The Decision Required of Us

 

Henry Nelson Wieman states in his book ‘Man’s Ultimate Commitment’ [i] that a two-fold decision is required of us. He indicates that one has to decide to:

  • Liberate oneself from the Vicious Circle [ii] and;
  • Practice a personal commitment to Creative Interchange [iii].

 

Liberate oneself from the Vicious Circle

In order to reconnect oneself with one’s Original Worth one has to break free from one’s personal Vicious Circle. To realize this following prerequisites are necessary:

First of all, one has to recognize that she or he is prisoner of one’s personal Vicious Circle; this means that one has to recognize one’s own ‘cage’.

One of the supreme endowments of the human being is that it can be aware of itself and be conscious of one’s coloring of one’s awareness. It’s about appreciatively understanding one’s own unique individuality and mindset. This boils down to being aware that, unfortunately, one is driven to protect one’s own self-esteem against evaluations made by others of one’s created self. This protection is one of the main causes of the distortion of one’s appreciative understanding of reality. This distortion leads inevitably to a false vision of reality regarding oneself, others, circumstances and experiences. One has to appreciatively understand that, due to this distortion, one’s own value system is of sync, which has its effects on the rightness of one’s intuitions.

When one recognizes that she or he is the prisoner of the Vicious Circle cage, one becomes aware of the fact that one’s evaluations are distorted and this can be the start of the liberation process. In other words, an error which one recognizes being an error is already on its way to correction. This means that one is able to examine critically one’s judgments, reactions and behavior (i.e. one’s own actions), so that more reliable observations can break through the ‘ego system’. Thus one can be liberated more or less from one’s own closed mindset and rise toward an opening of it, so that one becomes more trustworthy insights.

The second feature of this liberation process is that one becomes aware of one’s dependence upon one’s particular social group and culture. The perspective of the community in which one has been reared influences human judgments. In other words, one’s personal mindset is strongly influenced by the collective mindset of the community and thus by the culture to which one belongs.

One can be liberated to some degree by recognizing that one is in this condition of cultural influence. This can be the start of critically questioning the validity of judgments made by one-self and one’s own community regarding the ‘other’. If one is profoundly convinced of this fact about human beings, including one-self, one can start to search for evidence about reality with a mind more open than in the case that one does not know and recognize this own particular condition. In other words, the moment one is fully aware that one’s insights and (therefor) conclusions can be blurred by one’s mindset – mindset being strongly influenced by the collective mindset (i.e. the culture to which one belongs) – one can open up his thus colored consciousness and question it. In this way, one restores one’s awareness and might gradually undergo creative transformation towards insights and judgments more correct concerning one’s own culture and the culture to which others belong.

The third feature of this liberation arises out of the unfinished, transitional quality of each human being’s actual state, i.e. one’s actual created self. Human beings are an unfinished lot. They are on their way to become another kind of being, provided that they not cling themselves to their actual state of being. In other words, if they let the Creative Self do its work, the created self will undergo a continual transformation. In this way the created self becomes a continuous evolving self.

Since each human being is in transition, not yet the being one could become, and – if  she or he wants to continue to exist at all – one has (to strive) to obtain the kind of mind that embraces undergoing a continuous creative transformation. This continuous creative transformation should not stop. If it does, the created self stays at a certain ‘unfinished’ level and creativity dies, leaving the individual with a fixed, non-evolving, mindset; in other words the individual becomes a prisoner of that mindset; the prisoner of the individual’s Vicious Circle so to speak.

So, first is needed that the individual appreciatively understands that continuous creative transformation is the key to enhance one’s incomplete created self. Secondly, the individual has to seek out those social relations, kind of work so that practicing the kind of commitment – that will be described next – which will bring creativity to a higher level of reality in one’s own person and in one’s social relations.

 

Practice a personal commitment to Creative Interchange

The second decision concerns practicing a personal commitment to Creative Interchange during which one’s resources are most fully brought into action.

Commitment to this end assumes first of all choosing work in line with one’s own talents and work that provides (at least some of) the conditions required for the creative transformation of man. If this is not the case, one should look for other work.

Secondly, it assumes a complete self-giving. This means in particular that one gives, to the service of Creative Interchange, one’s failures, guilt, shame and anger, as well as one’s virtues and strength. This enables the individual to stay humble and far from arrogance. Humility knows itself and tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty
.One does not feel oneself ‘better’ than, or ‘superior’ to others; one is thankful that one has discovered Creative Interchange and is committed to live it from the inside out. This means that one lives Reinhold Niebuhr’s ‘Serenity Prayer’:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.

