The Cognitive Science

“Prove it. In a relationship. And then in the world. About your greatness.”

Try it. Get organized. Try it over.

Creating a relationship. What has been missing in my life.

Drew Christensen, S.J., wrote about the feeling of the modern world: it always seemed to fall short of the world where I had grown up. Maybe it had something to do with the ideal of how we developed nobility. The world of my father seemed perfect. My first idea of ideals worth saving came from my parents. My first ideals or the past and of “saving” the past, was based upon the world that they had given me.

Even though I was not crazy about their music. Because i came to see life was about your own music. Your own song. With your own lyrics.

The unrealness of it all. Of the world of Noah. Or Abram. Or of the towns of Sodom. And Gomorrah. When something had been missing. The worlds which had ended up in destruction.

The plan then was to try it over. This time with maybe some spiritual direction.

Starting over. When the “start” button on your microwave quit working. And the only solution was to throw it away and get a new one.

Teaching a class. Of 10 people. I was teaching a class these days. And I thought of hearing the author of Amistad, the basis for the Steve Spielberg Amistad movie, speak. Alex Pate told about talking at a bookstore, for a reading, when one person had shown up. Not much different than this February 28th night at the Hamline library, a community library, with 7 people. There in February, with nine people in attendance counting the two volunteers, not much different than the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Yeah, the story about negotiations. Writers. For such a small audience, was it worth the time to write? Who would read this stuff anyway? Was this creation really worth it? For just 9 people?

First Noah. Then Sodom. And Gomorrah. Those Twin Cities. Was it worth it to save the world? Or the towns? For 100 people? For 10 people? For one? Or was the real discussion about relationships?

Where was I in the story? Did you ever have just a bad marriage? Was it worth trying to save it? When your wife wanted more in the relationship? And you did not have a clue what the heck she meant.

Where was I in the story? How had I contributed to this bad marriage? Was it about expectations? Her expectations about me?

Salvation. Was it worth your time?

Teachers. I had teachers who had taught so many doctors, who then learned all the new ways to cure. Finding the good doctors out. With all the expectations for success that people brought to a doctor each day. Not so unlike what people brought to a marriage.

Hadn’t the great books already been written? In trying to write that Great American Novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about themes of youth, beauty and riches. And that was the world of modern pop culture, of America today, ruled especially by beauty and wealth. All the things glamorized by the media, of modern America. All these beautiful young American women. Fitzgerald wrote with characters that keep trying but never really found themselves at the end of the story.

In a world that is rich with possibilities for connectedness and attachment, the heart and soul of intimacy, the lifelong challenge, begins with identity. Over who each person is. Mine was strongly established.

Relationships. Creating a relationship. Enhancing connectedness. To this world. When there had been something missing in my life. About an overall aim of the relationship, with a delicate balance between separate identity and a connectedness– when the going gets rough, to stay together. Developing a common point of view. Union. For the kid’s identity. For their readiness for relationship.

Noah. Then Abraham. And then Sodom and Gomorrah. Navigating closeness. Between humans and God. Or maybe from the Genesis stories, mostly between males and God. The struggle, the ongoing struggle, with cognitive love, concerning relationships. My lawyer says his wife thinks he is insensitive. All American men were, actually. With no real relationship readiness for how to prepare emotionally, psychologically and pragmatically for a committed relationship. The union state, in these United States.

Concerning those relationships. Navigating closeness, with a degree of cognitive love, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire. When you were just for the most part unconscious. Or really just trying to figure it all out. With American men too often just numb. When those neurons just did not feel the things we were supposed to. About the hard questions, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire. For men too often just numb.

About the hard questions. The greed. All men had it. Some women. People throughout the world wanted to live like I had lived. Like they saw in the movies. Greed fueled by media. For money. And modern conveniences. Where there was not enough to be fairly divided. And it was a helluva battle each day, in the business world, to acquire more. Time saving conveniences. Amid all the serious stresses. At home. And abroad.

About Noah. About Sodom? And about Gomorrah? About relationships? Whether I was “relationship ready.” When relationship readiness refers to developing a common point of view, with a delicate balance between separateness and connectedness. With all the weakness in economic relationships. In living arrangements. With labor saving devices. The challenge of sustaining both my separateness and connectedness. When the going gets rough. As the “me” becomes “we.’ In the united state.

