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Shifting the horizon of what’s possible

Landmark Insights:Shifting the horizon of what’s possible

We often approach life counting on a certain order of things, thinking that predictability and control are possible. Then we encounter the experience of uncertainty, often with chaos close on its heels. This ambiguity and randomness can sometimes be disconcerting, as we don’t readily see an effective way of being related to it. Sometimes we’d drift toward dealing with things rationally, sometimes emotionally. Neuroscientist David Eagleman captures the duality: “There is an ongoing conversation among the different factions in [our] brain, each competing to control the single output channel of [our] behavior. The rational system is one that cares about the analysis of things in the outside world, while the emotional system monitors the internal state….”

Because we don’t see a ready way to relate powerfully with these dual realities, we attempt to apply patterns of order—and the more we do that, the less effective we become. It’s like trying to be an artist by the numbers—the better we get at that, the worse our art is. Predictability and control are irrelevant to the phenomenon of possibility. There is no certainty as an inevitability or predictability of an outcome. We are the ones saying something is possible. Real power occurs when we know we have something to say about the way things are. Recognizing that shifts the horizon of what’s possible, and it’s from there the full range available in being human can be explored and lived.

Image: *Richard Tuttle, Lable 13, 2004-5, from a series of 16 etchings entitled Cloth (Lable 1-16). Published by Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York

Landmark Forum Leader Jerry Baden

Jerry Baden
Landmark Forum leader

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