Failing to Notice


In an email conversation with a friend last week, I was challenged to consider the idea that maybe I take life a bit too seriously. Perhaps I should lighten up, think a bit less, turn off my mind and just enjoy certain things without examining their deeper meanings or subconscious influences on my life. Now this friend didn’t say these things or challenge me to do so, but the course of the conversation led me to consider these things myself.

I’ve been in a season of reflecting on the question, “God, what in the world am I doing here?” and to have someone who’s not in my head ask the same question was disheartening to say the least. It caused the question to move from a philosophical inquiry to a full out examination of how I do life and teaching and ministry.

But this morning I read a “knot” by R.D. Laing while doing some research for class, and it confirmed for me that, in this case, to follow the masses would be the worst plan for me and completely counter to everything I’ve spent the last decade of my life working to change in my life.

The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.

There seems to be an epidemic of failing to notice in our society today. But the more time I spend reading and trying to share what I am learning about learning and thinking and intentional living, the more I see that, for many, the problem isn’t just not knowing. The problem is that many do not want to know. Because to know is to reflect, and to reflect is to critique. And often, to critique means to change. And change is a double problem, because to change, one must first admit they were wrong and must second work hard to discover the error and correct it.

Ignorance truly is bliss. But for the believer, to live in ignorance is to live in disobedience. To be created in the image of the omniscient God is to possess an inherent curiosity, a desire to both know and be known.

So how do we begin to think and to know in a world that emphasizes being known at the expense of knowing anything beyond ourselves?

Today, I believe I will just say that a first step would be to simply begin noticing just how much we fail to notice each and every day. From the mundane to the grandiose, there is so much we fail to notice around us.

Today, I believe I will simply stop and notice.

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One thought on “Failing to Notice

  1. So many people take themselves so serious always wanting to be right about everything, pushing to get to the top only to realize when they get there they are totally alone. We all fall short. Guess most importantly our ability to love others, even at the price of sacraficing it all moves us into the position of noticing others. It really ain’t about us. You write very well, enjoy reading your thoughts!

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