Quotes like this can seem fanciful and silly to people who see themselves as realists. They would talk about science etc., but of course most of modern science involves a great deal of inference, so our imagination plays a major role.
Some of the newer discoveries—as has always been the case—will be proven slightly wrong and will be replaced by more complete theories later (in science, a ‘theory’ means they feel as certain as we could ever hope to be). But we will never come to the end of knowledge because our expansion breeds more expansion so, the more we know, the larger the universe of things-to-know gets.
So even in science we must always keep our minds open to possibility. If we do, then the world can know “scientific miracles” that revolutionize science itself—and that will happen simply because someone believed they could do something outside of the bounds of current science, which is also sometimes known as magic up until we learn how they did it.
Tribal cultures who still live their original ways are comfortable with the idea of a Shaman’s knowledge being born out of magic. A supposed example played out in the film What the Bleep?! makes the case for how their magic can be been seen by us as the sort of logical conclusion that science is. But it needs the Shaman’s imagination and willingness to believe to happen.
In this story, the native north american’s couldn’t see Columbus’s ships because they didn’t know what ships were. It was said that, until the Shaman had seen them and told the tribe that ships exist, no one else in the tribe even tried to see a ship. They just saw a blob on the horizon and they settled for that.
Because the Shaman believes he can know he keeps staring at those shapes until he slowly forms the brand new idea of what is vaguely a big canoe, and then eventually clipper ship. Once he has it in his mind he carries the necessary authority with the tribe to convince them something is true. Believing it, they they actually try to see it and, believing it’s possible, the ships sail into their consciousness.
That is no different than the remarkable story of Daniel Kish, except he’s a shaman for the entire world. If you haven’t listened to the detailed story of Daniel that was featured in the most recent Friday Dose, then please take a little less than an hour out of your life and spend some time really meditating on what this documentary is saying. Because this is a documentary about a blind boy with literally no eyes who neurologists agree can see.
Read that again. Science agrees that; because this mother believed that her son could make his way in the world —because she just blindly believed there was some way that he would be able to make his way safely and comfortably— Daniel was allowed to simply follow his nature and that alone lead him to the miracle. It wasn’t that she taught him something miraculous —it’s that her fears didn’t impede a miracle from naturally happening.
His abusive estranged father was what lead Daniel’s mother to decide to never operate out of fear again. And so because of that mother —and even strangely because of that father too— Daniel became the first known blind person who could literally see. He’s even better than you. He has no colour or distance vision but he does have night vision.
So the real question is, what is anyone’s parenting saying to their child? Are we constantly steeling them against, and preparing them for, fears and worries in life? Or is our parenting just assuming kids are capable and that success is virtually inevitable?
Do we understand that there is no reason to parent toward success? There should only be an effort to not have the parent’s fears invade and shape the lives of their children. From there their own version of success will emerge from the ensuing confidence of the child.
Please listen to the documentary and please really do consider how our parenting is shaping children. Because fear-based parenting only does one thing: it breeds fearful, incapable and very very small people who constantly feel overwhelmed by the world.
Let’s not teach our fears to our children, because a fear of heights or water or dogs doesn’t start at a young age, it gets taught at a young age by a person or an experience. One and a half of those is avoidable, so it’s worthwhile slowing down to look at each bit of parenting we’re doing and ask ourselves what is it really teaching a child?
Are we teaching children to be safe, or did we just teach them to think of themselves in painfully limited ways? For kid’s sakes, please listen to the documentary. She had every reason to worry, but because she didn’t let that stop him, he became great precisely because he needed to be. And that power lives in all of us.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.