All this boils down to accept one’s own Vicious Circle and gives oneself in the wholeness of one’s being to Creative Interchange.

Thirdly, this commitment to Creative Interchange needs intensity and persistence in its practice. One controls from the inside out the practice of the commitment to Creative Interchange. There is no guidebook to that, since if such a book existed this would be control from the inside out. To be effective, this practice should not be taken secondhand from any other person but developed by each to fit one’s own need.

The goal of this commitment is to unify the Creative Self for action in order to create a newer mindset and to join oneself with the most important reality there is, which is the creative transformation of the human being.

Albert Camus once said: “… man has not been endowed with a definite nature … is not a finished creation but an experiment of which he can be partly the creator.” [iv] Friedrich Nietzsche, JP Sartre, G. B. Shaw, G. W. F. Hegel, Karl Marx and many others have expressed the same idea. These men do not agree on the kind of transformation that will bring the human being to the level needed to thrive; nor do they agree on the procedures to be followed to this end. They all did agree that the human being is a) not complete; b) in the process of becoming, thus being created and must be further transformed before attaining its definitive nature.

The transformation through Creative Interchange transforms the mind – which cannot transform itself – so that the thus transformed mind can be more accurately aware of more experience, i.e. more of reality and can therefor learn more, i.e. transform ever more, through the conscious levels of the mind.

The transformation of the conscious (dual consciousness) and unconscious (non dual awareness) levels of the human beings is necessary in order to a) cope with dark realities or mishaps, b) form reliable intuitions that make one act effectively, c) bring all the resources into action and finally d) satisfy oneself in the wholeness of one’s being.

The goal of this personal two-fold commitment to Creative Interchange is to bring about this creative transformation of one’s own self and the selves of others.

Dealing with the dark realities of life as death or an unforeseeable disaster, for instance, are realities that cannot be controlled. This brings us back to the Serenity Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr and to the fact that, for example in the case of death, one can not change the reality that death is an intrinsic part of life; one can only modify his perception (i.e. coloring) of that reality. Indeed, on one hand, death cannot be eliminated or avoided in human life and, on the other; death can be integrated in the wholeness of one’s being. For sure, these dark realities are not ‘good’ in themselves and the full appreciative understanding of them leads one to a more abundant life in which Creative Interchange dominates over the Vicious Circle; when this happens – and only in this case – these dark realities have a positive value of their own.  Be aware though, dark realities do not necessarily bring about the needed transformation. They will not, unless they are a trigger for practicing one’s two-fold commitment towards Creative Interchange. This commitment is not a guarantee for success and it is the only way, as far as I know, to release all the resources of the Original Self  for constructive action.

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[i]Wieman, Henry Nelson. Man’s Ultimate Commitment. Lanham. MA: University Press of America®, Inc., 1991. pp. 284-306.

[ii]Hagan, Stacie and Palmgren, Charlie. The Chicken Conspiracy. Breaking the Cycle of Personal Stress and Organizational Mediocrity.Baltimore. MA: Recovery Communications, Inc. 1998.

[iii]Palmgren, Charlie. Ascent of the Eagle. Being and Becoming Your Best.Dayton. Ohio: Innovative Interchange Press. 2008.

[iv]Camus, Albert. The Rebel. An Essay on Man in Revolt.New York. NY: Vintage Books (Alfred A. Knopf), 1954. p. 106.

2 gedachten over “The Decision Required of Us”

  1. Greetings, in reading your article, I was reminded of Wieman’s definition of “Religious Commitment” as two-fold in that 1. Commitment to the best I now know and 2. Commitment to a process that can transform the best I now know…
    Thanks for your continuing work on this!

    1. Hello Ted, great cyclist and, as me, fan of Roger De Vlaeminck,

      20/20 for your awareness and consciousness. Indeed, this two-fold decision was inspired by what I call ‘Wieman’s two-fold Commitment’. This is needed to live Creative Interchange from within. Understanding Wieman more and more I see why you call it the “Religious Commitment” since it is a Commitment to Creative Interchange, which is a Wiemanian synonym for “God”.
      Thank you for your dis-covering the source of my inspiration.
      Creatively,
      Johan

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