Our birth is a cruel process. It was cozy in there. Nurturance in all forms was assured and it was nice and warm. No wonder we complain at birth. But, of course, we have to wonder what this place is that we suddenly landed in. There were these strange moving objects doing things to us and making what we came to know were noises which meant speech. It was time to adjust to a new reality although we didn’t know what to call it or even that it had a name.
Preparing for the World
What we know is that preparations are being made in the womb. We bounce our babies almost instinctively which probably duplicates something of the experience of riding in the womb. When my first daughter was born I was amazed that the dogs disturbed her not at all. She would be sleeping in our arms and one of the dogs would suddenly bark. It didn’t wake her. She had been hearing it for some time and was not at all surprised. We have to wonder what else the child was learning in the womb.
But there is a lot of learning to come. Adults understand that but tend to see it in concrete terms. There are many other levels of learning. Constantly there are new forms of reality to be addressed. The world has to be defined and understood and we have to define ourselves as well. Those may be static things but there is the matter of interactions with the rest of the world. The array of things to be learned and organized is staggering when we begin to catalogue them.
Defining the Self
Defining the self is crucial to relating to the other beings around us. And those beings are not just humans but the animals in the person’s life whether they be house dogs or the bird outside the window. In all this we build a personal framework which includes self definition so that we can respond to other humans and the world in general. Am I bold or restrained? And we do this on many dimensions.
Establishing a Platform
Overall, one way to look at it is, we establish a platform from which we respond. Another reality is that there are changing platforms for the self. It may change daily and certainly does over a lifetime. And it involves personal discovery.
Certainly, if you begin a catalogue for yourself you’ll find there is quite an amazing array of selves and platforms. And through it all we constantly work to define a reality of the self which is how we view ourselves. Over time that reality changes.
How do you define reality?