My first ideals or the past and of “saving” the past, was based upon the world that my ancestors had given me. Man, had that world changed. The new civil wars. The domestic ones. I had inherited it all. Like Isaac. Like Jacob. Some, through the people I was related to. From their DNA. Some, through material wealth. Earned or inherited. Acquired wealth.

Cognitive science. Those living arrangements. Where no fame is ever won outside a house for living a life with balance. When men, outside the house, must BE someone. Or try to be. And, in the old world, when women must find someone. And then become the experts in relationships. Sensitive to the dominant culture. Sensitive to the gap in the living arrangement. And more attuned to all those gaps, the inequality–than the insensitive American males.

Now about the connectedness to others. The purpose of the union. All this emotional energy to have personal ties –why are women so concerned about upgrading their relationship skills, especially with men? And why are men relatively unconcerned? About the inequality in the power struggle. Over the toilet seat. Who can understand all this new focus on cognitive science. When cognitive science focused on what we read and how we read. Was it really insensitive to ask who really had time to care? It was only a toilet seat.

The imbalance in “relationship work,” my account balance, had become like some kind of tumor. More conspicuous. But not to me. My tumor was starting to cause other people pain. It was not intended. And it was insensitive to ask about just paying a late fee. I was told. A normal reaction to the tumor might be just to move a bit further apart. When I was told the normal female reaction to pain is to look for the source of pain and treat it. Even when it was so invisible. And I never was much for seeing doctors.

Yeah, men often seem oddly numb. About the hard questions. About these unexpected performance reviews. When your emotional energy was affecting my peace of mind.

Yeah, men often seem oddly numb. About relationship readiness. And then thinking that the obligation somehow ceased, when you dedicated your life to someone or something. Once they had one, men are unconcerned about improving their people skills, in a relationship. THE relationship. Because we were from Mars, and rarely ambitious after work, at home, in the cave –about these people skills, in a relationship, with a woman who told me that she loved me. After work, how could I not be measuring up — on the job as a husband? How men hated the subjective part of those unexpected performance reviews.

There is pain when something goes wrong. When tending to relationship had always been predominantly women’s work. Work which seemed like some kind of game that I never really understood the rules. About the languages I had learned growing up– I recognize the body language, even when I missed the class on relationships.

Those sins of omission. I understood the line about sins, and “what I had done.” Now I saw the gravity of those sins of omissions that I confessed to each week. “What I have failed to do.” Just give me a nudge. But I did not feel as bad about nothing that I had ever done. The ones about invisible fruit, from the invisible tree.

Because there was no real theology that her friend had about life, I distrusted her friend’s definition of intimacy. I distrusted her friend who talks about relationship patterns, how they operate, and all the trouble couples get in over issues of power. I never liked seeing this friend in the house. But I did believe in the sacred part of intimacy of a relationship, to truly grow –before the connectedness was all put to the test. I did agree about a need to prepare, emotionally, psychologically and pragmatically. About the capacity for intimacy in a committed relationship.

Relationship readiness. Developing viewpoints. Beyond my own. In a waxing and waning world. I was reading about this for the first time. About the hard work it takes to express the lifetime meaning of connectedness, to build and maintain a satisfying relationship. Or one with stability. When I had been concerned about living arrangements, but unprepared for growth.

The unrealness of it all. Of Noah’s world. Of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of cognitive science. And the need to change. Or all of this might be destroyed. Was it worth it to save the town? Or the dominant culture? For 100 people? For 10 people? Or for two people? In a marriage? In this house, after the excavating work and the concrete was poured?

When it was never really possible to change me, was it not normal to feel a sense of rejection? When I was told I had to change. But don’t take it personally. Just change responsibly to enhanced the connectedness.

I was getting re-organized. And planning to try it again. About that greatness. Our greatness. In a relationship. To prove it.

At home. And then in the world abroad. This time with just a little more spiritual direction. Because I did not want to end up in the Twin Cities like those guys from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Copyright © 2010.

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