Guy) because we are so dependent on our societal programming to survive when we are younger.

That’s what the author is trying to get at here though. He’s saying that this initial stage is completely normal and thus our dependency is normal as well. So who we are at this stage is authentically who we should be. It would be like a caterpillar being depressed that it’s not a butterfly yet when becoming a butterfly is a part of its life process. This mirrors with the absurdity of youth today being depressed that they haven’t figured out who they are yet before they have even lived their life and had enough experiences to figure out who they actually are.

What becomes more problematic is that thoughts and ideals are perceived as real to a given person as a car or table. They become our version of reality or life filter. Once this life lens is set, it becomes reinforced over a lifetime—unless you choose to become aware of it and change it.

As we grow into adulthood this programming starts to become rigid and permanent, unless we become aware of it and realize it’s just a construct. Right now, for many people, they are becoming aware of it though because major life challenges often make you question your reality and your programming in turn. This is basically what the pandemic has been doing for a lot of people over the past few years, thus leading to the Great Resignation in the workplace, whereby people are questing for a better way of working.

You are who you are today. You can see yourself by becoming aware of what you react to, what makes you anxious and angry, what are your behaviors and attitudes towards yourself and others, how much personal responsibility you take for your actions, and what level of compassion and empathy you feel for others. 

For example, most of us know that compassion is a good idea. But what happens when you are upset? You may say or do things that you are not proud of, and compassion goes right out the window. It is because compassion is a conscious construct and anger arises automatically from your unconscious brain. It is a million-to-one mismatch. That reaction in the moment is who you are because something in the present connected you to something threatening (or perceived as such) in the past. You are there and not here. It is also who you are.

What’s being described above is a person levelling up their level of consciousness which increases their awareness of themselves and the capacity of their consciousness. In Robert Fritz book The Path of Least Resistance, he describes this shift as one from a reactive to a responsive state of being. For those familiar with Robert Kegan’s work, he would describe it as a shift from a socialized mind to a self-authoring mind.

Richard Barrett’s work further helps us to see how these levels of consciousness are constructs that can be mapped out and how the value of compassion requires quite a high level to fully achieve and truly live as a way of life (rather than just being occasionally compassionate from time to time). A good example of this would be someone like Mother Teresa whose compassion was a way of life.

Your real authentic self

This all sounds challenging but there is a lot of hope once you realize how the complexity and depth of your life programming are playing out today. The key word is “awareness.” Once you are aware of how your past is continually playing out in the present, you can direct your attention to where you want your brain to develop. It continues to change every second—the term is “neuroplasticity.” Awareness creates the “space” you need to redirect your attention. Any amount will allow you to begin your journey into your new life. The sequence is 1) awareness 2) separation 3) reprogramming.

As you learn to take full responsibility for every one of your actions without judgement, you can create any reality you want by consistently making better choices. This new evolving person is still your authentic self. You just don’t have to keep searching for it.

In effect, once you become aware of your past “self” as a programmed ego construct, you are on your quest of discovering your larger True Self that lies hidden deep below it. I’ve described this like a journey to a new world, whereby you begin to discover it “within the in-between moments of the old world.” So while the “search” may be over at this point for your authentic self, as the author notes, the evolution and emergence of this large sense of Self “like a New World emerging from the Ocean of You” can still take the rest of your life to fully understand.

Vertical Development

Levelling Up Your Character in Life With Experience

Worries Teens Have About Themselves | Psychology Today
Many teens’ concerns can be alleviated by recognizing that they will mature.

Given their newfound awareness, teenagers work at understanding who they are and what they believe in. Because of their limited experience, they often make the mistake of assuming that their characteristics during early adolescence represent permanent traits.

I explain to teens that the process of developing better self-understanding should be a lifelong endeavor. In the case of teens who are undergoing rapid growth, their character will naturally change a great deal by the time they become young adults. Further, character also changes as a result of how people react to various life circumstances.

Some of the teens who seek counseling from me for their anxiety have a similar profile. They tend to be gifted intellectually, sensitive, mature, and have different interests than most of their peers. They often find it easier to relate to adults than to their peers, or to lead activities with younger children with whom they do not expect to share interests. As a result, they feel different and conclude that something must be wrong with them, which contributes to exacerbating their anxiety.

Some teens are so consumed by their inability to choose a career that they feel they cannot move forward in life.

The suffering in our lives is often caused by wrong perceptions of life itself which, as we grow, develop, and mature, can hopefully be corrected with time. The number one misperception of life is that we have to figure it all out before we begin our lives. This is completely backwards, as though Life is a traditional roleplaying game, where we have to figure out our role, class, and abilities before we begin to play the game.

Instead Life is an unconventional roleplaying game whereby we understand our role, class, and abilities while we are playing the game itself. In effect, the greatest Adventure of Your Life is to “Know Thyself” which can take you your entire life to actually figure out. So the more experience you gain in life, the more you can level up your character and understand your deeper Self all the more.

For this to work though, it requires that we look at life as an adventure of many surprising, open-ended possibilities that we can forge on our own rather than a linear well-worn path that we have to follow and fit within.

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am, then I can change.

Carl Rogers

Ultimately, true heroes legitimize themselves, not by anything they do, but by being who they are.

Daryl Conners
Vertical Development

Psychological Development is Monumentally Hard

Can you really become a male or a female if you’re born the other. I don’t believe you can. We’re too different psychologically as well as physiologically. And the psychological is much harder to change.

Dennis Prager, Conservative Writer & Radio host

Yes, psychological changes are obviously much harder to make. But that’s exactly the whole point of understanding transgender people though! Their internal psychologically is different than the norms. So it’s easier for them to transform their physiology than try to change their psychology back to expected norms.

In my opinion, society needs to try to relate to and understand transgender people more because they represent all of us in terms of trying to express a deeper aspect of ourselves that others often cannot comprehend.

For example, I believe there are many people psychologically “levelling up” right now in these challenging times of rapid change, yet they are often afraid to try to express the transformation they are going through because society norms may stigmatize them. So not only is their psychological development hard but stepping beyond societal norms makes it twice as hard.